Approximately 60% of customers find long wait times the most frustrating part of a customer service experience. It is natural for many to look at call centers as a thing of the past as more and more customers prefer using messaging apps or self-help articles over phone calls.
However, there are some customer service issues that only call centers can handle. Therefore, business organizations must identify key call center metrics to focus on different aspects of their customer support and take timely measures to achieve increased customer satisfaction while reducing support costs.
Fortunately, call centers today can turn to digital technology, including help desk software, to do just that.
This software streamlines customer interactions, simplifies the management of support tickets, and enhances overall customer service. Its latest iterations feature email integration, live chat, and even social media integration, enabling agents to respond to customer queries through various channels.
Furthermore, help desk software often includes built-in surveys to gauge overall customer experience and satisfaction.
Knowing this, what are the top parameters you must focus on to achieve your overall goals?
Here are the top 8 call center metrics to measure customer service success:
1. AHT to measure the quality of resolutions
AHT stands for Average Handle Time. It’s a crucial call center metric that measures the average time it takes for an agent to handle a single customer call, including total talk time, hold time, and wrap-up time. The lesser the AHT, the better the customer experiences as your agents can get customers off the call quickly. Agents with reduced AHT are considered highly trained and efficient.
AHT targets are established based on the complexity of customer inquiries, the expected level of customer service, and the organization’s specific goals and priorities.
In some industries, such as technical support or healthcare, where issues can be more complicated and require in-depth explanations or troubleshooting, a higher AHT may be acceptable.
On the other hand, those where customer inquiries are generally straightforward and require quick resolutions should go with a lower AHT margin.
While call center managers should target reducing the AHTs of their agents, they should never lose sight of the quality of customer service. Speed is an important aspect that concerns customers but so does the quality of the service. Reduced AHT holds ground as long as it makes your customers satisfied and brings them back to your services.
Tips to reduce AHT and deliver excellent customer service
- Consolidate & incorporate all the problems that agents face while resolving customer problems to improve the effectiveness of business processes
- Utilize customer service tools that guide agents with the next best action to troubleshoot complex issues. Deploying efficient customer service tools will speed up customer service and ensure agent compliance with business SOPs.
- Make all your organizational and customer information readily available and accessible to agents. Faster access to information will avoid hold times and make agents independent problem solvers.
2. FCR to measure the success rate of resolutions
FCR stands for First Contact Resolution. It calculates all the inbound customer calls that agents resolve on the first go. Higher FCR rates are a significant indicator of a solid and efficient CX strategy. Businesses’ call centers are under constant pressure to improve FCR, retain existing customers and acquire new ones. The key is to focus on increasing first contact resolutions to establish customer trust and loyalty.
A high FCR rate implies that customers’ problems are addressed promptly, reducing the need for repeat contacts and enhancing customer satisfaction. Organizations strive for FCR rates of 70% to 90%, depending on the complexity of customer inquiries and the industry norms.
It’s important to note that FCR rates can vary significantly across different industries and even within different departments or teams of the same organization.
Tips to improve FCR:
- One of the biggest challenges agents face is the increasing number of channels they have to access simultaneously to find the relevant information. Empower your customer support agents with a one-stop search platform so they do not have to toggle between different screens and can search for information from a single place itself. Having a one-stop search platform enhances the natural findability of information and enables agents to solve customer problems in the first interaction itself.
- Customers may find it challenging to understand the language and tone specific to your industry. Agents need to convey their message in the most straightforward language and make it easy and seamless for customers to solve issues. Equip your agents with interactive tools and guide their actions.
Visual how-to-guides are a critical customer service tool that helps agents identify customers’ exact pain points and make conversations easy for them with visual assistance.
3. NPS to measure customer loyalty
NPS stands for Net Promoter Score. This call center metric evaluates the brand-customer relationship and measures customer loyalty towards your brand. It assesses the likeliness of customers referring your products and services to their connections on a scale of 1-10.
Customers who give you a score between 0-6 are detractors indicating unlikeliness to suggest your services. A score of 7-8 does not necessarily mean customer dissatisfaction, but these are passive customers who wouldn’t recommend your brand. A score of 9 or 10 is a promoter score coming from happy customers.
Customers prefer your brand and recommend it further when they rely on your customer service. To achieve high Net Promoter Scores, you need to closely examine your customers’ expectations and take concrete measures to meet them.
Tips to improve NPS:
- Collect customer data and utilize it to create personalized experiences. Invest in call center scripting for support agents and customers. Integrated knowledge management for call centers traverses customer information from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms and customizes resolutions for customers.
- Offering personalized experiences means giving a choice to customers how they would like to approach you. Give them adequate and consistent support across multiple channels. Consistent information and support services across all touchpoints will build loyalty for your brand and increase customer retention.
