on March 18, 2022 (last modified on March 29, 2022) • 16 minute read
50% of customers say companies need to seriously improve the customer support and service they offer. That’s nearly half unsatisfied customers.
Meaning: with better customer support, you can increase your chances of converting more buyers into loyal customers. To add, an excellent experience typically succeeds in growing your referrals and positive word of mouth.
The question then is: is your support good enough or does it need work? One way to answer this accurately is to look at your call center metrics.
With too many inbound and outbound call center metrics to track though, it can all get confusing easily. So we’ve put together this guide to run you through the best customer service metrics you need to track and why.
We’ll talk about the following:
Let’s get started.
63.64% of the respondents we surveyed have an in-house call center and 36.36% of our respondents outsource their call center.
And when asked how important a call center is to their customer service strategy, a staggering majority of 75.8% said it’s very important to them.
The rest (24.24%) think call center is important, but there are other significant channels in their customer service strategy.
Circling back to how these experts measure their call center productivity, we found that HubSpot and a centralized dashboard solution such as what Databox offers are the top software used for measuring customer service reps’ productivity.
In fact, 1 in 3 companies uses a centralized dashboard that aggregates data from different sources for monitoring their call center’s productivity.
As for the call center metrics they track, we learned that AHT (average handling time) is the most important metric in measuring a call center’s productivity. This is followed by Average Time in Queue, Average Call Abandonment Rate, and Service level (percentage of incoming calls answered within a certain period of time).
Now for the top outbound and sales call center metrics you need to be tracking, here’s your go-to list, followed by the details:
The average handle time (AHT) stands at the top of inbound call center metrics to measure.
For instance, at Local Furniture Outlet, Aaron Masterson comments this is the most important metric that they focus on for tracking agent productivity.
Masterson explains, “We use quality assurance software to track the quality of calls and responses by our agents. The AHT determines the average time our agent spends on each call that comes through to our company.”
“This time is usually measured from when our agents pick up the call till it ends. The average handle time can be hard to track sometimes, and that is why we set a range of time spent on each call from different customers,” Masterson outlines.
That said, both too long and too short handle times come with their downsides. Masterson points out: “When an agent’s average handle time is too long, it’s an indication that they struggle with finding solutions to problems that customers present to them.”
On the flip side, “having an average handle time that is too short also indicates that the agent is unable to offer real solutions or answers to customer requests,” in Masterson’s words.
No matter your role in customer support – agent, manager, or VP – your core focus is to ensure that customers’ issues, complaints, and information requests are always dealt with promptly and efficiently. But to stay on track, you may have to spend hours manually compiling data from different tools into a comprehensive report. Now you can quickly monitor and analyze your customer service performance data from Intercom in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, such as:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our customer support experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring and analyzing the performance of your customer support reps. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in customer service reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Intercom account with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Chris Gadek from AdQuick applauds the same metric too. Their focus? Make it a point to build connections with customers.
“While we prefer our customers’ concerns are handled efficiently, we believe that increasing the effectiveness of our call center comes down to making connections and bonds with our customers,” as Gadek puts it.
Admittedly, this approach to customer support is what wins companies loyal customers who typically return to buy from them. And while some calls might take long, they pay off in terms of repeat sales and referrals provided the customer leaves on a satisfied note.
As for how to measure productivity with this metric, Gadek observes a mindset shift helps here.
“If employees treat customer service as a chore or something that needs to get done rapidly, the results may be less than satisfactory.
However, if they take the time to create a casual conversation with the customer throughout the process of helping them, then a connection is made, making the customer feel closer to our business.”
In short, Gadek writes, “An open conversation increases the likelihood that the issue is resolved and that they’ll use our services again and again.”
Similarly, “To get more productive results through our call agents, we provide adequate training and tools that help make their jobs seamless and efficient,” Masterson shares. “We ensure that agents gain access to all information they need at the click of a mouse.
As a result, our agents were able to meet set KPI goals at the end of each month. Customers also provided excellent feedback concerning how much help our agents gave by meeting their needs in record time.”
Related: 15 Proven Ways To Reduce Your Average Support Ticket Response Time
Where AHT is an inbound call center metric to track, the time on call is among key sales or outbound call center metrics to measure.
RexTheme’s C Shakhawat Sultan commends tracking it. “The ‘Time spent per call’ is a metric that I personally used to motivate myself and my team. The way I used it was I took a target that every call, I will speak with the customer, at least 2 seconds more than the last call. This urge helped me to stick with customers rather than get hanged upon.
