Stellar customer support should be a priority of every organization, and relying on call center metrics can help you get there. Call center software automates the flow of incoming and outgoing calls. Besides automation, these tools offer reporting and analytics so you can measure the effectiveness of those calls.
There are certain metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll need to track in real-time, which deal with how calls are handled, which calls are not received, and how satisfied the customer is with the interaction.
Here’s the list of the most important call center metrics you should be measuring to improve your business and agent performance:
- First Call Resolution
- Cost per Call (CPC)
- Service Level
- Percentage of Calls Blocked
- Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
- Net Promoter Score® (NPS)
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
- Average Handle Time
- Average Call Occupancy Rate
- Customer Churn Rate (CCR)
- Customer Retention Rate (CRR)
- Contact Quality
- Call Abandonment Rate
- Average Call Transfer Rate
- First Response Time (FRT)
- Agent Absenteeism and Turnover
- Peak Hour Traffic
- Call Availability
- Channel Mix
- Average Time in Queue
- Average After Call Work Time
- Agent Utilization Rate
- Active and Waiting Calls
- Call Arrival Rate
- Average Age of Query
- Callback Messaging
- Repeat Calls
- Average Call Length
The following list is a comprehensive overview of KPIs you should look for in your call center software. We’ll break down what each metric is, why it’s valuable, and how you can calculate it. The list is useful for both business owners and call center managers – so let’s begin.
1. First Call Resolution (FCR)
When your agents are equipped to resolve a customer issue the first time a customer reaches out, there’s a higher chance that the customer will receive the first call resolution (FCR) they are looking for. FCR is a direct measurement of customer satisfaction.
The higher that number is, the odds are your customer loyalty number will be higher, making your call center more profitable. Consider measuring this with a customer relationship management (CRM) integration that tracks all aspects of a customer’s interactions with a brand.
In order to track this KPI, use the following formula:
The number of customer issues/inquiries resolved in a single call ÷ the total number of incoming calls that have had their issues resolved.
2. Cost Per Call (CPC)
Cost per Call (CPC) is measured in the total annual/monthly operating expenses of the center divided by the volume of calls made in the same period. This is purely a call center metric that measures your team’s efficiency.
The time period you choose to measure the cost of is key — a week may be too short, and a quarter could be too long. Measuring the cost per call over a month is a good starting point, as it’s enough time to measure common trends.
For example, if one call center has a cost of $10.00 per contact and another center halves that price, then the one running at $5.00 per contact has higher efficiency.
To track this call center metric, use this formula:
The amount of calls per month or year ÷ the operating costs plus average agent salary
3. Service Level
Your service level is a high-level measurement of your call center. As an organization, you promise to rise to a certain level of service for your customers. In the case of a call center, that level of service equates to answering a certain number of calls in a predetermined amount of time – which makes this one of the most important contact center benchmarks.
Measuring your service level will give you actionable insight into how your call center is performing. You can see how easy it is for customers’ calls to get through and then staff shifts accordingly. A fluctuating service level means that you may have some internal issues to address. The industry standard is typically to aim for a service level of 80/20, which means that 80% of calls are answered within 20 seconds.
There are a few different ways to measure service level, but here’s a common formula:
(Total calls answered within the threshold) ÷ (total calls answered + total calls abandoned) x 100
4. Percentage of Calls Blocked
Blocked calls are those that are sent to voicemail or instances when customers are told to call back later. When your call center is swamped with customer calls, sometimes the inbound customers end up with busy signals due to full call queues. Blocked calls happen for two critical reasons:
- There are no available agents
- Call queues are configured to play a busy tone when full
Finding out the percentage of calls blocked will help you determine if you have an adequate number of agents answering calls and it will also help you determine if your system’s queuing capabilities are up to snuff. Finally, it’ll help you understand if your agents are spending too much time on calls on average.
To measure your center’s percentage of calls blocked, use this formula:
The total number of calls that do not reach your agents ÷ The total number of incoming calls
5. Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
The average speed of answer (ASA) is the speed at which an agent responds to waiting customers. If the wait is too long, the chance that a customer will hang up and have a poor customer experience increases.
Measuring the ASA can help you determine if agent efficiency and follow-up time need to increase. This is particularly important for those businesses with service level agreements that establish a certain amount of calls needed to be made and a certain response time that should be met within a preset period.
To measure your center’s ASA, use this formula:
The total wait time for answered calls ÷ The total number of answered calls
6. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Simply asking your customers, “How pleased were you with our service level?” is an excellent tool for evaluating the effectiveness of your call center scripts as well as the satisfaction levels for your products or services. Creating the most effective customer satisfaction survey possible is the best way to measure this.
Completed customer satisfaction surveys are calculated into a CSAT score by adding the total number of points received by an agent. You then divide that number with the number of surveys completed. Keep in mind that this is different from an NPS, which measures loyalty.
