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Top 5 KPIs for Inbound Call Centers

As a provider of call center software, we are all about performance-tracking. Thanks to the advanced reporting metrics and tools available with today’s virtual contact center solutions, call center managers have all the facts and figures that they could ever need at their fingertips.  But, with all that data comes a truckload of metrics that you don’t need, which can be potentially dangerous for call center performance.

With mountains of dashboards and reports to choose from, your mission as a call center manager (if you choose to accept it) is to first determine the nature of your call center, and then identify which metrics are most important to your business goals.

If you know that you’re managing an inbound call center, you’re in luck - we already fought half of the battle for you.  In order to help you maximize performance, we’ve assembled the top 5 KPIs for inbound call centers.

Average Wait Time

Average wait time tracks the amount of time that your callers are twiddling their thumbs and waiting on hold before they’re connected with an agent.  And though we wouldn’t call average wait time the first item on the list of top 5 KPIs for inbound call centers, it is the first impression that your callers receive when they contact your call center for support.

We won’t beleaguer this point since it’s pretty self-explanatory: every minute that your customers spend on hold decreases your customer satisfaction levels.  Happy customers are connected to the right agent in approximately 30 - 90 seconds. (Depending on your industry, that range might vary slightly - but you should aim for an average speed of answer in that range.)

First Call Resolution

The latest research suggests that first call resolution (FCR) is the single-most important KPI for customer-centric, inbound call centers.  And though its direct correlation with customer satisfaction rates might seem like the only benefit, FCR also impacts operating costs, revenue, and even employee satisfaction.

According to the Service Quality Management (SQM) Group , a contact center consulting and research firm, the very best call centers boast an average of 86% first call resolution performance, while the worst had an average of 61%.

Although it is surprising that the difference between the best and worst FCR performance is only 25%, it does make a convincing case for why it is one of the top KPIs for inbound call centers.

Transfer Rate

Along with first call resolution, caller transfer rate is an important KPI to track.  This metric, which reports how many times the average call is being transferred to another agent or department, can provide valuable insights about your call distribution practices.

If you find that customers are frequently being transferred to multiple agents during a call, you might want to reevaluate how calls are being distributed.  For example, if you use an IVR system to direct your callers, and they’re not finding their way to the right agent or department the first time, you may want to revise your IVR menu.

Customer Call Frequency

This KPI for inbound call centers dovetails nicely with first call resolution as well.  If customers are calling in multiple times for the same issue, they are likely to be frustrated, which in turn puts added strain on your team of agents.

This strain can build up quickly, and often leads to high agent turnover, low morale, and even poor customer service. (Happy call center agents are more likely to provide helpful, comprehensive customer service.)

As you work to improve FCR, your average customer call frequency should decrease significantly.

Schedule Adherence

Although schedule adherence is generally considered a productivity-focused metric, it has a serious impact on customer service levels.  If your agents aren’t logged in 85 - 90% of the time (not counting appointment breaks for lunch, etc), then your average number of calls handled per hour will decrease.  As a result, your average wait time will increase, and customer satisfaction levels will suffer. (It’s all connected.)

You can improve levels of schedule adherence by including your agents in scheduling discussions.  By sharing this higher-level information with agents, you can help them understand the impact that they have on customer satisfaction, the queue, and the call center as a whole.

Tracking Inbound Call Center KPIs

As you can see, the top KPIs for inbound call centers revolve around customer and agent satisfaction.  In order to improve your call center’s overall performance, you’ll need to first benchmark these KPIs and then review your progress on a regular basis.

Looking for more information on choosing and using KPIs in the call center?  We think you might like these related articles: