The success or failure of a call center – or any business with a customer service or sales team – largely hinges on the performance of their agents.
Employees who place and handle calls from customers are a company’s face, the people who are responsible for giving positive first impressions, handling complaints in a professional manner and generally making clients feel well-taken-care-of and at home with a company.
So, how do you gauge these all-important agents’ performance over time?
By monitoring call center KPIs, of course!
Call Center KPIs are a series of metrics that measure the performance of call center agents and call centers as a whole. They are crucial to track because they give you a clear picture of where your call center excels and where it stands to improve.
It can be difficult, though, to select the specific call center metrics that you want to focus on.
Let’s be honest, it can be difficult to find ways to improve your call center agents’ performance in general, right?
Well, not to fear.
Below we’ll break down 20 key call center metrics, including their formulas and examples of target figues.
After reading this article you’ll have a clear understanding of what goes into determining a wide range of call center metrics, which should help you choose the right ones to hone in on for your business.
Let’s get started!
1. First Contact Resolution (FCR)
Also known as first call resolution rate, the first contact resolution metric measures the rate at which your customers’ problems were resolved on their first call to your business over a given period.
Formula: FCR = Total number of call resolved on first attempt / Total number of calls received
Benchmark: 90% or above is considered a good FCR rate. It means that your customers’ problems were adequately addressed on 90% of the calls received by your company.
How to improve FCR rate
To improve your first call resolution rate, follow these steps:
- Create an informative knowledge base and share it with agents.
- Provide adequate training.
- Make the agents familiar with common/most frequent customer queries.
2. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Customer Satisfaction is a measure of how satisfied your customers are with your product or service. It’s usually scored 1-5, with 1 meaning “highly unsatisfied” and 5 meaning “highly satisfied”.
Formula: CSAT = Number of satisfied customers / Number of survey responses * 100
Benchmark: Call centers typically want to achieve CSAT scores of around 80%.
How to improve call center customer satisfaction
Follow these points to improve customer satisfaction:
- Address the customers by their names (or personalize every call).
- Improve your first call resolution rate (if that’s not on track)
- Reduce on-hold time
- Use IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology during off-office hours.
3. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS measures your customer loyalty and satisfaction. It’s usually calculated by analyzing survey responses to the following question: “How likely is it that you’d recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”.
Formula: NPS = % Promoters – % Detractors
Benchmark: Any NPS above 0 is generally considered a good score.
How to improve NPS
Sometimes, agents request customers to give a good NPS, which shouldn’t be accepted. NPS should be based on the actual sentiments of customers, and that’s how you’ll improve. Below are some of the ways to improve NPS.
- Measure Quality Assurance (QA) daily.
- Identify agents that aren’t performing well and train them
- Listen to the calls that drove the best and worst NPS and create a do’s and don’ts list.
4. Percentage of Calls Blocked
This metric indicates the percentage of inbound calls that were met with a busy signal.
Formula: % of Calls blocked = Calls that don’t reach agents / Total incoming calls * 100
Benchmark: Call centers typically try to keep this metric below 2%.
How to reduce % calls blocked
Generally, during sale events or holidays, call centers see a spike in call volumes. It leads to an increase in the number of calls blocked. Try the following measures to reduce this number.
- If agent availability is a reason, increase the number of agents in your call center
- Use software to handle higher call volumes and route calls to other available centers
- Enable callback and voicemails
5. Call Abandonment Rate
The call abandonment rate metric will tell you the percentage of customers who were waiting on hold for so long that they simply gave up and disconnected.
Formula: Call abandonment rate = (Number of calls placed – Number of calls handled) / Number of calls placed * 100
Benchmark: A Call abandonment rate between 5 and 8 percent is what most call centers try to achieve.
How to reduce call abadonment rate
You can take the following measures:
- Offer self-service
- Dial abandoned calls during off-peak times.
- Play engaging announcements or music.
6. Average Call Length
This metric measures exactly what you think it does: the average length of calls in a given period.
Formula: Average call length = Total call time / Total number of calls
Benchmark: The industry standard for average call length is considered to be somewhere between 6 and 8 minutes.
How to improve this metric
Agents spending too much time or too little time speaking with customers indicates an inefficient process. That is, either they’ll miss their daily call targets, or they’re not able to communicate with customers properly. You can improve this metric by:
- Providing self-help resources like blog links to customers if it is taking too long to resolve their query
- Improving agent’s communication skills if the average call length is too short.
