Measuring the performance of your inbound call centers can be complex. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data coming out of a Unified Communications platform, especially without the right tools to interpret it.
When you begin to empower yourself with relevant, actionable insights, reported regularly in a timely manner, you will gain a more complete understanding of exactly what’s going on inside your contact centers.
You may not need to track all of these metrics, but by familiarizing yourself by those that are most critical to your unique business goals and challenges, you can begin to streamline your team’s efforts to focus on the training and processes that will have the greatest ROI.
The essential metrics
First call resolution – What percentage of calls are successfully resolved within the first customer contact? FCR doesn’t give the entire story of a customer’s journey, but it’s often a reliable ‘symptom’ of deeper issues that need attention.
Agent ready time – How much of their scheduled work time are agents ready to work and taking calls? Non-productive tasks or breaks can eat into a significant portion of staffing hours and cause your ROI and service levels to drop.
Agent utilization rate – Are your agents ready to work, but idle, due to lack of incoming calls? If so, you’re at least not understaffed – a critical problem that leads to low service levels, however it means you’re paying your workforce for time that it’s not being efficiently used.
Peak Call Volumes – Certain months, days, or hours have higher than average incoming call volume. By identifying these trends, you can ensure proper staffing levels to meet service levels, and avoid blocked or abandoned calls due to excessive queueing.
Ring time – How quickly are agents answering calls? The average customer will hang up in 30 seconds or less, leaving frustrated and unsatisfied with your service.
Service Level – This is a non-specific goal that you define for your team. For example, you could set a goal for your contact center to answer 80% or more incoming calls within the first 30 seconds.
Average Handle time (AHT) – How long does a complete resolution take? The AHT timer begins at the moment a customer initiates a call, includes time spent on hold, transfers, as well as any follow-up tasks an agent must perform before they are ready to take their next call.
Call Handle Ratio – The ratio of incoming calls to abandoned calls. This an excellent service level metric to measure at the contact center level or at the agent level.
Calls Transferred – Excessive transfers (more than one or two) tend to frustrate callers, as they begin to lose hope in a successful resolution. This can be a symptom of poor training, showing agents don’t have the knowledge necessary to help customers.
Calls Abandoned – Customers have a limited amount of patience with long handle times. After excessive hold times, excessive forwarding, or an unhelpful agent, callers will hang up, essentially giving up on the possibility of a positive outcome.
Calls Blocked – Nothing will kill your customer experience quicker than a busy signal. This results from insufficient staffing during that time (each agent has a full call queue) or insufficient capacity from your communications infrastructure.
Calls Dropped – Unless your agents are deliberately hanging up on customers, this is most often an infrastructure issue. Your communications system is overloaded to the point where it is spontaneously dropping calls.
Quality of Service (QoS) – Poor quality of service can be annoying, at best, and cause disastrous miscommunications at worst.
SIP Utilization – Could you achieve the same service levels, while paying for less capacity? It’s important to know how much bandwidth you are using, especially during peak times, to make informed accounting decisions.
How to use these insights
Start by identifying the touchpoints where your call center is weakest. With real-time dashboard views, you can share live numbers with your team, including calls in queue, average hold time, and more – helping increase motivation and accountability with real-time feedback.
If individual agents are underperforming, this may be the time to take corrective action to provide them with the training they need. Likewise, it might be time to cut your losses and look for new talent, better suited to serve your customers and represent your company image.
If your issues are prevalent across the entire contact center, your best course of action is to start defining clear goals and KPIs, and develop a culture of striving to meet them. Work with your teams to make sure they understand their role in filling these gaps in the customer journey, increasing service levels, and making a positive impact in overall customer experience.
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