Ever since the inception of call centers, the primary goal that they strive to achieve is improvement in performance. With change in call center industry requirements, the parameters by which performance is measured has changed over time.
However, there is a dilemma in the service level in the fact that the indicators which can be easily measured need not be relevant to measuring performance effectively.
For example, there is an 80/20 service level target widely followed in the call center industry. This means that 80 percent of the calls should be dealt within 20 seconds. Not only is the target seldom achieved, it does not increase customer satisfaction as the industry intends it to.
The only way to ensure a steady and growing performance is to figure out indicators that will effectively measure performance.
Key performance indicators in call center industry
Performance is best measured in terms of productivity. Different companies follow different key performance indicators by undertaking various strategies. However, performance is well and truly measured only when customer satisfaction is measured in parallel with employee engagement.
Some of the common key performance indicators followed by the companies in call center industry are abandonment rate, calls per agent, hold time, average speed of answer, calls per day, customer satisfaction, sales and revenue data etc. Some of these indicators are briefly discussed here.
Call wait time: This is a parameter that comes into picture when you measure customer satisfaction along with the calls. In this manner, call wait time can be significantly reduced at the same time keeping customer satisfaction at optimum levels.
Average handling time: This is a crucial way to manage call center agents. By measuring the average handling time of an employee, the service level offered by the employee can be measured. This parameter can help increase sales as well as FCR. However, the manner in which these are achieved can be different for different employees.
Hold time: This parameter can directly impact customer satisfaction. A higher average holding time can affect the reputation of the call center and thus reduce sales. However, generally, the average hold time exhibited by call centers is optimum, ranging from 1.5 to 2 minutes. Hold times can influence customer satisfaction and conversion rates.
Self service: Top centers in the industry have a huge percent of self-service calls. However, the customer satisfaction on service calls depends on setting it up the right way as well as providing the opting of speaking to a live agent. However, poor scripts in self service calls have lead to an increased number of abandoned calls in recent times.
Agents per team leader: The performance of the agents depends on the number of agents assigned to a single team leader, with maximum performance seen between eight and fifteen agents per team leader. This optimum number result in higher ready time, availability, competency, and FCR coupled with lower absence and more employee satisfaction.
Utilization level: This is the measure of the talk time and incoming calls against the resources assigned in the call centers to attend them. Very low and very high values of utilization levels are extremely harmful. Equilibrium has to be stricken to prevent absence and attrition and to increase cost efficiency.
Call centers can significantly increase performance by conducting a root cause analysis to find out why customers make calls most frequently. Knowing this can reduce handling time and impart quality service.
Taking customer satisfaction as well as employee engagement hand-in-hand is the optimum way of researching performance in the call center industry.