5 call center metrics for successful benchmarking
By Quinn Malloy
| 18. May 2020 |
Metrics - Data
By Q. Malloy Quinn Malloy
| 18 May 2020 |
Metrics - Data
    By Q. Malloy Quinn Malloy
    | 18 May 2020
    Metrics - Data

    5 call center metrics for successful benchmarking


    To provide customers with unrivalled customer support, you first need to know your call center performance metrics, compare them with average results of your competitors, and strive to improve these metrics. Here’s why call center metrics and their benchmarks are crucial for your business.

    The call center is an important, yet operationally-complex part of your business. In order for it to function properly and serve its purpose, call center agents have to be efficient and empathetic at the same time.

    It’s not the easiest task, but with the right mix of call center metrics and the ability to track them well, you can balance the need for operational efficiency with meeting customer expectations in no time. 

    How to make sure you track the right call center metrics, though?

    Follow the industry trends and see what metrics other call centers are after. Here’s exactly when benchmarking comes in useful. When comparing call center agent performance metrics, you can determine:

    • whether your call center metrics comply with best practices and the average numbers for the industry,
    • what’s the forecasted performance of your agents compared to competitors,
    • how to improve call center metrics in the long run.

    By knowing the answers to these questions, you can apply the necessary changes to improve your call center metrics and stand out from your competitors. 

    That’s why call center managers pay attention to benchmarking, obtaining relevant metrics and comparing them with globally applied call center metrics – and why you should too.

    Remember that each business is unique, so the best benchmarks are always those that can bring your call center closer to the goals you’ve set for it. 

    To give you some ideas, below you will find popular metrics with average values and best practices to enhance your call center performance:

    • service level,
    • average abandonment rate,
    • average speed to answer,
    • first-call resolution rate,
    • average call duration.

    Let’s dive in.

    A comprehensive guide to choosing your call center software

    Call center metrics to track

    #1 Service Level

    Service Level is the percentage of inbound calls answered below a predefined target level

    Service Level is related to the company’s accessibility in the eyes of its customers and the ability to forecast the number of incoming calls, as well as to adapt the number of agents accordingly.

    This is an important call center metric to track because it’s directly linked to the quality of customer service. Basically, it indicates how quickly your callers are connected to your agents and how fast their problems are being addressed. 

    To get to the average statistics of this metric, managers must first define a specific goal for your call center. This goal represents the maximum number of callers in the queue before their call is received during a set period of time.

    Example: the aim is to answer 90% of incoming calls in 3 minutes.

    “The global metric for Service Level in a call center is 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds.”

    How to improve this call center metric?

    Service level is the basic metric measuring the efficiency of your team when handling calls in a queue. Therefore, if it’s far from being satisfactory, you might want to hire more agents, try out new customer support tools like call center software, and organise the work at your call center better. 

    #2 Average Abandonment Rate 

    When calculating the Average Abandonment Rate, you take into account the number of callers that hang up before they are routed to the agent. For example, if your call center receives 1000 calls per day out of which 40 calls are abandoned – your abandonment rate is 4%.

    The Abandonment Rate is related to the speed at which call center agents answer calls. As a rule, the quicker the calls are answered, the lower the Abandonment Rate. High Abandonment Rate might lead to loss of business opportunities and poor customer service.

    “The global metric for abandonment rate in call centers is between 5 and 8%.”

    How to improve this call center metric?

    Clients usually hang up during the IVR menu stage or in a caller queue. If that’s the case with your call center – you should take a closer look at the IVR you have in place. Don’t discourage your callers from waiting for the right agent that can assist them best – improve your IVR with these 5 practical steps

    #3 Average Speed to Answer

    Average Speed to Answer indicates the pace at which an agent answers incoming calls. While calculating it, you should consider the amount of time from when the phone rings until the agent answers, but not the time it takes for callers to navigate through the IVR menu or to wait in a queue.

    This metric proves to be important when assessing a call centre’s efficiency and accessibility to callers and contributes to the overall satisfaction of your existing and potential clients.

    To give you an idea: “The global metric for average speed to answer in the call center is approximately 28 s.”

    How to improve this call center metric?

    Start with estimating the volume of incoming calls, having enough agents on board to facilitate them, and setting a maximum number of pending calls to a single agent.

    This way, callers that “won’t make it” will automatically be redirected to voicemail in order to reduce excessive waiting time. You could also enable the callback option, letting the callers decide right away if they prefer to wait in the queue or for a callback instead.  

    #4 First Call Resolution

    First Call Resolution measures the percentage of all calls during which the caller’s query was solved on the first attempt, without having to transfer the call to another agent or return the call. 

    First Call Resolution reflects both the efficiency of your call center agents as well as the satisfaction of your customers. Studies show that 48% of customers prefer giving a company a call to have their issue resolved, and there are a few good reasons for that.

    Whenever there’s an important issue to be resolved, many customers still choose to have a phone conversation and ask for assistance immediately. Make sure your call center agents do their best to actually provide that assistance. 

    “The global metric for first call resolution is 70 – 75%.”

    How to improve this call center metric?

    Analyse calls which didn’t end up with a solution. Most likely, your phone system is equipped with a call recording feature – which means that you can listen to such conversations right away and try to figure out what went wrong.

    Maybe there’s a pattern that can be addressed? It’s also a good practice to set up intelligent call routing, and have your callers assisted by agents that are already familiar with their case to speed up the resolution. 

    #5 Average Call Duration

    This is the total amount of time every agent speaks to the caller on the phone, from the moment they answer until the call ends. This time is measured in minutes and does not include the pre-call preparation or post-call wrap-up. 

    The shorter your average call time is, the better for your call center – provided that the majority of calls ends up with the actual resolution. This way, both callers and operators do not have to waste time, while customers are still getting the answers they were looking for. 

    “The global metric for average call duration in call centers is 4 minutes per call.”

    How to improve this call center metric?

    Enable easy access to customer data by integrating your call center with other business tools. When your agents have all important details in one place, they don’t have to look for them in multiple systems or ask customers for them more than once, which turns out to be frustrating for many callers. This makes the conversations shorter as your agents can get straight to the point. 

    Start tracking your own call center metrics

    The numbers might not give you the whole story, but if you compare them with global standards – you will have a pretty good overview of how effective your call center really is.

    Keep an eye on the above-mentioned call center metrics, analyse them carefully, and take qualitative information into account to take your call center to the next level. 

    In order to effectively involve your call center in the benchmarking process, it’s also a good practice to use a powerful call center software like CloudTalk.

    This way, you will be able to obtain the right metrics easily and keep all your numbers in one place, no matter how big your contact center is.