If sales and profits are up, business is good, right? Usually, yes. But customer success leaders know that performance isn’t always based solely on profit. Call center managers must be aware of industry trends, customer needs, and the latest call center technology. Market research helps, but it isn’t enough. That’s where benchmarking comes in.
Benchmarking helps call centers compare their operations and processes to other call centers. Call center managers can establish benchmarks by setting goals for their call center metrics, also known as key performance indicators (KPIs). Call center benchmarks are necessary to drive performance and revenue, and can be used to compare a call center’s performance with industry standards.
Here we’ll go through standard KPIs and common reasons why call centers struggle to meet them.
4 important benchmark KPIs.
There are many call center benchmarks your call center might use. And, not all call center benchmarks will be as relevant to one call center as they would be to another. Here are a few of the top benchmark KPIs used by call centers:
First Call Resolution (FCR).
First call resolution is the percentage of inbound calls in which customers’ issues are solved with just one phone call. Better call center agent training improves FCR, and FCR drives customer satisfaction. If your FCR is 60% but your competitors’ FCR is 70%, there is room to improve your operations.
Abandonment rate measures the number of callers that hang up before an agent picks up the phone. Long wait time is the most common reason for call abandonment. Call center managers might consider investing in visual IVR and hiring more agents to lower abandonment rates.
Service level (SLAs).
Service level measures the number of inbound calls answered within a certain time frame. For example, your call center might strive to answer all calls within 30 seconds. The closer the number of calls answered within 30 seconds is to 100%, the better your service level benchmark. Service level is affected by another metric called Average Speed of Answer (ASA), which measures the average amount of waiting time for customers. Call center technology like Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs, as well as better scheduling, could improve service level.
Average Handle Time (AHT).
Average handle time (AHT), also known as average call time, is the average amount of time your agents take to complete or resolve a customer call. AHT is also known as Average Duration Time. Lower handle times improve customer satisfaction.
Global call center benchmarks.
Here are industry standards for call center benchmarks. If your call center meets these benchmarks, you’re in good shape but can still improve. If your call center doesn’t meet these benchmarks, there might be room for improvement in your processes.
- Service level: 80%
- Abandonment rate: 5-8%
- Average speed to answer: 28 seconds
- Average handle time: 4 minutes
3 reasons your call center is missing benchmarks.
Is your call center having trouble meeting global benchmarks? Chances are, there are inefficiencies within your call center causing you to fall short. Here are some reasons why your call center is missing benchmarks:
Poor customer experience.
Customer experience affects more KPIs than just your CSat score. If your customers are unhappy, you won’t just hear about it during agents’ breaks. You’ll notice it in your benchmarking.
For example, customers become unhappy due to longer waiting times, which correspond to the ASA and service level benchmarks. Abandonment rate increases with endless phone queues that customers don’t have the time to wait for.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes to improve your benchmarks. Test out your call center process, find out how long your customers are waiting, and use call monitoring to see how your agents are dealing with customers.
To meet your benchmarks, focus on ways you can improve your customer experience.
Insufficient agent training.
Call center agents wear many hats – they must be problem-solvers, greeters, listeners, and analysts all in one phone call. To thrive in these roles, agents need solid training. And, call center agent training isn’t just found in onboarding. Call center executives should be setting aside money in the budget each month to offer proper training to both new and old call center agents.
Insufficient training leads to gaps in knowledge, which cause:
- Higher AHT;
- Lower FCR rates; and
- Poor customer experience.
Offer your agents frequent and relevant training to make them feel more:
- Knowledgeable; and
- Better equipped to meet benchmarks.
Outdated or absent call center technology.
These days, call center technology is essential in keeping up with your competitors. If you want to meet benchmarks like FCR, AHT, abandonment rate, and service level, your agents need support from technology. With the right technology, your agents can better handle call spikes and improve customer experience.
Customers are more likely to escalate calls if your call center technology isn’t up-to-date and up to industry standards. Consider technology like Fonolo’s Visual IVR to improve customer experience and lower wait times. Or, Voice Call-Backs to lower abandonment rates and optimize current agents staffed.