To measure your agents’ CSAT scores, use this formula:
The total number of surveys administered x The total numeric satisfaction score. Divide that number by the total number of surveys administered.
7. Net Promoter Score® (NPS)
Your organization’s NPS is a measurement of how likely customers are to stay with your organization. The most straightforward way to perform this quality assurance is to collect this number is by sending out surveys measuring satisfaction to your customers.
These surveys can be as short as one question, asking how likely they are to recommend you to their network. They can be expanded to include more questions in order to better understand what your customers like/dislike. With a higher NPS score, you’ll likely have a higher CRR.
Customers who complete the survey fall into one of three categories:
- promoters (those who give a score of 9 or 10)
- passives (those who give a score of 7 or 8)
- detractors (those who give a score between 0-6).
You can calculate your NPS with the following formula:
(Number of promoters ÷ total number of surveys) – (Number of promoters ÷ total number of surveys)
8. Customer Effort Score (CES)
Your call center is there to help your customers, but it shouldn’t be hard for them to reach you — that’s what a customer effort score (CES) measures. Your support team should always aim to deliver a low-effort experience for your customers. This number is typically gathered through a survey, just like an NPS score. All you need to do to gather this information is simply to ask your customers if they agree that your company made it easy for them to solve their issue. This number is typically measured on a scale of 5 or 7, with the higher number being what you want to aim for.
This number is valuable because it can help you measure and predict customer loyalty. If customers don’t consider your support offering easy to work with, they may move onto one of your competitors. Using your average score in tandem with your NPS is a good way to get a bird’s eye view of what your customers think of your company. When those numbers dip into a low range, you’ll be able to expect a loss of customer base as well.
Use the following formula to calculate your CES:
CES = % of customers that agree – % of customers that disagree.
9. Average Handle Time (AHT)
This call center metric is the average time it takes for an agent to resolve a customer issue. Shorter interactions typically correlate with customer satisfaction, which is why this metric and FCR are so important for call center success.
It’s important to keep in mind that shorter AHT isn’t necessarily a metric for success, as having agents rush through calls is counterintuitive. Attempting to shorten AHT without compromising the quality of the interaction is something center managers should strive for.
To measure your center’s average handle time, use this formula:
The total talk time of the agent + the total time customers have spent in the queue + the after-call work time. Divide that total by the total number of incoming calls.
10. Average Call Occupancy Rate
The call occupancy rate is the measurement of your agents’ pace of work and how efficient they are. Aiming for a higher occupancy rate is ideal, as that means there will be less time between calls. However, a 100% occupancy rate might not be feasible, as that means your agents could burn out.
The general consensus amongst call center software is that an occupancy rate of 85 to 90% is a reasonable goal rate to target. Keeping a close eye on this call center metric ensures you are spreading out your agents’ bandwidth in the most effective way possible. Monitoring your agents’ call occupancy rate can have a direct impact on your customers’ satisfaction.
Calculating this requires counting the call volume made during a shift or set period. Resources like Erlang Calculators make this fairly easy to measure.
11. Customer Churn Rate (CCR)
Your customer churn rate (CCR) is the number of customers that decide to cut ties with your business. Different businesses have different qualifications for what is considered losing a customer — it mainly depends on the nature of your business and what type of service/product you offer. Before you can measure this rate, you have to define what your organization considers to be a lost customer.
Keeping tabs on this metric is important for obvious reasons — no one wants to lose customers and hurt their bottom line. Naturally, you want a number on the lower end here. But this is also something that’s completely subjective to your business. You can look to competitors in your industry for a good number to go off of, or just measure this number based on your revenue.
Since a churn rate of zero is impossible, there is such a thing as a good churn rate. It’s up to your business to calculate that target rate and deploy strategies as to not increase it. CCR works in tandem with a host of additional call center KPIs and contact center metrics. These tools are focused on improving your customer service offering. By providing the best customer experience possible, your CCR should remain on the lower end.
You can calculate this rate with the formula below:
Divide the number of customers lost during a specific time period by the number of customers you started that time period off with. Multiply that number by 100.
12. Customer Retention Rate (CRR)
Customer Retention Rate (CRR) measures the percentage of existing customers still utilizing your organization’s services within a certain period of time. The higher your CRR rate, the higher your revenue will be.
Happier customers may spread the word about your organization to people within their network. Those existing customers will also be 40 percent more likely to purchase a new product or service than you. This all starts with the service level provided by your call center employees.
You can find your organization’s CRR by subtracting the number of new customers over a certain period from the total number of customers at the end of that same period. Divide that by the number of customers at the start of that period. Multiply that number by 100.
13. Contact Quality
Contact quality measures the efficiency of a conversation between an agent and a customer. As Hubspot says, a customer should leave an interaction feeling as if the call was “polite, professional, understanding, timely, and solve the problem at hand.”
