KPIs, also known as key performance indicators, are the backbone of any call center. They provide organizations with clear, helpful data to better understand performance and productivity.
But deciphering these metrics isn’t always easy. And if you can’t understand them, there’s no way you can use them to improve your call center’s operations.
So, instead of burying your team in dozens of KPIs, focus on these six that are the easiest to grasp and will have the greatest impact on your call center’s success.
Tackling these fundamental KPIs will make the overall process less scary, and the quick learning curve means you’ll have helpful data to analyze in no time.
1. Average Handle Time
Call centers are developed for speed, so handling customer inquiries efficiently is the first goal of any organization. Average Handle Time (AHT) measures an agent’s average time on a customer interaction, including hold and wrap-up time.
While spending an hour on the phone with a single customer might seem like great service, it’s not good for business. You’ll need to strike a balance between providing excellent customer service and keeping AHT low.
Tracking average handle time helps you pin down the minimum and maximum amount of time it should take agents to resolve a common customer issue successfully.
A healthy AHT time to aim for is around six minutes. However, different types of call centers will have varying AHTs, so make sure you’re setting a realistic benchmark for your specific industry. Before setting goals, simply track your team’s performance through a quality management system, and set achievable targets from there.
2. First Call Resolution Rate
The first call resolution rate (FCR) shows how many customer problems get solved on the first call. A high FCR means customers are probably pretty happy because their issues are getting fixed quickly, with no need to call back or continue a conversation through email or chat.
High first call resolution rates are a good indicator that your agents are well-trained and your systems are running smoothly and aligned with customer needs.
A low FCR, on the other hand, shows you that something’s not quite clicking. Maybe your agents need further training or your internal knowledge base needs to be strengthened—or it’s very possibly a combination of both.
Tracking your FCR can help you:
- Solve issues quickly: FCR is all about fixing customer problems during the first call, which generally means happier, more loyal customers. Keeping your focus on this KPI means you’re continually looking for ways to improve your customer service.
- Understand how well agents are doing: A good FCR shows that your agents can understand and solve problems quickly.
- Improve incrementally: If your FCR is low, don’t look at it as a failure. Rather, this is an opportunity to offer more training, create a better knowledge base, and improve your overall systems incrementally.
First call resolution rates can be boosted by other methods as well, such as revamping your menu options for a smoother call flow. This means your callers are more likely to get routed to the right person every time, reducing the chances that they’re not going to get their issue solved the first time they call in.
Small adjustments to the infrastructure of your communications workflow can have a massive impact on FCR rates, so make sure to consider even small changes to improve this KPI.
3. Average Idle Time
Tracking the average idle time KPI helps you determine the best time for agents to do certain tasks. Also known as after-call work time, this metric measures an agent’s average time on post-call tasks such as:
- Call disposition codes: Documenting the outcome of the call, whether a sale or a complaint.
- Note-taking: Taking detailed notes post-call to help with future interactions and improve customer experience.
- Communications: Sending an email or chat notification to ensure the customer has all the necessary chat details.
- Next steps: Assigning follow-up tasks for the next agent or department to take over.
These may seem like small things, but a significant amount of time is spent on these administrative tasks, and the time can quickly add up.
Longer average idle times show that agents may not be using their time efficiently, which leads to longer wait times for customers and lower productivity levels. If you’re seeing longer average idle times across the board, it could be a sign that your processes are unclear or that there’s an excessive amount of manual data entry that could potentially be automated.
If the timing is longer than you’d like, consider requesting that your team handle administrative tasks while on the call or invest in automation software to speed up the process by adding information directly to a database.
4. Rate of Agent Turnover
The Rate of Agent Turnover metric shows how many agents leave your call center during a certain period. Keeping an eye on this KPI is important because high turnover rates are sadly pretty common in this industry.
Many call centers see about 30% to 45% of their agents leave; some even experience higher than 50% rates.
If your agents are leaving at a higher rate than normal, you might experience the following pain points:
- High turnover costs: Every new agent you have to onboard costs money. This adds up quickly if you’re constantly onboarding new agents to replace the ones you’re losing.
- Low team morale: Let’s face it—most of us like feeling a sense of comfort and stability when we go to work. That can’t happen when there’s a constant revolving door of agents. High turnover hurts overall morale and makes it harder to keep good agents long-term.
- Decreased customer service quality: New agents likely won’t be as experienced or familiar with customer needs, meaning there’s a higher likelihood that you’re going to have unsatisfied callers.
By keeping track of this rate, you can understand better why agents are leaving. If your rate is higher than you’d like, consider upgrading your call center services so your agents have better tools to work with. You should also be regularly collecting feedback so you can address any issues before an agent feels the need to leave.
5. Customer Churn Rate
The customer churn rate shows the percentage of customers who have stopped using the center’s support services within a certain period. For example, if a customer stops using the call center for support, it’s called a churn.
This rate is more than just a number; it directly reflects customer satisfaction and loyalty. Call centers are fundamentally about serving customers, so if the churn rate is high, it signals a serious issue. When customers start to leave, it can lead to reduced workloads and potential job losses.
The average churn rate in the industry hovers around 20%. Rates exceeding this benchmark often point to growing dissatisfaction among customers. This could be due to various reasons such as:
- Prolonged wait times
- Unresolved issues
- Agents lacking the necessary knowledge to handle calls
- Technical difficulties
Call centers can improve service quality by proactively analyzing and addressing the reasons behind a high churn rate. Tracking this metric is as easy as keeping a record of customers who have stopped using your services within a specific period. This can be done manually, through customer feedback surveys, or through call tracking software.
So how exactly do you improve your customer churn rate? If you’re collecting customer feedback, make sure you’re really listening to their complaints. Are the wait times too long? Is the IVR system too complicated to navigate? Do your agents not have the proper knowledge and resources to resolve their issues?
Really focus on what’s driving your customers away and set out to fix what’s not going well in your call center.
6. Customer Satisfaction Score
We’re going to double down on the importance of customer satisfaction here. After all, that’s the whole purpose of your call center.
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) clearly measures how happy customers are with the service they’ve received from an agent in your call center.
Usually, customers rate their satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 10, with questions like, “On a scale from 1-10, how satisfied were you with how your issue was resolved?”
Understanding CSAT is crucial for several reasons:
- Assessing agent performance: CSAT scores help determine which agents excel or struggle. This information shows managers how to allocate their time and resources.
- Directing training efforts: Customer feedback through CSAT scores reveals who needs more training. It highlights specific areas where your agents might need to improve.
- Enhancing call center services: By analyzing these scores, you can understand what aspects of your service are lacking, allowing you to make necessary improvements.
- Setting clear goals: CSAT scores provide a basis for setting realistic goals, such as improving customer satisfaction by a certain percentage within a specific time frame.
Remember, customer relationships boost retention. By focusing on improving CSAT scores, you not only enhance individual agent performance but also build stronger relationships with your customers.
Happy customers are more likely to stay loyal, which is a non-negotiable for the long-term success of your call center.
Final Thoughts: Call Center KPIs
As you can see, utilizing just one or two KPIs in your call center can provide outsized value to your organization. Instead of searching in the dark for where your call center needs improvement, these metrics help you see the bigger picture.
So, start with a few KPIs and continue to expand from there. Taking your time to set up solid tracking systems for each of these KPIs will pay dividends.
And finally, keep in mind that KPIs aren’t only about the numbers. They’re a reflection of your team and customers, so make sure to invest time and resources into implementing the best practices for each metric.