7. Average Time in Queue
Ever been put on hold? It’s not a pleasant customer experience and can actually be quite frustrating if you’ve got a burning question or concern. The Average Time in Queue metric will give you an idea of the average amount of time your customers have to wait on hold before being connected with an agent.
Formula: Average time in queue = Total time callers spent in queue / Total number of calls
Benchmark: For most industries, average time in queue falls somewhere between 10 and 20 seconds.
How to reduce the average time in queue metric
The faster response you give, the better will be the customer experience. Here are the ways to improve this call center metric.
- Use call routing software
- Analyze data to employ adequate staff in your call center
- Use IVR or self-serve systems.
8. First Response Time (FRT)
This metric measures the average amount of time customers have to wait before having their queries addressed. It is the sum total of this time across customer support mediums, including email, social, phone etc.
Formula: FRT = Total time spent waiting for a response / Total number of incoming inquiries
Benchmark: Targets for first response times vary according to the medium that you’re measuring. For live chat, customers expect to receive an answer after about a minute and a half. Phone calls, on the other hand, should ideally be attended to within 3 minutes.
How to improve FRT
To improve the first reply time metric, follow these measures:
- Automate workflows wherever possible. For example, use chatbots, IVRs. But make sure they don’t sound robotic or generate an automated response that annoys the customer.
- Reduce multitasking and increase focus.
9. Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
This is the average amount of time it takes an available agent to respond to a customer that has been placed on hold.
Formula: ASA = Total waiting time for answered calls / Total number of answered calls
Benchmark: Call centers usually apply the famed 80/20 rule as their ASA target, meaning 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds.
How to reduce ASA
Reducing ASA doesn’t mean that agents must abruptly stop the ongoing conversation and take up the next call. At the same time, agents must not converse for too long and keep the other customer on hold. The correct strategy would be:
- Forecast call volume and staff agents accordingly
- If the ongoing call exceeds a certain threshold, notify the agent about the other caller that’s on queue.
- Gather required information from customers before putting them on hold.
10. Customer Churn Rate (CCR)
Customer churn rate measures the percentage of customers that decide to break ties with your business over a given period.
Formula: CCR = Number of customers lost over a given period / Number of customers at the beginning of the same period * 100
Benchmark: B2B SaaS companies, as an example, should aim to have a churn rate between 3 and 5%.
How to reduce customer churn
Customer churn is inevitable. However, by following customer management best practices, you can reduce churn to a great extent.
- Analyze why churn happened
- Hold regular 1:1 success calls with agents to teach them the do’s and don’ts
- Send NPS surveys to understand customer sentiments
- Resolve their queries as soon as possible.
11. Call Arrival Rate
The call arrival rate measures a call center’s volume of incoming calls over a given period. It is usually tracked on a daily basis.
Formula: Call arrival rate = Total number of calls received in a given period / Total number of hours/minutes/seconds in the same period
Benchmark: The target for this KPI largely depends on the size of the business. Smaller companies could shoot for 25 calls per day, for example, while large companies could see hundreds of inbound calls per day.
How to manage call arrival rate
This metric depends on a lot of variables. For example, if the customer is satisfied with your product/service, despite higher sales volume, the call arrival rate will be lower. In contrast, if they are not happy with the product/service, they’ll reach out to call center support for a resolution. Still, you can manage this by:
- Introduce FAQ section and solution to common grievances.
- Automate feedback sharing mechanism
12. Average After Call Work Time (ACWT)
This metric is a measure of the average amount of time agents spend doing wrap up work – that is, the necessary busywork that needs to be done at the conclusion of every call in order to properly categorize and track the interaction.
Formula: ACWT = Time spent on after call work by an agent over a given period / Number of calls handled by the agent over the same period
Benchmark: The more time agents can spend on the phones the better, so naturally call centers like to keep their average after call work time as low as possible.
How to improve this metric
To help your agents work more productively,
- Automate work log and reporting
- Integrate telephony with CRM software or call center management software
For instance, you can integrate your telephony system with LeadSquared CRM and track the phone call metrics on a go.
13. Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average handle time measures the amount of time it takes a call center’s agents to resolve customers’ issues. It’s a very important metric due to its correlation with overall customer satisfaction.
Formula: AHT = (Total talk time + Total hold time + Total after call work time) / Total number of calls
Benchmark: Approximately 8 minutes and 30 seconds is considered the benchmark for call centers generally when it comes to average handle time.
