Managing a call center is no easy feat, which is why it is imperative to deploy tools that can measure progress, results and performance. The first step to charting your progress is defining your objectives. The next step is deciding what key performance indicators, or KPIs, you will use to verify how effectively your call center is achieving its objectives?
While you can find excellent resource listing such as the best KPI-measuring tools, and in-depth overviews of the best call centers KPIs, this blog will focus on how to choose meaningful metrics for your company.
Start with A Clear Strategy in Place
The best way to use the right KPIs is to start with the objectives you want to achieve. Measuring data is only valuable if you are aiming towards a clear goal, which is why your strategy map is a primordial first step before identifying your indicators.
Moreover, these objectives need to align with the larger goals and targets of the general operation. Since most corporate objectives will eventually be financial, it is important that your call center goals focus on the KPIs that support these goals, such as enhancing customer experience and satisfaction, improving agent performance and streamlining processes.
Defining KPIs That Make Sense for Your Organization
Since there is no one-size-fits-all for KPIs, they need to be focused on specific outcomes. For instance, if your only worry is to increase customer satisfaction, it makes little sense to spend time, money and resources on measuring revenue per call, a KPI that would be essential for telesales or performance marketing contact centers.
Similarly, if you are working in debt collection, a metric like “Promise to Pay” will be a much more important KPI than Average Handle Time.
Ensuring KPIs Are Shared and Understood by All Employees
This is an important point that is often overlooked: if you are trying to find meaningful KPIs for your call center, they should be easy to understand by your employees as well. KPIs should remain an integral part of their decision-making when interaction with customers, especially when you are trying to increase performance.
Keeping your workforce in the dark about which data you collect could make them suspicious of your actions and cause them to disengage. Likewise, giving them too many KPIs to focus on could confuse them, which is why it is important to ensure they are assimilated and understood seamlessly by everyone. You might also consider a phased approach, introducing one set of KPIs at a time, giving agents the opportunity to show success before introducing the next set.
Some Examples of Call Center KPIs
One good exercise to see if you can derive meaning from your KPIs is to have a look at the compiled list of the most important call center metrics according to managers:
- Quality Scores: providing an overall score for the caller experience. Quality scores can be monitored at the agent and group levels. When you track 100% of customer interactions, supervisors and agents can get an accurate and unbiased view on how well they are doing.
- First Call Resolution: measures the percent of conversations that get resolved on the first contact. Simply divide the number of calls that are resolved on the first contact by the total number of first contacts. You can get even more sophisticated by segmenting data by call reason, call type, etc. For example, you might want to segment calls for tech support, billing issues, account information updates, marketing, or legal. Ultimately, the objectives for measuring FCR are to enhance the customer experience and satisfaction, reduce costs and improve agent performance.
- Customer Satisfaction: looks at the agent behaviors and processes that most affect the customer experience. Beyond looking for words and phrases that indicate dissatisfaction, speech analytics also looks at sentiment by monitoring, silence, and loudness and micro-tremors in the voice.
- Average Handling Time (AHT): the total amount of time it takes to handle a call, measuring different areas such as talk time, on-hold time and wrap-up time. Keep in mind that the optimal handle time depends on the complexity of the customer’s issue. To get an accurate assessment of agent performance it is important to average handle times over several calls.
- Transfer Rates: expressed as a percentage of the number of calls that are transferred to someone else to resolve. Transfers occur for a variety of reasons including the request of a caller, the fault of the agent or incorrect routing from the IVR. Insights from speech analytics can identify the root cause so that issues can be quickly addressed, thereby reducing transfer rates.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): a metric used to predict customer loyalty by looking at how many of them would recommend your service to others. NPS can indicate that there is a problem. But NPS alone can’t tell you what is causing the problem. Is it an agent, a process or a product? By listening to what all your customers are saying when they interact with your brand you can gain insights that can help you improve NPS. In addition to monitoring what is said, you can also monitor customer sentiment.
These are just a few of the main KPIs you might consider for your organization, and there are of course many more. As previously stated, finding the right ones for you depends on your goals and strategy.
Once you have established what you are going to measure, the next step is determining the tools you will need to effectively measure the KPIs you have set. Speech Analytics can help you monitor all interactions across channels – phone, email, chat and social, and gain a 360-degree view of customer likes and dislikes, preferences and concerns. It is one of the most effective tools for monitoring call center and agent performance and helping you to deliver a great customer experience at every touchpoint throughout the entire journey.
As the list above shows, some KPIs may overlap while others might not be essential to your organization. It is important to remember that, like with all key decisions, planning and adjusting your KPIs is just as valuable as deploying them effectively.
Finally, don’t forget that KPIs are only as useful as the meaning you can derive from them, whether it is in terms of how easily you can share them with your staff, or how much they can help you adjust course to improve performance.
What KPIs do you measure and which ones do you find to be most effective in achieving your contact center and business objectives?