Suppose you own a bustling call center where dozens of agents handle customer inquiries and resolve issues daily. Every call that comes in represents a potential opportunity for growth and customer satisfaction but carries a certain level of risk. As a business owner, you understand the importance of staying on top of your call center's performance and making informed decisions. This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come into play.
KPIs serve as a compass, guiding call center owners toward success by providing vital insights into the performance and efficiency of their operations. By tracking specific metrics, such as average call resolution time, customer satisfaction ratings, or agent adherence to scripts, call center managers can gauge the effectiveness of their teams and make data-driven decisions to improve overall performance.
However, the sheer number of available KPIs can be overwhelming, leaving call center owners confused. With hundreds of potential metrics to choose from, how can you ensure that you focus on the ones that truly matter? Selecting the right KPIs is crucial to accurately assess the health of your call center and pinpointing areas that need improvement.
To overcome this confusion, aligning your chosen KPIs with your call center's goals and objectives is essential. Identify the specific outcomes you want to achieve and select the metrics that directly measure progress toward those goals.
So, let’s explore the must-have metrics for call center success.
Imagine you have a question or a problem, and you call a call center to get help. The call center wants to ensure they can assist you as fast as possible, so they set a target for themselves. This target is called the service level KPI.
The service level KPI tells the call center how many calls they must answer within a certain time. For example, they aim to answer 80% of the calls within 20 seconds. They need to answer calls quickly because waiting on hold for a long time can be frustrating for the person calling.
If they notice many callers waiting too long, they can make changes to improve their performance. They might hire more staff, provide extra training, or improve their phone system to answer calls faster.
Understanding service-level call center KPIs sets the foundation for evaluating call center performance. Two important metrics closely related to service level KPIs are Average Speed of Answer (ASA) and Service Level Agreement (SLA) Compliance. Let’s understand them briefly:
Average Speed of Answer, or ASA for short, is like a clock measuring how long it takes someone to answer a call in the call center. The call center wants to keep the ASA as low as possible because waiting on the phone for a long time can frustrate callers.
The call center wants to keep the ASA at 20 seconds. This means they want to answer most calls within 20 seconds. The call center tracks how long it takes to answer each call and calculates the average time.
For example, if one call takes 10 seconds to answer and another call takes 30 seconds, the average of those two calls would be 20 seconds. The call center looks at the average time to see if they are meeting their goal of keeping the ASA low.
If the ASA is too high, the call center may need to hire more staff or improve its phone system to answer calls faster.
In a call center, Service Level Agreement is like an agreement between the call center and the customers they serve. The call center promises to provide a certain level of service, and the customers expect that the call center will meet those promises.
For example, the call center's SLA states that 90% of the calls should be answered within 20 seconds, and they should resolve 80% on the first try. To measure SLA Compliance, the call center keeps track of how many calls they answered within 20 seconds and how many calls were resolved on the first try. They compare these numbers to the targets set in the SLA.
If the call center is meeting or exceeding the targets, they are in SLA Compliance and doing a good job of providing the service they promised. But if they need to meet the targets, they need to make improvements to meet the customers' expectations better.
Quality KPIs in a call center are like a checklist that helps the call center evaluate how well their agents are doing their job. They look at how well the agents follow the right procedures if they use polite and helpful language and provide accurate information to the customers. It's like making sure that the agents are doing their best to help the callers in a good and proper way.
Customer Satisfaction KPIs are like a survey that the call center gives customers to see how happy they are with the service they receive. They might ask questions like "Did the agent solve your problem?" or "Were you happy with how you were treated?" After talking to the agents, the call center wants to ensure that the customers feel satisfied and pleased.
Now, think of a call center as where people call to get help or ask questions. After they finish talking to the call center agent, the call center wants to know if the customers are happy with the service they received. This is where the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) comes into play.
It is a way for the call center to measure how satisfied the customers are with the service they receive.
The call center might ask, "On a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied were you with the help you received today?" Customers can choose a number to show their level of satisfaction. If they had a great experience, they might choose a high number like 4 or 5. They might choose a lower number, like 1 or 2, if unhappy.
Let’s understand this with an example:
Say you dial up the call center because you're having trouble with your computer. The call center agent listens to your problem, asks you questions to understand it better, and then gives you the right solution or answers your question immediately. If you don't have to call back again for the same problem, that's considered a "First Call Resolution."
