Call centers serve as the voice of customer service for many companies around the world. They have been so for decades, but its underlying technology has evolved.
By all indications, contact centers will remain a viable channel for customer engagement, even in the age of messaging apps.
But these days, having an average call center won’t get you ahead of the competition. Fortunately, you can bump up team performance by optimizing relevant call center metrics. Your call center agents can thus improve the way they handle all customer tickets.
30 call center metrics and KPIs to measure performance
- Net Promoter Score® (NPS®)
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
- First Response Time (FRT)
- First Contact Resolution (FCR)
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
- Channel Mix
- Customer Retention Rate (CRR)
- Customer Churn Rate (CCR)
- Adherence to Schedule
- Agent Utilization Rate
- Agent Attrition Rate
- Occupancy Rate
- Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
- Average Handle Time (AHT)
- Average After-call Work Time
- Cost Per Call (CPC)
- Service Level
- Call Volume
- Peak Hour Traffic
- Call Type Mix
- Call Abandonment Rate
- Average Waiting Time
- Call Transfer Rate
- Call Arrival Rate
- Repeat Calls
- Percentage of Calls Blocked
- Active Waiting Calls
- Average Age of Query
- Longest Hold Time Rate
- Callback Messaging
Want a three-minute breakdown on some of the top call center metrics today? Check out Tom's breakdown below:
Call center metrics on Customer Experience (CX)
Delivering customer satisfaction is the business of business. But how do you know if you are really meeting your customers’ expectations? By measuring customer sentiment and how much you're willing to invest in customer experience.
These call center metrics are some of the most useful indicators of how well your customers perceive your company.
1) Net Promoter Score® (NPS)
This trademarked score is perhaps the most accurate measure of how much your customers love your brand. There’s some math involved here, but it relies on a straightforward question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our company to your friends and peers?”
Promoters are those that give scores of 9-10, while Passives and Detractors give 7-8 and 0-6.
(Number of Promoters ÷ Total Number of Customers in the Sample) - (Number of Detractors ÷ Total Number of Customers in the Sample)
Remember: The best way to gather NPS is through well-timed customer surveys.
2) Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Like NPS, CSAT is an excellent indicator of customer happiness. A good score on this important metric means an upward boost in call center campaigns. Unlike NPS, however, there isn’t any standard way to calculate this KPI.
Ordinarily, companies ask for customer feedback on whether an agent has adequately solved an issue. Based on an arbitrary scoring system, companies classify responses into sentiments such as:
- Very Satisfied
- Not Satisfied
- Very Unsatisfied
The final customer satisfaction score is the ratio of Very Satisfied and Satisfied to the total number of survey respondents.
3) First Response Time (FRT)
Today’s customers are masters of instant gratification. They hate it when they have to wait too long. So keep this metric at a minimum. FRT refers to the time it takes customers to reach a qualified agent after making a call.
This quantity is closely related to Service Level — an important KPI for inbound call centers.
Total Wait Time for All Calls ÷ Total Number of Calls
4) First Contact Resolution (FCR)
FCR refers to the successful resolution of a customer issue within the customer’s first call. Solving an issue fast without a customer callback contributes to an excellent customer experience. This metric is a superb way to assess call center success and agent effectiveness.
It reflects a common standard for excellence in many organizations: “Do it right the first time.”
You also prevent customers from multiple callbacks and call transfers that would likely lead to churn.
Total Number of Reported Issues Resolved on First Call ÷ Total Number of Calls
Total Number of Reported Issues Resolved on First Call ÷ Total Number of First Calls
Note: An indicator of excellent call quality, this metric is also called First Call Resolution Rate.
5) Customer Effort Score (CES)
CES indicates the ease with which your product solves a customer use case. Like CSAT, there’s no standard system for measuring CES. Some companies use a five-point scale; others can use as many as seven points.
Regardless, CES generally uses a single question similar to: “On a scale of 1 to 7 (where 7 stands for Strongly Agree and 1 for Strongly Disagree), did the service make it easier for you to solve your problem?”
Higher CES scores mean better customer experience.
