Wondering which call center metrics you should track?
Managers must ensure that all center operations are constantly optimized to run at maximum efficiency. And they can do this by choosing and tracking the right set of call center metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
In this article, we’ll share fifteen essential call center metrics that customer service leaders and managers should monitor to ensure maximum productivity and profitability.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to go to a specific section)
- What Are Call Center Metrics?
- 15 Essential Metrics To Track For Call Center Success
- First Response Time (FRT)
- First Call Resolution (FCR)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
- Call Arrival Rate
- Peak Hour Traffic
- Cost Per Call (CPC)
- Average Call Duration
- Average Call Abandonment Rate
- Average Handle Time (AHT)
- Average Speed Of Answer (ASA)
- Adherence Rate
- Average After-Call Work Time (ACWT)
- Occupancy Rate
What are call center metrics?
A successful call center is one that keeps the customers happy, the agents productive, and the operations profitable.
But without accurate numbers or valid data, you can only assume that customers are happy or that your agents are doing their best. This may lead to consistent losses or high agent attrition.
Fortunately, call center metrics and KPIs (including remote call center metrics) quantify different aspects of call center operations.
Managers can then evaluate them to see how close or far they are from the intended values, as mentioned in the SLA (Service Level Agreement).
These metrics may also reveal patterns with regards to customer experience, workforce management, and agent productivity. Leaders and managers can use these insights to fine-tune the call center processes further.
15 essential metrics to track for call center success
We’ve curated a list of fifteen must-watch call center metrics and KPIs for leaders and managers. These metrics are categorized into three sections, each of which is crucial for a call center’s success.
A. Customer experience metrics
Customer satisfaction goes hand in hand with brand-building for most businesses today.
A good way to ensure that is to offer a quality service experience during every customer interaction.
Sub-par customer service experiences may not only affect the brand’s image but also reduce sales. That’s why call center managers should be able to identify and minimize these instances.
Here are some metrics that managers can use to quantify customer experience:
1. First response time (FRT)
This vital KPI (Key Performance Indicator) shows the average amount of time a customer needs to wait before connecting to an agent.
Here’s the formula to calculate the FRT:
FRT = (Total time taken for first response) / (Total number of answered calls)
For live chat and phone support, the average FRT could range anywhere between 1-50 minutes.
No customer likes to wait unreasonably long to get an initial reply. With each passing minute without a response, their satisfaction level may take a hit, or they might abandon the call before an agent could even respond.
Most call centers have a baseline FRT specified in their service level agreement. If not, it’s a good practice to train your agents to meet a minimum benchmark.
In any case, tracking and improving FRT can help you keep your services fast and the customers happy.
2. First call resolution (FCR)
FCR measures your team’s ability to resolve customer issues during the very first call.
Here’s the formula to calculate FCR percentage:
FCR = [(Total inquiries resolved during the first call) / (Total number of first calls)] *100
FCR is widely regarded as the most important metric to track by customer service experts. It has a direct or indirect effect on almost all other call center metrics and is key to profitability.
Here’s a brief look at how tracking and improving FCR can help your call center:
- Minimizes follow-up calls – reducing the operational cost of the call center.
- Helps you score big on customer satisfaction as they won’t need to call multiple times to get their queries resolved.
- Spot agents who need to make a lot of repeat customer calls and further train them to improve the FCR score.
3. Net promoter score (NPS)
NPS gives you a clear indication of how your brand is perceived by the customers.
It can help you measure customer loyalty and satisfaction by asking them just one question:
“On a scale of [0-10], how likely is it that you would recommend [company/product/service] to your friends, family, or colleagues?”
Depending on the ratings they give, customers fall into any of the three categories:
- Promoters (9-10): Loyal customers and most likely to promote your brand with positive word-of-mouth.
- Passives (7-8): Those who are satisfied with the product or service but not enough to recommend it to others.
- Detractors (0-6): Customers that are unhappy with the product or service and are unlikely to buy again or recommend it to others.
