15 important inbound call center metrics you should track today

by Andy Nguyen
inbound call center metrics

An inbound call center acts as the link between the customer and the company by handling incoming live calls for customer service. That’s why it’s necessary to ensure that your call center agents perform well on all calls. 

A good way to do this is to measure their performance regularly using certain inbound call center metrics.

In this article, we’ll discuss fifteen inbound metrics that can give you insights into your call center’s performance. We’ll also highlight the global standards for seven inbound call center metrics and share tips to improve these metrics.

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15 key inbound call center metrics to measure performance

As opposed to outbound calls, customers initiate inbound calls to customer service teams.

Some common customer support services provided by the inbound call center industry include:

  • Product and tech support: Respond to inquiries, complaints, password changes, update account information, etc.
  • Payment and order processing: Complete a customer’s purchase over phone calls, answer questions about billing, resolve online payment issues, etc.
  • Upgrade and renewal inquiries: Help customers upgrade or renew their plans for subscription-based businesses such as subscription boxes or SaaS companies.

Inbound call centers need to maintain a certain level of customer service and ensure customer satisfaction. This requires measuring call center and agent performance regularly.

But how do you measure your call center performance and productivity?

These fifteen inbound call center metrics can help you out:

1. Average wait time

The Average Wait Time (AWT) is an important metric that measures the average time customers spend waiting on hold for an agent. A long wait time may lead to a poor customer satisfaction score.

Here’s how you can calculate AWT:

Average Wait Time (AWT)

While there may be valid reasons for putting a customer on hold, your customer service executives should ensure they keep the waiting time to a minimum. 

2. Call abandonment rate

In an inbound call center, the Call Abandonment Rate (CAR) refers to the number of calls where the customer hangs up before your agent answers the call.

Dropped calls may be directly related to long wait times.

Here’s the formula to calculate the abandon rate:

Call abandonment rate (CAR)

You can reduce your call abandonment rate by ensuring you have enough agents during peak periods, offering self-service options to customers to reduce the incoming calls, etc.

An abandoned call could mean a frustrated customer, who may potentially lose trust in your brand. However, some dropped calls may be due to poor network, customer’s other engagements, etc.

3. Average call transfer 

The Average Call Transfer (ACT) rate is a critical call center metric determining the number of customer calls transferred to other departments, supervisors, etc.

Here’s how you can calculate the transfer rates:


While most of these transfers are necessary for better resolution of the customer requests, customers generally aren’t too pleased with them. That’s why you should aim to keep them to a minimum.

You can greatly reduce the need for transferring calls by ensuring that your IVR system (Interactive Voice Response system) is easy to navigate and clearly describes each department. 

You should also focus on agent training and skill-building so that they can better handle customer queries.

4. First call resolution

The First Call Resolution (FCR) rate shows the successful resolution of a customer’s problem within their first call to your call center. 

This important metric significantly contributes towards enhancing your customer relationships and their level of satisfaction. 

You can calculate FCR using the following formula:


Note: The call center managers and agents decide the definition of resolution of an issue.

Customer requests like reservation changes, bookings, cancellations, etc., that usually don’t require repeat calls are considered to calculate FCR.

Call centers across industries consider FCR as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that indicates customer satisfaction levels. 

5. Average handle time

The Average Handle Time (AHT) is the average number of minutes an agent takes to handle a call from the beginning till the end. It includes the customer’s hold time during the call and the agent’s after-call work time.

Here’s the formula to calculate the AHT:


It’s important to note that a low AHT isn’t always desirable. 

Sometimes, your agent’s AHT may go beyond the set standard because they needed time to resolve a query from an angry customer. 

6. Contact quality

Contact Quality is a common call center metric (qualitative) measured by a special team of quality control experts.

These experts analyze recordings of some answered calls and evaluate the agents based on:

  • Courtesy and professionalism.
  • Accuracy of their information.
  • Efficiency of capturing customer data, etc.

The qualitative analysis can help you understand the inconsistencies in your agents’ behavior, tone, and how they handle a situation. You can use this information to create standardized call center scripts and train agents to meet customer expectations.

7. Customer satisfaction score

The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a great indicator of how happy the customer is with your brand as a whole.

Generally, companies ask customers to provide feedback on how satisfied they are with the agent’s resolution of their issue.

Usually, they can rate their feedback as:

  • Very Satisfied.
  • Satisfied.
  • Not Satisfied.
  • Very Unsatisfied.

You can then calculate the average CSAT score with the following formula:

Average CSAT

If you want to improve your CSAT score, you need to ensure that your call center agents are well trained and meet or exceed the standards for other metrics like AHT, FCR, etc.

CSAT is also directly related to the Net Promoter Score, since the better your customer satisfaction, the more likely they are to promote your brand.

8. Net promoter score

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a popular market research metric that tells how many loyal customers you have.

Customers generally rate the brand on a scale of 0-10, where: 

  • 9-10 are promoters.
  • 7-8 are passives.
  • 0-6 are detractors.

Based on this classification, the formula for calculating the NPS is:


It can help you determine whether your brand’s customer experience results in customer satisfaction. If it doesn’t, you need to find out the areas which can be improved and reallocate your resources and finances in that direction.

9. Customer retention rate

The Customer Retention Rate (CRR) refers to the percentage of existing active customers who remain a part of your pool of customers within a specific time frame.

