Crucial Call Center Metrics & KPI Benchmarks to Track
Do you want to improve your call center's agent productivity, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency? Success starts by tracking the right key performance indicators.
The modern contact center helps customer experience (CX) leaders support business endeavors by working smarter in their day-to-day call operations. Customer expectations on service are climbing, and with the global shift to omnichannel communications, businesses still need to deliver the service levels they promise as well as what’s anticipated. With virtual communications on the rise, several customer service trends have emerged.
In its yearly release, the Global State of Customer Service Report by Microsoft identifies these trends that directly impact and contribute to brand loyalty. Below are five interesting takeaways from the report.
- 90% of customers believe customer service is important in the choice of brand they do business with. Nearly two-thirds will sever a business relationship that provides poor customer service.
- More than half (55%) of global consumers have higher customer service expectations than they did the year before.
- Using the phone or other voice channels to reach customer service is most preferred by 71% of respondents, followed closely by email (64%), self-service (53%), and live chat (48%) with other channels like support ticket, mobile, social, and SMS trailing behind.
- Just 34% of customers believe that getting questions answered is getting easier (a 5% drop from the previous year).
- The most important aspect of good customer service for consumers is getting issues resolved the first time (35%), followed by interacting with a knowledgeable agent (31%).
So, what’s the message here? As businesses add new service channels, CX leaders need to make sure their teams can keep up with the influx of interactions and data that inevitably follows. In our own report, Fast-Tracking the Omnichannel Movement, 48% of business leaders admitted to not monitoring team performance at all and another 72% reported lacking confidence in existing data sources.
This is where contact center software can help. It was purpose-built to provide insight into what your agents are doing and how they are performing on the phones. We’ve all heard the saying, “What gets measured gets improved.” And while it might sound cliche, it’s certainly true for call center performance and benchmarking. Tracking and monitoring call center KPIs gives you that accurate data, so you can proactively review your call center metrics and make improvements based on actionable insights.
Choosing Your Call Center KPIs
Call center KPIs, or key performance indicators, are simply measurable metrics used to determine if a business is on pace for exceeding operational efficiency, customer service, and team performance goals.
Tracking metrics opens up visibility into the customer experience of your call center. With detailed benchmarks on your call center dashboard, you can easily set goals to improve business performance and communicate widespread value to stakeholders across the organization.
Are You Tracking the Best Metrics for Your Call Center's Success?
Different businesses have different metrics by which they measure their customer service success. As such, they prioritize different KPIs that vary based on industry, organization size, and type of call center: inbound, outbound, or blended.
For example, an airline may focus on revenue-driving metrics, like customer lifetime value and average sales order, to increase flight sales. Whereas a healthcare practice could put more emphasis on efficiency, tracking insight on average call work, or schedule adherence, to make sure patient requests are handled accurately and with care. When monitored on an ongoing basis, call center benchmarks can positively impact customer satisfaction, productivity, and efficiency.
Crucial KPI Metrics for Call Centers to Track
It's essential to set and track realistic goals to make sure your call center team is set up for success. When you establish, monitor, and share these KPIs, the individuals that make up your organization understand how their routine actions affect the entire organizational operations.
Below is a list of commonly tracked call center KPIs. We’ve provided some insight on how these metrics are measured and tips to improve them within your organization.
- Call Origination Metrics
- Agent Productivity Metrics
- Call Center Operation Metrics
- Customer Experience (CX) Metrics
Call Origination Metrics
Abandonment Rate (AR)
Abandonment rate is the percentage of time a caller hangs up before the call is answered. The formula for measuring abandonment rate is:
- Abandonment Rate = (abandoned calls ÷ total calls) x 100
What should your abandonment rate goals look like? A solid call abandonment rate benchmark between 4-8% is a good standard for most industries. If you’re trending higher, it could negatively impact your customer satisfaction scores.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Abandonmnent Rate
A high AR could reflect an inefficient IVR/ACD system. You can easily reduce the number of abandoned calls by streamlining call routing pathways so they’re easy to navigate, expand communication channels to reach more customers, and add the option for callers to request a callback from an agent later on in the day.
