Whitepaper: The Executive Guide to Improving 6 Call Center Metrics

The Executive Guide to Improving 6 Call Center MetricsMeasuring and improving call center metrics can be a pain point for executives. Your call center operates in a stressful environment where good quality metrics lead to a higher standard of customer service. This guide will help you improve 6 key call center metrics for better performance and future success.

Customer Satisfaction (C-Sat)


The level of satisfaction customers have with an organization and their products and /or services.

How to Improve:

Your mission as a call center is to keep service costs low, while maintaining high caller satisfaction. Here are three ways your contact center can improve customer satisfaction.

1. Keep Employees Happy

Keeping employees cheerful depends on a number of factors including: a well-developed company culture, access to user-friendly and intuitive tools & technology, and ensuring that employees have a voice inside your organization. Ultimately, engaged employees will create satisfied customers.

2. Resolve Calls the First Time

If you ask customers what frustrates them the most, nearly half (42%) will say, “having to speak with multiple agents and start over every time”. Resolving customer issues the first time is the single biggest way to improve customer satisfaction. Studies reveal that caller satisfaction ratings will be 5-10% lower when a second call is made for the same issue.

3. Eliminate Hold Time and Use Call-Backs

Eliminating the need for customers to wait on hold not only increases customer satisfaction; it also reduces costs for call centers. Forcing callers to wait in queue drives up telco costs and, unfortunately, causes many of them to hang up and end the conversation before it even begins. In fact, 60% of customers will abandon a call after just one minute of hold time. Instead, contact centers could offer callers the option to receive a call-back. According to SoftwareAdvice.com, 61% of customers prefer a call-back to waiting on hold.

Customer Preferences for Callback vs. Waiting on Hold

Customer Preferences for Callback vs. Waiting on Hold

Service Level


Also called telephone service factor (TSF). Service level is expressed as X percentage of contacts answered in Y seconds.

How to Improve:

Your target service level should be based on what your call center can reasonably achieve, given your staffing level and the expected call volume. So let’s say you have assembled the necessary data, how exactly do you get from staffing numbers and call volume numbers to service level numbers? The answer is with the lost art of Erlang, used to determine the number of agents required to staff a call center, given a desired call volume and probability of queuing.

Many call center managers working today don’t have that feel for capacity scheduling that one can only get by working directly with an Erlang tool. Fortunately, there are many easy (and free) ways to get back that feel. For example, you can experiment with an online Erlang C calculator. Another option is the Excel macro you can download here.


Erlang Calculator


Remember, you can’t fix what you don’t measure. Armed with this tool you can begin to understand the impact of the variables on your organization, and then use it to maximize and improve the results from the ground up. Another way to improve your service level is with a call-back option, as you can use it to smooth out spikes in call volume, diverting calls to off-peak periods when you can handle the load more readily.

First-Call Resolution (FCR)


The percentage of calls that don’t require any further agents to address the customer’s reason for calling. The customer does not need to contact the organization again, nor does anyone within the contact center need to follow up.

How to Improve:FCR

Let’s say a call center gets 100,000 calls per month. If the cost per call is $10, and 30% of calls are repeat calls, the cost of the repeat calls is $300,000 per month. A mere 10% reduction would yield a savings of $30,000 per month or $360,000 per year. Make the cost of a call $25, and the annual savings would be $900,000.

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet to improving this metric. You need to focus on three areas: people, process, and product.

1. People

In order to speed call resolution rates, be sure your agents have good listening skills, are focused on solving the right problem, and employ top-notch troubleshooting skills. They need to sound confident, anticipate related questions that callers might have, and follow-through on the commitments they make to the customer.

2. Process

Sit with agents and watch them handle calls. They need to have information at their fingertips if they’re going to resolve issues on the first call. That could be as simple as a binder with procedures in it or as complex as an online knowledge base.

3. Product

Are you having quality issues? Is something continuing to fail time and time again? Are people calling back about the same failure issue? If so, what can you do to fix it?

Listen to the types of complaints that are driving repeat calls and examine your people, processes, and product to see what you can do to improve first call resolution.

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 The Executive Guide to Improving 6 Call Center MetricsThe Executive Guide to Improving 6 Call Center Metrics