Top Call Center Metrics & KPI Benchmarks to Track
As a call center leader, you’ve likely experienced firsthand how one call interaction can make or break a customer’s decision to do business with your company.
In fact, 90% of customers report customer service is a huge factor. And a critical part of your role is to make sure customers have the best experience by tracking your agents’ performance to improve business growth.
Making CX improvements requires a lot of call center KPI measuring and benchmarking, which takes up time and energy– so working smarter, not harder, is key. Understanding and utilizing specific KPIs will help you grow your business faster through improved call center efficiency and engagement.
Want to learn how to effectively measure your call center efficiency and share your team’s value through data? Below, we’ll uncover top call center metrics & KPIs to track data to improve CX and business growth.
Choosing Your Call Center KPI Metrics
Call center key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurable metrics used to determine if a business is on pace for exceeding operational, customer service and team performance goals.
With a call center dashboard that provides detailed tracking and benchmarks on agent performance, as a leader, you are better equipped to coach team members needing to boost performance, route VIP calls to top-performing agents and communicate widespread value to other organizational stakeholders.
Of course, every call center operates a bit differently depending on their call center type and team types:
Call Center Type:
- Inbound call center: Reps typically field all inbound calls from customers and are tasked with answering queries or solving issues. This type of call center requires more customer service focus than others.
- Outbound call center: Calls are made by call center reps to specific customers, allowing them to prepare for the conversations. This call center type often requires sales quotas and targets.
- Blended call center: A combination of both inbound and outbound call centers, call center agents may equally field incoming calls and place outbound calls. Depending on the size of the company, there may be separate teams fielding inbound calls and placing outbound calls.
- Sales: Sales team agents are responsible for metrics around making sales and hitting sales quotas.
- Service: Service team agents are responsible for metrics revolving around time quotas and customer satisfaction scores.
- Tech Support: Similar to service, tech support agents focus on handling customer queries in an efficient amount of time, but may be responsible for hitting upsell quotas as well.
Once you understand the type and team function of your call center, you can choose the best KPIs and call center metrics to track agent productivity that will result in greater business growth and impact.
Call Center KPIs and How to Improve Them
Not sure which call center metrics and KPIs you should be tracking? There are certainly plenty of options, but the call center industry benchmarks suggest focusing on metrics within these four areas:
- Call Origination Metrics
- Agent Productivity Metrics
- Call Center Operation Metrics
- Customer Experience (CX) Metrics
Read below to gain some insights into what these metrics mean and why you should consider selecting and implementing KPIs for your call center.
Call Origination Metrics
1. Call Abandonment Rate
This is the percentage of calls a customer hangs up on before connecting to an agent. It’s also thought to be one of the top inbound call center metrics to improve upon for greater customer satisfaction.
- Call Abandonment Rate = (abandoned calls ÷ total calls) x 100
A typical goal for an abandonment rate is between 5% and 8%, though it can differ depending on the industry and the size of the business.
How to improve your call center’s call abandonment rate
Leveraging call center software with virtual queuing, callback features and a knowledge base resource can help improve the abandonment rate by improving customer retention and loyalty.
2. Average Wait Time (AWT)
Average wait time measures the average amount of time a customer may wait on hold or for an agent to complete a task. Tracking this KPI helps agents decrease the time customers are on hold, improving CSAT scores.
- Average Wait Time = (total time from beginning of call to end of call per caller) ÷ (total count of callers within a time period)
Though this call center metric depends on team size and the number of calls received, encourage agents to answer 80% of calls in 20 seconds or less (also known as the 80/20 Rule).
How to improve your call center’s average wait time
Utilize cloud communications software with a queue callback function and a VIP line for priority customers. The queue callback function allows customers to request a callback from an available agent, and priority routing moves VIP customers to the head of the queue, which lowers wait time metrics.
3. Customer Call Frequency
How often are the same customers calling your agents about one issue? This metric measures just that.
- Customer Call Frequency = (time period ÷ customer call frequency)
There’s no specific best practice or industry standard, but the best way to improve this metric is by achieving a resolution within the first call.
How to improve your call center’s customer call frequency
Train your agents to ensure they can handle any situation on the first call. This may include adding in more training sessions or role-playing with agents to make sure they have the skills required for any scenario. An even simpler way to improve this metric is by making sure self-service pages are up-to-date and easy to comprehend so customers don’t feel the need to speak with a customer representative at all.
