12 Vital metrics and KPIs to measure contact center performance

12 Vital Metrics and KPIs to Measure Contact Center Performance

Present-day contact centers are redefining customer service by opting for newer technologies and employing skilled resources. When it comes to achieving quality customer service experience, contact center agents are on the frontline as they are tasked with the responsibility of making customers feel at ease, and, understanding and managing their complaints in a strategic manner for a favorable first impression. This is why an agent’s performance plays a significant role in determining the success or failure of a contact center. In order to fully understand the performance and productivity of a contact center agent, we’ve highlighted key metrics and KPIs that provide better insight into performance over a certain period.

What are contact center KPIs?

Contact center KPIs are parameters of assessments that contact center managers use to determine the success rate of their workflow. These indicators highlight whether agents are solving customer issues by adhering to company devised plans and policies. While establishing contact center KPIs, it is important to consider the performance indicators for each group of stakeholders that is inclusive of agents, supervisors, trainers, quality management managers, operational managers, and directors.

How are contact center KPIs determined?

These metrics and KPIs depend on the various functions and roles that exist within a contact center. For instance, to understand and register cases that showcase quality client service, QMs must track strategic metrics and KPIs. On the other hand, operational managers deal with a specific set of metrics to establish optimal choices of workflow management.

12 metrics that help to evaluate a contact center’s performance

Contact center metrics are based on certain activities such as customer satisfaction, customer retention, brand image, effectiveness of agent-customer engagements, and revenue generation.

     1. Customer satisfaction:

  • Customer satisfaction is by far the most important contact center metric and KPI.
  • Most call centers and contact request the customer to rate an agent’s service within a range of five, five indicating the best and one being the one requiring the most improvement needed. These ratings clearly highlight the agent’s performance and put him/her under the radar if the rating ranges between 1 to 3.

     2. Average time to answer (ATA):

  • A metric calculated in seconds that considers the time from when an inbound call or a customer request (irrespective of the channel) drops-in to the time it is being answered or responded to by an agent.
  • This measurement is examined for agents available to receive calls or interaction requests, inclusive of the time spent by the customer waiting in the queue.
  • Managers take this metric into consideration when they want to assess team accessibility and swiftness for answering customer queries. This metric helps managers make strategic decisions such as choosing between motivating an agent to be more productive or working towards reducing follow-up calls and interactions.
  • Average time to answer also helps to pre-set a service level objective, such as a specific goal for answering a certain number of calls within a finite time.
  • Improving ATA also helps to decrease the Average abandonment rate.

     3. Average handling Time (AHT):

  • Average handling time (AHT) can be defined as the time period the agent spends in answering a request or complaint via phone or other modes of communication.
  • This metric hugely depends on the complexity of the customer’s issue. This is why it’s important to average the response time over the number of calls/interactions that have taken place between the agent and the customer.
  • AHT is an important metric as it directly impacts the quality of customer experience. A lower AHT indicates better efficiency in handling customer doubts and resolving complaints.
  • AHT also helps to gain visibility on intangible metrics such as customer satisfaction, and brand impression.
  • Even though low AHTs usually indicate efficient performance from the agent’s end, it could also be the result of rushing through calls, leading to unsatisfactory conversations.

     4. First contact resolution (FCR):

  • First contact resolution emphasizes a contact center’s ability to resolve customer issues on the very first interaction.
  • A skilled and experienced agent is likely to have a higher first contact resolution rate. But sometimes a customer’s doubt or inquiry may require specific action by someone other than the agent, making it a complex assessment.

      5. Average time in queue:

  • Average time in queue refers to the average amount of time an agent must put a call or interaction on hold while responding to a customer query.
  • Sometimes agents are not equipped with the desired data or aren’t experienced enough to handle out-of-the-ordinary situations. In such instances, an agent puts the call on hold to consult an SME or an experienced professional to frame the perfect answer.
  • Managers keep a tab of this metric to make sure that the average time in queue lies within a reasonable range.
  • This metric is calculated by the total amount of time customers happen to wait in queue divided by the total number of requests/queries answered by agents.
  • Average time in queue helps to pinpoint cases where wait times are too long, scenarios that demand reallocation of tasks, and call routing for improved CX.

