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Both executives and call center managers need to track specific metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of their centers and improve customer service.

Executives need to stay on top of call center metrics measuring long-term performance to justify business decisions on their customer service operations strategy. Call center managers—on the other hand—need easily digestible, real-time data they can use to make practical day-to-day decisions to handle service requests and help agents and representatives improve their customer calls.

Thankfully, you have several options when it comes to monitoring your call center performance, and determining which KPIs are the most necessary for you to track is essential. The right set of metrics can help you achieve both executive and operational goals by giving you a way to measure and concretely determine how efficient and effective your customer service operations are day-to-day and in the long run.

What Are the Important Call Center Metrics and KPIs?

Call center KPIs make it possible to have measurable values that managers can access and implement data-driven policies to help reach quotas and improve customer experience.

Below, you’ll find five critical KPIs that every call center can use to determine if they live up to customer expectations.

First Call Resolution

First call resolution (FCR) refers to a contact center’s ability to successfully address customer questions, concerns, and problems the first time they call—without having to transfer the call or follow up with a second call.

Why FCR Is Important

FCR is one of the most critical call center KPIs when it comes to improving customer experience. Research indicates that the most significant cause of excessive customer effort is the need to call back repeatedly. Customers want their issues resolved in the first call and are more likely to provide positive feedback if this happens. The higher your FCR rates, the more satisfied your customers will be.

FCR can also be used to measure the efficiency of your customer service representatives and determine call center profitability.

How You Can Improve Your FCR Rates

FCR is usually coupled with average handle time when analyzing call center metrics. A typical call center goal is to achieve a low average handle time alongside high FCR rates. Here’s how to boost your FCR rates:

  • Coach your agents. Invest time and resources into agent training. Use call summaries and transcripts to assess previous customer calls and identify critical areas for improvement.
  • Track repeat calls. Track all calls coming from repeat callers. Is there a pattern you can identify in the repeat calls or a particular issue that keeps cropping up over and over again?
  • Use intelligent communications software. Cloud communications platforms like Dialpad come equipped with intelligent features that can help you improve your FCR rates, including real-time manager alerting, easy access to prior communications across all channels with any given customer, and more.

Average Call Abandonment Rate

Call Abandonment Rate is a percentage measure of customers hanging up and ending their call before it is picked up by a customer service representative or call center agent. This metric is calculated as abandoned calls divided by total inbound calls.

What Can Affect Call Abandonment Rate

Factors that could potentially lead to higher call abandonment rates include:

  • Confusing IVR system: Interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated telephonic system that can help call centers be more effective when done right. IVRs can prompt customers for their name and identification, among other details that can make it easy for customer service reps to pull up their information once the call is connected. However, a very lengthy or confusing IVR system that doesn’t provide a clear route to reaching an agent might cause a customer to put down the phone.
  • Long wait times: Call abandonment rates and waiting times are directly related. The more extended customers have to wait before being connected to a customer service rep, the more likely they are to become tired of waiting and hang up before they’re able to speak to an agent.
  • Poor queue experience: A repetitive queue message or unbroken elevator message with no indication of how much longer the customer has to wait can prompt them to hang up. Receiving periodic estimates on their remaining wait time can encourage them to stay on till they’re connected to an agent.

How You Can Improve Your Call Abandonment Rate

To boost this call center metric, you can do the following:

  • Build a better queue experience. Don’t keep your customers frustrated and guess how long they still have to wait to be connected to an agent. Periodically provide estimated wait times or the number of people ahead of them in line as they wait. Customers are more likely to stay on the line when they have some idea of how long it will take to reach a service rep.
  • Keep your IVR system simple. Use your IVR to collect basic caller information, but keep your menu architecture easy-to-navigate and straightforward. Customers should connect to a customer service rep without getting lost in automated options and ultimately giving up when they can’t reach you.
  • Staff more agents to reduce wait time. You can decrease wait times by hiring more call center agents. It might be helpful to experiment with business hours, shift coverage, and even outsourcing to increase operational efficiency.

Transfer Rate

Transfer rate refers to the percentage of calls that have to be transferred to someone else to be resolved.

Why Transfer Rate Is Important

A low transfer rate indicates that your IVR setup accurately directs callers to the correct departments and that agents have the tools and knowledge to address the calls they receive. A high transfer rate suggests the opposite—that agents are not able to answer customer questions or that customers are being directed to the incorrect department.

How You Can Lower Your Transfer Rate

A high transfer rate suggests that you need to improve work routines—and here’s how to do it:

  • Cross-train your agents. Reduce the likelihood of transfer by cross-training agents in multiple areas so they can address a variety of call types and customer concerns.
  • Ensure that you have an effective IVR setup. A clean, effective IVR setup will have simple menu options that can correctly direct callers to the department to best address their concerns.
  • Focus on increasing your FCR rates. Improvements to your FCR rates will automatically trickle down and positively affect your transfer rates.
  • Use intelligent call center software. Platforms like Dialpad come equipped with intelligent features that can help you decrease transfer rates, including real-time manager alerting, competitive insights, and real-time suggestions that can help agents address callers’ questions and more.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is one of the most frequently used contact center KPIs.

Why CSAT Is Important

CSAT is a measurement derived from customer feedback and calculated by measuring the percentage of customers satisfied with your services. A higher percentage indicates a better CSAT score.

How You Can Increase Your CSAT Score

To further improve customer experience (CX), strengthen your CSAT through doing these:

  • Conduct regular quality assurance. Conduct periodic reviews of your customer service communications and identify areas where you can improve your operations. Call recording gives you a way to revisit customer calls for quality assurance purposes.
  • Improve other CX-focused metrics. The exciting part about this metric is that it depends on the success of multiple metrics. You can improve customer satisfaction rates by improving other CX-focused metrics, like FCR, transfer rates, average handle time, and call abandonment rates.
  • Support your customers’ favorite channels. How do your customers like to reach you? Meet them where they are. Do you receive a disproportionate amount of emails, phone calls, social media messages? Focus your agents’ efforts and attention on the channels where they’re needed most.

Average Handle Time

Average Handle Time (AHT) is the average duration of the entire customer call—from the time the customer dials the number for your call center to its termination, including hold times, transfers, and after-call communications and tasks.

Why AHT Is Important

As mentioned above, AHT is usually coupled with FCR rates when analyzing call center metrics. It is common for call centers to seek a reduction in average handle times and an increase in FCR rates.

How You Can Decrease Your Average Handle Time

To boost efficiency in the office, work on your AHT by doing these:

  • Coach agents and have them study low AHT calls. Train your agents to recognize patterns appearing across low AHT calls and high AHT calls. This can help them identify ways in which they can lower their AHTs.
  • Gather all necessary details at the start of the call. Whether you collect information from callers with an IVR system or your agent manually poses critical questions, it is important for agents to quickly get everything they need before deep-diving into an issue and realizing they were missing key details that could have helped speed up the process.
  • Identify repeating issues. Is there a particular bottleneck your call center agents are facing? Identify periods of excessive silence on calls and see if training or updating your internal knowledge base can help alleviate the issue.

Here is a more comprehensive guide on how to reduce average handle time.

How Can Dialpad Help Track Call Center Metrics?

Honing in on the right set of all center metrics and KPIs can empower operational managers and company executives with measurable values to make strategic, data-driven decisions regarding their customer service operations and call center management.

Contact center software providers like Dialpad offer several convenient tools that can help you optimize critical metrics, coach agents, and improve your services—interested in finding out more? Learn more about Dialpad’s Cloud Contact Center here.