Here’s the formula to calculate the CRR:


To increase the retention rate, your call center should have a specialized customer retention team that can handle any complicated customer issue. 

10. Customer churn rate

The Customer Churn Rate (CCR) calculates the percentage of customers that stopped using your brand in a given period of time.

The formula for calculating CCR is:


Since CRR and CCR go hand in hand, the strategies you adopt to increase your retention rate can automatically reduce your churn rate.

11. Average after-call work time

The Average After-Call Work Time metric measures the time taken by an agent to complete all call-related work. These tasks may include taking notes, filling out forms, entering customer information, etc.

You can calculate it using the following formula:

Average ACWT

A higher average time spent on after-call work may indicate an inefficiency among agents, call center tools, or workflows.

Monitoring agent productivity, creating templates for routine tasks, and eliminating unnecessary steps in the workflow may help to reduce the time.

12. Cost per contact

The Cost Per Contact (CPC) refers to the average cost a call center has to incur for every call it handles. It indicates the total cost of running a call center, including wages, incentives, software and hardware costs, etc. 

Let’s look at the formula for calculating the CPC:


The metric also offers insights into the call center’s operational efficiency — whether you’re allocating your resources appropriately and cost-effectively.

13. Service level

The Service Level metric is a reliable indicator of your call center’s performance and may also indicate the level of customer satisfaction. It’s usually based on the average speed of answer. 

There are three different formulas to calculate a call center’s service level, depending on how you consider the abandoned calls — whether it’s a missed opportunity, ignored, or counted. 

Here are the three formulas:

Note: Here, Y seconds is the predetermined threshold or the minimum time within which an agent should attend customer calls.

a. When abandoned calls are considered as a missed opportunity

When Abandoned calls are missed opportunity

b. When abandoned calls are ignored

When Abandoned calls are ignored

c. When abandoned calls are counted

When abandoned calls are counted

You can improve your service levels by:

  • Training your call center agents.
  • Improving operational efficiency.
  • Upgrading your call center technology.

14. Agent schedule adherence

Agent Schedule Adherence is a metric that determines whether agents are working within their set schedules. 

You can calculate the schedule adherence using the following formula:


Adherence to the schedule and minimal agent absenteeism ensures a smooth transition between agents’ shifts. This can reduce the number of missed calls or abandoned calls and enhance the call center’s service level.

A comprehensive workforce management tool like Time Doctor can assist you in calculating this metric by accurately tracking the log in time, break time, etc. The tool also tracks attendance and monitors agent productivity.

15. Agent attrition rate

The Agent Attrition Rate is an indicator of agent turnover. It’s a metric that demonstrates the pace at which your agents resign or retire. 

Here’s how you can calculate it:

Agent Attrition Rate

A high attrition rate increases your operational costs and can also reduce your call center’s ability to serve your customers efficiently and satisfactorily.

A great way to reduce agent attrition is by promoting an employee-centric work environment that makes them feel valued and increases their engagement and job satisfaction.

Additionally, conducting exit interviews can provide honest insights into workplace issues and enable you to take measures to prevent these issues from reoccurring.

Here are a few more tips to reduce call center attrition.

The global standards for 7 inbound call center metrics

All the inbound call center metrics we covered above are important for enhancing your call center performance.

However, the industry standards for most metrics depend on your business and the main function of your call center. 

But certain metrics have uniform standards across all industries:

MetricGlobal Standards
Call Abandonment RateOnly 5-8% of the total calls should be dropped or terminated before resolution.
First Call Resolution70-75% of the customer issues should be resolved during the first call. 
Average Handle TimeThe AHT benchmark is usually taken as 6 minutes, 3 seconds.
Contact QualityYou should review 1-2 calls every week, though the global average number is around 4 calls per month.
Customer Satisfaction Score90% of calls should result in a happy customer.
Customer Churn RateThe acceptable churn rate is 5-7% churn, annually.
Service LevelCall centers should aim to answer 80% of customer calls within 20 seconds.

Read about some other essential call center metrics.

Some best practices to improve inbound call center metrics

It’s important to regularly analyze the inbound call center metrics so that you can understand how your agents perform and where there’s a scope for improvement. 

But how do you improve your call center metrics?

Here are some guidelines:

  • Set goals: Unless you know what you want to achieve from your call center metrics, you’ll not be able to use your data well enough. Setting goals will help you measure the right metrics.
  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative metrics: Qualitative information like agent’s behavior, their level of dedication, how they talk to customers, etc., are equally important for developing strategies to improve customer support and agent performance.
  • Measure relevant metrics together: Metrics like first-call resolution, customer churn rate, customer satisfaction score work together to give you a complete picture of the call center’s performance. That’s why it’s essential to measure them individually as well as collectively.
  • Share data: Customer interaction data is also important for relevant teams like production, business development, etc. It provides insights into customers’ concerns and enables you to take the necessary corrective actions to lower your incoming calls and improve customer satisfaction.
  • Discuss the findings: Transparency will help your call center team build trust and improve their performance to reach their goals. 

In addition to improving the metrics, you should also look to improve your call center operations.

For more best practices, check out our detailed guide.  

Final thoughts

Inbound call center metrics offer useful insights about whether your call center’s performance is up to the expected standards.

To get a complete picture of your call center’s performance, it’s important to measure qualitative and quantitative metrics like contact quality, average call transfer, etc. You can use the formulas and tips discussed here to measure and improve your inbound call center performance.

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