6) Channel Mix
This important metric shows the relative proportions of service channels your customers' favor. These channels include:
- Phone calls (voice)
- Social media
- Live messaging/chat app
- Online self-service sites (FAQs, DIY videos, etc.)
To compute this metric, get the total number of customer service sessions per channel.
7) Customer Retention Rate (CRR)
CRR measures the proportion of existing customers who remain customers within a specific time period.
(Number of active customers at the end of a given period - Newly acquired customers during the same period) ÷ Number of customers at the beginning of the period X 100%
(The period can be 30 days, 90 days, 360 days, or some other value)
8) Customer Churn Rate (CCR)
Related to CRR, CCR measures the proportion of customers that have stopped using your service in a given period.
(Number of customers you lost during a given period ÷ Number of customers you had at the beginning of the period) X 100%
Call center metrics tracking agent performance
In every customer interaction, much depends on the people handling the call.
Call center agents are more than just voices tasked to address customer complaints. Here are some call center metrics to monitor agent performance.
9) Adherence to Schedule
This metric indicates how much an agent spends her time handling customer calls. A low schedule adherence score contributes to an increase in Missed and Abandoned Call rates. These, in turn, can negatively impact your Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores.
((Number of Hours Agent Spend Handling Calls + Net Available Time) ÷ (Paid Hours)) x 100%
10) Agent Utilization Rate
Agent Utilization Rate is the average amount of time an agent spends handling calls in a given period relative to the total number of work hours.
For example, an agent who works an average of 5 hours in an 8-hour workday has a utilization rate of 62.5%.
Like Adherence to Schedule, this metric is also considered a good indicator of agent performance.
(Average Number of Handled Calls x Average Handle Time) ÷ (Total Work Hours in Given Period) x 100%
11) Agent Attrition Rate
This metric shows the pace at which a call center’s agents resign or retire. High agent attrition rates erode a call center’s ability to serve its customers adequately.
(Number of Employees that Left During A Given Period) ÷ (Average Number of Employees for the Period) × 100%
12) Occupancy Rate
Occupancy Rate measures the time call center agents spend engaging customers on live calls and doing admin tasks related to those calls. Low Occupancy Rates may be due to:
- Duties not call-related
- Longer breaks
- Frequency of meetings/events/training sessions
- Poor agent work habits
(Total Contact Handling Time ÷ Total Logged Time) ×100%
13) Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
ASA calculates the average time to answer customer calls. Some organizations equate this metric with First Response Time (FRT). These two time-based quantities both set an ideal threshold to respond to customer calls.
Total Wait Time for Answered Calls ÷ Total Number of Answered Calls
14) Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average Handle Time is the average amount of time to handle a call from start to finish. It includes hold times and after-call tasks. You can use this metric to set team benchmarks and to discern which agents need further training to handle customer calls.
(Total Talk Time + Total Hold Time + Total After-Call Work Time) ÷ Total Number of Calls
15) Average After-call Work Time
This metric refers to the time it takes agents to finish tasks related to the calls they handle. High values for this post-call metric suggests inefficiency on the part of the agent, workflow, or tools.
(Total Time to Finish All Post-Call Tasks) ÷ (Total Number of Calls)
Contact center metrics for operational success
16) Cost Per Call (CPC)
CPC refers to the average cost incurred by a contact center for each call it handles. This metric shows how much it costs a call center to run its operations. It also gives insight on whether a call center is operating cost-efficiently and allocating its resources well.
Companies commonly set an ideal CPC and work to achieve and maintain this threshold.
Total Cost of All Calls ÷ Total Number of Calls
Note: Total Cost of All Calls might refer to Operating Expenses in some companies
17) Service Level
This metric serves as a reliable indicator of overall call center performance.
Most companies set their ideal service level around cost efficiency. For example, a company might aim to answer at least 80% of all inbound calls within 20 seconds. It is then upon the call center to meet this service level with:
- Agent training
- Process improvement
- Technology upgrades
In fact, many companies turn to virtual call center software to elevate their operational performance. There are three ways to calculate Service Level.
