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Measuring the Success of a Call Center: Easier than You Think

Call center executives and managers are continually looking for ways to measure productivity and success, as improvements in efficiency and effectiveness have been shown to directly relate to higher ratings in customer satisfaction. A recent study done by Forrester noted that 45 percent of customers end transactions if their issue is not addressed quickly, signifying just how critical it is for call centers to help customers reach a swift resolution. Typically, customers look for and expect to resolve issues in the shortest amount of time possible. There are many ways that we’ve come to evaluate and measure success within a call center that may be easier to implement than you think.

Contact Center Metrics Report

Effective Metrics to Measure Productivity

Some of the most common and insightful call center metrics that help us to measure overall performance include average call duration, call quality, customer satisfaction score, escalation rate, first call resolution, resolution time and speech analytics.

  • Average Call Duration (ACD) measures the average call length for an individual agent, and can indicate the need for further training if one agent’s ACD is significantly higher than other colleagues.
  • Call Quality includes elements such as call openings, call closings and asking if further assistance is required to successfully complete a call. Some quantified elements may be more objectively based on the employee to reflect how well they are communicating with the callers.
  • Customer Service Satisfaction Score (CSAT) includes asking customers a series of questions to measure specific qualities of the customer service they have received.
  • Escalation Rate measures the frequency that an agent has to send customer calls to higher-ranking agents for resolution. A high escalation rate may indicate that an agent needs more training if too many customer calls are being forwarded to senior or supervisory agents.
  • First Call Resolutions (FCR) measure the number of customers who have their problems resolved on the first call. A high FCR rate typically corresponds with an agent’s high quality of training and customer service effectiveness.
  • Resolution Time measures the amount of time it takes for an agent to successfully resolve a customer issue. Typically measured in hours and/or days, resolution time is frequently tied to customer satisfaction because a low resolution time shows that agents are making proper solutions and communicating them to customers properly.
  • Speech Analytics monitor agent and customer conversations. Collections agencies can particularly benefit from this because it helps to analyze measurements such as the promise-to-pay ratio, which is the agreement from the debtor to either pay some of the debt on the call or negotiate a payment plan.

Additional key performance indicators (KPIs) that are especially relevant across the collection industry include:

  • Units per agent hour – insight into per-agent reporting in real time
  • Right party contacts – ability to reach the intended recipient early on in the process
  • Promise to payments – ability to manage promises and payment plans as well as posting payments to an account once received

Benefits of Business Intelligence Capabilities

Business Intelligence (BI) is a tool that is becoming widely adopted throughout a multitude of industries. Simply put, BI technology refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization's raw data in real time. BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting.

For call centers, BI quickly organizes substantial amounts of data into understandable and customizable reports. Because BI can organize large sets of data into easy-to-digest reports, there is no need to manually create spreadsheets. This allows for a more efficient use of time, accuracy of deliverables and professionalism of content created. In addition, the real time access to data creates reports at a faster rate and provides call center managers with up-to-the-minute, accurate information. With the ability to receive relevant data in seconds, managers can create strategic evaluation and execution, analyze agent performance and construct client and company deliverables, all in a timely manner.

How to Best Utilize Business Intelligence

By combining observed, quantifiable agent behaviors and standard call center processes with BI technology that can provide useful insights on a call center’s performance, executives can strategically improve efficiency and productivity. To achieve these goals, executives should:

  • Choose the right metrics. As previously mentioned, there are a multitude of effective metrics that can be used to measure productivity. However, call center processes vary from agency to agency. Therefore, call center managers should start off focusing on two to three metrics to monitor and analyze results. This way, it allows management to get comfortable with measuring outcomes and then strategically using that information to improve performance.
  • Use reports for rewards. Customer satisfaction does not solely depend on efficiency in the workplace—an agent’s happiness and eagerness to be successful also increases a call center’s overall performance. The reports generated by BI can be used to both showcase the job performance of agents and offer performance incentives. When you’re able to show agents the measures used to determine success, they typically respond by wanting to do even better. With real-time measurements of job performance, agents will be able to adjust and respond on a regular basis.
  • Offer call monitoring and coaching. An age-old but often overlooked approach to increasing success at call center operations is managerial call monitoring. With BI technology, managers don’t have to spend substantial amounts of time pulling reports. Instead, they can utilize their time more efficiently by physically monitoring calls and offering real-time advice and coaching to their agents.

Success at a call center agency can be measured in many ways. With the addition of call center BI tools, managers can now use software to analyze peak call times, schedule agents based on job performance, streamline operations and more, significantly improving customer satisfaction and overall efficiency.