Inbound Vs. Outbound Call Center Metrics: Benchmarks & Best Practices

Blog Post created by robertstanley Employee on Nov 28, 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?