The Ultimate Guide to Contact Center KPIs

Adding Contact Center KPIs to your Management Tool Box: 8 Key Metrics to Keep Your Eye On

Metrics aren’t everything. But, your contact center KPIs are an important piece in forming a happy team and happy customers.

You need powerful analytics to monitor, measure, and manage your agents and your interaction data during the day. Plus, you need a high-performing, empowered contact center.

It can be hard to manage. But, don’t feel burdened to track the dozens of KPI metrics available. Instead, customize your KPIs based on your business and contact center needs. This guide digs into some of the essential metrics to look out for, so you can pick and choose which ones need your focus.

Download Now: How to create CX strategies using actionable data from your contact center.

Call Quality

Call center KPIs offer insight into your agents’ interactions with customers. They help you see if customers can reach you quickly and if they get their most-pressing problems solved promptly. Looking into the quality and efficiency of agent’s calls gives you a lot of helpful data, so you know where to improve performance.

1. Service level

Your service level tells you how accessible your contact center is to your customers, and how efficient your agents are in providing good service. It’s a comprehensive metric for evaluating your contact center, and it’s a great place to start when you look at KPIs. Your service level gives you a bird’s-eye perspective of your customer experience and how your agents deliver on your SLAs.

Are your agents meeting essential targets in good time? Are your agents using their energy and resources well?

Find your service level by calculating the number of interactions your agents respond to in a certain amount of time. With this formula, you can track your service level manually if you don’t have analytics that auto-calculate it for you:

Service Level = [Number of calls answered within the service level threshold] / [Number of calls offered] x 100.

Service level is a contact center KPI to watch

2. First contact resolution

First Contact Resolution touches your contact center efficiency and effectiveness. FCR is when an agent takes a single interaction to resolve an issue with a customer. You can also call these one-touch cases.

Meeting this metric means your agents don’t have to transfer or escalate calls to a busy manager. And, your agents don’t have to promise to call the customer back with a solution. They problem-solve on the spot.

FCR is the standard for your agents. You want them to fix a customer’s problem on the first interaction. No one wants to play phone tag when seeking a resolution to a problem. If your customers know they can get an answer without wasting more of their time, it’s inevitable they’ll be more satisfied with your service. One study from the Service Quality Management Group found that for every 1% improvement in FCR, there’s a 1% improvement in CSAT. Those positive percentage points stack up quickly!

Determining your FCR rate is difficult without intimate knowledge of your customers. In reality, only your customers know when you’ve solved their problems. But pick a way to measure it and keep it consistent.

First call resolution % = (# of issues resolved on the first call ÷ total # of issues) x 100

First call resolution is another contact center KPI to watch

Optimize for better FCR by intelligently routing calls to agents with the right skillset. And, ensure your agents have interaction history and customer data on-hand to inform their conversations.

Coach agents to empowerment to improve FCR. Get the guide with 29 facts and tactics to help.

3. Call abandonment rate

An abandoned call is when the caller hangs up before reaching a live agent. Track your abandonment rate by dividing your number of abandoned interactions by your total inbound interactions.
Abandon rate is one contact center KPI to stash in your toolbox

This metric gives you insight into a few pieces of your contact center performance. A high abandonment rate can mean your agents need to reduce their average speed of answer, or it can signal that you need to use WFM to better predict your busy periods. This metric can even mean that your IVR is too confusing, causing customers to give up before reaching an agent.

No one likes sitting on hold for too long, or sending those “hello, is anyone there?” chats. Avoid long hold times and make sure your IVR is clear so your customers don’t get lost on their way to a human. Think through all the possibilities and look for patterns using other metrics to help you pinpoint trends.

Are your customers abandoning mid-IVR sequence? Maybe it’s too complex. Or, maybe it doesn’t have the option they need and there’s no escape route to a live agent.

Are your customers hanging up while in the queue? Watch your agent’s efficiency, and see if they have the tools they need to maintain pace with customer demands and keep wait times at bay.

Don’t put too much pressure on your agents for this metric, though. Sometimes you can’t control the abandonment of an interaction. It might be a crazy day, or your metric might shift by mistake with spam interactions. If your abandonment rate remains low, between 2 to 5%, consider yourself clear.

4. Average time on hold

This one is tricky for agents. You don’t want to compromise providing every customer with the best service just to be more efficient. But, waiting on hold can be a major friction point for your customers. No one likes sitting on the phone listening to some crackly elevator music for an hour (or more).

Here’s how to measure it: Average time on hold = (total initial wait time of all interactions)/ (# of interactions handled)

Average time on hold is a contact center kpi to keep on your radar

Make sure your agents have visibility into average hold time but encourage them that queue length shouldn’t distract from the customer they’re talking to in-the-moment.

