What is the Connection Between ASA and Service Level?

Call Center | 2 minute read

You’ve probably heard the terms ASA and service level. But what do they really mean?

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are metrics used by contact centers to measure success and performance. There are many important KPIs, but these are arguably two of the most important.

So how do they work? We’ll explore the relationship between these two KPIs and find out how you can use them to improve your contact center!

What is Service Level?

Service level is a standard way contact centers measure performance and efficiency. It’s displayed as two numbers — the first indicating the percentage of calls answered, and the second indicating the target time period in seconds.

For example, a contact center with an 80/20 service level answers 80% of calls within 20 seconds.

What is ASA?

ASA, or Average Speed of Answer, is a KPI that refers to the average wait time callers spend on hold. This metric is usually displayed in seconds.

It’s no secret that long hold times result in frustrated customers, which lowers their overall experience. For this reason, ASA is a critical metric for call centers to manage.

How are they connected?

The above metrics offer a glimpse into the service efficiency of a call center, but neither show the full story on their own.

Service level is great for indicating how quickly your agents are addressing customer concerns. But an 80/20 service level doesn’t tell you much about the 20% of callers who are left on hold for extended periods. When combined with ASA, you can get a holistic view of your contact center operations.

For example, an 80/20 service level is a strong service level. But if your ASA is high — say, 15 seconds — it means there’s a big discrepancy in service quality for your remaining 20% of callers.

ASA and service level can also impact one another. A low service level will naturally reduce your ASA, so it’s important to understand how these metrics work together to achieve the best results.

Tips for boosting your service level and ASA.

Call volume forecasting.

Dive into your data history and analyze call volume trends. Are there certain times of the day, week, or month when you consistently see spikes in demand? Consider the time of year as well — depending on your industry, there will likely be seasonal periods when you’re busier than normal (summer and winter holidays, tax season, flu season, etc.).

Strategic staffing.

Once you have the data to forecast demand for your call center, align your staffing efforts. There’s nothing worse than being short-staffed and blindsided by a sudden wave of calls, so be sure you have enough agents available during busy times.

Call-back technology.

Of course, it’s impossible to forecast customer demand and staff your team with 100% accuracy. Anything from a website issue to a public crisis can cause a flood of calls without so much as a warning. Call-back technology makes an excellent safety net by offering callers the option of a call-back so they don’t have to wait on hold. This helps mitigate customer frustration while protecting your KPIs, including ASA and service level.

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