Call centers can enhance the customer experience—if your teams are performing well. It’s essential to track call center performance to gain insight into how your customers perceive your sales and support services, so you can improve and adapt to their needs.
The key ingredients to improving call center performance? Call metrics and KPIs. By tracking these with the right call center software, you can leverage the data to identify SOMETHING and improve call center performance.
In this guide, we discuss the benefits of measuring your teams’ performance, what you should be measuring, and how call center technology can work to your advantage.
Why You Should Measure Call Center Performance
First thing’s first—let’s define what call center performance is. Call center performance measures how well each call center agent is doing on an individual basis as well as how teams and the call center itself are doing overall.
Obviously, you want your call center to operate as productively and efficiently as possible. The more your teams can accomplish every day, the more your client base and profits will increase.
While your bottom line is very important, a productive call center can also benefit your customers and call center agents themselves. Consumers value businesses that are willing to go above and beyond the standard to give them a good customer experience. If your call center treats your customers well, they’ll become loyal brand ambassadors for your company—potentially increasing sales and widening your reach.
Plus, performance tracking allows you to engage your call center agents through feedback and rewards, making them feel more actively involved in the process of creating great customer experiences. This motivates agents, improves happiness and satisfaction, and reduces attrition.
How to Measure Call Center Performance
Metrics are used to objectively compare and track performance. Call center metrics are both quantitative and qualitative measurements that indicate just how productive your call center agents are and whether they’re offering the kind of customer experience that you’ve trained them to deliver.
You should be measuring the activities that impact the customer experiences the most. Here are a few examples of important metrics for call centers:
- How quickly call center agents can address customer issues and resolve their complaints
- How many calls you missed because no one was available to assist them
- The average time that your call center agents are spending on calls and how it compares with industry standards
- How satisfied your customers are after different stages of the customer journey
- How long customers are waiting on hold before someone answers their call and is able to help them
- The average speed that your agents are answering calls
- How many calls your call center is handling during peak and off-peak times
- The average time to return a missed call
- How many calls it takes a sales agent to convert a prospect into a sale
- How often a customer calls for the same problem
The right call metrics will give you solid data that you compare against industry benchmarks for call centers, giving you a clear picture of how well your call center is performing.
Tracking Call Center Activity
Although you cannot realistically listen in on every call to provide pointed feedback on call agent performance, there are other ways to track call center activity and identify problem points.
Call volume, efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction are just a few of the information you need to compare not only against your competitors but also against past call center performance.
There are two big reasons to monitor your call center’s activity:
- It allows you to track agent performance so you can make adjustments to improve it. Call center metrics will help you identify the exact points in the customer journey where agents (or customers) are struggling the most.
- It allows you to set clear and measurable goals for call center agents and evaluate their performance objectively based on those goals.
By tracking how and what your agents are doing, you can collect accurate and measurable data. Plus, you can gain valuable insight into whether your customers are happy with your products, services, and the support you provide before/after a sale. The more accurate and relevant the data, the more informed your predictions and decisions will be.
Essential Call Tracking Metrics For Improving Performance
Call tracking metrics and call center KPIs will help you set milestones, monitor progress, and make data-driven adjustments. You can apply metrics to individual, team, and organizational goals. Make sure your call center managers share the company’s overall goals with their agents to give them a sense of the big picture as well as their individual role in the business’ success.
Below are some of the most common (and important) call tracking metrics that you can learn from to improve call center performance.
First call resolution
First call resolution indicates whether customers have their issue satisfactorily addressed on their first call to your company. If this rate is low, it’s time to analyze trends.
Are your customers getting return outbound calls in a timely manner? Are they being transferred to representatives that don’t have the skills to help them? Do your agents have the tools and training necessary to solve customer problems?
You may be able to improve this rating by setting up an IVR system, reconfiguring call routing settings, or adding more comprehensive information to your knowledge base.
Customers often have an urgent or important concern if they’re taking the time to contact you. Those are calls you don’t want to miss!
If you’re missing plenty of inbound calls, metrics can help you identify whether it’s an issue of staffing or efficiency. Pay particular attention to peak calling periods to see if you have enough agents on the floor to handle call volume, or if you’d need to scale up. You could also look at metrics that tell you how quickly agents are answering the phone or how long they’re spending on calls to improve the missed call rate.