After getting the customers’ ratings, NPS can be calculated as:
NPS = (% Promoters) – (% Detractors)
Tracking NPS can help you pin-point weaker areas in your customer experience operations.
You can also check the NPS benchmark for your industry to get a clearer picture of where you currently stand in comparison with your competitors.
4. Customer effort score (CES)
CES uses a single question or a short survey to gauge the ease of doing business with your brand.
A CES survey can be used for a range of customer experience scenarios, such as:
- Purchasing a product through the website.
- Placing a returns/refund request.
- Using a new mobile app.
- Connecting with your customer support team, and so on.
Here’s a sample approach to measure CES:
Ask the customer to rate their experience with a targeted question like:
“How much effort did it take to [specific scenario]?”
Customers can choose a rating on a five-point scale, where a one-point rating represents ‘extremely difficult,’ and a five-point rating means ‘extremely easy.’
A high average CES means your company makes it highly convenient for customers to do business with you. It may help with customer retention and boost brand loyalty in the long run.
A low average should prompt you to look for the probable bottlenecks and address them as quickly as possible.
5. Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
Like CES, customer satisfaction is measured by asking the customers to fill short surveys through various channels — email, in-app, post-service, etc.
The exact questions and the rating system may vary depending on the business.
Here are a few sample questions to measure CSAT:
- “On a scale of (1-5), how would you rate your experience with [specific scenario]?” (1 – highly unsatisfied, 5 – highly satisfied)
- “Are you satisfied with [product or service]?” (yes/no)
- “How would you describe your service experience with us today?” (unsatisfactory / it’s okay / it’s great).
You can use the following formula to calculate the CSAT score:
% CSAT = (Total no. of satisfied customers) / (Total no. customers who responded to the survey)
Tracking customer satisfaction score will help you understand your customers better and stay in tune with their needs and expectations.
Improving your CSAT score will also positively impact other metrics such as customer retention rate and customer churn rate.
A happy and satisfied customer will keep returning to the product or service that you offer.
B. Operational efficiency metrics
Tracking strategically chosen call center KPIs can help managers optimize contact center operations and keep the profitability high.
Let’s look at some operational efficiency metrics:
6. Call arrival rate
Call arrival rate gives the contact center a measure of the average number of incoming calls they receive in a specific timeframe:
Call Arrival Rate = Total incoming calls per [second/minute/hour/day]
Managers should track this metric regularly to assess and plan the call center operations efficiently.
For example, if the call arrival rate gets too high, they can route calls to either IVR (Interactive Voice Response) or website chatbots, in order to balance the agent workload.
7. Peak hour traffic
Tracking peak hour traffic will help call centers identify the time frame with the highest volume of inbound calls.
Knowing their busiest hours will help managers forecast the staffing needs and schedule the agents’ shifts accordingly.
8. Cost per call (CPC)
Cost per call measures the average expense associated with each call. It can be calculated for both inbound and outbound calls as:
CPC = (Total cost of all calls) / (Total answered calls)
The total cost may include several different expenses such as agents’ salaries, equipment costs, license fees, etc.
CPC is a key metric that can help leaders keep the overall call center expenses in check.
It can also help analyze the returns on investments (ROI) when making a key decision, such as hiring new agents or upgrading a resource.
9. Average call duration
This metric tracks the average time spent on a call by an agent or the entire team:
Average Call Duration = (Total call time for all completed calls) / (Total completed calls)
It can give you real-time insights into agents’ performance and even client behavior.
For example, you may notice that the average call duration tends to be longer than usual on weekends.
Managers can use these insights to:
- Streamline the workflow.
- Set benchmarks for quality assurance.
- Manage resources efficiently.
10. Average call abandonment rate
This metric measures the percentage of callers that abandon the call before connecting with an agent.
Here’s how to calculate this metric:
Abandonment Rate: [(Total abandoned calls) / (Total incoming calls)] * 100
This is closely related to the ‘average speed to answer’ metric, as customers usually hang up in frustration when they’ve to wait too long to reach an agent.
An abandon rate of 5-8% falls in the normal range. But any higher percentage of dropped calls is a cause of concern and must be addressed quickly.
