The call center is an environment of constant change and evolution, and as many managers know firsthand, customer demands and expectations are subject to change at any given moment. That's why call center leaders must stay in the know regarding developments as they relate to these key customer touchpoints.
Perhaps the best way to remain on top of call center advancements is by paying attention to the metrics and performance indicators used by innovative organizations. By tracking and measuring these important facts and figures, a call center can ensure that it remains competitive in a market that constantly raises expectations for the customer base.
To help call center strategists incorporate the most critical metrics into their own operations, and be ready to integrate those that will matter down the road, here's a look at the biggest performance indicators of today and tomorrow.
"First, master the fundamental call center metrics."
Before managers turn their attention to the trendy metrics that dominate so many of today's conversations and strategies, they must ensure that every call center KPI in their arsenal is functional, providing insight to supervisors and representatives alike. In other words, they must master the fundamentals before they try to incorporate new, more complex types of performance indicators.
Of course, there are several call center metrics that remain key to strong performances no matter the industry in question. The following four KPIs should be a part of any call center arsenal and be on display for all stakeholders to see:
1. Queue volume: This is the quintessential call center metric, as it reveals incoming workflow in the most raw sense. Agents and supervisors should always keep an eye on the traffic levels the call center faces, and ensure that they uphold a high standard of service across the board. This KPI should be visible in real time, but also be tracked over longer time horizons to identify patterns.
2. First call resolution: In terms of customer service, this metric is the holy grail that every call center seeks to improve. Brands that solve customer problems and answer questions on the first interaction are much more likely to earn loyalty from their audiences and develop a reputation for stellar service.
3. Call transfers: No customer wants to be transferred to another agent or department when they have a simple question, so this metric can help managers track the frequency of this occurrence and work to solve the problem. Oftentimes it is simply a matter of identifying call types and structuring agent workflows accordingly, as noted in an article from ICMI.
4. Agent utilization: When it comes to tracking call center efficiency, it's hard to think of a more crucial metric than this. Supervisors can track agent utilization to see what percentage of the workforce is engaged with a call, and determine whether to ramp up or decrease support as a result. With this KPI on display, managers will always have the ideal number of agents at the ready.
With these core metrics in place, a call center can confidently adopt new performance indicators to gain an even deeper view into the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations. While traditional metrics are primarily focused on the dynamics of phone call workflow, many next-gen KPIs track the multi-channel strategies that are gaining so much momentum.
"Contact centers are more than just about handling phone calls. But many are still struggling with how to handle all the new channels," said Donna Fluss, president of DMG, according to an article from TechTarget. "Some KPIs can be applied to multiple channels, and some are specific to social media."
So, what are the multi-channel metrics that call centers can leverage for an additional edge? TechTarget highlighted a few that may soon be considered vital to the modern customer service operation. For example, managers may want to incorporate a resolution ratio metric that compares the number of conversations taking place over private channels to those in the public eye.
Furthermore, channels such as live chat and email also deserve their own metrics, and will ideally help a call center allocate resources across channels in a more strategic manner.
"Detailed metrics readouts help agents stay focused."
Staying in the loop
Whether a call center has a core set of metrics that works best for its operations or prefers to experiment with a variety of new and evolving KPIs, the inclusion of call center reporting is a smart move from both managerial and motivational perspectives. Detailed readouts of all metrics can help employees stay focused throughout the day and help supervisors make decisions on the fly.
While printed reports and email messages can indeed be useful when detailing performances, these methods lack the real-time empowerment that technologies such as a call center wallboard or individual dashboard provide. With an investment in these easy-to-use tools, a call center can gain a significant edge over its competitors, no matter what metrics it chooses to track.