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How to Measure and Increase Call Center Productivity

What Is Call Center Productivity?

Contact centers are constantly looking to be more productive. Higher productivity translates to better customer service and increased profits.

The biggest factor that influences the productivity of your call center is your agents. When agents are happy and motivated, they can excel at customer service. However, the reverse is also true. When agents are overwhelmed or disinterested, productivity plummets.

How to Measure Call Center Productivity

There are two ways of measuring productivity. A formula can determine productivity based on time spent. Alternatively, KPIs can indicate productivity based on outcomes.

Productivity Formula

One way to measure productivity is to calculate the amount of work done in a specific time. This concept is illustrated by the formula below.

(Total Output / Total Input) x 100 = Productivity

In this formula, the total output is the time that your agent spends talking to customers and performing other duties. The total input is the total number of hours they are working for.

As an example, let’s say an agent is working an eight-hour shift but only spends six hours on work-related activities.

(7/8) x 100 = .875 x 100 = 87.5%

This means that the agent is spending 87.5% of their time on activities that contribute to the productivity of the contact center.

This formula is great for getting a general understanding of your call center productivity, but there are some flaws within this method. One of these flaws is that breaks from work activities keep agents happy and motivated. So while those breaks might appear as wasted time, they are actually contributing to better customer service.

A more accurate way of measuring productivity is with call center performance metrics.

Call Center Productivity Metrics

Measuring specific call center performance metrics helps you see how productive your call center is based on metrics that contribute to the bottom line. Every call center will have different metrics that are important to their goals, but there are a few that are industry-standard KPIs.

First call resolution (FCR). In an inbound call center, first call resolution helps contact centers determine if customers’ problems are being solved during the first interaction. Customers who have to contact a company multiple times to solve a problem tend to have a negative view of the company.

First-call close. In an outbound call center, first-call close measures how often agents are completing conversions the first time they speak with customers.  In addition to boosting profits, good first-call close rates are also a sign of an engaged customer.

Customer satisfaction (CSAT). Customer satisfaction is a metric that’s calculated using survey data. Customers are asked to rank their satisfaction. Then their answers are used to determine the effectiveness of the call.

First response time (FRT). This metric tracks the average amount of time for a call center to answer a phone call from a customer. Included in this metric is the time a caller waits in a queue.

Call center average speed of answer. The average amount of time it takes for a call center to answer a phone call from a customer, including time waiting in a queue. Faster call center average speed of answer indicates better customer service.

5 Tips for Increasing Agent Productivity

Once you’ve established the most important call center productivity metrics, you can start improving them. There are a few simple changes that can make all the difference in agent productivity.

1. Provide Training and Tools

It’s difficult for agents to be productive if they’re not confident in the skills required to complete their tasks. Support and tools training are critical for a well-run contact center. Beyond initial training, growing the skill set of expert agents is a great way to increase productivity. This diversifies the workday and provides interest and growth for the agent.

2. Allow Agents Autonomy

Answering calls can become repetitive, especially when following a specific script. Rather than controlling every aspect of the customer interaction in an effort to increase productivity, allow your agents some autonomy. When agents have the authority to handle customer service decisions themselves, it can have a major impact on productivity. Everyone likes to help people solve problems, and agents are no different.

3. Permit Breaks

Nobody is built to work an eight-hour day without a break. In a call center, many situations can cause tension and stress. Encourage agents to take a break to use the restroom, grab a snack, or take a walk around the office when they are feeling stressed. A clear head will help them focus their energy on the next customer they speak with instead of dwelling on the last.

4. Encourage Agents to Set Goals

Above, we covered some specific metrics that can be used to evaluate performance. Get your agents involved in this process and facilitate goal setting on an individual and team level. Make sure to check in on these goals regularly to keep them top of mind. This consistent reflection will help your agents take control of their own performance.

5. Congratulate Success

Positive feedback is a great tool in influencing agent productivity. When individual or team goals are met, make sure to recognize the accomplishment with praise or incentives. Agents deserve to be congratulated when they make a positive impact on a  customer or for the company.

Other Factors Affecting Productivity

Although agents are a huge part of call center productivity, there are some other productivity factors. One of these is the rise of spoofing attacks. If your company numbers have been used in a scam, customers are less likely to trust your calls. This means that agents waste time convincing customers that the call is legitimate. This problem can be resolved with a branded caller ID. With Branded Call, companies can display their name, logo, call reason, and more. This shows customers that the call is legitimate. By displaying a call reason, customers already know what to expect and agents can have a more effective conversation.

Want to see the impact that Hiya Connect can have for your business? Download the Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ Study commissioned by Hiya.

Author Alicia Marie Beatty

Content Marketing Manager at Hiya