There’s a reason business owners are obsessed with call center productivity. After all, productivity and profitability are tied together.
Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about how to measure productivity. Should it be about the number of calls an agent takes in a day? Or the impact of the resolutions provided to customers?
The truth is, it’s hard to define productivity with a single number. There are a lot of factors to look into, but one thing’s for sure: The productivity of a call center plays a key role in its growth and competitiveness.
That’s why business leaders must understand what call center productivity is, how to measure it, and how to improve it.
What is call center productivity?
Productivity is defined as the amount of input needed to produce an output. In the context of a call center, the input can be your call center agents and your output can be the number of support tickets resolved in a week.
Here’s an example:
Call Center A has 50 agents who can collectively resolve 500 support tickets in a day.
Call Center B also has 50 agents, but they can collectively resolve 1,000 support tickets in a day.
Which one is more productive? If you base it solely on those numbers, then Call Center B is the easy answer.
But what if one agent resolved three tickets in one hour while another only resolved one ticket but it had a higher impact on revenue?
Key takeaway: Productivity can’t be measured with just one metric.
So how do you measure call center agent productivity?
Though there are many factors that affect productivity, it’s important to look at the agents themselves. After all, they are at the core of your company. Here’s a quick list of call center metrics to keep in mind when identifying how to measure agent productivity.
First Call/Contact Resolution Rate (FCR)
This metric is all about how many customers had their issues resolved on the first call.
If your FCR is high, it means your agents are able to help customers right away. No need for follow-up calls and multiple interactions. If the problem isn’t solved during the first call, the customer will call again and again, taking time away from other customers.
How to calculate it:
(Number of resolved calls on first contact divided by the total number of calls) multiplied by 100
Average Handling Time (AHT)
AHT is how much time a call center agent spends on any work related to customer interactions or engagements. This metric should be low—it means your agents are efficient in managing their time on calls and in actually resolving issues.
A word of caution: Don’t forget to also focus on the quality of your customer service aside from simply shortening the handling time.
How to calculate it:
(Total Talk Time + After Call Work Time) divided by the total number of calls
This metric refers to unanswered calls or missed calls due to any of these reasons:
Customer calls, loses interest while waiting, and hangs up before an agent answers
Customer is put on hold or in a queue, and they hang up while waiting
Your voicemail comes on but the customer doesn’t leave a message
So what happens after a missed call? 85% of people whose calls aren’t answered won’t call back. If a customer was calling about a sales inquiry, that revenue is as good as gone. In fact, businesses can lose up to $75 billion a year due to negative customer experiences.
Essentially, you want to keep your missed-call rate low. If it remains high, you may need to look into optimizing your processes, upgrading your tools, hiring additional in-house agents, or even outsourcing entire teams.
How to calculate it:
(Number of abandoned calls divided by the total number of incoming calls) multiplied by 100
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT Score)
The CSAT score comes from customers via a rating scale (from 1-5) sent with a survey after a call with an agent. They are asked to rate how satisfied they are with the agent and how their issue was handled.
The CSAT score is valuable because it’s a subjective score from actual customers. It puts a premium on how the stakeholders think about the agents. A high CSAT basically means your agents are doing a good job delivering solutions.
How to calculate it:
(Number of satisfied customers divided by the number of customers who answered the survey) multiplied by 100
4 tips to improve your virtual call center’s efficiency
Improve your self-service options
Remember, not all customers want to speak to an agent right away. According to Harvard Business Review customers often prefer to have their questions answered without talking to the support team. In fact, 86% of customers now expect online self-service options.
If customers are able to find what they’re looking for right away, that means you’re delivering a stellar customer experience. Plus, self-service frees up your agents’ time for more urgent and high-impact support tickets.
Make sure that your self-service strategy gives customers fast and easy access to the information they need. It should also display a clear path to contact an agent if absolutely necessary.
Some tips for better self-service:
Create a FAQ page or a knowledge base for the most common questions
Try automation where applicable. For example, live chat.
If applicable, set up a product training or service training that walks new customers through your ecosystem.
Continue to monitor and update your self-service strategy so it always stays relevant.
Train your team to be multi-channel agents
Virtual call centers are a far cry from traditional call centers. To stand out from your competitors, you need to provide the best customer service and customer experience. You can do this by serving your customers wherever they are—not just on your website.
Start training your support team to be knowledgeable in different communication channels, including phone calls, emails, chat, messaging apps, and any other channel that makes sense for your business. Aside from helping them upskill, the quality of customer service you can offer will be top-notch.
Provide your agents with the best tools and tech stack
Over 90% of workers say that the right technology helps them work more efficiently.
Find the best call center software to empower your agents so they can perform their best every single day. Aircall’s cloud-based phone system integrates seamlessly with most CRMs and help desk solutions—reducing lag time and delays.
Other features that can help with productivity include call tagging, filtering, call forwarding, queue management, parallel calls, and advanced analytics.
Implement continuous monitoring and training
Finally, all the tips and strategies will be of no use if you don’t monitor your call center’s productivity and progress.
It’s important to look at the analytics in your call center software, but it’s even more important to act on them. For example, monitoring calls will allow you to track performance and pinpoint specific areas of improvement. You’ll be able to craft tailored training modules based on their actual performance.
Empowered employees = successful call center
Because of the pandemic, virtual call centers have been the new norm. Of course, this doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges—remote teams and technology constraints to name a few.
Thankfully, the right call center software can help boost agents’ productivity. This will then translate to an improvement in the quality of customer service you are able to provide to your customers—setting your company up for success in the long run.
This blog post was created with our partners at LTVplus, a world-class outsourcing company that provides customer service for eCommerce, SaaS, educational businesses, gaming companies, and more. LTVplus builds, trains, and manages dedicated teams of live chat agents, customer support agents, and payment recovery specialists. It takes away the hassle of live chat, email, social media, voice, and SMS support management. As a result, you can focus on your business objectives and goals while its customer support system runs in the background seamlessly.
Published on January 2, 2024.