Top Call Center Metrics and KPIs to Track


With changing customer expectations, call center effectiveness is more important than ever. Which essential metrics and KPIs should you keep an eye on?

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly changed how customers shop for many goods and services. It also changed the way businesses accommodate and respond to customer needs.

Call centers have been at the forefront of much of this dramatic change, with the call center market expected to grow to nearly $70 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 14.59%.

The need to use call center analytics to better respond to customers’ needs, improve customer satisfaction and grow sales has seldom been more important to businesses of all sizes. Call center analytics help companies make the changes needed to be successful.

Growing Customer Expectations

Today’s customers want businesses to meet their expectations no matter where they shop — digitally, in-store or a mixture of both.

A 2021 Talkdesk report highlighted some of these expectations:

  • 58% of consumers polled said their customer service expectations increased over the past year
  • 69% want the ability to move from one channel to another while speaking with a customer service representative
  • 78% want to engage with the company on their preferred channel
  • 84% expect their questions or concerns to be solved quickly and accurately

What Are Call Center Analytics?

Call center analytics involves collecting, managing and reporting key metrics that affect call centers. Some metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) include the volume of calls, how long agents handle each call, first response time and hold time. Companies can use this data to improve response times, reduce hold times, increase efficiency and more.

Call center analytics have transformed these communication hubs from an essential service function to a strategic differentiator. In fact, one Salesforce study revealed that 79% of consumers believe the experience a company provides is more important than its products or services.

An Omnichannel Approach to Call Center Data

That same Salesforce study also found that customers use an average of nine channels when communicating with a company — whether they’re seeking information, asking for advice or making a purchase. And that number increases for millennials.

To provide a consistently excellent experience, businesses need to track all of these interactions. Without doing so, it would be nearly impossible to gain a 360-degree view of how customers interact with a company.

While there are dozens of metrics call centers can use to measure performance, they won’t need every single one. Instead, they should choose the metrics that will best pinpoint and optimize areas requiring improvement.

Related Article: Providing Experience in an Omnichannel World

Pros of Using Call Center Analytics

Analyzing calls, texts, emails and surveys — any form of communication you receive from a customer — will allow you to make needed changes to your call center and achieve consistent customer service. Some benefits provided by call center analytics include:

Quantifiable Measurements

Data is much easier to quantify than what your customer service representative might glean about the customer’s attitude. Focus on the essential metrics you can collect and interpret.

Consolidated Data

Most good call center software offers built-in analytics. Even small businesses can use data from customer interactions. Plus, your service representatives won’t need to develop coding skills or learn how to use a system such as structured query language (SQL) to extract the critical data they need.

Achievable Goals

Metrics should help improve customer interactions and allow agents to achieve desired results. When you select the most appropriate metrics for your business, those metrics should also be the ones your service agents have significant control over.

Cons of Using Call Center Analytics

While it might not seem possible, call center analytics can have some downsides, including:

Impersonal Interactions

It would be nice if employees solved customers’ problems as quickly as possible. However, that’s not always possible, and you should be wary of metrics discouraging agents’ communication with customers. For instance, don’t use the amount of time handling a call to stifle employees’ meaningful interactions with customers.

Take a story from Zappos, an online shoe and apparel retailer known for its stellar customer service, as an example. One employee handled a customer service call that lasted 10 hours and 43 minutes, only taking one break during the call to use the restroom.

From a metrics standpoint, that call length might look like a bad thing, and it’s not feasible to do with every single caller. But there are exceptions. In this instance, the customer had a genuine interaction with an employee, a memorable (in a good way) experience and even bought a few products.

Manipulative Tactics

On the other hand, not every store has the kind of customer service Zappos offers and some call service representatives learn how to game the system.

For example, if a company has a strict rule about call handle times, such as a goal of keeping calls under three minutes, some representatives will cut calls short at the expense of resolving a customer’s problem. If this issue continues, call handle times will look great, but retention rates might drop significantly.

Inattention to Detail

The calls that come into a call center sometimes don’t reach far beyond the center itself. If company executives aren’t paying attention, they will never understand what customers are trying to tell them or why customer retention rates are dropping.