Average Wait Time
Average wait time in the caller center refers to the average combined time a caller is waiting. That includes the time it takes an agent to answer the phone and the amount of time a caller is put on hold. The formula for calculating average wait time is:
- Average Wait Time = (total time from beginning of call to end of call per caller) ÷ (total count of callers within a time period)
What should your average wait time benchmark look like? The 80/20 rule is a traditional approach to benchmarking average wait time. As in, agents should be answering 80% of calls within 20 seconds.
However, this rule casts doubt on CX leaders as an arbitrary standard. Your industry and call center’s average volume could play a significant part in this KPI to be much larger. A two-minute wait time is acceptable among many industries. The higher the wait time, the more likely you are to see below-target satisfaction scores among customers.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Average Wait Time
Keeping an updated hub of self-service guides can offer customers quick questions to their answers without congesting the call queues. Adding a VIP line for priority customers is a great way to offer your most valued customers faster service without the wait. And to drive it home, setting up queue callback not only gives callers time back in their day but allows agents to tend to those with more pressing needs before returning calls to those that exercised that option.
Customer Call Frequency
Customer call frequency is a metric that describes the number of repeated calls from the same customer. The formula for calculating customer call frequency is:
- Customer Call Frequency = (time period ÷ customer call frequency)
What should your customer call frequency benchmark look like? It's measured by the number of calls a customer makes regarding the same issue. While there’s no industry standard, best practices would be to always aim for resolution on the first call.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Customer Call Frequency
Improving the quality of content on your website’s self-service page and scheduling agent training sessions can reduce the number of calls made by the same customer for the same issue. Using call quality features including monitor, whisper, and barge to coach your agents where they need assistance can push lengthy cases over the finish line.
Percentage of Blocked Calls
Percentage of blocked calls is the number of inbound callers who receive a busy tone because queues are at capacity and no agents are available. The formula for calculating this metric is as follows:
- Percentage of Blocked Calls = (number of calls that fail to reach an agent ÷ total number of inbound calls) x 100
What should your percentage of blocked calls benchmark look like? While you hope a customer will never hear a busy tone, it’s likely to happen at some point. The industry standard is set at 2% of all inbound calls.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Percentage of Blocked Calls
Having a robust set of SIP channels can prevent blocked calls from happening to your customers. Be sure to adequately staff the right amount of agents to curb heavy volume days and use a virtual contact center system with reliable infrastructure that can handle the job.
Agent Productivity Metrics
Average Call Work
Average call work is the time agents spend after the call with data entry related to the call. The formula for calculating average call work is:
- Average Call Work = (time to complete post-call work for all calls ÷ total number of calls)
What should your average call work goals look like? This KPI provides insight into the average amount of time it takes to complete data entry once ending a call with a customer. Benchmarks vary by industry and the amount of data collected.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Average Call Work
Connecting your CRM, Chat, Contact Center, Collaboration, and other business tool integrations with your virtual contact center software sets up automation so your agents can be proactive and move on to other calls quickly. Integrations log calls automatically with a link to the recording to organize past conversations. And if/when the customer calls again, their data is displayed in the screen pop to provide context.
Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average handle time is the average amount of time spent on each call. The formula for calculating AHT is:
- Average Handle Time = (total talk time + total hold time + total post-call work)÷(number of calls handled)
What should your average handle time benchmark look like? 6 minutes is recognized as a good benchmark.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Average Handle Time
Carrying out calls on a reliable cloud platform built with a suite of agent-support features is a great way to ensure your team’s AHT is where it needs to be. Keep in mind that a good call routing system that’s easy to navigate can reduce hold times, revealing that the caller has been routed to the right department or agent on the first try.
Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
Average speed of answer is the average amount of time it takes for an agent to answer a call. The formula for calculating ASA is:
- Average Speed of Answer = (total length of customer wait time ÷ total number of calls answered)
What should your average speed of answer benchmark look like? The standard is generally 28 seconds but can vary depending on the time of day and the industry. Aim for 28 seconds or below to avoid a poor customer experience and agent burnout.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Average Speed of Answer
Add more queues and agents to offset peak volumes throughout the year. Make sure there are enough agents scheduled to work to balance your business’s inbound and outbound goals. Queue callback allows agents to return a call when it’s convenient for them and gives customers time back in their day.
