Outbound call center managers must ensure that all operations are constantly optimized to run at maximum efficiency. However, to improve something, you need to measure it first.
And you can do this by tracking outbound call center metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
But with hundreds of call center metrics out there, which ones should you track?
In this article, we’ll cover 15 essential metrics that you can track to improve agent efficiency and call center profitability.
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- 15 Key Outbound Call Center Metrics to Track
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15 essential outbound call center metrics to track in 2021
Let’s take a look at 15 essential metrics that you should track to optimize overall performance:
1. Occupancy rate
Occupancy rate indicates how busy your call center agents are. This metric includes time spent on live calls as well as post-call work like updating customer information.
Use the formula given below to calculate agent occupancy:
Occupancy Rate = (Total Call Handle Time / Total Logged-in Time) * 100
For example, let’s say an agent works for 8 hours a day and spends 4 hours 50 minutes on call-related activities.
Then, converting the time into minutes:
- 8 hours = 480 minutes
- 5 hours 50 minutes = 350 minutes
Occupancy = (350/480)*100 = 72.91%
This metric is a direct measure of the agent’s productivity as compared to idle time. As a result, it helps maintain appropriate workforce levels, which in turn boosts customer experience.
If these rates are low, the agents might be spending excess time on non-work-related tasks.
It also shows that there might be workflow issues within the call center that are affecting agent productivity.
2. Call quality
Call quality is an important metric that measures the efficiency and effectiveness of interaction between agents and customers.
You can record live outbound calls and review them based on certain factors to determine call quality.
Some of the ways you can measure this qualitative metric include:
- Adherence to call script.
- Agent behavior.
- Engagement with the customer.
- Ability to convert leads into sales.
But why are multiple factors essential for quality assurance?
An agent’s number of calls doesn’t describe the quality of their interactions. They may also have low conversion rates as compared to calls handled.
Call quality monitoring helps to detect such issues.
3. Hit rate
The hit rate is the percentage of the sales made by an agent from the total number of leads.
It provides a clear view of the contact list’s quality. You can measure the hit rate for an agent, team, or the whole call center campaign.
Here’s how you can calculate the hit rate:
Hit Rate = (Sales Made / Closed Contacts) * 100
Here, closed leads refer to contacts that will not be called again.
For example, let’s say an agent generated 100 leads, out of which 30 converted to sales.
Then, closed contacts = 100-30 = 70.
Hit Rate = (30/70)*100 = 42.86%
4. Lead conversion rate
Lead conversion rate or sales conversion rate refers to the percentage of calls that resulted in an outbound sale.
It’s the total number of sales divided by the total number of outbound sales calls answered by potential customers.
You can write this as:
Lead Conversion Rate = (Total Number of Sales / Total Leads) * 100
For example, let’s say an agent generated 65 qualified leads, 32 converted to successful sales. Then, conversion rate = (32/65)*100 = 49.23%
Lead conversion rate is one of the most commonly tracked key metrics at outbound call centers.
This metric is crucial to what your business does. Making calls is easy, but if the calls do not turn into paying customers, you lose both time and money.
A low conversion rate increases your cost per lead and impacts your company’s overall revenue.
5. Average handle time (AHT)
Average handle time (AHT) is the average length of time it takes to handle complete customer interaction.
Call center managers use AHT to gauge an agent’s efficiency and calculate the total number of sales agents needed for a shift.
Here’s how you can calculate AHT:
Average Handle Time = (Talk Time + Hold Time + After-call Work Time + Dialing Time + Contacting Time) / Total Interactions Handled
- Dialing time: Time taken to dial a contact.
- Contacting time: Time taken to connect to a contact.
- Talk time: Total time spent on speaking to customers.
- Hold time: Total time a prospect or lead was on hold.
- Wrap-up time: Total time spent on post-call activities.
Usually, lower AHT indicates that the call center is operating efficiently as it means that agents are handling more calls.
However, lowering AHT could also have a negative impact on customer satisfaction and experience. Agents might feel compelled to rush callers through the interaction.
Looking to reduce your agents’ time on a call? Check out this detailed guide about average handle time including its importance, measurement, and seven actionable steps to improve it.
6. Call abandonment rate
Call abandonment rate is the total number of lost calls while a prospect is waiting on hold for an agent.
An outbound call abandonment occurs when auto-dialers like predictive dialer place multiple calls for each available agent. As a result, an agent might not be able to answer all the calls, leading to call abandonment.
There are two types of abandoned calls:
- True Abandon: Call answered but abandoned before the system could route it to an available agent.
- Compliance Abandon: Call answered but wasn’t routed to an available agent within a set system limit.
A high abandon rate indicates that the dialer is burning through the contact list — which is simply an inefficient dialing strategy for any call center.
To minimize dropped calls, you should ensure that you have enough agents working on the dialer and that you’re using a quality contact list.
7. First call close (FCC)
First call close (FCC) is the number of sales made on an agent’s first call with the customer.
Closing a sale on the first call may sound difficult for some business models and outbound calling campaigns.
However, doing so will improve your business’s overall efficiency, ultimately allowing you to generate more revenue.
Here’s how you can calculate FCC:
First Call Close = (New Leads Closed on the First Call / Total New Lead Calls) * 100
For example, if you make 60 new customer calls and close 25 of them, then,
First Call Close = (25/60)*100 = 41.67%.
To optimize FCC, you can:
- Have a well-thought and dynamic sales script to guide the sales agents.
- Route inbound calls of new customers to a sales professional.
- Provide a waiting queue so that the customer doesn’t directly hang up.
A lower FCC can leave a positive impression on customers, increase customer satisfaction and their loyalty — which provides a greater chance for customer retention.