4. Percentage of Blocked Calls
Your customers are unable to get the assistance they need when calls are blocked, which can be detrimental to the customer’s experience with your company. The percentage of calls blocked measures just how many calls fail to reach an agent.
- Percentage of Blocked Calls = (number of calls that fail to reach an agent ÷ total number of inbound calls) x 100
Your goal for this call center metric should be around 2% according to industry standards.
How to improve your call center’s percentage of blocked calls
- Proper staffing: Using a virtual contact center system and properly staffing your call center according to call volume are simple actions you can take to improve this metric.
- SIP trunking: Among its numerous advantages, partnering with a SIP trunking provider offers you exceptional reliability and call quality.
5. Average Time in Queue
Consider why customers call customer service rather than research online. They are usually calling with an urgent need and they expect assistance as quickly as possible, so getting stuck in the queue negatively affects customer satisfaction.
- Average Time in Queue = (total amount of time all customers spent in queue ÷ number of customers placed in the queue)
With consumer expectations growing more and more each day, this is a critical metric to ensure quality customer service. According to recent reports, 22% of customers feel wait times are too long and 52% expect a quick resolution.
How to improve your call center’s average time in queue
Implementing call center software with IVR features can help call centers handle a high number of calls. Features including voicemail, callback, and displaying information customers need before an agent even answers can improve this metric immensely. Also, consider staffing more qualified agents to be available for assistance at times of heavy call traffic.
Agent Productivity Metrics
1. Average Call Work
Working in a call center requires administrative tasks before and after calls to help a customer solve an issue or inquiry. Average call work accounts for the time it takes to complete customer call-centered tasks when agents are off the phones.
- Average Call Work = (time to complete post-call work for all calls ÷ total number of calls)
Your industry standards should dictate your goals for average time agents spend doing data entry tasks pre- and post-calls.
How to improve your call center’s average call work
To improve this metric, you need to track the time it takes to complete tasks, and ensure you have quick access to the data required for completion. Here is where CRM software with business tool integrations comes in handy. When your agents have access to all their communications tools in one place, they can move swiftly from one call to the next without having to log information in multiple places.
2. Average Handle Time (AHT)
This call center metric accounts for the average time a customer places an inquiry from start to finish. This begins from the moment they dial the phone to the time they have their issue addressed or resolved.
- Average Handle Time = (total talk time + total hold time + total post-call work)÷(number of calls handled)
Statistics show that a good average handle time is about 6 minutes.
How to improve your call center’s average handle time
- Access to resources: Empower your agents with quick access to resources they may need for call resolutions.
- Use intuitive routing: Intuitive routing gets customers to the right agent the first time they call and can base it on a variety of factors like language preferences and VIP status.
- Have the right tools: The most important way to improve average handle time is to ensure you have cloud-based software with best-in-class features to support your agents.
3. Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
Though the name is straightforward, ASA determines on average how quickly agents answer a customer call from the moment the customer dials the phone number.
- Average Speed of Answer = (total length of customer wait time ÷ total number of calls answered)
Sources report the average speed of answer across all industries is around 28 seconds to keep customers satisfied with your call center agents.
How to improve your call center’s average speed of answer
Provide your customers with callback options to reduce long wait times. Using software with queue callback and voicemail options keeps customers off the line– not to mention more time back in their day– and gives agents a chance to prepare and research as needed for the best resolution.
4. Average Calls Per Hour
Average calls per hour measure the average number of calls coming in from customers per hour. This metric is fairly simple but powerful when it comes to staffing a call center.
- Average Calls Per Hour = (total number of calls answered in a shift ÷hours worked in a shift)
This call center KPI will differ for every call center depending on the volume of calls they receive each day.
How to improve your call center’s average calls per hour
- Adequate staff: Similarly to other metrics discussed, ensure you have an appropriate number of agents staffed and on the phones at all times.
- Monitor operational efficiency: Use reporting dashboards to ensure each agent follows an intuitive workflow from one task to the next to keep operations running smoothly, moving onto each call as quickly as possible. A shorter transitional time means more time for customer calls.
- Have failover routing: In the case of an outage or emergency, ensure your teams can maintain service levels with failover routing. Failover routing automatically routes your phone numbers to alternative numbers so customer support never goes offline.
5. Occupancy Rate
This call center metric measures the time agents are on live calls with customers and any work directly associated with those calls.
