Call centers have their own set of key performance indicators (KPI) that managers can use to determine the success of their operations. Below we will review the common call center KPI. Remember, though, that the key management issue is not what these numbers are, but rather what you do with them.
Basic Call Center KPI
There are many KPI that a call center can manage. Listed below are some of the common ones, with short descriptions. There are longer explanations further down. More business terms are defined in the business management glossary.
- Time to answer: How long does it take for an agent to answer an incoming call?
- Abandon rate: What percentage of the calls are lost before they can be answered?
- Call handling time: How long does it take the agent to complete the call?
- First call resolution: What percentage of calls can be resolved in a single call?
- Transfer rate: What percentage of calls have to be transferred to someone else to complete?
- Idle time: How much time does an agent spend after the completion of a call to finish the business from that call?
- Hold time: How much time does the agent keep the caller on hold during the call?
Additional Call Center Agent KPI
In addition to the metrics above, which can be accurately measured by Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) phone systems, many call centers use quality monitoring programs to measure agent performance against less objective metrics such as the following.
- Phone etiquette: How did the caller or the observer rate the agent's behavior or the call?
- Knowledge and professionalism: How did the caller or the observer rate the agent's knowledge of the product or service being offered or the procedures to follow to resolve the caller's issue?
- Adherence to procedures: How well did the observer determine the agent did in following the script if there is one, or other procedures specified by the company for handling calls and callers?
Call Center KPI Descriptions
Here are more detailed descriptions of each of these criteria.
Time to Answer
This is a measurement, usually expressed in seconds, of the time from when a call is received until it is answered by an agent. It is a measure of the call center performance rather than of the agent performance. It does, however, depend on call center agents being available to answer calls when they are scheduled to do so. This metric is closely tied to abandon rate.
This is a measurement, expressed as a percentage, of the number of callers who disconnect, or are disconnected, before they reach an agent who answers their call. This is a measure of call center performance rather than agent performance. However, it is related to call handling time.
Call Handling Time
This is a measurement, usually expressed in seconds, of the time an agent is on the call with the caller. This call handling time will vary from call to call depending on the nature and complexity of the caller's issue. As a result, the call handling time of an agent on any one call is not a good metric. It is important to average the call handling time over a number of calls to get an accurate assessment of the agent's performance. Average call handling time is also a metric for the call center as a whole and for individual teams within the call center.
First Call Resolution (FCR)
This is a measurement, expressed as a percentage, of the number of calls that are resolved during that call and do not require either the customer to call back or an agent to make an outgoing call to the caller with additional information. This is indirectly a measurement of agent performance. The better the agent is the higher their individual FCR will be, but it is not an exact measurement because the resolution of the call may require action by someone other than the agent, such as a supervisor or another department. FCR is difficult to accurately measure and should be evaluated with care.
In addition to first call resolution, some call centers also measure transfer rate. This is a measurement, expressed as a percentage, of the number of calls that the agent has to transfer to someone else to complete. This might be to a supervisor or to another department. The reason for the transfer could be the fault of the agent, a request by the caller, or an incorrect routing of the incoming call.
This is a measurement, usually expressed in seconds, of the time an agent spends completing work on a call after the caller has hung up. For example, it may be the time it takes the agent to put requested material into an envelope and mail it to the caller. Some call centers require agents to handle such issues while the caller waits on the phone. This will result in a lower idle time value, but a higher call handling time.
This is a measurement, usually expressed in seconds, of the time an agent keeps a caller on hold during a call. It may be the time needed to look something up or to talk to someone else to find an answer to the caller's issue. Many call centers also specify a maximum length of time a caller may be kept on hold without the agent checking back with the caller.
This is a measurement, expressed as a percentage, of the quality of the agent's etiquette during the call. It normally consists of a number of factors, sometimes weighted, that are checked off by a quality monitor listening to the call. The more factors that are checked off, the higher the agent's score. These include items such as "greeted the customer by name," "spoke in a clear, calm voice," and "repeated caller's issue to verify understanding".
Knowledge and Professionalism
This is a measurement, expressed as a percentage, of the quality of the agent's knowledge during the call. This could be product knowledge in a sales call center or procedure knowledge in a customer service call center.
Adherence to Procedures
This is a measurement, expressed as a percentage, of how well the agent followed company procedures during the call. In a sales call center, there may be a script the agent needs to follow. Other procedures specify how to greet the caller, how to terminate the call, when to transfer a call, how to respond to irate callers, and more.