4. C-SAT to measure Customer satisfaction
C-SAT stands for customer satisfaction. It measures customers’ satisfaction with the quality of support services received. It is calculated by sending out customer feedback surveys after an interaction ends. To calculate CSAT scores, divide all positive responses by the total number of responses received and multiply the result by 100.
For example, If out of 100 customer responses, the number of positive responses is 40, then your C-SAT is 40%. A higher C-SAT score means higher business revenue and growth.
Tips to increase C-SAT scores:
- Data holds vast opportunities if utilized efficiently. Employ AI-powered data analytics to track user engagement with business processes. Analyze the data to evaluate agent productivity, total resolution time, high-performing content, and missing knowledge. Track the challenges agents face during customer calls and incorporate their feedback to improve customer support services
- C-SAT scores are influenced by the experiences customers have across all touchpoints. Automate customer support by providing self-service options to customers, so they can exercise their choice when they reach out to you. By improving experiences across all touchpoints and integrating different channels, agents are better aware of customer expectations and customize their interactions to elevate customers’ satisfaction.
5. A-SAT to measure agent satisfaction
A-SAT stands for Agent Satisfaction scores. It is a valuable call center metric that evaluates the percentage of happy and satisfied employees with their work. Employee happiness is crucial to establishing a positive brand image among customers. If you are struggling with high agent churn, this key performance indicator may need your attention to fix things. The higher the agent satisfaction, the higher the agent productivity and engagement is, ultimately leading to higher C-SAT scores.
Tips to improve A-SAT:
- Ensure that support tickets are divided effectively among employees. You should make sure your agents have all the tools they need to meet their targets. A unified knowledge management software is critical for agents to find relevant information at the right time to avoid undue pressures.
- Make customer information available to agents with CRM integrations. Agents can resolve more tickets in less time when they do not have to repeat unnecessary questions, resulting in higher job satisfaction.
- The robotic nature of tasks can lead to loss of motivation and higher attrition rates. Employees feel satisfied when they can find value in their work. Provide adequate learning and training programs to help your agents upskill and become proficient at performing different tasks.
Investing in a Learning Management System can provide agents with e-learning courses and online training. This will reduce training time for new employees and increase the overall satisfaction level
6. FRT to measure resolution speed
FRT stands for First Response Time. It measures the average time it takes call center representatives to respond to a customer. It is calculated by dividing the total wait time for all calls by the number of calls. Lesser the First Response Time, the higher the customer satisfaction as customers do not like to wait long on calls. However, call center managers should ensure adequate service quality while targeting to minimize FRT.
Tips to reduce FRT:
- While agents need to get customers off the call as quickly as possible, this is not an end goal. They should minimize the call time by solving the customer problems correctly and efficiently. To provide both speed and quality, it is vital to provide agents with customer service tools that help them with all the information resources they possibly need
- Provide learning materials and additional training to agents who take longer to solve customer problems. Understand their challenges and incorporate the solutions in your knowledge base in the form of articles and FAQs.
7. CES to measure customer effort
CES stands for Customer Effort Score. This call center metric evaluates the customer effort involved in resolving an issue. The easier it is for customers to use your services, the higher their loyalty to your brand is.
Tips to minimize customer effort:
- Map customer journeys to have a comprehensive understanding of your customers’ behaviors, needs, and expectations from your brand. It is important to consolidate customer data from different touchpoints and share it with agents so customers do not repeat themselves on call.
- It is vital to take note of repetitive queries and document them into knowledge base articles and FAQs so customers can resolve issues on their own with minimum effort.
8. CPC to measure operating expenses
CPC stands for cost per call. It measures the cost incurred by call centers for every customer call. It is calculated by dividing the total cost of all calls by the total number of calls. This call center metric helps managers check the efficiency of operations and take measures to increase business profits.
Tips to reduce CPC:
- Enable CRM integrations which help agents quickly access customer context and fix issues faster
- Invest adequately in agent training to enhance efficiencies. Encourage your experienced employees to share their knowledge and incorporate that in workflows to update call center scripts.
Optimizing cost per call shouldn’t compromise customer satisfaction or overall experience. Striking the balance between cost control and service quality is best. Organizations may explore process automation, self-service options, and efficient call-routing strategies to do just that.
Although businesses strive towards automating their services, call centers will continue to be critical players in providing customer service. Therefore, it is vital to measure and analyze key call center metrics in a timely manner. It is also important to note that all the previously mentioned call center metrics are interrelated and work in tandem.
Sowmya is a content developer & digital media specialist at Knowmax, an AI-backed knowledge management platform that assists enterprises to reduce their support cost & solve their knowledge management challenges.