Someone once remarked, “If you want to manage it, you must measure it.”
This maxim certainly applies to contact centers. If you want to manage your timeliness, agent performance, compliance, costs, results, ROI and plenty more, you must gather, analyze and apply the right metrics.
Here are six best practices for collecting and applying metrics for your call center.
1. Focus on metrics that matter the most
It’s easy to get lost in a lake of contact center data. So, instead of gathering every metric you can, and trying to analyze them all at once, focus only on the metrics that matter most. These should consist of the metrics that help you achieve a business goal or improve a business outcome. Spend your time, money and energy gathering and analyzing these metrics.
For example, your contact center is in the business of resolving customer problems. Your customers want you to answer their questions and fix their issues as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
If your business goal is to reduce the time it takes your agents to resolve customer issues, then one metric you must track is First Contact Resolution. First Contact Resolution (FCR), of course, measures your ability as a call center to resolve customer problems, answer customer questions or meet customer needs the first time they contact you, whether by phone, chat or another channel.
First Contact Resolution is typically expressed as a percentage of all calls. A call center with a rate of 40% resolves 40% of its issues during the first contact. Naturally, the higher this percentage is, the more satisfied your customers are likely to be.
But, as you can likely imagine, a high First Contact Resolution rate is also an indirect indicator of your agents’ efficiency and skill levels. If your agents are resolving a high percentage of issues on the first call, they clearly have the skills they need and are making good use of those skills on each call. A low score in this area indicates areas for improvement, perhaps in your agent recruiting process, onboarding process, agent training or agent evaluation process.
Also, your First Contact Resolution indirectly indicates how profitable your operation is likely to be. Call centers with low FCR rates spend more money and time resolving calls.
As you can see, focusing on the metrics that matter most means concentrating on the KPIs that give you the most accurate picture of where you are today — and what you must work on to improve your performance tomorrow.
Some other metrics that matter are:
- Cost Per Contact
- Service Level
- Abandon Rate
- Speed of Answer
- Handle Time
- Call Transfer Rate
- Customer Satisfaction Score
- Customer Retention & Churn Rate
- Agent Attrition Rate
2. Analyze metrics impacting profitability
Call center executives care about a lot of things, but near the top of the list is profitability. Without turning an acceptable profit each quarter, you won’t be in business for long.
Profitability comes down to revenue and expenses. You subtract your expenses from your revenue, and the number you end up at the bottom with tells you how profitable you are.
The largest category of direct expense for contact centers is salary and wages. And because direct expenses in a typical call center are around 60% of all expenses, any money you can save on salary and wages goes straight to your bottom line.
But even though your agents are an expense, they also generate revenue. You need to measure the metrics that indicate how well your agents are performing. These metrics fall under five key areas of your call center operation. Analyze these, take appropriate remedial action when needed, and you’ll improve your profitability.
- Speed of Answer
- Service Level
- Abandon Rate
- Time to Complete
- Handle Time
- Call Transfer Rate
- Talk Time
- Adherence (to agent schedule)
- Score from Quality Management Form
- First Contact Resolution
- Distribution to Desired Resources
- Cost Per Contact
- Sale Made
- Promise to Pay Received
- Survey Score (such as Net Promoter Score and customer satisfaction score)
3. Use real-time contact center reporting and analytics
Managing your call center metrics only works if those metrics are timely. Making assumptions, deriving conclusions and taking actions based upon out-of-date data is a costly mistake.
This is why a growing number of contact centers are turning to real-time call center reporting and analytics. Real-time data (and near real-time data) is actionable, and critical for helping contact centers reach their peak performance. Real-time data empowers managers to take decisive actions in real-time.
Real-time data and analytics reduce wasted workforce labor and optimize call routing with real-time call and queue metrics that give a complete view of your call center operations. This quickly leads to better experiences for your customers.
