Call centers are at the core of the customer experience and are often under constant scrutiny from the public and industry to ensure a high level of service is provided. Businesses today acknowledge that the sustainable differentiator between companies is driven by the level of customer care they provide and the subsequent impression left with the customer at the end of each call. But how do you know if your call center is meeting its objective in delivering the type of customer experience set forth in your company policy? Without measuring key metrics in your operation, you won’t know if you’re succeeding in your company’s goals of delivering exceptional customer care and profitability. The performance metrics used by a call center should be complementary to each other so that the most successful outcomes can be achieved. Four performance-based metrics that managers will want to pay attention to include customer satisfaction, business value, operational efficiency, and employee management.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure customer satisfaction include the percentage of abandoned calls, the average speed to answer calls, and First-Contact Resolution rates. These basic performance metrics are the underpinning of customer satisfaction and managers who pay attention to these KPIs will have the most successful outcomes with customers and employees. These metrics can reveal suboptimal scheduling patterns or areas where additional agent training is needed.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys provide direct feedback from the people who matter most–the customers. These surveys can provide some of the most useful feedback to management to help target training where needed. While there is sometimes a sting associated with negative reviews, use such reviews as a means to better understand your operation and then improve on those areas that need enhancing.
The performance metrics used to measure customer satisfaction must be considered in tandem with operational efficiency. In order to keep your call center’s operating budget in line you need to measure your operation’s efficiency. Fortunately, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction aren’t mutually exclusive, and with proper oversight, both objectives can be achieved. Important KPIs to pay attention to are:
- Agent Occupancy: How long is your agent spending time answering or dealing directly with calls. A low occupancy number may indicate overstaffing and high operational costs. While a high occupancy number is better, it needs to be balanced with the quality of the customer interaction.
- Average Handling Time: This KPI measures the time agents spend handling individual calls. Managers should look for long handling times as they can reveal inadequately trained agents or broken processes and tools.
- Call Transfer Rate: Are calls being routed to the right agent the first time or are too many calls being redirected? This KPI will help managers hone in on infrastructure inefficiencies.
The revenue contribution of your call center can be directly measured by its total sales. By aligning the proper reward structure within your agency, managers can drive effective agent behavior. To ensure that quality leads are being converted to sales, managers should look at sales conversion in conjunction with total sales. By understanding these key metrics, training can be targeted to those agents where the conversion rate to sales is low.
If your call center agents are effectively nurturing and retaining customers, your ROI for training can be easily measured.
High turnover means high recruitment and training costs, lower average skills, and a more costly operation offering potentially worse service. Companies that invest in employee training and allow for career advancement have lower turnover, more satisfied employees and more satisfied customers.
Ongoing, effective, and relevant training is important and motivating for your employees. If you want them to consistently perform properly then you have to provide your agents with the tools to do so.
Using the above performance metrics allows managers to tailor training to those issues and topics. Training for the sake of training isn’t effective. Make sure your training covers the topics and issues your agents are encountering.
By paying attention to the above four performance metrics your organization will not only enhance your customer experience, but you’ll have happier more motivated employees and higher profitability. The amount of data that is generated within a call center doesn’t have to be overwhelming; you just need to know which metrics matter and then tailor a training program around your findings. Good managers know that operating an efficient and profitable call center doesn’t require paying attention to all the data generated by their call center — it simply requires knowing which metrics matter and focusing on those. These four performance metrics will help you get started!