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2017

Not all call center metrics are created equal. Any call center manager worth their salt knows that you should be measuring what goes on inside your call center. But the empirical data you gather is only as good as the questions you are asking. And finding ROI starts with understanding what you need to be measuring in order to get business results.

 

Depending on whether you are gauging performance for an inbound our outbound call center, different metrics are key. Below, we break down some of the most important of each, and then offer some observations about how to best go about measuring them.

 

Inbound Call Center Metrics

Inbound call centers are usually service related, and focused on a customer issue.  Therefore, inbound call center KPI’s are mostly focused on customer satisfaction.

 

First-Call Resolution (FCR)

This measures the percentage of customers who are able to have their problem solved the first time they reach out to a company. It can be measured either by calls that did not need to be transferred, or if the customer did not call back within a certain timeframe.

 

Research suggests that there is a direct, linear correlation between FCR and customer satisfaction, making this one of the most important call center metrics to track.

 

Service Level

This metric gives an understanding of the speed with which customer calls are being answered by agents. They are expressed in tandem as a percentage of calls answered within a certain amount of time.

 

This is extremely useful for understanding how many agents need to be working at any given time. For example, if a call center is able to answer only 20% of calls within 5 minutes, it’s an indication that it needs to hire more people. Conversely, if 100% of calls are answered within 5 seconds, it’s a sign you might be able to have a few less agents on the phone.

 

Contact Quality

This metric is used in order to assess the interactions the call center is having with customers. Organizations should build their understanding of Contact Quality by monitoring agent calls, as well as customer feedback.

 

There should be a consistent and systematic method for collecting this data (such as rating courtesy and professionalism on a 1-5 scale). Once that process is in place, measurements can be taken to better understand the effects of changes made to improve performance.

 

Outbound Call Center Metrics

Outbound call centers are focused on reaching out to potential customers and creating interest in a product or service. They are more of a performance marketing center, and so the metrics used will generally reflect costs vs. value:

 

Cost of Customer Acquisition

This metric measures the amount of money your call center spends in order to acquire a customer. This is one of the most important metrics because it shows how much money the business is putting into a call center or call center agent vs. how much it is getting out.

 

Lead to Sale Conversion Rate

This metric measures how many leads are actually being turned into paying customers. This can be weighted depending on the quality of any given lead, but will give an idea of how effective the call center or an individual agent is at doing the job.

 

Average Handle Time (AHT)

You are paying your agents to get the most out of every minute they are working, and monitoring the average handle time, or how long they are spending with customers, is important. AHT is in some ways an important subsection of Cost of Customer Acquisition, since it gives insight into how much money a call center or agent is bringing in per minute of operation. It is important to note that what should be measured is the appropriate average handle time, which is not necessarily always the fastest.

 

Inbound & Outbound Call Center Metrics Are All About Improving Efficiency

Although inbound and outbound metrics are measuring different things, they have a single purpose.

 

These metrics are about understanding how much money your call center is making per dollar spent. For inbound-focused centers, this means looking into how satisfied customers are through a variety of different prisms. Outbound centers will be keen to know how quickly and efficiently leads are being converted into sales.

 

But regardless, metrics come down to understanding the nuts and bolts of performance what it takes to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and grow revenue.

 

One technology that can help call centers create a baseline and chart improvements on KPIs is speech analytics. It automates the Quality Assurance process through automated monitoring and analysis of 100% of customer interactions – phone, email, chat, and social. It provides data on first call resolution, average handle time, issue root cause and many other call center metrics.

 

Related Resources:

 

What KPIs are important to your business and how are you measuring them?

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There are many modes of customer service (phone, in-person, email, etc.). But, when done well, chat is by far the best.

It reduces customer effort, increases customer satisfaction and answers customers’ questions quickly. Plus, it’s less costly than the phone, is more immediate than email, and it amplifies conversion by showing up on your website just when customers are about to bail.

The thing is… usually chat is NOT done well—meaning these advantages are rarely realized. As antidote, here are 5 things that chat masters always do to ensure their chats are profitable and lead to customer experience success.