- Occupancy Rate = (total talk time + total time spent on call-related tasks ÷ total working time) x 100
An ideal occupancy rate for call centers ranges between 80-90% to ensure agents don’t feel overburdened and give them time for a break as needed.
How to improve your call center’s occupancy rate
Automating processes and workflows through call center-specific software and integrating your communications platform with your CRM and sales tools can immensely improve this metric. When agents can smoothly transition from one task to the next, they’re spending less time doing unnecessary work opening applications or other minor administrative tasks.
Call Center Operations Metrics
1. Agent Turnover Rate
This measures the percentage of agents that leave your company per headcount each year.
- Agent Turnover Rate = (number of agents that leave per year ÷ total agent headcount) x 100
As a leader, you should be aware of whether your agents are high performers or not. If your high performers consistently leave, you may have another issue to address within your organization.
How to improve your call center’s agent turnover rate
First and foremost, create a positive culture on your team and offer tools for success to keep agents invested in your organization. Provide high-quality operating systems and programs that empower agents to do the best job they can, leading to higher job satisfaction.
2. Average Age of Query
This call center metric measures the length of time a query or issue stays open from the time the customer makes their initial call.
- Average Age of Query = (total time of open queries ÷ total number of open queries)
The average age of query differs between industries depending on the difficulty of providing a resolution. Benchmark against your specific industry to determine a reasonable, achievable goal.
How to improve your call center’s average age of query
- Regularly audit open queries: This will help catch any lengthy ones and encourage agents to resolve them appropriately to improve your call center’s average age of query.
- Implement skills-based routing: Offer a call routing system based on skill level to connect customers with the best agents to handle their specific needs. Queries are solved much faster by experienced agents with skill sets for specific situations.
- Use call coaching tools: Call monitoring tools allow you to listen to recorded calls or even coach agents on live calls to ensure customers are getting the right information.
3. Average Talk Time
Average talk time measures the average length of time agents spend speaking to customers.
- Average Talk Time = (number of seconds spent engaged with caller ÷ total number of calls handled)
To provide a quick yet positive customer experience, you should aim to keep the average talk time to 6 minutes or less. Always work as quickly as possible without forfeiting a quality customer experience.
How to improve your call center’s average talk time
Offer training, scripts and role-playing with your agents to provide tips, tricks and feedback to shorten call times. You can even sit alongside them and use features like barge and whisper to help agents in live calls. Once agents become more confident in their skills, they’ll move much more quickly through the work processes required on customer calls.
4. Conversion Rate
How often are your agents converting leads into sales? Conversion rate measures the percentage of sales coming from leads in your organization.
- Conversion Rate = (total number of sales ÷ total number of leads) x 100
No matter which goal is best for your industry, you should always aim to increase your conversion rate! A higher conversion rate means more sales and revenue coming into your organization.
How to improve your call center’s conversion rate
Utilize virtual and local numbers to help increase calls answered and help improve your conversion rate. Also, train agents to provide a positive CX to increase the chances of higher customer spending.
5. Sales Revenue
Here’s a simple but effective metric you should always keep an eye on. Sales revenue measures the average sales price per number of products or goods you sell.
- Sales Revenue = (number of units sold) x (average sales price)
This can be different for each organization. One thing to keep in mind is that lower ticket items require more sales– and more calls. You’ll likely require fewer sales if you have high-value products or items.
How to improve your call center’s sales revenue
This often comes down to how positive a customer’s experience is. When agents have positive attitudes and place calls from familiar, local numbers, customers are more likely to respond warmly and even purchase more items. You can even use call routing systems with priority routing for specific customers to keep repeat customers happy with your business. Remember, current customers spend on average 67% more than new customers!
6. Schedule Adherence
As a leader, you want agents available to take calls on their shift as often as possible. Schedule adherence measures the percentage of time an agent is available to take calls within their work shift.
- Schedule Adherence = (total number of times the agent is available to take calls in their shift ÷ total number of times within their shift)
A schedule adherence level of 90% is a solid average across most industries. This means your agents are available to take calls 90% of the time they’re on the clock, which improves several service-related metrics as well.
How to improve your call center’s schedule adherence
When employees feel confident and happy in their roles, they’re more likely to work harder. One way to improve your call center’s adherence is enforcing policies for work-life balance and career growth that motivates agents to do their job diligently!
7. Service Level (SL)
Service level measures the percentage of calls answered in a specific amount of time.