This call center metric doesn’t really have a specific formula attached to it. Instead, managers should look for specific qualities in their agents’ calls. An employee’s demeanor and problem-solving ability should be measured since that will have a direct impact on the customer experience. This can effectively be measured by listening to agents’ calls with a call monitoring solution and collect notes on their performance with scorecards.
14. Call Abandonment Rate
Your call center abandonment rate is the measurement of the number of calls that end when a customer hangs up the phone before a callback or resolution is made. Call center performance hinges on providing callers with the best customer service experience.
The entire contact process should be optimized so that the customer stays on the line. Fixing your IVR call flow and creating self-service options are a few ways to reduce the number of hang-up results since this minimizes the customer hold time.
A call abandonment rate between 5 and 8% is deemed to be in the acceptable range. Also, for those reaching prospects on smartphones, mobile call abandonment rates tend to be higher – sometimes as high as 20%.
This call center metric is measured by the total number of abandoned calls ÷ the total number of incoming calls
15. Average Call Transfer Rate
The average call transfer rate is a call center metric that monitors how many calls end up transferred to a different department or are sent to the supervisor level.
Due to poor IVR call flow or wrong touchtone inputs, callers can be misrouted through your system and will be transferred to different departments. Some transferring is inevitable, but your call center should be optimized to reduce the number of bounces.
To find this call rate, use this simple formula:
The number of calls transferred ÷ the total number of handled calls
16. First Response Time (FRT)
First response time measures the time elapsed between when a customer submits a ticket and the first agent responds to it. This is a vital metric to keep track of, as it has a strong impact on your customer experience. It’s no secret that customers don’t like to wait. As Geckoboard says, timeliness and speed have a direct correlation with satisfaction.
Not only is this metric a measure of your customer success, but it can give insight into your staffing needs. If your agents aren’t responding to tickets quickly enough, it might not be a reflection of their abilities. It could just mean that you are understaffed. This metric can be calculated with the following formula:
The sum of all first response times divided by the number of resolved tickets
17. Agent Absenteeism and Turnover
One key statistic that directly affects the percentage of calls blocked is agent absenteeism and turnover, which is why it’s essential to measure agent schedule adherence. Having your agents stick to their scheduled shifts reduces the chance of missed or abandoned calls significantly.
Workforce management tools make tracking agent absenteeism and turnover relatively easy and are considered one of the must-have features in a contact call solution. Using this helps your center develop a budget and optimize best practices for your personnel.
To measure agent absenteeism, use this formula:
The total time that an agent is available ÷ The total time that the agent is scheduled for shifts
18. Peak Hour Traffic
This metric measures the time of the day in which your business receives the most calls. This is a straightforward metric as its purpose is clear — measuring tracking which time of the day your business receives the most calls will ensure that your team is prepared and ready for the influx of work. If needed, you can even schedule extra agents to make sure your team doesn’t fall behind during the busiest time of the day. This metric doesn’t have a specific formula. Just track your logs and note the time of day when you receive the most calls.
19. Call Availability
This metric refers to how many agents are available to handle calls and how long it takes to close out inquiries. It’s a good indicator of how well your agents are sticking to their schedule. This metric also ties in nicely to your call center’s peak hour traffic. You dig into call availability and measure it by the agent. If one agent’s availability is noticeably low, you can investigate to see if they were absent or if it was due to high traffic.
Measure call availability with the following formula:
Total seats (100%) – Occupancy% = Available time
20. Channel Mix
Channel mix refers to the number of ways your customers can reach your support team. By providing your customers with a number of ways to reach you, you can easily pinpoint which is your most popular channel. Popular customer service channels include phone, social media, email live messaging and self-service websites.
Although they’re not quite as focused on additional messaging channels like contact center agents are, this is still useful to call center agents. With this information, you can dedicate more representatives to that particular channel. This ensures your team can help the most customers in the most efficient way possible. A higher number of interactions can easily lead to higher satisfaction.
You can easily get this number by measuring the total number of customer service sessions per channel.
21. Average Time in Queue
The average time in queue is the average amount of time that a caller spends waiting to speak to an agent after they’ve contacted your call center. The lower this number is, the better. However, an acceptable time in queue will depend on the type of business and the situation. For example, contacting a hotel during a weather emergency would have a higher acceptable queue time than contacting a restaurant to make a reservation.
In any case, the average time in queue is an important KPI to measure. If callers are waiting too long they will either hang up, resulting in missed opportunities or become increasingly irritated so that by the time they do reach an agent de-escalation is needed.
To track this call center metric, use this formula:
Total time callers have been in the queue ÷ total number of calls
22. Average After Call Work Time
The average after call work time or ACWT is the amount of time that an agent spends working on a call after the actual call has ended. This time could be spent putting call notes into a spreadsheet, logging data, or any other tasks related to wrapping up the call. Because call center agents should ideally be spending most of their time on calls, the average ACWT is generally measured in seconds.
