Today, as more and more brands are chosen based on whether the overall customer experience matches their expectations, metrics are essential to ensure call center protocol is in line with these expectations. However, not every metric can be solely customer-centric. There are operational costs and other business needs that must be factored in. With that in mind, here are five critical metrics for call center success.
1) First-Call Resolution
Perhaps no KPI has a bigger influence on the customer experience than what is known as first-call resolution (FCR). FCR calculates the percentage of incoming customer calls that are completely “resolved” on the first attempt. The challenge is accurately tracking whether a particular customer has actually received a resolution they are satisfied with, and will not need to call back. Nevertheless, FCR is a key metric to measure and understand since a high FCR greatly improves customer satisfaction. In fact, customer contact research shows that for every 1% improvement in FCR, you get a 1% improvement in customer satisfaction. In addition, reducing the costs of callbacks, especially in high-volume contact centers, can do wonders for your bottom line.
2) Call Quality
Call quality is a crucial customer-centric performance metric that can be utilized in all contact centers and helps to measure how successful an agent is in dealing with the customers. It is typically evaluated through the recording and monitoring of agent interactions with customers and utilizes a scoring system based on a list of criteria that a call center feels indicates a quality experience from the customer's perspective. This may include, for example, FCR, courtesy, and professionalism, providing the right information, capturing the right customer data, etc. Usually, the criteria are added up to a total percentage score, however, each criterion can be analyzed separately in order to improve call quality in specific areas of need.
3) Service Level/Response Time
Service level and response time are fundamental metrics for the effective management of the contact center and the customer experience. Service level is the percentage of calls answered within a predetermined number of seconds. It generally indicates how accessible the center is to customers, and this is the clearest indication of what customers experience as they attempt to reach your contact center. While the faster an agent answers a customer call, the higher the service levels. Businesses also need to take into account that answering calls too quickly can actually be unprofitable because of the staffing costs necessary to meet such high service levels. At the same time, if response time is poor than repeat contacts, escalations and complaints will eventually drive service level down even further. Finding a happy medium is the key.
4) Forecasting Accuracy
One common solution for finding the right service level is a metric known as forecasting accuracy. According to Frost & Sullivan, staffing operational costs account for 70 to 80% of call center budgets. Using accurate algorithms is crucial for making sure you are properly estimating anticipated call volume. This way you can determine the right number of agents needed to meet those service levels. In fact, one of the greatest threats to a call center’s profit margin is labor costs which come from mistaken forecasting. While overestimating demand can lead to overstaffing and wasted resources, underestimating can be just as problematic as it leads to understaffing, which then leads to long wait times in queues. The result of this is frustrated customers and burned-out agents who now have to dedicate a portion of the call to caller complaints about hold times.
5) Customer Satisfaction
While there is no standard method for calculating customer satisfaction, there are certain common practices that allow call centers to not only effectively monitor customer satisfaction, but also to make improvements before customers go elsewhere. The most common strategy is a post-call IVR survey or a follow-up email survey that can be sent out immediately after a call or chat and customers are asked to rate each question on a scale (often 1 to 5) for a quick and easy customer satisfaction calculation.
Jacada's Visual IVR solution is support based mobile engagement solution that guides inbound callers to a web-based support experience – personalizing the support journey for customers already on their way to the queue. The solution makes it easy for organizations to collect the metrics listed above, among others. Emphasizing these metrics in a balanced manner will ensure that your company keeps customer satisfaction high while enabling your call center to be an efficient and profitable service center.
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that aligns with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.