Don’t let your service fall short—keep these metrics in mind every time you pick up the phone.
Among the hundreds of calls your centre deals with each day, it can be easy to get caught up in day-to-day issues and lose sight of overall performance.
Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. Unfortunately, letting your service fall short in the wrong area can be a customer satisfaction disaster waiting to happen. Contact centres focused on the customer experience must constantly be reviewing their performance and using concrete data to guide their improvement.
Start With Service Level
Service Level, sometimes known as Total Service Factor, is a good baseline metric that every contact centre should measure.
Defining a Service Level involves two different numbers, the first of which is your percentage of calls, with the second being the period of time in which that call percentage is answered. So, a Service Level of 90-10 tells us that the contact centre is aiming to answer 90 percent of calls within 10 seconds.
Adept contact centres set up continuous reports based on this metric to give them updates on their performance in real-time. A Performance Management Benchmark Report by Saddletree Research revealed that 92 percent of contact centre leaders see real-time metric sharing as important, with Service Level ranking in the top five metrics of greatest value.
But remember, Service Level is really just an arbitrary number. You can’t just choose one randomly; setting it too high will make your agents revolt, while setting it too low will fail to meet the needs of your customers. An appropriate Service Level for your centre will be a score your agents can reasonably achieve while still meeting customer expectations. Assess your contact centre’s capabilities and don’t be afraid to make adjustments as time goes on.
Of course, the contact centre can’t run on Service Level alone. There are plenty of other metrics that must be measured and monitored if you want to keep your contact centre strong.
While not measuring Service Level per se as we did above, service metrics offer a broad assessment of the quality of service delivery. Keep the following metrics in mind:
- Average Speed of Answer: This commonly used metric is found by dividing the total wait time of callers in queue by the number of calls received by the contact centre. This metric is a contact centre standby for measuring service speed against established goals.
- Call Abandonment Rate: The percentage of calls connected to your centre that were dropped before an agent could pick up the phone. High call abandonment is a telltale sign of poor service response speed.
Much like they sound, cost metrics give you an idea of how cost-efficient your operation and outreach are. Several of these include:
- Cost Per Call: Total cost of handling all contacts within a specified time. An important budget metric that all contact centres should track.
- Cost Per Inbound Contact: Divide the total annual operating costs of your contact centre by your annual inbound contact volume. This metric provides a score that helps measure overall operational efficiency.
Curious about how efficiently your agents handle callers? Productivity metrics are for you. A few examples of these include:
- Agents as Percentage of Total Headcount: This score tells you what percentage of your staff directly engage in customer service activities.
- Inbound Contacts/Agents/Month: A metric that tells you how many contacts each of your agents handle in a given timeframe. This can give you an idea of agent workload, and how effectively and fairly you’re scheduling your team.
In addition to cost, efficiency, and speed, service quality must be tracked as well:
- Customer Satisfaction: This measures your customers’ overall satisfaction with your service. This information is gained through effective surveys, customer feedback, and direct observation. Though difficult to track, this metric is one of the most important for making sure your centre is keeping your callers happy.
- First Call Resolution: Divide the number of calls resolved on the first attempt by the total number of resolvable calls to get first call resolution. This is a critical metric for the contact centre to measure—data by Service Quality Management Group found that for every 1 percent improvement in FCR, you receive a 1 percent improvement in customer satisfaction.
Though the above metrics are a good starting point for contact centres taking charge of their service quality, it’s by no means a comprehensive list. Each contact centre will have unique goals and capabilities that will determine which service metrics will be most important to measure. Gaining mastery over your measurements will give you better knowledge of your centre’s strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can make adjustments accordingly to better serve your callers and push your service quality to the next level. It can be difficult to navigate the sea of contact centre metrics.