- Service Level = (total calls answered within time threshold ÷ total number of calls answered) x 100
Measuring your SL allows you to lean on data to move internal processes forward, drive revenue and empower your teams to work together towards a common goal. The way you ensure SL is maintained is by developing a service level agreement (SLA) between you and your agents.
Implementing an SLA has a variety of benefits, but above all– it holds all parties accountable for maintaining service levels.
How to improve your call center’s service level
Tracking call center KPIs and making adjustments based on results will improve your call center’s service level. Keep an updated analytics dashboard so you can regularly monitor directly correlated KPIs such as call abandonment rate, FCR, and CSAT to name a few. The most important part of monitoring your dashboard is creating a specific plan of action to improve service levels.
Customer Experience (CX) Metrics
1. Customer Effort Score (CES)
This is a single question that gauges how much effort customers believe they had to give to come to a final resolution with their issue or query.
A typical setup of a CES question may look like this:
- Frequency Type: How often did you engage with our service team to resolve your case?
- Every Day
The CES measurement benchmark is completely up to an organization, but it is commonly measured in a Likert scale format. It’s a question that uses a point scale designed to measure people's perceptions, attitudes and opinions related to satisfaction levels.
How to improve your call center’s customer effort score
Empower your agents to provide detailed notes of every interaction, which reduces the customer’s effort in reviewing their case with each agent involved. Use a CRM that agents can tag and take notes in– and more importantly, integrates with your overall communications tech stack.
Also, consider adding a cloud-based phone service with automated features that allow agents to link calls to specific business tools. This makes it much easier to track every task done and provide guidance for the best course of action— and eventually a resolution the customer is pleased with!
2. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
As one of the most important metrics to measure in a call center environment, CSAT measures the percentage of satisfied customers based on their responses.
- Customer Satisfaction = (total number of satisfied customers ÷ total number of responses) x 100
Although this can differ between industries, a solid CSAT score should sit around 75%, or 7.5/10 depending on how you measure this metric.
How to improve your call center’s customer satisfaction
The most important way to improve customer satisfaction is to properly train agents dealing directly with customers. You should actively monitor your team’s many KPIs that directly affect CSAT scores. A quick way to improve CSAT is by reducing the time and effort customers spend on calls, which can be addressed through intelligent routing software.
3. First Call Resolution (FCR)
Every agent should aim to resolve customer issues within the first call. This metric measures the percentage of calls an agent can resolve the issue on the initial call.
- First Call Resolution = (total number of resolved issues on first contact ÷ total cases) x 100
The common FCR goal organizations strive for is 70%. Like many other metrics, this may differ drastically between industries and types of businesses.
How to improve your call center’s first call resolution
Preparation is key to improving your call center’s first call resolution. Provide your agents with all-encompassing, detailed resources they can refer to when on calls. Give the necessary training to anticipate customer needs and to be ready to answer certain questions from the start.
4. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
In simple terms, this metric measures how loyal customers are to a company.
- Net Promoter Score = (percentage of promoters) - (percentage of detractors)
To calculate the promoters or detractor quantities, use the following formulas:
- 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
According to research, an NPS score of 32 is pretty average, though you should always aim to increase this score!
How to improve your call center’s net promoter score
You have many options to improve your NPS, and many are the call center KPIs and metrics discussed in this article. Be sure to regularly audit feedback from customers, review recorded phone calls, and discuss improvements agents can make in future calls.
Share Your Call Center Value Story Using Data
Leaders are often tasked with sharing the value of their work with company executives. How can you do this? Once you measure all the call center KPIs and metrics, you can automatically share a story with key stakeholders through the data collected and insights gained.
To share the most accurate depiction of the work your call center is doing, you need to ensure KPIs and metrics are:
- Attainable and measurable
- Align between all teams and parties involved
- Audited regularly
Following the metric requirements listed above will help you create an accurate story to capture the true value of your team’s work to all parties involved.
Improve Your Call Center Business Results Through KPI and Metric Measurements
No matter the type of call center you’re leading, performance management KPIs and benchmarks allows you to make smarter, data-driven decisions that increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Agent scorecards are a popular tool to determine who is among the top-performing reps– and who may need more training. Download our ultimate call center agent scorecard template to get a jump start on measuring performance.
But a long-term play requires robust cloud communications software. The AVOXI Platform offers you the ability to deliver more transparency, continuous feedback and alignment on contact center goals to drive top-notch customer experience metrics.
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