When a contact center uses a real-time reporting dashboard, it allows managers to pull data in hourly segments on any given day, and to then compare that data to the same time segment in a specified date range. For instance, when managers want to see yesterday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., and compare it with the same day last week or any previous week, they do so with a few clicks.
Some of the metrics that your call center can track in real-time are:
- Agent-Level Metrics
- Team-Level Metrics
- Standard Call Metrics
- Call Detail Records
- Skill Group Metrics
When you leverage the power of real-time call center metrics, you create a more efficient and effective contact center experience for your customers — and your agents.
4. Migrate to a cloud-based reporting solution
Gathering and applying essential KPIs is time consuming and cumbersome if that data is housed in multiple silos within your call center. Consider centralizing your contact center data in the cloud.
By consolidating all your agent data and customer data into one dashboard view, your managers immediately accommodate for changes in average hold times, call volumes and multiple other metrics at any point throughout the day.
One advantage of cloud-based call center reporting platforms is cost savings. These services are typically billed by the month with a subscription service, saving your contact center the up-front capital costs of data center hardware, software, implementation and testing.
Another benefit is scalability. Cloud-based reporting tools scale up as your call volumes increase, and scale back down as volumes drop, all without you having to buy more server capacity or extra bandwidth.
Consolidating your call center data in the cloud gives you high-value, actionable metrics. They, in turn, help you improve the customer experience across your organization.
5. Understand the importance of omnichannel tools and training
“Call center” is turning into a bit of an anachronism, isn’t it? Today’s call centers, after all, handle more than just calls. They respond to customers with more tools than just the phone.
Today’s call centers are really omnichannel contact centers, allowing customers to contact customer service agents, technical support staff and sales representatives using the channel of their choice, whether that’s a live agent by phone, a live agent by chat, a chatbot or another self-service channel.
Your omnichannel contact center requires omnichannel data and analytics. You must track customer engagements across all channels to understand how to meet your customers where they are.
Omnichannel call center analytics platforms help you understand how your internal departments and technologies operate together. And they identify areas of channel weakness to ensure you deliver maximum customer satisfaction.
This is why omnichannel contact centers are upgrading their tools and providing more agent training — to keep up with modern customer expectations and to deliver better customer service.
6. Use contextual data to create a more personalized customer experience
Contact centers are discovering that one way to deliver a better customer experience is to gather, analyze and act upon contextual data.
Contextual data, which is also known in the industry as contextual intelligence, consists of metadata, metrics, statistics, KPIs and other information that helps you understand how disparate pieces of data relate to each other. Contextual data helps you put other data into perspective, placing it into a larger picture.
Contextual data includes caller intent (why they are calling), date of last purchase, time on hold, date of last call, status of last call and plenty more.
This type of metric helps you understand a given customer issue by understanding its context. Contextualization is crucial to turning disparate data points into actionable insights — and better customer service.
The main advantage of contextual data is that it helps your contact center deliver a more personalized customer experience. Contextual data gives your agents the data they need to have personalized conversations with callers. Without context, agents have a one-dimensional view of the person on the other end of the phone or chat window. But with contextual data, agents have a 360° view of each caller.
Contextual data helps your agents resolve issues more rapidly. It helps them reduce Average Handle Times, for example, by auto-populating agent dashboards with relevant data, such as reason codes, customer information, product codes and next-best-action suggestions.
To manage it, you must measure it. And measuring means metrics. Metrics are the lifeblood of your contact center. But getting the most out of your data means employing a number of best practices in how you collect, store, distribute, view and analyze your data.
To follow best practices, focus only on metrics that matter the most, analyze metrics impacting profitability, use real-time contact center reporting and analytics, migrate to a cloud-based reporting solution, understand the importance of omnichannel tools and training, and use contextual data to create a more personalized customer experience.
Get these six best practices right and you may soon be able to announce a new way to measure your contact center against competitors and you’ll be number one. To learn more, download our Ultimate Guide to Contact Center Reporting.