And the moment I hit 50 secs with a customer, the chance of closing that sale went up to 60%. Again, if you see an agent is making tons of calls but not getting sales, then checking the ‘time spent per call’ is crucial.”
“If the average time spent is very low, then the agent is not efficient and either needs more training or needs to be replaced,” Sultan advises.
“If the time spent is longer, then a QA has to listen and find out where he went wrong that stopped him from closing the sale. And then quick guidance on improving his approach will result in those sales.”
“For our eCommerce business, First Call Resolution (FCR) is the most important call center metric to track, because it gives us insight into our agents’ productivity, our training practices, and our customer satisfaction goals,” comments Stephen Light of Nolah Mattress.
“For any business, consumer satisfaction is everything, and tracking and optimizing FCR can make for far happier customers. Nobody wants to call back multiple times or have their issue escalated up the ladder, so ensuring agents are resolving issues the first time is key.”
For every follow-up call required to resolve the issue, customer satisfaction drops by 15%. Besides, first-time call resolution can also help reduce the call center’s operating costs,” adds Tim Stumbles of Office Timeline.
In short, “A strong FCR shows a team’s ability to deliver the right answer quickly and provide exceptional service, which increases overall customer satisfaction” according to Stumbles. “And if a customer has to call back multiple times to get their issues resolved, it’s important to take measures to eliminate this.”
Here again, you need to ensure you provide agents with adequate training and tools for optimizing this call center metric.
To this end, Light points out: “FCR is also crucial because it tells us how effective our call center training practices are, and whether we need to take a serious look at our onboarding and continued development.”
“Quick resolution for our customers depends on knowledgeable, highly-trained agents, so if FCR starts to slip, that’s a sign that business leaders need to invest in stronger training,” concludes Light. “Better onboarding and continued training mean more productive agents, which boosts customer satisfaction – it’s all connected.”
At Office Timeline too, Stumbles shares they take the same educational approach. They also prioritize telling agents that the FCR is being tracked and their performance is evaluated on its basis.
In Stumbles’ words: “We provided training to our call center agents to help them gain experience in a wide variety of practice scenarios to ensure they can confidently handle any call they might receive.
After we’ve made tracking First Call resolution a priority for our team, it really helped improve our call center agents’ productivity—we’ve noticed FCR rates go up. Our agents understand that their First Call Resolution performance is being evaluated, so they are more proactive. They are ready to go the extra mile to solve an issue the first time around.”
The takeaway? Before pointing fingers at an agent’s productivity, look inward. Ask yourself: are you providing agents with adequate training, resources, and tools?
Although how long it takes to resolve an issue and how many calls it takes are important call center metrics, it’s crucial to look at this number too.
“I personally focus on the percentage of calls unattended to measure the productivity of my team members,” Netcoins’ Ayelen Osorio.
“The reason I track it is because if it’s too high, then we aren’t helping all our customers It may result in customers being frustrated and losing valuable sales,” Osorio highlights.
“So, after looking at the KPI statistics, I begin to narrow down reasons why the lines are going busy. Based on the causes, I work on strategies that improve the availability and productivity of my agents.”
So how did tracking this call center metric help Osorio’s team? Briefly, it has helped improve agents’ productivity.
“I noticed that many agents were taking personal calls during office hours, which was one reason for the higher rate of busy lines. So, I called a meeting and asked everyone to hold each one accountable for their partner besides.
And if this system worked, then there would be a bonus introduced. Luckily, this idea was successful, and everyone was more focused on performing better. Also, once the bonus was introduced, it instilled healthy competition among employees as well.”
One of the leading outbound sales call center metrics you need to track is the number of calls blocked. Calls are often blocked when customers think the number is spam.
Says John Li of Fig Loans, “The most important measure of our agent productivity is the number of calls blocked because we never want our clients to receive a busy tone.”
“Since a blocked call means there aren’t enough agents and all the queues are full, if this number goes above 1% we know we need to make some changes to help boost our team’s productivity including retraining, increasing queue capacity, and adding more members to the team,” explains Li.
Not to mention, here again empowering call center agents with support tools that boost their productivity can help.
Related: 16 Proven Ways for Increasing Inbound Sales Calls
“I focus on call center agent productivity by measuring the number of agents per hour per call,” shares Writecream’s Krittin Kalra.
“I do this because the more agents per hour per call, the more productive the call center is. This metric has helped me to identify areas that need improvement.
