Top Call Center Metrics: More Thoughts From the Field

Top Call Center MetricsOne of the most critical tasks of a contact center manager is prioritizing the metrics that will be monitored. As the old saying goes, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. What makes this task so daunting is the sheer number of metrics to choose from: Service Level, Customer Satisfaction Scores, Abandon Rate, First Call Resolution, Time Till Resolution, Average Speed to Answer, Occupancy Rate, Net Promoter Score… the list goes on and on.

The “Customer Service Innovation” group on LinkedIn was asked the question, “What are the top 3 metrics you track” and the answers are very illuminating. We wrote about that discussion a couple months ago (What are the Top Metrics in Your Call Center?) but the comments keep coming in, so we selected a few good ones to share with you here.

Always at the Party: Service Level

Service Level is one of the most common metrics to track. It’s defined as a pair of numbers: a percentage value and a time value in seconds. So, for example, an “80/20″ service level means 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds.

Service Levels

For many call center managers, maintaining service levels is a top priority. Most experts agree that a call center’s service level should be based on what that call center can reasonably achieve given its resources and expected call volume. Coming up with this figure requires deep analysis and hard work.

More on this topic:

Meshing the Numbers Together

Joe Hanly, Director Tech Support for Solarwinds share’s his company’s strategy of meshing together several numbers to get the full picture.

We measure a number of metrics and all of them are tied together to generate a big picture. It’s what you do with the results of the metric you see that really counts. We look at all of the below and mesh them together to get an idea of how we can improve productivity, customer Service and response times (SLA’s)

  • Case arrival per product and broken down Customer Geo
  • Open cases per priority (Customer selected priority)
  • Time to close broken down by severity
  • Number of interactions to case close (Again broken down by product and Severity)
  • Rep productivity measured against the product (We have over 30 products with different complexities )
  • Cases taken and assigned during a specific time period.

It’s what you do with the underlying data that can improve the top 3.

Focusing on Customer Satisfaction

The subjective nature of customer satisfaction makes it tricky to measure. First you have to figure out how to pose questions to customers. For example, you can send out email surveys, hire companies to call customers and ask questions or ask callers to stay on the line after an interaction and respond to IVR-based surveys.

Then you have to figure out what to ask. Net Promoter Score is a common approach, where callers are asked if they would recommend the company to a friend. Or companies can ask customers to rank their experience on a numerical scale.

Recent studies show that, when it comes to improving the customer experience only 26% of companies have a well-developed strategy in place. The most common reason for this is the difficulty aligning the customer experience across multiple departments.

Rick Emery, has an approach at his company, Knowledge Wave International, that focusses on C-Sat.

…we consistently see that C-SAT has a strong impact on future / repeat purchases. The common predictors of strong C-SAT tend to be:

  1. Rick EmeryFirst call / first agent resolution – customers generally will tolerate a long(ish) wait or resolution time as long as the problem gets solved without additional contacts
  2. The quality of the solution provided – does the answer to the question solves the customers problem (and not the company’s interpretation of the problem)?
  3. “Agent empathy” – measured by such KPIs as “the agent cared about me and my problem” or “the agent was professional” … the more connected the customer feels to the agent, the more connected she feels to the company.

Let Us Know

What metrics are you tracking in your call center? How did you choose them? Which drive the most decisions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.


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