ACWT is important because it indicates how efficient your agents are. If ACWT is high across the board you can take measures to streamline data input in order to ease pressure on agents. This KPI is measured separately for each agent so it’s good to know for employee evaluation purposes as well.
To track average after call work time, use this formula:
Minutes spent on after call work by one agent during a time frame ÷ number of calls taken during that time frame
23. Agent Utilization Rate
The agent utilization rate is the average percentage of work time that an agent spends taking calls. As you might imagine, agent utilization can be difficult to track because there can be a lot of variation from day to day and even hour to hour for agents. The best way to get an accurate number is to find averages over at least a month. To determine the agent utilization rate, you’ll first need to determine the average minutes that an agent works in a day and the average number of minutes they spend on calls in a day.
The agent utilization rate is helpful to determining the staffing needs of your contact center and the efficiency of agents. A very low agent utilization rate (let’s say 50%) could indicate that the contact center is overstaffed. If the agent utilization rate is extremely high, this could also be problematic as agents are then at risk for rushing calls, making mistakes and burnout.
To track this contact center KPI, use this formula (keep in mind this is for one specific agent):
(Average number of minutes spent on calls per month ÷ Average number of total minutes worked that month) x 100
24. Active And Waiting Calls
Active and waiting calls is the percentage of active calls that are in the queue and waiting to be answered by an agent. This percentage fluctuates moment to moment and should be tracked in real time in order to get an accurate picture of how the call center is doing when it comes to answering calls. Active and waiting calls can be measured for a team or an entire contact center.
This KPI is important because if there is a high percentage of calls that aren’t able to go through to an agent right away, customer service will suffer and agents will quickly become overwhelmed.
To track active and waiting calls, use this formula:
(Number of calls on hold at that moment ÷ Total number of calls being handled at that moment) x 100
25. Call Arrival Rate
The call arrival rate is how many calls your contact center receives every hour, minute or second (depending on how you choose to measure it). This is a metric that is generally tracked and reported at the end of each day. If your contact center receives less than 100 calls per day, you may want to measure the call arrival rate as calls per hour. If you receive thousands of calls per day, you will probably want to measure the arrival rate as calls per minute or calls per second.
Call arrival rate is important to measure because it informs what the staffing needs of your contact center are, as well as what times of the week, month or year have the heaviest call volumes. You will be able to see quickly if your contact center needs to scale up due to increased calls per minute, or whether you have more agents than you need.
To measure call arrival rate, use this formula:
Total number of calls received in a day ÷ Total number of hours/minutes/seconds in a day
26. Average Age of Query
The average age of query is the average length of time that a customer query (issue) remains unresolved. For issues that are resolved in the first contact, they will not “age” at all and will not be included in this metric.
The average age of query metric gives a contact center insight into how long it is taking agents to resolve more complex queries. If this number is high, it could indicate that agents are ill equipped to handle difficult calls or that there needs to be a better routing system in place.
To measure this KPI, use this formula:
Total time current open queries remain unresolved ÷ Total number of unresolved queries
27. Callback Messaging
Callback messaging refers to the number of customers who leave their contact information in a message and request a call back from an agent. Many contact center software solutions provide this as an option and it is a great alternative to waiting on hold.
In order to ensure that customers receive a callback in a timely manner, it is important to know how many callback messages your call center receives each day. If the number is very high, it might be time to hire some more agents.
There is no formula for this metric, it is simply:
The total number of callback messages for the day
28. Repeat Calls
The repeat calls metric shows the percentage of calls that are related to a specific issue. If you feel that the same issues are coming up again and again you can track this metric to find out how common those issues are. You can choose the length of the time frame.
This is a great KPI to track in order to improve self-service options and offer a better customer experience.
To track repeat calls use this formula:
(Number of calls related to a specific issue ÷ Total number of calls) x 100
29. Average Call Length
Average call length, as one might expect, is the average amount of time that a customer is on the phone with an agent. This doesn’t include any pre-call prep or after call work.
Average call length is important because it translates directly to overhead cost. The longer that customers are on the phone, the more reps you need and the longer the hold times will be. Beyond that, a long call has more opportunity to irritate the customer and indicates a loss of call control.
To track average call length, use this formula:
Total time customers are on calls with agents ÷ Total number of calls
Good Customer Service Leads to More first contact resolutions
The more an agent personalizes the call and creates a connection with the customer, the less likely they will hang up during the call. As a wrap-up, we can conclude that well trained agents should have a higher rate of resolution, especially if they are taking inbound calls. If your FCR is low, additional training may be required.
On our page, we lay out several options with the pros and cons of each to help you find software that will help your call center agents be more efficient during their interactions.