8. Contact rate
Contact rate is the ratio between the number of effective contact attempts with customers against the number of used leads.
To put it simply, it’s the percentage of calls that actually lead to human contact.
Calculate contact rate with this formula:
Contact Rate = (Total Outbound Calls Answered by Customers / Total Outbound Calls) * 100
For example, let’s say an agent made 250 outbound sales calls in a day and 160 were answered.
Then, the contact rate = (160/250)*100 = 64%
Contact rate helps determine the quality of the lead list, i.e., whether your agents and software are reaching the right leads at the right time. It also shows how well your outbound campaign is performing.
To avoid spending resources on missed calls, you should:
- Use high-quality contact lists.
- Schedule your outgoing calls to match your leads’ schedule.
- Make a good offer via voicemail to encourage call-backs.
9. Cost per call (CPC)
Cost per call (CPC) is the cost of making each outbound call by all agents. It’s the sum of all operational costs of a call center divided by the total number of calls made.
This includes costs like the phone system, call center software, internet charges, office supplies, and more.
You can calculate CPC using this formula:
Cost per Call = Total Operational Costs / Total Number of Outbound Calls
CPC is used for optimizing resource allocation, budgeting, and other tasks.
10. After call work time (ACWT)
After-call work time (ACWT) tracks how long it takes a call center employee to finish all the tasks related to a customer call once the caller hangs up.
This includes activities like:
- Sending feedback forms.
- Updating sales database.
- Scheduling follow-up calls.
Calculate ACWT using the formula:
After-Call Work Time = Total Handling Time – (Total Hold Time + Total Talk Time)
This KPI mainly depends on the following factors:
- The industry sector you’re working for.
- The complexity of the customer issue.
- Internal processes.
- The efficiency of the customer service representative.
ACWT helps you evaluate how your agents are spending their time and how calls are being handled. Analyzing such factors can help you create a more efficient workflow for your employees.
11. Average talk time (ATT)
Average talk time (ATT) is the amount of time an agent spends talking to customers.
This metric is often confused with average handle time (AHT), but it’s important to understand the difference.
Average handle time includes hold time, wrap-up work, and other interaction-related activities. On the other hand, average talk time is the time agents actually spent talking to the customer.
This can be written as:
Average Talk Time = (Total Handling Time – Total Hold Time – Total Wrap Up Time) / Total Calls Handled
A higher ATT might imply that an agent is trying to assist customers to the best of their potential. However, it could also mean that an agent is slow or using inefficient call center software.
A simple way to optimize ATT is to streamline your call center script. Dynamic scripts show a clear conversation path or address common questions. It also flags faulty segments with incorrect or incomplete answers during a sales call.
12. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
The customer acquisition cost (CAC) refers to the aggregate cost of acquiring a new customer. It provides a high-level view of the costs associated with converting leads.
You can calculate CAC with this formula:
Customer Acquisition Cost = Total Sales and Marketing Cost / Total Number of New Customers
Here, total sales and marketing costs include:
- Reaching out to prospects.
- Cost of the marketing and sales team.
- Technical costs, and more.
Understanding this metric allows you to get insights into spending and saving opportunities – helping you boost your call center’s ROI (return on investment).
Here’s how you can optimize CAC:
- Increase your average speed of answers for new leads.
- Define your ideal lead profile to declutter the calling list.
- Reduce overhead costs.
- Implement CRM system (Customer Relationship Management) automation.
13. Calls per agent
Calls per agent is the average number of calls handled by an agent.
You can calculate calls per agent by dividing the total number of calls made in a day by the total number of agents.
A subset of this metric is the number of calls per hour.
For example, let’s say during the evening shift, 45 agents placed 2400 calls.
Then, calls per agent = (2400/45) = 53.3
You can compare this number with past records. A large variation would suggest some discrepancy.
It can help you track the efficiency of each agent, indicating whether agents are performing their tasks.
Firstly, to improve this KPI, your call center software should be able to monitor agent activity. Now, to optimize agent performance, it should automate workflows, manage break requests, punch-ins, and more.
Automating such tasks simply saves time for your agents, which they can utilize on making calls.
However, despite your agents consistently dialing, if the calls per agent metric is still low, then the issue could be with your dialer. You must ensure that your dialer is configured for maximum dialing efficiency — there should be an optimal time gap between two consecutive calls.
Moreover, automating such basics yet time-consuming tasks increases employee satisfaction, which in turn can translate into low agent attrition rates.
14. Schedule adherence
Schedule adherence measures how strictly your call center agents are following their schedule.
In other words, if they’re working for the amount of time they’re scheduled to work.
To calculate schedule adherence, simply divide the total time an agent is available for work by the total time they’re scheduled for.
This can be written as:
Schedule Adherence = [(Scheduled Work Time – Non-Adherence Time) / Total Scheduled Work Time] * 100
Note: This also includes the time an agent spends on breaks and other non-work-related activities
Tracking this metric in an outbound call center provides insight into how agents handle their work hours. It determines the difference between scheduled calling time and actual calling time.
15. Customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction helps gauge the degree to which customers are satisfied with a service, product, or experience.
You can determine customer satisfaction levels through:
- Customer surveys: Collects relevant data on customer satisfaction and happiness via email, in-app, and post-service surveys.
- CSAT score: Requires customers to rate their satisfaction on a scale usually ranging between 1-3, 1-5, or 1-10.
- Net promoter score (NPS): Measures customer loyalty and their likelihood of recommending a service or business to others on a scale of 1-10.
Using outbound call center metrics effectively can substantially improve your call center’s performance.
For instance, if you want to enhance your agents’ efficiency, you can pick metrics like occupancy rate and calls per agent. Go through the list we’ve curated for you and choose the right metrics to boost your outbound call center performance in no time!
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.