Which call center metrics should you really focus on?

Which call center metrics should you really focus on?

June 12, 2017
Which call center metrics should you really focus on?

It’s difficult to settle on just a few customer service metrics when looking for insights into your call center’s performance. Each statistic, whether they’re inbound call center metrics or metrics focused on outbound, can suggest something about your customers, agents, and the workflow of the entire call center. Managers crave these insights because they provide the vantage point their directors like to see. But is more always better?

The truth is, digging deep into every metric is a luxury for most (particularly for those who are crunched on time or presenting to stakeholders who just want the gist of things). There are a few metrics that tell a broader story about your contact center beyond the number. They can even provide details you weren’t looking for in the first place. Getting familiar with these statistics will help establish some solid call center metrics best practices and hone the performances of your customer service representatives.

What are the key call center metrics?

  • Average talk time
  • Calls missed & calls declined
  • Transfers accepted
  • Average wait time & longest wait time
  • Abandoned in queue & exceeded queue wait
  • Average time to answer

Average Talk Time

This the average time that elapses between an agent picking up a call and disconnecting. It’s a major metric for when an organization measures both agent consistency and customer satisfaction from the contact center.

Agents deal with a variety of calls (some more stressful than others), and average talk time can suggest both protocol efficiency and an ability to act under unforeseen circumstances. Long-term reviews of it can help find the balance between an optimal handling time and customer satisfaction (CSAT).

Calls Missed & Calls Declined

These KPIs are killer for inbound metrics. Not only does each metric correlate to customer satisfaction (because nobody wants their call missed or declined after dialing a support line), but it also represents the health of the call center.

It might mean the call center is understaffed, the software can’t sufficiently handle the volume of calls, or agents are leaving themselves available by mistake (which can be fixed up nicely if a dashboard monitors them in real-time).

call center transfer
Transfers Accepted
This one is a bit of a sleeper for call center metrics best practices. A high number could indicate that agents have a good grasp on the flow of the call center and a reliable understanding of where the customer is coming from. It could also show that callers are reaching the wrong first-touch agent, indicating that first call resolution should be more prioritized with more training or reworking the call center’s internal routing.

We found that 63% of customers become frustrated when they’re transferred multiple times. It’s always best to aim for first call resolution for the sake of the customer and the agent’s time.

Average Wait Time & Longest Wait Time
Considering that 60% of consumers aren’t willing to wait more than one minute on hold, these two inbound metrics can be a clear indicator of how happy your customers on the other end.

A large gap between them might suggest the “longest time” was an unhappy outlier, but if the numbers are close together and the “average wait time” seems high, then agents are probably expecting frustrated customers on the other side of the phone.

Abandoned in Queue & Exceeded Queue Wait Time
These are what to look at when trying to mitigate call abandonment. It’s pretty typical for callers to hang up before they speak to an agent, but call center metrics best practices commonly dictate to keep these below an acceptable threshold.

If these numbers are too high, look to features that allow customers to request a callback so they aren’t stuck on hold forever. It also helps if abandoned calls can be tracked with tickets or a trigger can send a follow-up text message to abandoners.

Average Time to Answer
Be sure to measure this KPI as it can be telling of a few things: are agents picking up calls at an acceptable rate? Are there enough agents staffed during specific time frames? Is there a particular topic that customers are calling about that’s driving this stat up?

Those kinds of correlations help managers assess the strength of their customer service agents’ interactions and the call center as a whole more quickly. By establishing more efficient call center metrics best practices, managers can stay adaptable and see speedier improvements.

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