Benchmarking Hosted Call Center Solutions - The Metrics Checklist

November 8, 2016 jkent-ransom

Benchmarking Hosted Call Center Solutions - The Metrics Checklist
Melissa Coen
Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - 10:00

Call centers come in many shapes and styles. Classic centers bring to mind rows of cubes, phones and people, but the current trend is toward cloud-based call center solutions. There are many reasons for this trend, including capital investment flexibility, lower startup and integration costs and no upgrade fees. Hosted contact centers also enable a distributed workforce, full integration with CRM software and improved call routing. Ultimately, though, call centers are measured in much the same way regardless of their setup. The following are a sampling of commonly used core metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) used to monitor a call center’s performance:

  • Abandon Rate:  This is the percentage of hang-ups before reaching an agent. (Be aware this will include the occasional wrong-number.) This is greatly affected by the speed with which an agent can answer the call. Utilizing advanced call routing tools can assist in decreasing this number.

  • Average Time in Queue:  The next step in the call process – the customer didn’t hang up, so how long did they wait to talk to an agent?

  • Average Talk Time (ATT):  Simply put, this is how long the agent talks with the contact.

  • After Call Work (ACW):  How much time does the agent spend wrapping up a call, perhaps writing a summary or routing to sales for a follow-up.

  • Average Handle Time (AHT):  This metric is the combination of ATT and ACW. In a very large call center, even an additional second here could cost millions each year (see Cost per Call, below), but it is important to keep in mind that identical call lengths do not mean identical effectiveness.

  • Adherence/Shrinkage:  Also known as Schedule Compliance; this attempts to measure staff performance, comparing their working time to their paid time.

  • Attendance & Punctuality:  While this seems very obvious – you show up for work when you are supposed to, right? – in a call center, small variations here can be quite costly. Many call centers offer incentives to improve these metrics. Here again, a hosted call center solution that enables and empowers a remote workforce can save the company thousands a year simply by removing the variable of daily traffic.

  • Service Level / Average Speed of Answer (ASA): These two metrics are basically inversions of each other. ASA is how long it takes to answer the call (in seconds). Service Level is a KPI based on achieving the lowest ASA possible. For example, a 90/10 service level would indicate that “90 percent of the calls should have an ASA of 10 seconds or less”.

  • First Call Resolution (FCR): This is a key metric for “measuring” customer satisfaction, and is relatively new to the industry. The goal here is to measure how often you handle the customer’s call the first time they contact you with a particular issue. Many call centers follow up with satisfaction surveys, to better measure FCR – just because the customer doesn’t call back doesn’t necessarily mean the issue was resolved!

  • Occupancy Rate: This KPI tracks what percentage of the time your agents are actively on calls. Slightly different from Adherence (above), this measures the center as a whole. If your call center is available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and your agents are on the phone for 10 hours of that time, that’s an Occupancy Rate of 83 percent. Most call centers want to try to keep Occupancy between 70 percent and 80 percent for a healthy balance.

  • Cost per Call:  Two standards in the industry are Basic Cost per Call, and Fully Loaded Cost per Call. The first is simply “number of calls per hour, divided by the agent’s hourly wage.”  Ten calls for a $10/hr. agent is $1 per call. The latter measurement takes into account all of your company’s operating costs as well and allows better “apples to apples” comparisons between keeping operations in-house versus using possible third-party solutions.

  • Agent Turnover/Attrition:  Quite simply, how many of your agents are leaving the company. There are many different views of this metric, depending on what you are trying to learn. Call centers whose volumes rise and fall seasonally might focus on the data differently from centers whose volumes are steady and predictable.

  • Call Quality:  This is a measurement of the agent’s success rate against goals and criteria set by the business.

  • Percentage of Calls Blocked: Percentage of callers that received a busy tone when they tried to call in.

When implementing a hosted contact center, the call center solution will include management and measurement tools that help you keep track of these metrics in real time - so you can be empowered to maximize your performance.

 

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