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28 November 2018

Call centre performance: communicating metrics that matter.

By: Charlotte Houston

Peter Drucker said, "you can't manage what you don't measure."

When you’re a call centre manager, you’ve got a lot of metrics to choose from as your key performance indicators (KPIs) and should refine their use to act as valid performance measurement indicators for senior managers within the strategic business intelligence process. It’s really a balancing act, and the only way to do it effectively is to measure call centre agent productivity with solid, reliable metrics that are easy for employees to understand. In this blog, we’ll walk you through a few of them to give helping hand on your way to communicating the metrics that matter. First though, let’s talk a little about the importance of educating staff on the impact of KPIs.

To get the most out of setting KPIs, agents need to know what they are and importantly, what they mean. Understanding how improving performance will not only enhance the customer experience but also boost the confidence and skills of agents is vital. If agents know that KPIs are set not only for the good of the company but also for their own benefit they’ll be more inclined to work towards them. And the final piece of the puzzle. Remember to provide them with the training and resources they need to succeed!


What metrics should you measure?

In short, you need to measure what your agents are doing, how fast they’re doing it, and how well they satisfy your customers. The best way to choose the right KPIs is to start with the objectives you want to achieve. The results come when 'measuring everything that moves' becomes 'measuring what matters most'.

Here are a few of the main KPIs that are generally measured and used to mark success around, of course, many more exist but finding the right ones for you depends on your goals and strategy.

Time to answer

This is a measurement, usually expressed in seconds, of the time from when a call is received until it is answered by an agent. It’s a measure of the call centre performance rather than of the agent performance. It does, however, depend on call centre agents being available to answer calls when they are scheduled to do so.

Call duration

Call duration is the amount of time spent speaking to customers on the telephone. The cost of the call will help to curb long conversations. Calls may be longer initially as agents are still new to the product and systems. Encourage slightly longer first calls to reach a resolution as this is more efficient than repeat calls. The global metric is 4 minutes per call.

Service level

Service level is a metric used to measure call centre agent productivity in real-time as the agents take calls. It’s a percentage of calls answered within a specific time in seconds. Measure this metric to determine if agents are moving quickly enough from one call to the next. Encourage your agents to keep this KPI within your expected range.

Abandon rate

Abandon rate is the number of calls that hang up before connecting to an agent. This number does not include those calls that receive a busy signal. Typically, abandon rates are linked to how fast call centre agents answer calls. The faster a call is answered, the lower the abandon rate. High abandon rates can result in lost sales opportunities and poor customer service and have the potential to artificially inflate future call volume as the initial customers who couldn’t get through on the first call continue to call back until they reach an agent.

Call back messaging

The call back messaging metric indicates the total number of messages that have been left with a number to call back. Managers need to monitor the number of customers who have left messages requesting a call back to ensure that all messages are addressed in a timely manner.

After call work time (ACW)

Post-call work should be measured to determine how much time should be allocated for this part of the agent’s job. Ideally, post-call work should be kept to a minimum to ensure the agent is spending as much time as possible handling customer calls instead of tending to post-call tasks.


Let’s wrap up...

Bill Bounds said that “Metrics only tell you where to look for the story, they don’t tell you the story itself.” By picking the right KPIs and communicating them effectively so that agents understand them, you will ensure that your company keeps customer satisfaction and loyalty high while enabling your call centre to be an efficient, high-performing, critical business entity.

If you liked this blog you might also find these interesting:

Boost performance in the contact centre with digital signage
How to make customer experience consistent across every channel
5 compelling reasons your contact centre needs real-time data

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