What are the most valuable contact centre metrics?

There are a vast number of different reporting metrics available to the modern contact center to help gauge performance; some more valuable than others.  Jonty Pearce of Call Centre Helper online magazine recently conducted a three-month study to determine what contact center professionals considered to be the most important metrics in their customer service operations.

To read the original article upon which this blog post is based, click on the following link (highly recommended!):  The top 10 most important contact centre metrics.

Results of the study were as follows:

  1. Quality Scores: a subjective rating that measures the overall caller experience and how effectively the agent was able to deal with the problem.
  2. First Call Resolution: how many calls it took for a customer to get an issue resolved.
  3. Customer Satisfaction: the percentage of customers that are happy with the service received, generally measured through post-call surveys.
  4. Service Level: the percentage of calls answered within a certain number of seconds (I.e. 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds).
  5. Average Handle Time: the average length of a call from start to finish, including wrap-up and after-call work.
  6. Right Party Connects (outbound): how often the call reached the correct person, as opposed to answering machines, no answers, etc.
  7. Net Promoter: the number of people who would recommend the company’s product/service to others.
  8. Forecast Accuracy: how well contact center predictions lined up with actual results.
  9. Revenue Per Call: a quantification of how much income is generated per call.  More useful for telemarketing/sales calls.
  10. Utilization: total percentage of time an agent is available to take calls, including ready time, talk time and wrap-up time.

Looking at the overall results, there appears to be a shift towards quality of service rather than basic efficiency.  In the past, Average Handle Time was typically the most common judgment of call center effectiveness, but it now only clocks in at #5 overall.  Other historically popular efficiency measurements such as Abandon Rate and Average Speed of Answer did not even make this top ten list at all, while Quality Scores, First Call Resolution and Customer Satisfaction topped the charts.

This shift from general efficiency to quality makes complete sense, as there is growing evidence to suggest that customers are becoming less and less tolerant of poor service, and are more and more willing to publicly complain about a bad experience.  In this vein, the Net Promoter metric is a particularly interesting statistic for companies to measure, especially in this age of social media where a single person can have a wide-reaching impact on a company’s reputation.

Overall, the results of this study indicate that, more and more, contact centers are being thought of as the promotional mouthpiece of the business.  Organizations are recognizing that good customer service can be a powerful tool to build a company’s reputation and drive more sales.  It’s all about keeping customers happy.

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