Which contact center metrics should you be tracking?
Providing customers with the best service is essential to succeed as a company. Call metrics tracking helps organizations determine if their support center provides customers with experiences that reflect business promises.
A Salesforce State of Service report reveals that 50% of customers believe that organizations need to make significant improvements to their customer service and support. Two-thirds of customers also expressed that they had to re-explain themselves to different contact center representatives.
This blog covers contact center metrics, the importance of quality assurance, and the essential contact center metrics you should track.
What are contact center metrics?
Contact center metrics are quantitative measurements used to gauge the effectiveness of support teams. These operational or tactical metrics provide context to the execution of essential business goals.
Why you need contact center quality assurance
A thriving contact center consistently provides a pleasant experience for every customer. Poor service can result in negative feedback from customers, affect a contact center’s bottom line, and impact revenue. Quality assurance ensures high-quality interactions between agents and customers.
Companies need to ensure that their contact centers meet customer and company expectations. A quality management program help managers monitor, analyze, and score customer service interactions, deliver focused feedback to improve performance, and uncover trends in the reasons customers are contacting support.
Quality assurance additionally ensures that agents comply with industry standards, regulations, and policies such as consent to call monitoring, Truth in Lending Act, do not call (DNC) registry, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
Best in class call center metrics to track
Contact center metrics fall into customer experience, agent productivity, and call center operations metrics. While there are multiple metrics a call center manager can track inside each category, monitoring all of them can become overwhelming, which defeats the purpose of metrics tracking.
To help streamline your contact center operations, here are the best industry standard call center metrics to track in each category:
Contact center customer experience metrics
Customer experience metrics aim to measure the customer’s happiness levels at every touchpoint, which in turn indicates if customers will buy more, respond well to, and advocate for a brand. It also measures the efficiency and performance of the call center workforce as highly productive workforce directly connects to the customer experience (CX) and overall organizational success.
Customer experience metrics provides the context for how customers have actually experienced the service, and more importantly why why feel the way do about a brand. It points to the gaps between what brands think is happening and what’s really happened. It provides a comprehensive picture so that customer service leaders can focus their efforts in areas that improve the outcomes of a business.
Here are the top customer service metrics to measure.
Customer satisfaction is a priority for every business, as happy customers are returning customers. Organizations use customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores to determine the performance of a contact center’s support.
Customer satisfaction scores indicate how happy customers are with their support experience at a company. CSAT scores are generated based on the customer’s feelings, such as “Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Not Satisfied, Very Unsatisfied.” This metric helps organizations understand whether agents perform better or may need more training. CSAT is one of the most important metrics to track, but it’s important it’s not the only metric. The best practice is to also include quality reviews to ensure agents are adhering to company policies and processes in delivering customer happiness.
First call resolution
Often regarded as the cornerstone of call center metrics, first call resolution (FCR) tracks the number of times a call center agent resolves customer inquiries at the first instance — without a callback. Many customers want solutions to their issues on the first attempt and rate the quality of a company’s support capabilities based on how fast problems are resolved. Call center industry standards state that 70% - 75% is an ideal FCR rate.
Measuring FCR informs support agents on their ability and knowledge to resolve customer issues.
This contact center metric is the percentage of calls or chats terminated by the customer. It reflects the impact of wait times on customer experience. Abandon rate may also be a reflection of the efficiency of workforce schedules or performance of support systems that customer service teams use.
If organizations record high abandon rates, this may mean that the help desk tool or calling system may be out of date and is inadvertently dropping calls, or their staffing forecasts needs to be revisited. Identifying and resolving the causes of abandon rates is critical as issues such as dropped calls may negatively impact the customer experience.
Net promoter score
Net promoter scores (NPS) gauge customer loyalty. NPS scores are measured with a single-question survey “How likely is it that you would recommend [Organization X/Product Y/Service Z] to a friend or colleague?”. Respondents give a rating between 0 (not at all likely) and 10 (extremely likely) and, depending on their response, customers fall into one of 3 categories to establish an NPS score:
- Promoters respond with a score of 9 or 10 and are typically loyal and enthusiastic customers.
