Your contact center is your primary method of customer service: one of the first lines of defense when it comes to connecting with customers, sorting out their problems, and ensuring that they have everything they need to be satisfied with your business. In order to make sure that your contact center is handling things the way it should be, you need to be tracking the key performance indicators (KPIs) that let you know whether or not your contact center is effectively meeting its goals.
What is a Key Performance Indicator?
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are the quantifiable measures that companies use to be sure that they're meeting their goals. The key to effective KPIs is to choose factors that can be measured. They take into account the objectives of your contact center, defining them in a measurable way so that you can not only see whether or not your contact center is successful, but determine how changes to your operations, your customer connections, and other factors impact the success of your center.
Why Do KPIs Matter?
You're a contact center. Your job is to deal with customers: their complaints, their concerns, and other needs they may have. KPIs help ensure that your focus is on that critical area of customer service—and that you're providing customers with what they need while keeping the other metrics that matter for your business's success at the forefront.
Customer service is one of the most important elements of your contact center: 40% of customers swap to competitors over their customer service offerings—and 89% of them have made that switch in some area within the last year. Defining and analyzing your KPIs will help keep your focus on the things that are most important to your center.
What KPIs Matter Most for Contact Centers?
You know that call time is important. However, in order to fully understand how your performance is impacting your contact center as a whole, it's critical that you keep your eyes on the most important metrics for shaping the whole customer experience.
1. How long is the average call time? This important metric includes two simple factors. First and foremost, how long are customers actually spending on the line when they call your contact center? Do they have to wait on hold unnecessarily or wade through a long menu before they reach someone who is able to resolve their problem, or are they quickly connected to a representative who is able to offer them exactly what they need? Next, consider whether or not your base-level customer representatives are able to offer the service needed by your customers. Are you able to quickly and efficiently resolve their concerns, or do they end up bounced from one station to the next before someone is finally able to help them? 32% of customers have switched services because they're tired of being bounced around from agent to agent or because they feel that they've spoken to too many different people.
2. How many calls are blocked, preventing a customer from reaching an agent? 53% of customers stated they want to leave their current provider because they feel unappreciated. A big part of that was due to the fact that they were unable to reach that provider in times of need. Make sure that you don't have excessive blocked calls and have appropriate routing to ensure customers reach the right agent the first time. If your contact center is experiencing a much higher call volume than anticipated, try setting up routing rules to avoid leaving them with a busy signal. Use a contact center platform that enables you to set up overcapacity deflections to send calls to a voicemail or additional queues—or even schedule a callback at a later time—to prevent customers from being disconnected.
3. How many effective contacts are made compared to leads that have been used up? If you're an outbound call center responsible for contacting customers directly, how many of those contacts are effective? Are you able to connect with customers and provide them with goods and services that are genuinely useful, or are most of your leads fizzling out?
4. How many contacts are your agents making (or accepting) per hour? Whether you're an inbound or outbound contact center, volume matters! The longer each agent spends with a single contact, the less effectively their time is being spent. Measuring this metric doesn't mean harping on call times or creating a situation in which your agents feel that they have to be unresponsive to customer needs in order to meet their goals; it does, however, mean that you want to keep an eye on how your agents are interacting with callers and how long it takes them to make resolutions.
5. What is your first-call resolution rate? Are you able to successfully resolve the majority of your customers' issues with their first call to your company? If so, you're already ahead of the game. Only 3% of customers are likely to jump ship if you're able to resolve their concerns with their first contact. If it takes a second call, that number jumps to 38%.
6. What is your employee attrition rate? One of the biggest expenses many call centers struggle with is employee attrition. Not only are you left with fewer employees to handle the call load, you must factor in the cost of hiring and training new employees—an expensive proposition. Take your focus inward and make sure you're calculating your employee attrition rate—and ensuring that you're taking steps to keep your employees.
7. How often are your employees absent? Just like employee attrition costs companies, employee absenteeism can significantly impact your finances. Take the time to evaluate employee absences and how they are currently impacting your company. If you have frequent absences, consider what positive incentives could be put in place to help bring employees in to work.
8. How often do customers abandon calls or contacts? Customers who are left on hold or who receive unsatisfactory answers to online chats are less likely to stick with the contact—and that means your first-call resolution rate is going to decrease. Make sure you're tracking call abandonment rates, including abandonment rates during high-volume times, to provide better service to your customers.
9. How accurate is your call volume forecasting? Your forecasting will help determine how many employees you need to have in your center at any given time. While a variance of around 5% is normal, any more than that will lead to either paying too many employees or not having enough employees on hand to handle call volume.
10. What are your call scores and customer satisfaction ratings? Call scoring is more of a subjective metric than the others, but it's also an important part of your customer service. Select agents who need to be evaluated, then take a look at several of their calls and offer scores on their customer service and other qualities. Keep an eye out for trends that need to be addressed across all of your agents. This includes both call monitoring scores and customer satisfaction responses following their call. At UJET, for example, we enable customers to rate call and chat experiences with a simple 1–5 star scoring system, making it both easy to understand and effortless to provide valuable feedback. UJET also lets customers share 5-star ratings on their social accounts so they can highlight what an excellent job your contact center is doing.
11. How much time needs to be spent on systems training? Ideally, as you bring on new agents, your onboarding and training program focuses on the service skills your agents can use to provide excellent customer experiences. However, more systems means more time spent on systems training—not to mention a higher attrition rate as your employees struggle to learn how to use them. Measure the amount of time it takes for your agents to learn the systems that are necessary for them to perform their day-to-day tasks and compare that to the amount of time spent on skills training. If the ratio seems high, try looking into contact center solutions that can integrate various communications channels—like voice and chat—with other tools your business is using like your CRM or WFM software.
As a contact center, you want to be sure that you're providing the highest possible level of customer service. By tracking and evaluating the right metrics, you'll get a better idea of exactly what your customers need and how you can improve their connection with your business.
To provide your customers with the smoothest possible journey from purchasing to owning to advocating, check out our 4 parts for building a winning customer engagement strategy.