- (Number of Calls Answered in Y seconds ÷ Total Calls Received) x 100%
- ((Number of Calls Answered in Y seconds) ÷ (Total Calls Answered + Abandoned Calls)) x 100%
- ((Number of Calls Answered in Y seconds) ÷ (Total Calls Answered + Abandoned Calls after Y seconds)) x 100%
18) Call Volume
This is all incoming and outgoing calls handled by the call center over a given period. Many organizations categorize call volume into —
- Total Calls Handled By an Agent
- Total Calls Handled By an Automated System (e.g., IVR)
19) Peak Hour Traffic
Related to Call Arrival Rate, this metric identifies the specific times of the day with higher call volumes. Knowing Peak Hour Traffic helps companies allocate adequate resources to handle this traffic.
20) Call Type Mix
This metric shows the relative share of the different call types handled by a call center. Call types can include:
- Account inquiries
- Tech support
- Campaign-related actions
- Change requests
- Account terminations
21) Call Abandonment Rate
Perhaps more than anyone else, customers want their issues resolved quickly. Not surprisingly, many of them hang up when kept on hold for too long. Abandoned calls signal customer frustration and potential loss of trust in your brand.
(Number of Calls - Number of Handled Calls) ÷ Number of Calls x 100%
22) Average Waiting Time
This metric relates to instances where agents need to place customer calls on hold. While there are legitimate reasons for holding calls, contact centers should always minimize Average Waiting Time.
Total Number of Seconds Customers Spend Waiting ÷ Total Number of Calls
23) Call Transfer Rate
Contact center agents sometimes need to transfer calls to other resources for better call resolution. While most of these transfers are necessary, customers seldom enjoy the experience. As a rule of thumb, call centers should aim to keep call transfers at a minimum.
(Number of Transferred Calls ÷ Total Number of Calls) x 100%
24) Call Arrival Rate
This is the total number of calls a contact center receives within a specific time period. The time frame can be expressed by day, hour, or minute.
25) Repeat Calls
Related to FCR, this metric shows types of problems that are difficult to resolve in the first call they are reported.
Workarounds include self-service solutions and additional agent training. Where these are ineffective, content on your website and social media must show common solutions.
26) Percentage of Calls Blocked
Ideally, calling up a contact center should rarely lead to a busy signal. Auto-transfer, IVR, and other call volume features are helpful here.
This metric refers to the proportion of incoming calls that receive a busy signal. A company should balance customer satisfaction, budget, and cost efficiency to keep this metric low.
(Number of Calls that Fail to Reach Agents ÷ Total Number of Incoming Calls) x 100%
27) Active Waiting Calls
This measures how well teams cope with call volume in real-time. It gives contact center leaders an idea about the number of calls their agents handle vs. those on hold. Too many calls that are being held lead to poor customer experience.
Common solutions to extremely high Active Waiting Calls include:
- Recruitment of additional agents
- Efficiency coaching
- Smarter workflows
28) Average Age of Query
This is the average amount of time a customer query that has not been resolved on the first call remains open.
Related to FCR, this metric provides a glimpse into which issues, channels, or engagement approaches lead to longer resolution periods.
Total time (in hours or days) current open queries remain open ÷ Total Number of Open Queries
29) Longest Hold Time Rate
This is the longest time a customer call was on hold without the customer abandoning the call.
Often, this involves a single incident unless multiple incidents registered the same call waiting periods. Companies should strive to keep this metric at a minimum.
30) Callback Messaging
The number of callback requests from customers who’d rather avoid long holding times.
Because the vast majority of customers want to get their issues resolved immediately, keeping this metric to a minimum is ideal.
So, you have the numbers, now what?
In conclusion, there are dozens of call center metrics, but you don’t really need to track everything.
If you’re an SMB, then you might want to focus on the essentials, Monitoring and optimizing the right mix of KPIs can help you streamline call center ops.
Now that you’re here, our inbound call center solution might just be what you need to do this!
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Alina is the Sr. Content SEO Lead at Nextiva. Her B2B marketing career has taken her all over the place — from branding and copywriting to product marketing, SEO, and SaaS content marketing. She also uses her keen eye for great copy, action bias, and search discoverability as a mentor with First Round Capital and 500 Startups.