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Six Metrics Which Matter for Measuring Contact Center Agents

controlsTeams who work toward a clear, shared set of service KPIs are more engaged and productive on the job, but about 80% of employees feel like they can’t actually impact their performance metrics. When agents don’t feel in control over their own metrics, they don’t work hard to meet their goals. Performance suffers and your customer experience falls flat because your agents don’t understand how to improve.

Choosing the right metrics for your contact center starts with focusing on agent controllable work. Your agents can listen to your customers intently to meet their needs and lower handle times. But they can’t impact other important pieces of their experience, like how many of their peers showed up to their shifts to meet service levels. So when you measure a set of KPIs, be sure your agents (when coached well and often) can actually impact those metrics.

Here are four agent controllable metrics to consider:

First Call Resolution (FCR)

The percentage of your agent’s calls that don’t require a customer to call back within a given time frame.

Earlier this year, I had to call my doctor to refill a prescription. The pharmacy was out of the generic brand, so I needed an alternative option to avoid paying an outrageous amount of money for the name-brand script. Well, I ended up playing phone tag with the doctor’s office and the pharmacy, being passed from department to department without a resolution. I became more frustrated with each phone call leaving me in limbo. It took a total of eight different touchpoints to solve my problem. All the while, I really needed that inhaler.

Situations like mine demonstrate why first call resolution matters. Helping your customers solve their problem in one interaction makes a big difference in their satisfaction.

It's first call resolution that's agent controllable, measuring whether a customer's issue was resolved after talking to a specific agent or if they called back in a day, week or month. Giving ownership back to your agents ensures that you can ID which agents struggle to find resolutions for customers. Then you can dig in, review a handful of their interactions, and provide constructive feedback to help them improve.

Transfer Rate

The total percentage of your agent’s interactions that contain a transfer.

This metric reveals how often your agents pass interactions up the line to supervisors or managers. If specific agents always hand off customer calls, they’re struggling. Maybe they don’t have customer history to solve a problem, or maybe they fear getting reprimanded for lengthy handle times. Whatever the case, agents with high transfer rates don’t have the autonomy to make decisions for your customers.

And your customers feel the pain. They get delayed resolutions and often have to repeat their issues with every new transfer. Talk about frustrating.

Use this metric to see where you need to step in and support your agents, so you can squash clunky service experiences.

Average Handle Time

The average total talk, hold, and wrap up time for every agent interaction during a specific time frame.

Fast customer service is still a top priority for 75% of today’s customers. Average Handle Time helps you keep pace with how fast your agents help customers resolve an issue.

AHT helps you forecast customer needs for better workforce management and agent scheduling, and it gives you insight into hangups in your processes. If you set a goal for handle times to sit at 3 minutes, but your agents average 6 minutes, you know something is holding them up during interactions.

Use AHT as a tool to see where agents can benefit from new resources or added training to speed up conversations that lag.

Average Agent Hold Time

The average time an agent actively puts customers on hold during interactions.

Did you know, for 60% of customers, waiting on hold for even one minute is too long? (I plead guilty.) Measuring average hold time ensures once your agents answer an interaction in their queue, they promptly solve the issue at hand.

Similar to transfer rate, this metric clues you in on weak spots for your agents. If your agents routinely put customers on hold, they’re either struggling to find vital information to help them problem-solve, or they’ve fallen into a bad behavior trap and need coaching to fix it.

Bring this metric to agent one-on-ones and address it head-on to see what’s tripping your agents up. Then, be a resource and work together to fix any issues.

In addition to the metrics that drill down to the desktop of your agents, measure high-level metrics that give you a clear picture of what’s happening across your entire contact center, too.

Customer Effort Score

An aggregate score (based on a customer survey question) that measures how much effort your customers feel they have to put in to resolve an issue.

Nearly two-thirds of customers experience rage when reaching out to customer service for help. And, most of your customers’ dissatisfaction bubbles up when they put in a ton of effort and don’t feel like they get a return.

Here are a few that customers frequently cite:

  • Using social media as a service channel and getting no response
  • Repeating issues after a transfer because the original agent isn’t empowered to help
  • Searching for hidden customer service phone numbers
  • Reaching out for help multiple times with no resolution

Use a single-question survey and a scale system to determine customer effort. Ask your customers “How easy was it for you to resolve your problem today?” See where friction exists in your journey, then strategize to reduce these pain points for future experiences.

Agent Retention Rate

The percentage of agents you keep from leaving your contact center annually.

By 2025, contact center leaders want to eliminate the stereotype that high agent turnover is typical in every contact center. Why? Turnover ruins your contact center’s growth potential. It wipes out your experienced agents, leaving less-tenured hires to help customers. And contact center leaders are done deeming high turnover a cost of doing business.

To end the stereotype, measure agent retention so you know how you stack up to the industry standard. If you’re experiencing lofty turnover like many of your contact center counterparts, shift attention and budgets to retention and prioritize your people. The costs won’t come close to what you spend backfilling positions and ramping up crops of new hires every year.

Topics: Analytics And Benchmarking, Best Practices, Coaching And Quality Management