Using efficient call center software can help reduce the call abandon rate.
It can either route calls to a self-service IVR system or schedule a call-back whenever required. The customers will appreciate this approach as they don’t have to wait long without a response.
C. Agent productivity metrics
Highly productive agents are crucial to any call center’s success.
Fortunately, many reliable performance metrics can help you measure agent performance and productivity.
Let’s take a closer look at them:
11. Average handle time (AHT)
AHT tracks the average amount of time an agent takes to handle a complete call.
Here’s how to calculate AHT:
AHT = [(Total talk time) + (Total hold time) + (Total After-Call Work Time)] / (Total calls handled by the agent)
Although AHT is a vital productivity metric, it shouldn’t be treated as a parameter for an agents’ success.
Doing so might prompt the agents to wrap the call as quickly as possible, without aiming to resolve the customer issue. That’ll certainly result in unhappy clients.
Managers should rather track AHT to assess the overall call efficiency and set benchmarks for different inquiry types.
12. Average speed of answer (ASA)
ASA calculates the average amount of time it takes to answer a customer’s call after it has been routed to the call center.
Tracking ASA will give you an indication of how quickly a contact center agent responds when answering inbound calls.
ASA is usually a part of the call center’s SLA, which guarantees a minimum number of answered calls within a specific time frame.
Here’s how to calculate it:
ASA = [(Total wait time for answered calls) / (Total number of calls answered)] * 100
Slow response times would translate to higher instances of missed calls and unhappy customers. However, improving the ASA by hiring additional employees could increase the operational cost.
The managers need to be aware of this trade-off and should aim to strike a balance.
ASA can be improved with simple changes such as:
- Upgrading the agent work tools.
- Equipping the agents with effective scripts.
- Predicting call volumes, etc.
13. Adherence rate
Adherence rate is a great way to measure agent productivity. It’s a measure of how well your agents stick to their work schedules.
It’s calculated as:
Adherence rate = [(Hours spent in schedule adherence) / (Total scheduled hours)] * 100
A high adherence rate (anything above 80%) indicates that agents utilize their work hours productively.
Here’s a quick look at some of Time Doctor’s key features:
- Time tracking: Call center agents can track their work hours using a simple start/stop timer.
- Idle-time alerts: Idle-time pop-ups can nudge them to resume work if there’s no activity on their PC.
- Detailed productivity reports: Managers can see daily, weekly or monthly reports highlighting agents’ time utilization and web usage.
- Productivity ratings: Managers can rate websites and apps as productive, unproductive, or neutral to see more accurate agent reports.
14. Average after-call work time (ACWT)
Call center agents often need to spend some time after each call to log and process the information gathered.
Post-call processing tasks may include:
- Logging the inquiry.
- Saving customer details.
- Scheduling follow-up calls, etc.
ACWT is a productivity KPI that measures the average amount of time an agent takes to wrap up the post-call processing.
You can calculate the average ACW as:
Average ACW = (Total time to complete after-call work) / (Total no. of calls handled)
This KPI can give you insights into an agent’s call handling ability – i.e., how quickly an agent can wrap up the current call and is ready to take on the next one. ACW is vital in calculating average handle time as well.
ACW can be optimized through effective agent training on note-taking skills and by using templates for routine record-keeping tasks.
15. Occupancy rate
Occupancy rate refers to the amount of time an agent is occupied with work – handling calls or finishing other non-call-related tasks.
Agent occupancy rate can be calculated as:
% Occupancy Rate: [(Total work time) / (Total logged-in time)] * 100
Where Total Work time = (Total talk time + Total hold time + Total after-call work time)
While a high occupancy rate is desirable, managers should be mindful of the agent’s workload and stress levels when setting benchmarks.
Tracking the right metrics can dramatically improve call center performance on every count.
But with hundreds of KPIs around, it can be challenging to pick the right ones for your contact center.
Not anymore. Now you have an essential list of fifteen call center metrics to choose from.
The metrics and KPIs shared in this article will surely help your team reach peak performance and maximize the bottom line.
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.