That said, time on hold can make or break your customers’ experience. In fact, 60% of customers from a survey by Software Advice feel that waiting on hold for even just one minute is too long. In a recent survey, two-thirds of people said they’re only willing to wait on hold for two minutes or less. And 13% said that there’s no amount of time they’d be okay with waiting on hold.

What’s the max amount of time people justify waiting on the line? The American Express Customer Barometer Survey says 13 minutes is the cutoff before people abandon calls (and likely never call back).

Team and Agent Performance

5. Agent turnover rate

Contact centers are notorious for their agent turnover rates. In fact, contact center turnover is more than double the average for all occupations in the U.S.

With high turnover comes lots of problems. You suffer from high costs to hire and train new employees, inconsistent service, staffing shortages, low team and agent morale, the list goes on (and on).

Keep an eye on agent turnover, and calculate it often, so you can improve it.

Agent turnover rate is a contact center KPI that impacts dozens more

This metric will guide you, as the manager, to know where training, employee engagement, and empowerment need to improve. Agents seek clear priorities, direction and feedback from their managers, paths to advancement, and connection to a larger purpose. Once you know where you stand on employee turnover, you can implement changes in those key categories to fix it.

Improving your agent experience improves your agent turnover. Learn 9 of the business impacts that come with a better agent experience.

6. Escalation Rate

Do your agents frequently escalate interactions and hand them off to you to course correct?

Keeping a watch on your escalation rate gives you insight into how empowered your agents feel. If Jenny always passes interactions up the line, she’s likely struggling with empowerment. She might feel like she doesn’t have the knowledge or resources she needs to solve tough problems. Or, she might not feel the support she needs from you, manager. Low empowerment can even exist when an agent struggles to fit in with the rest of your team.

Watch this contact center KPI to learn if agents feel like they're part of a team

And when it hits, it impacts an agent’s entire performance.

Lack of empowerment at work tanks confidence, lowers productivity and performance, and leads to burnout. Turns out, an agent’s empowerment to offer unique resolutions to customers is the number one factor impacting their experience at work.

Track your escalation rate and pay close attention to who is handing off interactions. Then, check in with that agent in your 1:1s to see how you can help them take ownership and feel comfortable with more autonomy in their role, so they can solve problems without phoning a friend.

7. Interaction scoring

Interaction Scoring is more of a method than a KPI, but it still gives your agents a target percentage to aim for. It’s incredibly valuable to both you and your agents. It assigns a percentage to your agents’ interactions, letting them see one, summed-up grade across a breakdown of categories identifying how they handled an interaction.

Look at individual interactions agents have with customers, so you can pinpoint exactly where there’s room for improvement and where your team excels. Then, score them based on a system of feedback and questions you develop ahead of time.

Here’s an example agent scorecard to give you an idea of what criteria to track:

Pre-crafted agent scorecard to help with contact center KPIs

Record your agent’s phone calls and collect some of their chat records or emails, then review them with an agent scorecard in hand. Create a point system and check your criteria: How did they greet the customer? How fast did your agent find the details needed to solve the problem? What was their tone in doing so? Did they stick to protocol when documenting the interaction? How did they end the phone call?

As you create your agent scorecard, ask these questions to narrow your standards.

Customer Experience

8. Customer satisfaction

This metric is mission-critical to your contact center, your customer loyalty, and the ROI you deliver for your company. If you want to improve your customer satisfaction, first, you need to measure it. Sometimes called the Happy Customer KPI, your CSAT score is the first step to happy customers. This metric guides you to understand what is and isn’t working in your contact center.

Outline your goals for CSAT surveys and establish a survey process. Ask your customers to rate their satisfaction on a linear scale. Whether it’s measured 1-3, 1-10, or poor to excellent –– pick the kind of scale you think would best translate for your team. Think up an open-ended question as a follow-up, too.

Consider how you want to deliver this survey. What’s its trigger and timing? And can your team respond to feedback in a timely manner?

These can be sent post-interaction through email, with help from your omnichannel IVR, or online. Encouraging customers to take these surveys can be tricky. But we offer up some solutions for this in our blog article on ways to prompt your customers to share feedback.

Look at some successful surveys sent by other companies to get ideas for effective methods of collecting this metric. There’s a lot of variety out there, so have fun!

Need more tools in your toolbox? Learn how to create an actionable data strategy to improve your customer experience with this step-by-step guide.

We originally posted this article on November 16, 2016. We updated it for accuracy and tone on January 23, 2020.