For every business function, metrics are like a compass in a desert. It shows whether the efforts are going in the right direction, whether they are yielding results, and what needs to be changed to arrive at the intended destination.
Call centers, which handle significant call volumes on a daily basis need metrics to show them how the agents are faring. These metrics can help the call center manager or customer support manager to gauge the efficiency of agents and take corrective action.
Before that, let’s compare the first call center to one in the early 2000s and one now in 2020. We went from grey walls to walls with light pastel colors, long desks to cubicles, wired desk phones to sleek and powerful mobile devices, chairs to bean bags, and so on.
To improve an employee’s mood, maybe?
Why would you be willing to have a lighter wallet just to keep your agents happy?
Don’t answer that; it was a rhetorical question!
61% of consumers say that they have stopped transacting with a business after a poor service experience. Every customer support manager has to carry the onus of leading customer support teams and systems with less or no internal friction.
We spoke to customer support managers worldwide, and every customer support manager worth their salt will track KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to keep an eye on how their customer support efficiency is faring KPI system allows you to track call center agent productivity and compare between agents when they are segmented into different groups.
But what are these indicators, and how does one attribute these metrics to a call center’s efficiency and productivity?
Also, how to calculate agent productivity in a call center?
There are several types of metrics that help measure call center agent productivity. And s you might already know your agent’s productivity ties back directly to call center efficiency and productivity.
Types of metrics in call center agent productivity
Traditionally like all activities, even call center efficiency, and productivity can be measured by grouping metrics based on three parameters:
Usually, you can not serve too many tickets or be too slow without harming the overall quality. The mage below showcases each quantity, quality, and speed is affected when one metric is given too much importance above others.
These metrics are highly interdependent on each other. When the volume (quantity) of tickets or calls in a call center increases and a high speed of resolution is also maintained, the quality is bound to take a hit, at least a minor chink in the armor.
Similarly, when there is pace and quality is doled out, it is difficult to resolve large volumes of customer queries.
These metrics are transparent since you measure well-known real-world attributes that are related to clear actions and outcomes. And scalable to any department/group level specifics since they are not too specific at the same time.
How to measure call center agent productivity
A) Quantity metrics
- Solved Tickets or Public replies
This is a direct measure of the number of tickets an agent has resolved. Tickets could be distributed across various channels like calls, chats, social media messages, etc.
Directly quantifiable actions across various channels are split into ticket assists and individually solved tickets.
2. Occupancy Rates
The occupancy rate is a way to understand call center agent productivity across all their call-related duties. It’s the measure of how much time your agents are on live calls and/or finishing up work related to those calls.
If your agents’ occupancy rates are too low, they aren’t doing something work-related. You can use this call center metric to identify duties, events, and address situations outside the call-related work.
3. KB linkage rate
You’re likely to find less complicated tickets and basic repetitive queries like ‘how to change my password,’ ‘How do I update billing information,’ etc. Linking to a KB article in such a situation here will help save your agents’ time and energy, which can be used for more demanding tickets.
This directly reflects your agent utilizing internal knowledge, but it was found that agents with the best numbers actively followed this!
B) Speed metrics
- Service Level
Service level is one of the call center metrics that measure agent productivity in real-time as agents take calls. It’s a percentage of calls answered within a specific time in seconds.
Use this metric to determine if agents are moving quickly enough from one call to the next. Encourage your agents to keep this KPI within your expected range.
2. Average Handle Time
One of the most important ways to measure call center agent productivity is through the AHT metric. This is the average time when the agent picks up the phone until they disconnect the call.
Average handle time is a tricky metric because it needs to be squarely within the range you set. When your agent’s handle time is too long, it may mean that they’re struggling with customer requests. Yet, if the agent’s average handle time is too short, they may not offer any real assistance. Use quality assurance software to monitor call quality and make sure all your bases are being covered.
3. First Call Resolution
Ideally, every customer support manager would want incoming issues addressed the first time around rather than having the customer call back multiple times, calls getting transferred, or handed over to a supervisor to resolve their issues.
To see an increase in first call resolution, focus more on agent training, and ensure that no other metric you monitor acts as an obstacle for this.
4. Average time in Wait Queue
You can calculate the wait queue’s average time by dividing the total time callers wait in the queue by the total number of calls answered. Measure the average time in the queue to improve the experience your customers are having.
If you find customers are waiting in line longer than usual, you can challenge your team to drive this KPI score lower by being more efficient in handling calls or just offer your customers the option to receive a callback.
C) Quality metrics
- CSAT (Customer Satisfaction score)
CSAT is a particularly good fit for call centers purely due to the frequency of interaction and flexibility concerning guidelines (or lack of) around the questions and scoring. Features like IVR CSAT helps companies who are trying to improve the response rate to these surveys in attempting to make the experience frictionless!
A general rule of thumb is to try to get your percentage of satisfied customers as close as possible to 100%. It may also be useful to benchmark your scores against other companies in your industry as ‘Quality of Support’ is a KPI collected by various marketplaces. Do it right to be onboarding new customers. Else, you’d be struggling to fight the churn!
2. NPS (Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®)
NPS is calculated based on two questions:
1.On On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company/ product/ service to a friend or colleague?
Respondents answer the first question with a number from zero to ten, with zero being extremely unlikely and ten being extremely likely.
Scores are then divided into three buckets-
- 0-6 are considered Detractors: Customers who are unhappy and can damage a brand.
- 7-8 are Passives: Satisfied but unenthusiastic customers.
- 9-10 are Promoters: Loyal enthusiasts who will fuel growth.
Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage difference between the Promoters and the Detractors. Companies can score anywhere from -100 to 100.
Scores vary widely based on a number of factors, including industry and age of the company—companies track progress by measuring their current NPS scores with their past scores to track progress.
In a Nutshell
Calculating a team individual’s efficiency and productivity using the above-listed metrics will help customer support managers at the wheel as these metrics also help them manage their workforce in an orderly and structured manner.
But once you have many agents and multiple teams, you will probably need to understand the individual agent’s performance.
This is possible by going through 3 steps:
- Calculating individual scores against the group’s average,
- Assigning some standard ‘points’ based on it, and
- Aggregating them with some weights to a global KPI score.
Illustrations by Mahalakshmi Anantharaman
Freshcaller is a modern-day cloud phone system for customer support, sales, and remote working teams. With its cloud-based architecture, Freshcaller brings together the best of legacy features like IVR and advanced call routing capabilities like Smart Escalations, Customizable Performance Reporting to help you set up state-of-the-art phone operations. Freshcaller offers phone numbers in 90+ countries, requires zero phone hardware, and is extremely easy to use.
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