“Hey, why did you cut the call you received just now even before answering it?” “I think it must be from one of those contact center agents trying to offer me either a credit card or a loan”.

“Thank you for patiently listening to my queries”. “It’s my pleasure to help you”.

“Look John, I have been answering calls since morning. I am switching to an after call work mode for a while.”

These are some of the common conversations associated with a contact center. The first is between two people about a call that has been received and abandoned before being answered. The second is between a customer and an agent about the quality of service. While the third is between two agents about their after-call work. While these look like seemingly harmless conversations, each one is associated with contact center metrics.

Organizations that care about delivering high-class customer experience and benefit from long-term profitable growth, should focus on tracking contact center metrics. This will help them understand how their contact center is performing what needs to be done to improve its standards, how it can improve its employee performance, how to identify weaknesses prevalent in the system and set goals for both the individual and the organization.

"Customer service is an opportunity to exceed your customer’s expectations"
John Jantsch

While there are many contact center metrics list, here are twenty that we think are important.

1) Adherence to Schedule is measured by taking the time a contact center agent is available for call work and dividing it by the time they are scheduled to work, expressed as a percentage. This metric is used to determine whether or not contact center agents are working the amount of time they are scheduled to work.

2) Agent Absenteeism is the number of days lost per year due to agents being absent. It is calculated as a percentage of the total number of contracted days.

3) Agent Attrition, also known as ‘Agent Turnover’, measures the number of people who leave your contact center expressed as a percentage. There are two types of agent attrition – voluntary (where the agent chooses to leave) and involuntary (where the agent is asked to leave by the organization).

4) Average Abandonment Rate (AAR) is the percentage of callers who hang up before connecting with an agent. This indicates that the caller has either given up or has lost interest in the transaction.

5) Average After Call Work Time (ACW), also known as ‘Post-call Processing’, is the average amount of time an agent takes to wrap-up the work after they finish a call.

6) Average Handle Time (AHT) is the sum total of talk time, hold time and after call work time an agent is involved in, divided by the number of calls handled by the agent. This is a measure of an agent’s efficiency.

7) Average Speed of Answer (ASA) is the average amount of time it takes for calls to be answered in a contact center during a specific time period. The shorter the ASA, the better your service level.

8) Average Time in Queue is the amount of time customers wait in queue before their call is answered by an agent. This metric is directly related to the call abandonment rate, which in turn is tied to customer churn.

Contact center metrics-Call quality

9) Call Quality metric measures how an agent deals with customers. It usually contains a list of criteria that agents must adhere to during a call. Call quality is determined by the number of criteria met against the total number of criteria.

10) Cost Per Call (CPC) is calculated by dividing the total operational costs by the total number of calls for a given period of time. This metric helps businesses to keep track of their cost of transactions.

11) Customer Satisfaction provides an assessment of your contact center’s performance from the customer’s perspective. The most common method used to assess customer satisfaction are through surveys – post-call survey or follow-up email questionnaire.

12) First Call Resolution, also known as ‘Best Contact Resolution’, measures the number of times a customer needs to call a contact center to get his/her problem resolved.

13) The Forecast Accuracy metric measures the percent variance between the number of calls predicted to arrive during a given period and the number of calls that the contact center actually receives during that time.

14) On-hold Time is the amount of time a customer spends on hold during the course of the conversation. The goal is to reduce the number of times a customer is placed on hold and to minimize the length of the hold time. A high percentage of on-hold time indicates that the system performance is slow or access to multiple systems is delaying the agents in processing customer’s requests.

15) Occupancy Rate is the measure of the actual time an agent is busy with customer contacts compared to the available or idle time of the agent. It is calculated by dividing the workload hours by staff hours. If you have low occupancy (i.e. <70%) you risk boredom by your agents. If you have consistently high occupancy (i.e. >85%) you risk over-extending your agents which can lead to higher and faster turnover.

"Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them"
Kevin Stirtz

16) Percentage of Calls Blocked is an accessibility measure and it indicates what percentage of callers will not be able to access the contact center at a given time. During this time callers will hear only a busy tone. This can happen when there are:

  • Insufficient telephone lines
  • No available agents
  • No call queues configured or call queues are full

17) Schedule Efficiency, also known as ‘Net Staffing Measure’, measures the degree of overstaffing and understaffing that exists as a result of a scheduling design. It indicates whether the most expensive resource, the frontline staff are used in the best possible way to match the workforce to the arriving workload.

18) The Self-Service Usage metric measures the degree of accessibility of information through the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. This will provide information of how many callers accessed the self-service application and how many completed their transactions on the system with agent intervention.

19) Service Level, also known as ‘Telephone Service Factor’ (TSF) or ‘Grade of Service’ (GOS), is the percentage of calls answered within a specified number of seconds.

20) Transfer Rate refers to the number of calls that have been transferred to another agent to be handled. Tracking transfers can help fine-tune the routing strategies as well as identify performance gaps of the staff.

Enterprises should choose contact center metrics not because competition is using similar kinds of metrics. Instead, they should choose the ones that are relevant to their strategic goals. They should first determine the outcome they need and then work on a strategy to understand the contact center metrics in order to achieve it. It isn’t just enough to know about these contact center metrics and what they measure, organizations must also ensure that they get the best out of them by focusing on the right ones.

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