Customer Service Chat: 5 Ways to Improve

  1. Skip the empty questions. Customers are chatting for answers, and while chat can be conversational, get to the point. “How are you doing today?” and other space-filler questions are usually read as tedious hurdles the customer must endure, rather than niceties the customer enjoys.
  2. Be specific and reference the customer’s situation immediately. If the intake form shows why the customer is chatting, don’t ask the customer to repeat themselves; instead move into relevant, clarifying questions that show listening.
  3. Use the customer’s name; it’s a small way to show the customer you care and are focused on them.
  4. Make sure the customer has all the facts they might not have thought to ask about. This could include information about timeframes, what to expect next, or how to customize the product.
  5. Tell the customer you’re following up with an email and then do it. This gives your customer a reminder of where they were and gives you a way to add context and value; it’s a win-win. The value you add could be links to other resources, interesting facts about social trends in your industry, etc. The point is to bridge the customer’s initial inquiry to the products and services your company provides.

Of course, your associates can have the best tips and tricks along with the most extensive training but if you don’t measure how often and how well they act on that information, you can’t prove (or disprove) the quality of your customer service. And let’s face it, the world is full of good intentions and terrible execution.

At Interaction Metrics, we provide robust, highly accurate customer feedback programs and customer service evaluations with optimizations. With meaningful metrics and elemental analysis, we remove the biases and other flaws that obstruct customer experience success.

Say hello to get the 1 number you need for customer experience success.  Or, just say hello because you’d like to exchange ideas about how to improve the customer experience.

Call centers are used by many businesses to field incoming calls and make outbound calls. The agents tasked with call management are usually engulfed in an endless stream of conversation, documentation, and follow-up. The constant activity can leave agents feeling unsure about their performance, and if the structure is too chaotic, you may not be sure of your overall performance as a call center.

 

The best way to track agent and center performance is through a call center metrics dashboard. Dashboards show information about call performance, so you know exactly where improvements need to be made.

 

How to Build a Call Center Dashboard

Deciding to use a metrics dashboard in your call center isn’t a system you flip a switch to turn on. There are critical steps to follow in building a great dashboard.

 

1. Know your goal.

What problem do you want your call center dashboard to solve? Do you want your agents to see their performance scores in near real-time? Does your executive team want to measure operational efficiency? These are two different goal types and require different views.  Once you have a goal, you can design it to track the metrics that matter most to your business.

2. Brainstorm what metrics matter.

Sit down with those that will use the dashboard to brainstorm which metrics matter most. Call center agents may want to see how they are performing against others which supervisors may prefer to see metrics on the whole team.  Look at metrics that affect individual and group performance. But don’t overlook metrics that improve operational efficiency, compliance, customer experience and sales/collector revenue.

3. Make it easy to navigate.

The easier it is to navigate and understand, the more likely it will get used.

4. Create unique dashboards for departments.

If you have a need for dashboards for several departments, don’t be tempted to create one for all. Segment the metrics into unique dashboards for each department. This way contact center supervisors can see data on their agents and team’s performance and executives can look at the overall performance without seeing too much at once.

 

Makeup of a Great Dashboard

 

There is still the challenge figuring out what metrics add value to your overall business operations. Here is a list of the most valuable metrics to include on your call center dashboard:

1. Average Handle Time

The average call handle time is the average time spent taking care of incoming calls from beginning to end including any activities after the call is finished.  If average call handle time is high, you may need to adjust processes or add additional resources for your agents to use.

2. First Call Resolution

First call resolution (FCR) measures how well you help customers the first time they contact you without having to follow up later. If you have a low first call resolution rate, you know to look for trends causing it. Sometimes, your auto-attendant or IVR isn’t optimized, or calls get routed to the wrong department. Knowing you have an FCR problem is half the battle in fixing it.

3. Call Abandonment Rate

Abandoned calls measures the number of callers that hang up before they reach a call representative. Tracking this key metric tells you when your staffing is too low during call peak times. It also shows you if a particular agent isn’t answering as many calls as other agents which gives you a chance to review their calls for necessary improvements.

4. Average Hold Time

The average time a customer waits on hold before being connected with a live agent can be detrimental to your customer satisfaction score. Tracking it lets you see if average hold times are higher at certain times during the day or year. Once you know the trends, you can increase the number of agents fielding calls.

5. Customer Satisfaction

Every company takes a different stance on measuring customer satisfaction. Since customers are the lifeblood of your business, we think this KPI is vital to track. Customer satisfaction measures how the customers feel about their call outcome. Are they happy? Will they refer others to you? Are they upset that the call wasn’t resolved?

6. Agent Performance

Using speech analytics software, you can review agent’s individual calls for silence, angry tones, or red-flag terms that you don’t want used. Combining this with average handle time, abandon calls and other metrics lets you score their overall performance.

 

Final Thought

A call center dashboard delivers significant value to your agents and departments. To maximize its potential, make sure you customize the output for the end user.

 

What is on your call center dashboard?

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