One of the toughest lessons businesses have learned during the pandemic is that contact centers are the lifeblood of customer experience.
They discovered this the hard way: when many businesses were forced to shut their doors at the start of the pandemic, query volumes at some call centers jumped by up to 800 percent.
Two years later, contact centers are still a linchpin of customer experience. But according to one survey, there’s plenty of room for improvement. When asked if “customer support contact centers always provide excellent service”:
- Only 18% of customers said yes
- 43% said no
- 11% said “absolutely not”
That means over half of customers (54 percent) are unsatisfied with their contact center experience! This can hurt your business’s bottom line: 80 per cent of consumers say they’ve switched brands due to a poor customer experience.
Safeguard the customer journey at your company by tracking these seven operations metrics at your call center or contact center.
Speed to answer
This contact center KPI is the average amount of time it takes for agents to answer calls.
To calculate this, divide the total waiting time for all answered calls by the total number of calls answered. Although the global average is 28 seconds, about 80 percent of calls are answered within 20 seconds.
If this metric is too high at your call center, you might need to add more agents.
This is the average amount of time an agent interacts with a caller, including:
- Talking to them
- Putting them on hold (if necessary) after answering
- Working to resolve their issue after the call ends
Calculate this by dividing the agent’s total number of calls handled by their total talk time, total holding time, and total time they spent on after-call resolution.
If one agent’s average handle time is higher than their colleagues’, consider giving them more training or monitoring their calls for quality control. You could also make sure calls are being accurately routed to particular agents based on their knowledge and training level.
Don’t aim to lower this metric too much, however. If callers feel rushed off the phone before their issue is adequately dealt with, you’ll be sacrificing customer satisfaction for the sake of speed.
Dial transfer rate
This call center KPI tracks how often agents transfer customer queries to other agents, supervisors, or departments. Divide the total number of calls transferred by the number of calls resolved successfully, then multiply by 100.
If this metric is on the high side at your contact center, consider training agents to handle a wider variety of customer issues, or fine-tune your system to route calls to the most appropriate agents for each type of query.
Abandoned call rate
This benchmark measures how many callers hang up before an agent can answer their call – a metric of lost opportunity! This formula is simple: divide the number of abandoned calls by the total number of inbound calls.
The global averages for abandoned calls are:
- 5% to 8% (for general customer service centers)
- 2% to 5% (for technical support centers)
A higher rate could signify there aren’t enough agents on duty to handle your call volumes. It may also point to faulty IVR (interactive voice response), an automated system that automatically funnels incoming calls to agents.
To lower this metric, use automated announcements to inform callers of:
- Their estimated waiting time
- What number they are in the call queue
Offering customers automated self-service options could also help lower your abandoned call rate.
For an outbound contact center, this figure measures how many of an agent’s calls result in them closing a sales deal.
For an inbound contact center, you can count how many of an agent’s calls resulted in a sale, generated a new lead, or led to another positive outcome (such as a good online review or a new customer referral).
Here’s how to calculate this metric: divide the total number of conversions by the number of people who contacted (or were contacted by) your call center.
First contact resolution
How important are first impressions? They can really make or break your business:
- 43 percent of consumers say they’ve abandoned a brand after just one negative customer service interaction
This KPI is the percentage of issues resolved during a customer’s first attempt, without them hanging up, calling back, or being transferred to a manager. It’s measured by dividing the number of problems resolved during a single call by the total number of queries resolved overall.
The global average is 70 to 75 percent.
Gauge this by having customers assign a satisfaction score or rating to their completed calls. Emailing each customer a brief online survey after their call is another way to measure this. Dividing the number of satisfied callers by the total number of callers surveyed calculates your customer satisfaction rate.
The more detailed data you can collect for this metric, the better understanding you’ll have of what needs improvement. For example, a caller’s satisfaction rating of six out of 10 doesn’t give you any insight into why it wasn’t a 10. Was it a long wait time? A rude agent? A confusing set of options offered by your automated call routing system?
Asking for specific feedback enables you to make specific changes so your contact center can serve customers’ needs more effectively and efficiently.
The global average for customer satisfaction is 90 percent.
Choose a reliable voice carrier for your contact center
In this increasingly omnichannel world, the phone still reigns supreme in the realm of customer experience:
- 80% of consumers prefer to access customer service by telephone, making it the top choice among all service channels
This means phone service is the backbone of your contact center and call center operations. None of the metrics above matter if your contact center has outages, features poor voice quality, or suffers from ‘dropped calls’ that frustrate your customers.
Choose a voice carrier that delivers outstanding call quality, reliable connectivity, and constant uptime.
Then use these seven metrics to monitor your contact center’s performance, compare it against industry averages, and track whether your operations are improving over time.