For most businesses, metrics are an important way to create roadmaps to success. Call centers are no exception.
Whenever a customer service team answers inbound calls or instigates outbound calls a number of statistics are captured by the call center. Analyzing these metrics and reviewing business processes with them in mind can improve daily functions–your call center agents will learn how to improve their processes when interacting with customers and overall become a better customer service team.
In addition, these metrics can serve as KPIs (key performance indicators) for managers as they seek to improve functionality and efficiency. These metrics can even double as sales intelligence and market research.
1. Average handle time (AHT).
Average handle time tracks the average time for phone calls, from the beginning of the call when the agent picks up, to the end when either the customer or the agent disconnects.
AHT can be a key indicator of good or poor customer experience. For instance, if call center agents tend to conduct brief calls, then that could be an indication of good service since customers are getting their questions answered in a timely manner.
If AHT is high, on the other hand, call center services may not be running as efficiently as needed. Call center agents could be detracting from the customer experience with your brand by keeping customers on phone calls for too long and wasting time–both theirs and yours.
2. First call resolution (FCR).
FCR indicates if the majority of an inbound call center’s phone interactions only need one agent to resolve the issues, or if most calls have to be transferred, escalated, or returned by another customer service agent.
The more times a customer has to be transferred to different customer service agents, the more frustrating their experience will be and the less efficient the team will become.
Improving FCR rate.
FCR rate can be improved by:
- Documenting commonly-asked questions, to ensure that the majority of your agents know how to best answer them. Then, organize them in an easy-to-access database or “cheatsheet.”
- Routing calls based on language, type of customer inquiry, etc. By directing the initial customer call to the right agent, transfer rates go down and FCR rates go up.
- Setting up self-service options, so customers can get some questions answered before they even reach out via phone support.
3. Cost per call (CPC).
CPC indicates how much money call centers are spending on each of their calls. To calculate CPC, divide the average hourly wage paid to contact center agents by the average number of calls handled by the center in an hour.
To improve CPC, you can take the following steps:
- Put quality training in place, so that each customer service representative can contribute to your call center productively. More calls per hour with the same staff means lower CPC.
- Monitor customer service calls with technology such as call monitoring.
- Schedule your call center agents in shifts that line up with the volume of incoming calls. For instance, you should calculate which hours are peak call times for your business, and then assign additional agents to assist customers during those times.
4. Percentage of calls blocked.
The percentage of calls blocked is a metric that helps inbound call centers specifically. Sometimes known as “abandon rate,” it tracks how many calls were dropped when a customer attempts to call the contact center, by measuring how many inbound calls don’t get answered. This can be a common occurrence for some call centers, as incoming calls hit a pre-set threshold on your phone system and get deliberately disconnected.
Decreasing the percentage of calls blocked.
To decrease the percentage of calls blocked, call centers can make a few changes:
- Creating self-service options for customers, to help reduce overall call volume.
- Configure call queue settings such as queue callback to provide customers alternative options.
- Using virtual queues whenever customers try to get in touch with your team during periods of high call volume.
5. Average speed of answer (ASA).
The average speed of answer calculates the time it takes for calls to get “picked up” by agents after the initial connections to the contact center have been made.
Average speed of answer and customer satisfaction are often directly related. If a customer waits for a long time before they talk to an agent, their customer experience will be poor, leading to a low CSAT.
6. Average time in queue.
Average time in queue shows the average time until your customer inquiries get resolved.
The longer a customer has to wait to receive call center service, the more impatient they will become, possibly abandoning the call or gaining a negative view of your brand.
Decreasing average time in queue.
To decrease average time in queue, customer service call centers can focus on:
- Creating a straightforward interactive voice response (IVR) system, to make it easy for customers to find the specific help that they need.
- Asking agents to keep an eye on the average time in queue that’s associated with each of them, individually. By seeing their performance with this metric, they can consider if they should be making their calls with customers more efficient, changing their way of performing daily operations, etc.
- Staff appropriately, according to the ebb and flow of call center operations. If your call center expects to see an influx of calls because of a widespread sale or holiday, you can consider partially outsourcing customer service to a third-party vendor.
7. Customer churn rate (CCR).
Customer churn rate measures the percentage of customers who unsubscribe from your paid services over a specified period. CCR can help businesses gauge their rate of customer retention.
If CCR is high, it could be an indication that your customer satisfaction is low and needs improvements. Many businesses can link poor performance metrics, such as high average speed of answer and average time in queue, to an increase in customer churn rate over time.
8. Customer retention rate (CRR).
CRR is the opposite of CCR and stands for the number of customers a company retains over a specified time period.
To improve customer retention rate and, consequently, decrease customer churn rate, it’s important to align marketing/sales with customer success efforts. Developing and executing a strategy for growing customer success can help.
9. Customer satisfaction (CSAT).
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a performance indicator that shows how satisfied your customers are after a recent experience with your brand. Survey tools such as Net Promoter Score (NPS®) can help you collect this feedback.
Often, CSAT is collected through surveys, and could include questions such as:
- Were you satisfied with your experience? (Yes/No)
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your experience?
10. Customer effort score (CES).
CES is another way to understand customer sentiment, similar to conducting customer surveys for collecting CSAT. The customer effort score focuses on the amount of effort that it took for a customer to get in touch with your brand, and how easy or difficult it was to get in touch with your team.
Get insights into your call center with Talkdesk.
With Talkdesk, both inbound and outbound call centers can collect metrics on their performance. Our Customer Experience Analytics can give actionable insights to your call center team, pointing them in a clear direction for improving call center performance.
We provide tools such as real-time dashboards, interaction analytics and sentiment, benchmark data, and more—all to help you improve customer service and empower agents to be more productive and efficient.
Get in touch with us today to see how Talkdesk Customer Experience Analytics can help you provide a great customer experience.
What does a customer service call center do?
A customer service call center provides answering services for customers with questions about a product or service. It is a type of inbound call center, which focuses on responding to customer issues or inquiries.
Is call center the same as customer service?
While call centers fall under the customer service category, they are only one type of customer assistance that a customer service department could provide. These departments also focus on setting up self service options for customers to browse, facilitating other means of contact such as email and chat, and serving as technical support for providing more specialized answers to highly-technical questions.
What are the 3 types of call centers?
The 3 types of call centers include inbound call centers, outbound call centers, and blended call centers.
An inbound call center focuses on customers calling in with inquiries or concerns, while outbound call center services serve a sales function by calling potential customers to create interest in a product or service. Blended call centers can facilitate either inbound or outbound calls.