Three Commonly Overlooked and Misunderstood KPIs in the Contact Center Space


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Running a high-functioning contact center is no easy task. Contact centers should consistently evaluate operational performance for effectiveness and efficiency. To this vein, contact centers should be measuring specific key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to take an accurate pulse of the business. However, deciding which KPIs to track, monitor and assess is often harder than it sounds.

Although some KPIs might seem apparent, there are numerous direct and indirect factors associated with a contact center’s performance and not all metrics are obvious technical measurements to track. Therefore, we’ve identified three lesser-known or misunderstood KPIs to consider when applying business analytics to a contact center.

Agent’s Sense of Achievement

While many contact center managers are often concerned with customer satisfaction, it is equally important to evaluate an agent’s sense of achievement. Exceptional work comes from a sense of pride and it is important for contact center agents to feel valued and respected within the company if they are expected to produce quality work. If managers don’t show concern over an agent’s well-being, those agents may begin to take their frustration out on incoming callers.

For example, when contact center agents feel burned out, odds are, they are not providing the best customer service possible. Instead of being engaged in their work, agents are far more likely to make mistakes, call out sick or even quit if they don’t feel they are adding value to the company. According to the Mayo Clinic a “weak sense of accomplishment” is one of the major factors that contribute to employee burnout.

In order to prevent this negative spiral of behavior, it is imperative for contact center managers to pay close attention to their employees. When a manager sees an employee’s morale and/or performance level begin to decline, they should proactively reach out to the employee in an effort to fix a problem before it arises. One solution for measuring an agent’s sense of achievement and/or satisfaction with the company is through internal surveys. By asking the right questions and monitoring employees’ feedback, contact centers can work to adjust the company work culture and/or working conditions for an agent. For instance, if a contact center manager was made aware of an agent’s apathy, the manager could shift team roles and responsibilities around to motivate the agent to feel more accomplished and engaged on the job. Overall, an encouraged, motivated and satisfied staff can lead to increased productivity levels for the contact center.

Average Handle Time

Average handle time (AHT) is a common KPIs to monitor in the contact center industry; however, the metric is often misinterpreted. Many contact centers look unfavorably at high handle times for the wrong reasons as managers automatically view long call durations as a bad thing. In reality, all incoming and outgoing calls cannot be judged under the same time scrutiny as there is a difference between simple and high-involvement calls. As a result, contact center agents might have a high AHT because they are helping customers through a more in-depth and complicated issue.

As a result of the stigma associated with long AHTs, agents may feel incentivized to get off the line faster without truly resolving a customer’s problem. For this reason, contact centers should take other factors into account – such as first call resolution, hold times, agent reviews, etc. – when determining whether an agent’s AHT was an effective use of time.

Moreover, the employees taking the most time on calls are often the agents providing exceptional customer service to customers. One tip for improving the evaluation of AHT is to obtain a comprehensive view of the call experience before penalizing an agent for a high AHT. In addition to handle time, consider reviewing agents’ screen time, call recording and/or call transcripts when evaluating their efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, equipping agents with the right resources and tools via their agent portals and dashboards can help contact centers decrease their AHT and maximize an agent’s use of time while on the phone.

First Call Resolution

First call resolution (FCR) measures how effective agents are with resolving customers’ issues and concerns the first time. As companies continue to evaluate FCR, they need to identify goals, develop benchmarks and deploy strategic plans for meeting said goals. Furthermore, when customer issues are solved the first time, without being handed off to another agent, customers are more satisfied which can translate into customer loyalty. Additionally, when measured over time, FCR can be used as a benchmark for agent performance and improvement. A recent study by The Ascent Group found that 60 percent of companies measuring FCR for more than one year reported a 30 percent performance improvement rate.  As FCR rates begin to improve so will contact center efficiency and profitability.

Once deployed and accurately measured, the above overlooked and misunderstood KPIs will drive contact centers to improve agent performance, increase customer satisfaction, free up resources and lower operating costs.


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