It would be disingenuous to state that there is a definitive list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are best to monitor call center performance. In reality, there are dozens of KPIs that can be applied to a project to gauge successful results, and one size certainly doesn’t fit all. Key Performance Indicators are sets of data, and as with any set of data, it’s not necessarily the data alone that tells a comprehensive story, it’s the deep understanding and application of that data that allow companies to gain the insights they desire.
When contemplating how to monitor call center performance through KPIs, the first thing to note is that not all projects are created equal. There are many different types of contact center projects in existence. At the highest level, projects can be sorted by either inbound or outbound contacts. Most outbound contacts will have a sales, polling, or data gathering component. Speed may be important, but items like revenue or schedule adherence may trump handle time. Conversely, many inbound projects will prioritize service level items such as speed to answer and first call resolution. Especially if these calls are quick orders, reservations, or FAQ support in nature.
As you can see, nuance and complexity are somewhat unavoidable when contemplating the right set of KPIs to track for your projects. Rather than classifying specific KPIs as “mission critical”, we believe in taking a more holistic view by bundling your call center metrics into broader categories. Here is a sample set of 5 categories that we believe are mission critical and should be contemplated with every project:
We begin with competency rates. In short, this data should track how quick it takes to get brand new agents taking calls and contributing positively to the project. This affects your ability to scale. The faster agents can be fully up to speed and successfully responding to contacts, the better that is for a company’s bottom line. Recruiting, onboarding, and training metrics should all be tracked in this category. As we all know, agent attrition can be debilitating for a company and the costs to find new people are only rising, while the depth and quality of candidates seems to be shrinking.
Some mission critical KPIs to understand competency and scalability should be Speed to Competency (in number of days to have an agent trained and ready to take calls), and Speed to Ramp (in number agents that can be ramped up to full competency in number of days). Hard costs to advertise and recruit should also be included in this category so that you can have a holistic view on your ability to scale your operations.
Response rates are a critical component to any inbound project. From a customer perspective, these are the KPIs to watch closely in order to quell frustration and complaints. Traditional metrics such as Answer Call or Email Ratios and Abandonment Rates will fall into this category. These are really speed to answer and agent availability metrics. In traditional contact centers, clients will pay a premium for quicker answer times. The reason for the premium is that more agents need to be paid to be on stand-by in order to meet these KPIs. It becomes extremely important to understand call arrival patterns and surge times in order to properly manage the workforce in this category.
The amount of time a call center agent spends on a contact is important for all types of contacts. Most contact centers will keep a very close eye on Average Handle TIme (AHT). It stands to reason that lower AHT rates are better for clients and agents. However, this also depends on the type of project that you are trying to manage. If an agent’s AHT is really low, but they are not meeting the desired result or, even worse, their complaint rate is high, then rewarding your agent performance by AHT can be very detrimental. Conversely, if the AHT rate is high, but your agent is obtaining the desired result and their First Call Resolution (FCR) rates are high, then it wouldn’t be prudent to punish this behavior.
Another important KPI to measure with respect to Handle Time is Occupancy Rate. This is the amount of time that an agent is actually dealing with a contact over the course of 60 minutes. If this rate is too high, then you might encounter agent burnout. If the rate is too low, then you are paying for idle agents. This is one of the biggest reasons to look at an on-demand solution where you only pay for Agent Productive Time (only the amount of time that agents are actually conversing with clients).
Another very important category to watch is Quality Assurance (QA). The specific KPIs that relate to QA are typically customer satisfaction (CSAT) or net promoter score (NPS). These customer satisfaction scores are typically gathered after a contact and can be benchmarked by industry. QA metrics can also be very specific to certain projects. For example, for certain inbound quick order calls, a QA metric might be as granular as having the agent say a particular phrase in their conversation. This is a binary yes/no metric that can have significant impact on customer satisfaction. Even simple phrases like using the customer’s name or greeting the client in a particular manner can have positive impacts in this category.
Schedule Adherence is another important KPI to track for all contact center operators, especially if you are using an on-demand solution. Ensuring that your agents are actively logging in to their shifts on time and ready to work and ensuring that the schedules match the call arrival patterns are all KPIs to watch in this category. Highly advanced workforce managers will be able to track items such as Peak Day to Low Day Ratio which tracks a contact center’s ability to handle surges in volumes at any particular moment in time.
In summary, we suggest taking a holistic view of your KPIs when assessing your contact center performance. If you keep in mind the broader organizational objectives when creating your KPI dashboards, and bundle your metrics into KPI categories, then you will be able to use your data to tell a more comprehensive and compelling story. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of KPIs that you can use to track your contact center’s performance. Choose wisely and feel free to contact our partnership team at AgentsOnly if you need assistance. We would happily align you with a professional from our marketplace that can help you better analyze your data.