Gauging the effectiveness of a call center strategy is one of the biggest challenges in a manager’s job description, but it’s also a key responsibility in the development and improvement of a brand’s customer service profile. Decision-makers in these positions need to know exactly how their operations are doing and what aspects of the program may need to be tweaked for stronger performance. At the end of the day, the call center capable of total self-awareness and strategic flexibility will be the one to stand out from the crowd.
Thankfully, there are a handful of useful metrics and performance indicators that these strategists can use to their advantage as they evaluate their current capabilities and strive for more. Here’s a set of eight metrics that have long been a part of the call center wheelhouse, with proven results:
“Metrics should offer a clear path toward improvement.”
1. First call resolution
Arguably the most critical metric in the call center analytics arsenal, FCR tells strategists the frequency with which agents are able to resolve customer inquiries and concerns on the first call. Ascent Group pointed out that to get the most accurate FCR measurement possible, a contact center should employ a multi-source approach to data aggregation. This means performing post-call feedback surveys, agent-level performance reviews and metrics specific to call type. A high FCR rating will help maintain customer loyalty, reinforce the strength of the brand and help retain employees as they see their efforts help to assist and close out issues rather than have them endlessly drag on, frustrating the customer as well as themselves.
2. Transfer rate
From the perspective of the caller, the best contact center experiences are quick, easy and painless. Transfer rate is a great way to gauge how swiftly the operation is able to reach a resolution with a customer, measuring how many times the caller needs to be transferred to another representative over the course of the interaction. MultiChannel Merchant explained that closer analysis of this metric can help determine weak points in the call center program and offer a clear path toward improvement. The call center operation needs to take a look at the issues that are causing the need to transfer and if given the proper technology and access to the first line representatives, can the transfers be minimized or even eliminated.
3. Handle time, hold time and abandonment
Each second an agent spends on the phone must be viewed as a precious commodity if managers want to reach a mindset of continuous improvement. An article from Call Center Helper argued that average handle time is a quintessential metric, and that by tracking it, decision-makers will be better equipped to investigate sticking points in the call resolution process. Reduced and more efficient handle times will lead to stronger agent performances, better agent utilization and happier callers. In the same light any hold time that occurs prior to connecting with a representative or during the call where the representative is checking an online resource, speaking with another department or consulting with a supervisor or manager can be considered to be non productive and frustrating for the caller. While on hold, whether the caller is listening to music or a repetitive message, the on hold time feels magnified as they wait for the representative to come back on the line. Providing the representative with all of the tools at their fingertips produces a fluid call, which will help the FCR metrics and produce a confident and more pleasurable customer experience. Keeping a keen on your abandonment levels is also key to reinforcing how you are projecting your brand. Once your customer tries several times to place an order, resolve a customer service issue, request a return or ask a product question and is on hold for an inordinate amount of time or even hangs up after several attempts to connect, it becomes very hard to win them back.
The typical call center experiences a wide range of traffic volume and varying consumer demands as it navigates the calendar year. For these reasons, managers should prioritize forecasting metrics to determine how to best meet these fluctuating expectations. An article from ICMI recommended that organizations actively compare forecasted call load to actual call load, evaluating the accuracy of their predictions and making changes accordingly. Working with a good Workforce Management program will help the call center manager in analyzing and evaluating trends that may have been driven by various milestones in marketing and seasonality.
5. Quality scores
While it may seem like an overly general concept, quality scores can offer the big-picture evaluations necessary to target some of the most common issues in the contact center. Measuring how well agents adhere to policies, present the product, reach resolutions with callers and perform post-call tasks are all essential components that can point decision-makers in a better direction. Call Center Helper suggested tracking these performances at an operational team level and by representative.
6. Customer satisfaction
When all is said and done, it’s the caller experience that will generate the game plan for improvement. The preferences and habits of consumers have always been top of mind for any customer service program. Strategists should perform a wide array of surveys and questionnaires across all channels, as well as search social media outlets to get a grasp on customer satisfaction. Those who successfully integrate this feedback into the call center operation will be on the fast track to call center success.
7. Agent occupancy
Efficiency should always be a top-tier priority for the call center, and in terms of workforce management, agency occupancy is one of the most telling metrics to track. As MultiChannel Merchant noted, it contrasted the staff member’s hours of productivity against the overall workload of the operation, offering a chance for managers to see just how efficiently the program was performing. With these details, a contact center can expand or shrink its workforce to ensure that every agent has a manageable, yet appropriate, level of work.
8. Staff turnover
Agent retention is a powerful ally in the contact center, especially when a brand is picking a call center outsourcing company to take on the majority of its responsibilities. By tracking staff member turnover with a close eye, managers can determine the loyalty and devotion of their workforce, which MultiChannel Merchant suggests is a prime performance indicator. The longer agents stay on board, the more confidently a call center can prepare for expansion in size or taking on new tasks and invest in training programs to boost skill sets.
Call centers that create a balanced set of metrics will gain a clear understanding of their capabilities.
“Decision-makers must be better equipped to investigate sticking points.”