How to improve the call center average handle time metric
You can take the following measures to reduce AHT
- Train your agents to resolve issues faster
- Use self-service resources like knowledge bases and help articles.
- Increase collaboration among team members and departments.
14. Customer Effort Score (CES)
This metric is a measure of the effort a customer has to exert to contact your business and have their issues resolved. It’s usually measured via a survey question given at the end of an interaction.
Formula: CES = % of customers that agree – % of customer that disagree
Benchmark:The desired target for this message depends on the type of question that is being asked of your customer. If it’s a positively framed question, you’ll have a higher percentage of customers to agree, whereas if it’s a negatively framed question you’ll want a higher percentage to disagree.
How to improve CES
Just like other call centers KPIs, this metric also influences customer experiences. Make sure the survey experience is good as well.
- Keep the survey short and simple
- Don’t ask loaded (or biased) questions. Make sure you’re able to capture the customer sentiments in their purest form.
- Use checkboxes or radio buttons in the survey forms.
15. Contact Quality
Contact Quality is a qualitative measure of an agent’s proficiency on the phone lines. It’s usually calculated by a supervisor through direct observation.
In other words, contact quality is a qualitative measure of an agent’s communication skills.
Benchmark: An agent should be able to build rapport with a customer relatively quickly, and feel at ease during calls.
How to improve contact quality
In order to improve contact quality, take the following measures.
- Do call quality audit from time to time
- Take customer feedback
- Train your agents
- Monitor individual agent performances
16. Call Availability
This metric indicates the number of agents you have staffing the phones and available to assist customers over a given period.
Formula: Call availability = Total number of seats (100%) – Occupancy %
Benchmark: Assuming a call center is well-staffed and employs dedicated, hard-working agents, the Call Availability metric should stay north of 95%.
17. Active Waiting Calls
Active waiting calls is another self-evident metric – it indicates the number of calls in which customers are waiting on hold at a given time.
Benchmark: The lower the better with this one, generally speaking.
How to reduce active waiting calls
Logically, by increasing your staff, you can reduce the number of active waiting calls. If that’s not feasible, you can:
- Route calls to available agents or call-centers
- Provide self-service chats or portals
18. Callback Messaging
The callback messaging metric is the number of callback messages a call center receives in a given day.
A high number of callback messaging means you’re leaving too many customers on hold for too long. In this case, you might consider hiring more agents.
19. Transfer Rate
The transfer rate figure represents the number of times a customer needed to be transferred from one agent or department to another.
Formula: Transfer rate = Number of calls transferred / Total number of calls handled
Benchmark: This metric should be kept as long as possible, because it indicates the number of times your call flow landed customers in the wrong place and they had to be transferred to the correct agent.
How to manage call transfers effectively
Call transfer can happen for numerous reasons. For instance, agents may need to transfer a call to a supervisor, another department, etc. To manage such instances effectively, make sure:
- The person to whom the call is transferred is available
- Gather the required information from the customer before transferring the call
- Check if the agents are getting calls not relevant to their scope of work.
20. Agent Utilization Rate
The agent utilization rate metric indicates the average amount of time an agent spends on active calls during their working hours.
Formula: Agent utilization rate = (Average number of calls handled by an agent in a given period) * (Average handle time) / (Workdays in a given period) * (Working hours in a day) / * 100
Benchmark: This number can vary widely, with industry lows around 25%, industry highs around 75% and an average around 50%. Call centers should aim for 50-60%, as this indicates that your agents are handling a good volume of calls without being burnt out.
How to manage agent utilization rate
Managing agent productivity is crucial to driving maximum outcomes. You can take the following measures to improve this call center metric.
- Reduce ACW or after-call work
- Train your teams to use software tools instead of doing things manually
- Automate reporting and other data-related work.
Call centers are usually the first point of contact for a customer. The response a customer gets from your call center teams directly translates into customer experiences.
For instance, it’s crucial to know:
- Were you able to resolve their concerns?
- Are the customers satisfied with the response?
- Did they have to wait for a long time to get in touch with the support team?
- Are the call center agents polite with them?
The answers to the above questions must be fact-based (not opinion-based). And this is where measuring call center KPIs helps.
Also, with remote and hybrid workplaces becoming the norm, investing in cloud calling solutions that track and report the above metrics is much needed. If you’re using a CRM software like LeadSquared, it seamlessly integrates with cloud telephony systems and manages both – call and lead management and customer relationship management from a single platform.
If you’re not using it yet, give it a try!