If Your Call Center Benchmarks Are Here, You’re On Track

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As a call center manager, it’s your job to ensure peak performance and growth. But how do you know if your team measures up? The answer: metrics. By capturing specific call data regularly, you can gauge every aspect of your enterprise, compare yourself to the industry, and get an accurate picture of where you excel and where to improve. 

If you want to know where you stand amid the competition, here are the seven call center benchmarks that matter most. 

You’re On Track If Your Call Center Benchmarks for 7 Metrics Are Here

A quick online search will turn up as many as 30 call center KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) worth tracking. Realistically, you can only focus on a few without overwhelming yourself. That’s why we’ve narrowed it down to the seven most accurately defining a thriving operation.  

Rate of agent turnover is 45% or below

If your call center shows an average turnover rate of 45 percent or below, you’re right in the sweet spot. The current industry average ranges from 30 to 45 percent, with one out of every three to four agents resigning annually. 

Agent turnover is among the biggest challenges facing the industry. Pre-pandemic, the average call center could expect around one in five agents to leave within a year. Now, agent longevity is much more difficult to gauge. The stress of resolving issues as quickly as possible creates a situation ripe for agent burnout. 

Fortunately, the transition to flexible VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems and AI are slowly turning this tide. Many providers now offer cloud-based online software, too. What’s more, several call centers are allowing agents to work from home. That has helped team members find more engagement in their roles and less of an inclination to jump ship. 

First call resolution rate is 70%

Top call centers maintain a FCR (First Call Resolution) rate at 80 percent or above. But if yours is somewhere between 70 to 75 percent, you’re doing well and ensuring that at least three out of four customers are finding the help they need. 

Most callers are looking for a fast, automated answer to their questions. But when they do need to speak to an agent, they want someone who is knowledgeable and quick. 

Your FCR tells you precisely how many problems were resolved during a first call or contact. To give it a boost, ensure that agents are well-informed and able to find answers quickly with your online knowledge base. Consider adopting software with customizable call scripts for even faster resolution times.

Call abandonment rate is 5%

Managers should closely watch their CA (Call Abandonment) rate to make sure that your performance isn’t the reason a caller gets off the line. A healthy call center should fall somewhere in the 3 to 6 percent range.

The last thing you want is customers giving up before they reach an agent. Nevertheless, there will always be reasons why some callers hang up too early, and it’s impossible to expect that 100 percent of customers will see a call through. 

If at least 94 percent of customers remain engaged with your call flow, you can consider that a success. To optimize your CA rate, use intelligent call routing or automated callback features to cut down on long wait times. Also, make sure that your automated menus aren’t overly complex.

A screenshot demonstrating that IVR can make your system smarter with conversational AI

Average speed of answer (ASA) is 28 Seconds

Thanks to ICR (Intelligent Call Routing), IVR (Interactive Voice Response) menus, and automated callbacks, there is little reason for long wait times. Your agents should be able to answer calls within the industry average window of 28 seconds.  

Long wait times are one of the most avoidable reasons that customers get frustrated. When a caller is forced to wait in a call queue or listen to multiple rings before an answer, they often abandon the call altogether.

If you want to hit the ASA gold standard, the aim is to answer 80 percent of calls within 20 seconds. To do this, the pros rely on software like call routing and auto-answering that uses your agents’ time efficiently even during high traffic times. 

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is between 75-84%

No one can expect to reach a satisfaction score of 100 percent. However, the average call center sees a CSAT score of 78 percent. If your score ranges between 75 and 84 percent, you’re doing very well. 

Granted, your CSAT scores don’t tell the whole story when it comes to benchmarking. Unhappy callers are the most likely to complete a post-call survey, after all. Yet even the worst reviews give you useful feedback. Optimizing every part of your business from agent training and support to fast call flows is essential to accomplishing this feat. 

Agent utilization rate is 50-55%

AU (Agent Utilization) rate measures phone conversation time. Most organizations expect agents to handle calls roughly 48 percent of each hour they’re at work. For the rest of the hour, team members manage call notes, close out tickets, and handle any other wrap-up aspects of a call.

Using your agents’ time efficiently will affect nearly every other KPI. And even though you want your agents’ time off the call to go as smoothly and quickly as possible, it’s not something you want to rush. A 50 to 55 percent AU seems to be the “sweet spot.” 

Top call centers aim for a peak utilization rate of 60 to 70 percent, or 42 minutes out of each hour. That leaves only 18 minutes for wrap-up activities or personal matters—everybody needs a bathroom break once in a while. Just bear in mind that driving this level of engagement can lead to employee burnout and turnover. 

Average call handling (ACH) time is 7 minutes or less

Most call centers can take a customer from pickup to resolution in less than 10 minutes, including note-taking and closing out a call ticket. Modern contact center software can automate much of the post-call workflow, leaving the bulk of agent time for talking directly with customers. 

If your team reaches an ACH of seven minutes or less, you can consider yourselves top performers. Your agents will need to be knowledgeable and ready to navigate your online answer database to get to that point. If they don’t already know the answer to a customer’s problem, they need to know where to find it.       

Metrics Don’t Measure Up? Focus on What Matters Most

If you’re not on target with some or all of these KPIs, that’s alright. You can’t possibly focus on everything at once, so choose the areas that are most ripe for growth. 

Of the seven here, four are crucial—your rate of call abandonment, average handle time, first call resolution rate, and agent utilization rate. With patience, you can refine your approach until your numbers mirror the industry averages, putting you right where you need to be. 

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