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 instrumental factor in realizing 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.

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 birds-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.

2. First contact resolution (FCR)

First Contact Resolution touches your contact center efficiency and effectiveness. FCR is when an agent takes a single response or 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 that’s in a meeting. And, your agents don’t have to promise to call the customer back with a solution. They problem-solve on the spot. FCR is incredibly important because it connects to so many other aspects of providing stellar support to customers. It measures efficiency, has a direct, positive correlation to higher customer satisfaction, and it even reduces operating costs.

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 all day long trying to find a resolution for a customer. 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 Service Quality Management Group found that for every 1 percent improvement in FCR, there’s a 1 percent 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 measurement, and stick with it.

Here’s one formula you can use: First call resolution % = (# of issues resolved on the first call ÷ total # of issues) x 100

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.

To get the more intimate knowledge you need about your customers, check out Sharpen’s approach to Customer Surveys.

3. Call abandonment rate

An abandoned call is when the caller hangs up before even reaching a live agent. Track your abandonment rate by dividing your number of abandoned calls by your total inbound calls.

If your team uses chat to interact more than phone, use this formula to track chat abandonment. If your customer abandons a chat session before your agent can respond, this leads to chat abandonment. In an omni-channel contact center, it’s important to track metrics across channels rather than singling out a specific channel.

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 service agent. Are your customers abandoning mid-IVR sequence? Maybe it’s too long or confusing. 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 or spam interactions. If your abandonment rate remains low, between 2 to 5 percent, consider yourself in the clear. This level of abandonment really shouldn’t impact your customer satisfaction. But, if it hits close to 8 percent, strategize to lower it.

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).

Make sure your agents have visibility into the average hold time but realize queue length shouldn’t distract them 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 percent of customers from a survey by Software Advice feel that waiting on hold for even just one minute is too long. In a 2017 survey, two-thirds of people said they’re only willing to wait on hold for two minutes or less, and 13 percent said that there’s no amount of time they’d be okay with waiting on hold.

Aim towards a wait time under 10 minutes, and you will likely keep customers happy and see fewer abandoned calls.

Team and Agent Performance

5. Agent Experience Score (The new customer service super metric)

If your contact center is one of the many facing high turnover rates, your agent experience is in need of a revamp. Sharpen created a metric to help you measure and track your agent’s holistic experience, so you can focus on long-term change and development instead of short-term activity to improve job satisfaction and, in turn, your customer experience.

The Agent Experience Score sheds light on your agent performance and well-being by using data from each of your agent’s unique interactions in a rolling 90-day window.

AXS combines traditional KPIs to track efficiency and effectiveness, and it also gives you a window into the too-often missed link of agent empowerment. Combining data about your agents’ efficiency, effectiveness, and empowerment gives you actionable data to improve your training, coaching, and performance management.

Learn more about AXS and how to use it. Ask us how to put AXS to work in your contact center. 

6. 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 America.

The negative implications of this are a problem for your contact center: high costs of hiring and training new employees, reputation issues of inconsistent service, staffing shortages, low team  and personal morale, the list goes on (and on). Keep your eye on your agent turnover, and calculate it often. This metric will guide you, as the manager, to know where training, employee engagement, and empowerment needs to improve.

Read more about agent turnover and ways to prevent it here.

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 the interaction.

Look at individual interactions that 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

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.

Scoring can be invaluable to your agents, giving them tangible feedback so they know the exact moments where they can improve their interactions.

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 customer satisfaction. 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.

Measure CSAT with post-interaction surveys or follow-up conversations with customers to get the best insights about your customer’s interactions with agents. This can get complicated without a well-developed plan.

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? The strategy behind this can be interesting.

There are three factors worth considering while determining when you send customers your survey:

  • What event or action took place before you asked for feedback?
  • How much time has passed since your last survey to the customer?
  • And, can your team respond to the feedback in a timely manner?

These can be sent post-interaction through email, with help from your omni-channel 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.

When creating your questionnaire, consider the best kind of questions to ask your customers. Get creative as you find ways to make your survey enticing and on-brand. 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!

Metrics in Your Toolbox

Tracking the right metrics doesn’t solve all your contact center problems, but the right metrics are incredibly useful tools to add to your management toolbox. With them, you can establish a clearer path towards a more successful contact center. Measuring KPIs for agent and customer experience in support of your agent’s work allows you to care better for your customers and know how to better support your agents in the process.

Maintain focus around metrics that impact efficiency, effectiveness, empowerment, and customer satisfaction, and you’ll see more productive agents and happier customers.

Need more tools in your toolbox? Check out this post about other CX tools to help you provide the best customer experience.

We originally posted this article on November 16, 2016. We updated it for accuracy and tone on April 25, 2019.