- Passives respond with a score of 7 or 8. They are satisfied with your service but not happy enough to be considered promoters.
- Detractors respond with a score of 0 to 6. These are unhappy customers who are unlikely to buy from you again, and may even discourage others from buying from you.
NPS is a reflection of the satisfaction with the company’s products as a whole, and not just customers, and a higher score is desirable.
Contact center agent productivity metrics
Productivity metrics aim to make agents more efficient while avoiding burnout.
This contact center metric track how long a customer is waiting to get to an agent. Per a survey by Arise, about two thirds of customers are willing to wait less than two minutes before hanging up. Response time lets managers know the average time in queue at the call center and if they are staffed accordingly.
Average handling time (AHT) and call length
This critical contact center metric tracks the time between contact initiation, agent handling, and post-interaction work. A long handling time may mean that a support agent has trouble understanding or resolving the customer's needs. An agent with an average handling time much shorter than their peers, may indicate that the agent is rushing interactions and not meeting customers’ needs. These are both indicators that a manager may offer some coaching and guide the agents towards medium handling durations with a first call resolution.
Tracking average call length helps contact center agents to set realistic expectations of the number of calls each agent can handle daily. Team leaders can manage workloads and develop optimization strategies for agents spending longer times on all of their calls. To determine the average call length, divide the call volume per agent daily by the number of working hours in a day.
This contact center metrics tracks how often and how long — in relation to the length of a shift — an agent tags themself as unavailable to take calls or handle customer inquiry via other channels. It is important to note that this metric should not include employee break times and training periods.
The unavailable time metric informs contact center managers of an agent’s productive time and possible factors that may prevent agents from being efficient such as difficulty with software, high stress, or lack of access to information.
Call center operations metrics
These metrics relate to the administration and optimization of a contact center.
Service level and average query age
Nearly 83% of customers agree that they are more loyal to brands that respond to their complaints on time, according to a Khoros survey. Service levels agreements are sometimes in place with customers, guaranteeing a certain response time for different levels of issues.
Average query age tracks how long queries stay open when they are not resolved after the first contact. This operations metric determines contact center efficiency and reveals other factors that lead to extended queries, such as defective products and ineffective engagement approaches.
To determine the average age of queries, divide the length of all queries using a uniform measurement — hours, days, or months— by the total number of queries.
Peak hour traffic
Contact centers use the peak hour metric to determine what periods or times of the day that they receive high call volumes. This metric helps managers in forecasting and workforce scheduling. By structuring employee schedules to include more staff during high call periods and less agents during low periods, call centers can prevent understaffing during peak times, agent overwhelm, and burnout.
Track and optimize contact center operations with Pathlight
Managing team performance is crucial for achieving business outcomes.
Pathlight Performance Intelligence help you evaluate and manage your support team's productivity with transparent, real time metrics that keeps everyone on the same page. Pathlight combines call center metrics, with Quality Management and Workforce Optimization to help businesses take a performance-first approach to exceed customer expectations and company goals. Want to see how Pathlight fits into your existing workflows? Schedule a demo today and try Pathlight for free.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is contact rate in a call center?
Contact rate is a critical call center management metric that involves the division of the number of calls agents make with the number of conversations they have. Contact rates provide insight into the effectiveness of an agent’s efforts.
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Key takeaways from Pathlight's session on Building a Resilient Contact Center with AI-Driven Performance Intelligence at the Customer Response Summit hosted by the Execs In The Know community in Austin, Texas.
Agent performance is vital for CX success. Taking a holistic approach to monitor, evaluate, and manage agent performance can be a game changer for driving productivity at scale.
By adopting Pathlight to manage their entire QA process, run 1:1s, pull reports, and provide visibility to both agents and leadership, they’ve saved time, improved agent engagement, and seen customer service improve.