Average Calls Per Hour
Average calls per hour is the average number of calls an agent carries out within an hour. The formula for calculating calls per hour is:
- Average Calls Per Hour = (total number of calls answered in a shift ÷ hours worked in a shift)
What should your calls per hour benchmark look like? 10 calls per hour per agent is the industry standard. Depending on the industry and type of request, it could be lower or higher.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Average Calls Per Hour
Applying smarter workflows in your call center automates tasks so your agent can move efficiently through the queue. Regular training sessions and access to proper resources help agents increase their FCR, tackle other requests, and increase productivity among the team.
Occupancy rate measures the amount of time agents are on live calls plus completing work associated with the calls. The formula for calculating occupancy rate is:
- Occupancy Rate = (total talk time + total time spent on call-related tasks ÷ total working time) x 100
What should your occupancy rate benchmark look like? While it may vary, the average agent occupancy for service desks is approximately 73%. Businesses that trend lower tend to be overstaffed or part of a smaller organization, and those that trend higher are generally economies of scale that have successful agent scheduling processes.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Occupancy Rate
Tech stack integrations are a key component of agent productivity. Easily eliminate manual tasks and reduce human error with automatic capabilities when you connect your call center with your operational sales and service tools. The softphone provides agents instant access to contact information from within their database. Once the call has concluded, they’re automatically logged and linked to so nothing falls through the cracks.
Call Center Operations Metrics
Agent Turnover Rate
Agent turnover rate is the percentage of agent positions that need to be refilled during the year. The formula for calculating agent turnover is:
- Agent Turnover Rate = (number of agents that leave per year ÷ total agent headcount) x 100
What should your agent turnover rate goals look like? A rate that falls at the 20% mark or lower is considered a good agent turnover rate. Ideally, those leaving should be low-performing agents. If not, there could be something else to address within the organization, such as the culture.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Agent Turnover Rate
Setting up agents for success with a centralized communications environment capable of automating tasks can help reverse high turnover. Empowering agents with simplified workflows, reliable connectivity, set pathways for career growth, and the ability to incorporate remote work can help improve their workplace environment and job satisfaction.
Average Age of Query
Average age of query measures the average amount of time that a case remains open since the initial call. The formula for calculating the average age of query is:
- Average Age of Query = (total time of open queries ÷ total number of open queries)
What should your average age of query benchmark look like? This metric gives clarity into which customer issues or channels lead to longer resolution times. Benchmarking may vary by industry.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Average Age of Query
Tech stack integrations help agents to pull customer information more efficiently, so they can remain focused on getting to a resolution. Skills-based routing connects callers with agents best suited to handle specific needs, helping to close more cases while providing better support to their clients.
Average Talk Time
Average talk time measures the average conversation time of each call. The formula for calculating the average talk time is:
- Average Talk Time = (number of seconds spent engaged with caller ÷ total number of calls handled
What should your average talk time benchmark look like? Similar to AHT, keeping the conversation under six minutes can help agents get to more calls faster. While a lower talk time is good, it’s all about providing a superior experience to avoid a frustrated customer. Make sure your agents keep that in mind.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Average Talk Time
Use call management tools like whisper and barge to actively coach your agents while on the line with a customer. This can help them gain more confidence and have a productive conversation that can lead to more resolution. Even something as simple as revising discovery questions in the call script, to efficiently pull what you need, can reduce unnecessary chatter and build up metrics like CSAT and AHT in the process.
Conversion rate is the percent of calls carried out that led to a service or product sold. The formula for calculating conversion is:
- Conversion Rate = (total number of sales ÷ total number of leads) x 100
What should your conversion rate benchmark look like? Each industry will have different benchmarks, but the goal remains the same: aim to increase conversions! Targeted sales to either consumers or businesses will factor in as transaction amounts vary greatly.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Conversion Rate
Easily drive growth for inbound and outbound sales with two-way virtual numbers plus guaranteed CLI. Phone calls are 10X more likely to lead to sales than email. Without a PSTN-replacement service, you’ll miss out on 75% customer engagement and heavily risk hitting revenue targets.
Sales revenue is the number of products or services sold in a given period, generally written in a monetary amount. The formula for calculating sales revenue is:
- Sales Revenue = (number of units sold) x (average sales price)
What should your sales revenue benchmark look like? While there’s no specific benchmark, the higher the sales price the more sales revenue you're likely to receive. With smaller priced goods, your team will generally have to sell more quantities.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Sales Revenue
Utilizing priority routing and local numbers with caller ID can boost sales and revenue within your organization. 3 out of 4 customers are more trustworthy of a local number and yield more engagement. Giving your most loyal customers a dedicated team of agents to quickly connect with - bypassing long wait times - can lead to more sales and satisfaction. Ensuring both inbound and outbound sales reps are thoroughly knowledgeable on the product or service will help educate the customer and lead to a quick sale.