For example, I’ve noticed that the call center is not meeting its SLA [Service Level Agreement] on the number of agents per hour per call. I’ve made changes to the call center’s scheduling process to ensure that the call center is meeting its SLA.”
To add, you can also focus on learning and training resources to improve their average call handle time. The better and the faster they can handle customer queries, the more calls they can take per hour, boosting overall call center efficiency.
RexTheme’s C Shakhawat Sultan agrees the number of calls per hour is one of the most important sales call center metrics to track. Sharing their experience, Sultan writes, “A few years back, I used to be part of an international call center, where I started as an agent and then climbed up the hierarchy to eventually become an operations manager.”
“The ‘Number of calls per hour’ was a no-brainer from the start. It is simple. The more people you speak with, the more leads to convert.”
“When I was an agent, I had to make on average, 80-120 calls per hour, which resulted in 3-5 sales per hour (worth $50). But the day I had fewer calls made, even 1 call below 80, the numbers were literally half,” Sultan goes on.
This aligns with the point made above. And it’s the metric the ParamountQuote team shares as their leading call center metric that they track.
Tim Connon elaborates, “We measure calls, where our agents talked with a potential client for more than 5 minutes depending on the number of sales, closed compared to the number of calls longer than 5 minutes we can identify if things need to be improved.”
“So if an agent took 10 calls over 5 minutes long and closed at least 2 sales this shows us a 20% close ratio,” Connon adds. “Then we take this metric and scale it over the rest of the call center and that is how we measure agent productivity.
If our call center maintains a 20% close ratio this is good data for the company. Their average premium sale is expected to be over $50 so if they manage 1 out of 2 sales with this premium amount this is good agent productivity.”
“If it is below this results in bad agent productivity,” Connon points out. “This impacts agent productivity because the numbers show a trend so our agents know on average to expect these metrics which gives them peace of mind thinking of it as a numbers game when they have peace of mind it comes through their tonality resulting in more sales.”
Put simply, don’t just track sales call center metrics on your own – loop in call center agents too as the ParamountQuote team does. This ensures agents have a goal to work towards and measurable KPI (or metric) to track to understand how they’re performing themselves.
Related: Call Tracking: 9 Expert Ways to Track Inbound Calls
And, finally, in our list of best customer service metrics, we’ve Justin Kunst’s suggestion. Kunst shares that at LiveVox, they have a three-pronged approach.
Explains Kunst, “When thinking about agent productivity, we approach it from three perspectives:
“Volume of work is straightforward – how many customer interactions did the agent complete in the last interval, and what was the average handle time? Knowing those values gets us to occupancy.
And then we break out by channel: SMS, email, chat, social, voice. But, those metrics don’t tell us anything about our agent’s experience or our customers’ experiences.”
Kunst continues, “More important than volume is quality. This gives us insight into the customer experience. We use conversation analytics to automatically score successful outcomes where the customer question was answered or their issue resolved, and whether it counts as a first call resolution.”
At the same time, Kunst points out “We look at customer satisfaction scores and customer effort scores to help us understand the customer’s perception of our service. And we gather and track NPS to make sure we are always headed in the right direction for our customers.”
“Finally, we try to understand the agent’s experience. This may be the most important of all, as it is a leading indicator of our future customers’ experiences. In addition to simply talking to our agents, we look at trends for all of the above metrics over longer intervals.”
“By matching these curves with dates we introduced new agent tools or enhanced our customer self-serve options,” explains Kunst “we know if we’re empowering our agents to deliver outstanding service.”
“We also consider our agent training and agent scripts when looking at trends to know if we are giving them the information necessary to continuously level up.”
In a nutshell, tracking all these call center metrics that we’ve shared today is only one part of measuring agent productivity. The other part? Analyzing the data to identify patterns.
To add, it helps to talk to your agents to learn their experiences, roadblocks, and requirements. Don’t forget, reviewing your training literature is of utmost importance.
The first place to start though: tracking your call center metrics. An excellent way to do that is to create a Databox customer support dashboard that displays all key performance metrics on one screen.
This way, you wouldn’t have to look at different places to analyze call center agent productivity. Not to forget, having all the data laid out in one place means you can easily recognize meaningful patterns in performance.
Thinking it’s too much work setting up and maintaining a dashboard? Think again. With Databox, all data is automatically updated – no work is required from your end.
All you have to do is to plug in data sources in your Databox dashboard. Our call center metrics software takes it from – creating and auto-updating visually-engaging dashboards.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. Try Databox for free and you’ll see for yourself.
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