      6. Average abandonment rate (AAR):

  • The average abandonment rate is the average of the number of callers who hang-up midway or disconnect before even getting a chance to interact with an agent.
  • While lower AAR indicates better customer service high AAR can lead to losing out on existing and potential customers, unsatisfactory customer experience, and an unflattering cumulative performance.
  • This metric also gives an idea of the number of people that grew frustrated while being in the queue to receive support.
  • Contact centers have resorted to using chatbots, call routing techniques, and cutting-edge contact center software such as Agent X (by HGS)cx to accomplish faster and smoother support leading to lower AAR.

     7. Transfer rate:

  • Transfer rate percentage highlights the number of calls that an agent transfers a call to a different agent for successful customer resolution.
  • Sometimes, call transfers happen due to the lack of knowledge or inability to handle a tricky situation from the agent’s end. This metric ensures the reasons for transfers were just and meaningful.
  • Ideally, the transfer rate should not exceed the percentage of first contact resolution (FCR).

     8. Average idle time:

  • Measured in seconds, the average idle time is the time an agent spends completing a task after finishing a call or interaction with a customer.
  • This time is utilized by an agent to complete other necessary tasks such as entering relevant data into the contact center software, following up through mails or any kind of written communication, or consulting a senior on how to proceed with a certain customer query.
  • Some contact centers advise agents to undertake these tasks whilst the caller is still online. In such cases, lower idle time can lead to higher average handle time.

     9. Quality of interactions

  • Almost all call centers and contact centers monitor how an agent interacts with a customer while on call.
  • This metric, unlike other metrics, cannot be quantified in numbers or percentages.
  • How articulate and efficient an agent assists the customer on a call or through a chat can be determined by the level of customer satisfaction.
  • Many contact centers employ soft skill trainers to make sure their agents excel in this field.

    10. Absenteeism rate:

  • Contact center productivity is linearly dependent on how many agents turn up every day. The absenteeism rate highlights the number of unproductive days in a year due to an agent failing to show up at work.
  • It is crucial to keep a tab on this metric to ensure timely staffing and reallocation of tasks.
  • A KPI determining the rate of absent call center agents also acts as a pre-requisite before planning budgets and operational practices.
  • Contact centers can stay prepared for high volume days by analyzing this metric in advance.

    11. Agent turnover rate:

  • This is the rate at which contact center agents quit to work elsewhere.
  • A higher turnover rate can have irreversible consequences such as high average hold time, high abandonment rate, and high average time spent in queues.
  • The situation also has the power to demotivate existing agents and affect their overall performance. Sub-standard customer service is also one of its many consequences.
  • Additionally, a high turnover rate makes way for increased operational costs such as hiring and training new resources.

   12. Customer churn rate (CCR):

  • Customer churn rate measures the rate at which customers stop using a brand’s products and services.
  • A high CCR indicates that the contact center is not performing up to the mark and has been losing customers for a while.
  • A low CCR leads to increased customer loyalty and customer retention.
  • By monitoring CCR, managers can identify the areas that need improvement and simultaneously motivate agents to work towards upskilling or exploring other roles and responsibilities that align with their area of expertise.

Let go of outdated KPIs

Many companies continue to evaluate an agents’ performance using KPIs that are no longer relevant and hardly contribute to strategic development and planning. Therefore, while shortlisting contact center KPIs, it is important to keep in mind the points that make sure the metrics turn out to be insightful and perceptive. Additionally, it is advisable that contact centers regularly audit, review, and upgrade their KPIs for improved customer service.

Curious to know how a contact center of the future would look like? Read more here>

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