The key is to focus on the numbers and metrics most important to your company and to train your team to respond with the right behaviors. Provide your agents with feedback about performance and give them training if needed.

The Importance of Omnichannel Analytics

Provide your teams and agents with a way to view performance across all the channels customers use to engage with the company. Representatives will be able to diagnose and resolve issues more efficiently, and managers will be able to judge agent productivity more effectively.

Think about the times you needed information from another company to complete a purchase. How long were you on hold? How many times did you need to explain your problem to different agents? Were you happy with the resolution? If your experience was bad, what is the chance you will do business with that company again?

Now think of how your customers might answer those questions. Don’t keep your customers on hold for too long, don’t make them explain their problem multiple times and make sure they’re happy with the resolution.

In the above Salesforce study, 92% of customers said that having a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to make another purchase from that company. And the flip side of that is that poor experience could make them turn elsewhere.

Call center analytics provide you with many ways to alleviate or eliminate problems. For instance, when looking at a system that provides real-time feedback and data, it’s easier to see logjams develop and assign staff at peak periods to reduce or eliminate long wait times.

3 Phases of Acting on Call Center Analytics

Using call center analytics effectively boils down to three phases:

Collection

Avoid silos. You want to collect as much data in the appropriate areas as possible from all the channels you can. Make sure each department shares the data they collect with other departments. For instance, call center agents often can’t track resolution rates. Use customer relationship management (CRM) or analytics software to provide that information.

Analysis

Data by itself is just data. Organize and present it understandably so that your team can read and use it easily. Call center analytics software often includes templates you can use to create these analytics reports.

Action

Once you’ve analyzed and studied the data collected, use it to improve the performance of your agents and fill gaps in your customer response plan. Consider each metric or KPI you want to use to improve your call center. Think about how to get the most benefit out of each metric.

Related Article: 3 Key Benefits of AI in the Call Center

Call Center Metrics and KPIs That Focus on Customers

There are a lot of different metrics your call center can look at. Some analytics software offer templates that give companies a good jumping off point. After a while, you might want to add or subtract different metrics from these templates.

Some metrics you might track include:

Speech Analytics

Machine learning and conversational artificial intelligence have changed the way speech analytics works. Previously, analyzing speech required manually reviewing many hours of conversations.

Today, companies use automated processes programmed with keyword searches to perform the same functions. Companies can track positive and negative keywords used in customer conversations and then delve deeper into those specific interactions.

Customer Surveys

Surveys complement the other call center data you collect. Once a customer completes a purchase or hangs up the phone on a service call, you can automatically send them a survey measuring their satisfaction and how they felt about their recent interaction.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is like using a crystal ball. It’s designed to tell you and your team what will happen next. You can use it to forecast your staffing needs during peak hours or holiday seasons. Predictive analytics will also let you know if you should program specific responses into your chatbots or interactive voicebots due to specific customer inquiry trends.

Text Analytics

You can collect a plethora of data using real-time chat, interactive voice response (IVR), short messaging service (SMS) and email. Text analysis allows you to mine this data and find keywords, terms and phrases your customers may prefer you use.

For instance, if customers request information on how they can update their home address, don’t send them a link to update their “location.” Send them a link that will allow them to “update home address.”

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction scores provide essential data about customer loyalty and if you can expect long-term revenue opportunities from that customer. Companies can use surveys to discover how satisfied people are with their products, services and customer service.

Companies can learn a great deal from the customers who complete the surveys — both about the changes they may need in the call center and important information about the customers themselves.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

The customer effort score is one of the most important metrics a company can use to determine how a customer feels about the brand. It specifically looks at the amount of effort it takes a customer to accomplish a specific task with that company.

Customers often get frustrated when they feel they have to put in a lot of work — or effort — to do something simple, whether it’s get a question answered, sign up for a newsletter or purchase a product.

A CES survey might ask a customer: “Do you agree or disagree that [brand] made it easy for you to handle your issue.”

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

You might call this the “word of mouth” metric. It aims to measure how happy customers are with their experience and how likely they are to recommend the company to other family members or friends.



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