The call center tracks how many calls they receive where the problem or question is resolved on the first call. They use this information to calculate the First Call Resolution Rate. A higher First Call Resolution Rate means that the call center is helping people without making them call back multiple times.
Operational Efficiency KPIs are like special tools that help business owners understand how well their call center is running.
Imagine a call center as a big team of people who answer phone calls and help customers. The goal of the call center is to assist customers quickly and effectively. Operational Efficiency KPIs help us measure how well they are doing this. It helps in determining whether the call center is working smoothly and if it’s using its resources wisely.
Different operational efficiency KPIs help us understand how well the call center performs. Let’s understand the two major KPIs that help in accurately measuring operational efficiency.
In a call center, when customers call to ask questions or get help, the call center agents need to talk to them and provide assistance. The average handle time (AHT) is a measurement that tells us how long, on average, it takes for a call center agent to handle a customer's call from start to finish.
A call center wants to keep the average handle time within 5 minutes. They would track how long each call takes, from when the agent picks up the call to when they say goodbye and end the conversation.
If the AHT is too high, the agents take too long to solve problems or spend too much time on each call. On the other hand, if the AHT is too low, it could mean that the agents are rushing through the calls and not providing enough help or information to the customers. This may result in customers feeling unsatisfied or confused.
When a call center wants to know how effectively their agents are utilized during their working hours. They use something called "occupancy rate" to measure this.
The occupancy rate in a call center is like a measurement tool that shows how much time the agents spend actively engaged in handling calls compared to the total time they are available to work.
For example, let's say the call center operates for 8 hours in a day, and during those 8 hours, the agents spend 6 hours actively taking calls and assisting customers. In this case, the occupancy rate would be 75% because the agents are occupied (or busy) for 75% of their available time.
If the occupancy rate is too high, it suggests that agents are overwhelmed and may not be able to handle all the calls efficiently. On the other hand, if the occupancy rate is too low, it indicates excess capacity, meaning the agents have more availability than the number of calls coming in.
Some people answer phone calls in a call center and help customers with their questions or problems. The call center wants to ensure these employees are doing a good job and are happy. To understand this, they use something called Employee Performance and Engagement KPIs.
Employee Performance KPIs are like special tools that help measure how well employees do their jobs. They look at how many calls each employee handles, how quickly they resolve customer issues, and how satisfied customers are with their help. These KPIs show the call center how effectively and efficiently their employees assist.
On the other hand, Employee Engagement KPIs focus on how employees feel about their work. They measure factors like job satisfaction, motivation, and how connected employees feel to the call center and its goals. These KPIs show if employees are happy, engaged, and committed to their work.
It measures how content and fulfilled employees are within their call center roles. It assesses their overall job satisfaction, engagement, and well-being.
Why is ESS important for call centers?
Monitoring ESS is crucial as satisfied employees tend to perform better, exhibit higher productivity, and deliver superior customer service. A positive ESS signifies a healthy work environment, reducing turnover rates and enhancing staff retention.
Call centers can foster a motivated and committed workforce by prioritizing employee satisfaction, leading to increased customer satisfaction and business success.
Let’s again take the help of an example to understand this metric better.
If an agent spends 5 minutes on one call, 7 minutes on another, and 4 minutes on another, their AHT would be the average of these times, which is 5.3 minutes (rounded to the nearest decimal).
Why do call centers consider this metric to be important?
The call center wants to ensure its agents can help customers quickly and efficiently. If an agent takes too long on each call, customers have to wait for a long time, which can make them unhappy.
By keeping track of the AHT per Agent, the call center can see if they need to improve their processes or provide additional training to help agents be more efficient and reduce the time it takes to help customers. The goal is to find a good balance between providing quality assistance and being efficient with time.
Implementing and tracking the right KPIs is essential for optimizing call center operations and driving continuous improvement. As business owners, it is crucial to understand that monitoring, analyzing, and adjusting KPIs should not be a one-time effort but an ongoing process.
Consistently monitoring KPIs enables you to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving customer service landscape. Technology advancements, customer preferences, and market dynamics are constantly changing, and adjusting KPIs helps you adapt and respond effectively to these shifts. Furthermore, fostering a culture of continuous improvement within your call center is critical for long-term success. Encourage your team to actively engage with KPIs, seeking ways to improve their individual and collective performance.
Ultimately, the success of your call center hinges on your ability to harness the power of KPIs and drive continuous improvement. Contact Invensis today to embrace the transformative potential of call center KPIs and how customer support becomes a strategic asset that propels your business forward in today's competitive landscape.
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