Average call length
The average call handling time across industries is around 6 minutes. Although your benchmark may be higher or lower depending on your industry, this is a great indicator of how efficient and effective your agents are. If agents are spending too much or too little time on calls, additional call center agent training is in order.
Number of calls answered
Your agents should be taking approximately the same number of calls in a shift. If they are answering too few calls, work on their speed and call handling abilities. If they are answering too many calls, that’s not necessarily a bad thing—but it could point to sloppy, rushed work.
Share the expected number of calls with call center agents, and set up a goal for the number of calls per hour so they can measure their own progress. Then, review this metric—-alongside others—during regular feedback sessions.
Average speed of answer
Call centers should be answering 80% of the calls within 20 seconds. Why? Customers value their time, and they will start the call frustrated (and are, therefore, more difficult to deal with) if they wait too long.
Average wait times
You’re bound to lose customers that have to wait longer than five minutes to get a response. If customers are consistently waiting on the queue for several minutes, evaluate where the breakdown occurs.
Check your call volume to ensure that your call center is properly scaled for the call period. This needs to be looked at on an organizational level—one department may be busier than another, impacting wait times when a customer call needs to be transferred.
Average amount of time to return a missed call
When your agents miss a call, they have to get back to the customer as quickly as. This helps your customers feel valued, even if you weren’t able to assist them immediately.
If this metric is high, is it because agents are bogged down with too much after-call work? Or is the influx of calls too overwhelming that missed calls get easily overlooked?
The right call center software can help you determine if it’s a scaling issue or a system problem that causes your team to not return calls in a timely manner. You should also talk to your call center agents directly for their input—staff on the field are the best source of data.
This metric tells you how many calls it takes for your sales agents to make a sale. Depending on how you perform in this area, you may need to get more qualified leads or implement a proper workflow to encourage customers through the sales funnel.
The only way to know whether customers are happy is to ask them. The easiest way to do this is to use call center software that conducts automated surveys. With customer feedback, you can pinpoint specific areas of improvement as well as low- and top-performing agents.
Call frequency is often connected to first call resolution—customers may call many times because they’re not getting their problem resolved. Your customer satisfaction surveys can help you understand the reason why customers keep calling back, whether it’s a defective product/service or an issue in your call center performance.
How Call Centers Leverage Technology to Increase Productivity & Customer Satisfaction
Call centers typically use two main types of technology to track and improve call center performance: a cloud-based phone system and software integrations.
A quality cloud-based phone system offers plenty of valuable features of its own:
- It gives you the ability to set up toll-free and international numbers to give you a local presence.
- You can improve your first call resolution rate by setting up call routing, an IVR system, or both.
- Call queuing will ensure that you’re serving your customers at the first opportunity.
- Click-to-dial and power dialing features will help your call center agents improve how many calls they can make.
- Call recording and call tags give your call center agents greater context, cutting down on call length.
- Set up remote or distributed teams via a virtual call center to help with staffing and scaling.
When you combine call center software with sales and support integrations, you can improve call center performance even more. Here are some examples of valuable integrations:
- Intercom: Help desk and live chat
- Diduenjoy: Automated surveys
- Klaus: Quality assurance
- Voxpay: Payments and billing
Checklist for Improving Call Center Performance Through Metric Tracking
- Leverage an industry-leading cloud-based software system like Aircall.
- Use Aircall’s dashboard to set metrics and KPIs as well as monitor your call center.
- Start with the most common metrics and adjust them to the needs of your call center.
- Motivate your call center staff by sharing the metrics and KPIs you’re using to evaluate performance.
- Benchmark your metrics against call center metrics industry standards.
- Choose software integrations that support the metrics you wish to work on.
- Adjust your metrics and KPIs as the numbers improve.
- Stay on top of advancements and innovations in call center tracking software.
Technology sets your on-site or virtual call center up and running quickly. Implementing a cloud-based phone system with the right software integrations will help you get great results from your call center—ensuring that your call agents perform well for the long-term.