Schedule adherence is the percentage of the working day in which an agent is available to carry out calls. The formula for calculating schedule adherence is as follows:
- Schedule Adherence = (total number of time the agent is available to take calls in their shift ÷ total number of time within their shift)
What should your schedule adherence benchmark look like? This metric can significantly improve service levels. A good target to aim for is a 90% schedule adherence level.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Schedule Adherence
While helping to train up agents is important to driving schedule adherence, so is making sure that the work-life balance is maintained in the organization. When agents are happier and more confident in their roles, that level of productivity and manner will reflect in their customer conversations.
Service level is the percentage of calls answered within a defined amount of time. The formula for calculating service level is:
- Service Level = (total calls answered within time threshold ÷ total number of calls answered) x 100
What should your service level benchmark look like? It doesn’t just measure what your agents are doing, but how they’re performing comparatively in the agreement between the customer and telecom service provider. There’s not one service level benchmark to aim for, rather your service level should be commonly understood across the entire organization.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Service Level
Tracking call center KPIs through an intuitive dashboard and creating actionable next steps can greatly improve your service level. Never over-promise on your deliverables because if you can’t keep up, you risk plummeting associated customer service metrics such as average speed of answer, CSAT, FCR, and AR. Redefining objectives can add a more realistic interpretation of service level as it relates to abandoned calls.
Customer Experience (CX) Metrics
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer effort score is a single question to customers asking how much effort they had to put forth to get issues resolved. A question commonly asked is typically setup like this:
- Frequency Type: How often did you engage with our service team to resolve your case?
- Every Day
What should your customer effort score goals look like? There’s no standard measurement for CES, but many companies refer to a Likert scale to get results. Likert scales are used to measure the customer’s experience with your call center from low to high. Measured in a point system, Likert scale questions can be asked in frequency, reactions, statement agreement, and more.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Customer Effort Score
If your CES isn’t up to par, your other CX metrics are also being affected. Customers don’t want to have to actively manage their open cases - and that includes rehashing every conversation with new agents. Using a cloud phone system with automated features that link previous calls to preferred business tools can help lower their effort while increasing satisfaction. Additional training can go a long way, so your agents are equipped for a successful interaction every time.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Customer satisfaction is the percentage of how well a business is satisfying its customers. The formula for calculating customer satisfaction is:
- Customer Satisfaction = (total number of satisfied customers ÷ total number of responses) x 100
What should your customer satisfaction benchmark look like? It can easily be measured on a 1-10 scale too, but many companies highlight their CSAT score as a percentage. A good indicator of highly satisfied customers is a score of 80% or 8/10. However, it also greatly depends on the industry.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Customer Satisfaction
Actively monitoring how the team is doing can help identify how satisfied your customers are with their service. Contact center analytics show a wide range of KPIs that point to where the team is thriving and the areas that need work. Inbound call centers should consider intelligent routing so callers can easily navigate to the right destination. And, of course, when collecting personal identification from customers, making sure your company is in compliance can bring customers peace of mind.
First Call Resolution (FCR)
First call resolution is the percentage of calls that resolve the customer’s issue within the first point of contact. The formula for calculating first call resolution is:
- First Call Resolution = (total number of resolved issues on first contact ÷ total cases) x 100
What should your first call resolution benchmark look like? A good FCR achievement for businesses is 75%. Though, it may vary slightly depending on the type of business and industry.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's First Call Resolution
Anticipating customer needs is a great practice that can boost FCR. Using discovery questions in cadences can help identify potential problems your customer may experience - and nip them in the bud - before it even occurs. A resource hub with quality content can empower users to self-troubleshoot before getting customer service involved. And if an issue does arise, an elite team of knowledgeable agents can help sort and resolve those issues quickly.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net promoter score is the measure of customer loyalty to a company. The formula for calculating net promoter score is:
- Net Promoter Score = (percentage of promoters) - (percentage of detractors)
And if you need to calculate the promoters or detractor quantities...
- NPS Promoters = ((total responses - (detractors + passives)) ÷ (total responses)) x 100
- NPS Detractors = ((total responses - (promoters + passives)) ÷ (total responses)) x 100
- NPS Passives = ((total responses - (promoters + detractors)) ÷ total responses)) x 100
What should your net promoter score benchmark look like? An NPS score above 20 is favorable but is often looked at as the minimum level of progress. A score of 50 is about average. It’s up to your business to determine the level that marks a detractor, passive, and promoter.
Common Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Net Promoter Score
Use your call recordings to investigate the root cause of a poor net promoter score. Your detractors offer valuable insight - give their feedback a listen and use it to make structural changes. Implementing some agent training sessions can help build agent confidence and increase high-quality service. And if you have multiple channels, make sure each one has a specific survey in place so if a pattern emerges, you can make the appropriate changes to the right channel.
Storytelling: Communicating Call Center Value Across the Organization with Data
Call center analytics and reporting provide CX leaders with data confirming the value their teams bring. Stakeholders don’t necessarily want the numbers, but the story of what your data holds and your team’s attribution to that success. Below are some ways to communicate the call center value across your organization so you can continuously refine your processes.
Ensure KPIs are Both Attainable & Measurable. When selecting the call center KPIs to benchmark, you’ll want to consider the type of data being collected, how to access it, and the cost of it all. Omnichannel brings several channels of data into the picture. The data must be attainable and measurable so you can share it with the group.
Align KPIs between Teams. A KPI alignment strategy makes it easier to measure how your inbound and outbound teams are impacting the organization. Blended call centers can use this practice to emphasize the value-add of each team, whether that be sales, issue resolution, call output, customer service, etc.
Make Time to Audit KPIs. Regular auditing and updating KPIs can help you align business goals with customer service trends. Some industries may be more fluid than others and require habitual analysis. Take a look at your reports and modify tracked KPIs, like CSAT, revenue, engagement, etc., with relevance to emerging trends and customer expectations in your area of business.
Improve Call Center Benchmarks with an All-In-One Global Cloud Communications Platform
No matter what type of call center you’re running, monitoring and tracking KPIs allow you to make smart, data-driven decisions that increase efficiency and reduce costs. Establishing benchmarks not only helps everyone stay on the same page of what to work towards but holds agents accountable for their performance and identifies areas that need improvement.
AVOXI’s virtual contact center platform is an all-in-one capable solution to boost your call center’s KPI benchmarks with reliable, expansive, and secure voice that delivers an excellent customer experience, every time. Here’s what you can expect from our contact center solution:
- Simplified Integrations. Whichever platform you have, AVOXI extends reach and keeps you connected. Our integrations portfolio helps remove the complexity of workflows, improving inbound and outbound communications while creating more meaningful interactions.
- Advanced Performance & Analytic Reports. Easily measure KPIs and track trends with advanced live and historical reporting of agent performances. Shared and scheduled reporting features allow you to automatically distribute insights with stakeholders around the organization.
- Expanded Voice Coverage. Partnering with AVOXI allows you to provision numbers from 170+ countries in minutes. This includes rare coverage other providers struggle to obtain, including phone numbers in India, Nigeria, the UAE, and more. TrueLocal, our PSTN-replacement service, supports two-way communications and guaranteed CLI in more than 20 countries and cities.
- Intuitive IVR Services. With AVOXI’s intelligent routing feature, businesses can match callers best suited for handling their calls. Recent releases include skills-based routing and priority routing to drive customers to the right team in seconds.
- Call Monitoring. Improve customer service metrics and agent performance with call monitoring tools to coach your team. Tools include live call monitoring, whisper, barge, call quality scoring, call tagging and more on real-time dashboards.
- Secure & Reliable SIP Connections. You can always expect carrier-grade reliability, security against fraud, and 24/7/365 support wherever you do business.
- International Porting Expertise. When other carriers say it can’t be done, our world-class porting team finds a way. Our international porting team can transfer numbers in over 100 countries and regions at no cost.
Get Detailed Insight into Your Call Center Data
Easily stay ahead of your business’s critical service-level metrics and proactively manage your contact center and teams. With AVOXI’s suite of reporting tools, business leaders can increase productivity and efficiency with historical and real-time data to drive actionable insights for their business decisions.