10 Essential KPIs to Follow for Inbound Call Centers

Call centers play an essential role in delivering great customer service. When call center agents handle large volumes of inbound calls on a daily basis, they must be prepared to offer efficient, personalized, and real-time support that ultimately drives customer satisfaction and long-term customer loyalty. This success usually depends on many factors, including the technology available (such as a robust call center solution), individual agent skills, and the call center’s overall training and management practices. So, how can a company know if its call center as a whole is truly offering efficient customer service?

By measuring call center KPIs, or key performance indicators, companies can evaluate just what is working well in a call center and what needs more attention. Here are ten essential inbound call center KPIs to follow in order to achieve customer service success.

KPI #1 Service Level

Service level measures the percentage of inbound calls answered within a specified number of seconds. The service level KPI can be obtained by dividing the number of calls handled by the total number of calls received during the specified timeframe and multiplying this number by 100. For example, if 90 out of 105 inbound calls are answered in a 20-second timeframe, you would calculate 90/105 x 100 for a service level of 85.7, or almost 86% of calls handled. The higher the percentage, the greater the agent efficiency and service level. This KPI is an excellent indicator of agent efficiency. You can determine if agents have the right technology to enable them to answer calls as quickly as they come in. You may also decide to add more agents, revise call scripts, and make other improvements to ensure that agents can handle high inbound call volumes more efficiently.

KPI #2 Average Call Duration

This KPI, also monitored for outbound calls, calculates the average conversation time between the agent and the customer. This is one of the most significant KPIs for measuring agent productivity. Once again, your company may look at different areas in which efficiency may be improved through technology and agent training. A high average call duration indicates that an agent may be spending too much time on a single interaction, taking time away from other customers who need support.

KPI #3 Average Handling Time

This KPI, commonly known as AHT, combines the average call duration with the time an agent spends post-call to finish the transaction. For example, the agent may hang up the phone but still need to enter customer data into a CRM before closing the customer case. Understanding this essential KPI allows call centers to determine how much time agents need to manage inbound contact volumes. Just as with average call duration, a long AHT can indicate that agents are spending too much time with customers and not being very efficient in terms of handling all inbound contacts. Learning how to reduce AHT is important for contact center.

KPI #4 First Contact Resolution

FCR, or first contact resolution, is a KPI which measures the number of support requests that are resolved upon first contact with no further need for the customer to contact the brand. When a customer’s issue is resolved upon first contact, neither the agent nor the customer needs to follow up. This KPI is an excellent indicator of a company’s service quality. A high FCR rate indicates agent efficiency and a company’s overall ability to satisfy customers quickly with meaningful responses.

KPI #5 IVR Abandonment Rate

This KPI refers to times when a customer hangs up before being connected with an agent or vocal server. The abandoned calls are detected by the IVR, or interactive voice response, menu that customers are invited to navigate to find the answer they need. If this KPI is too high, it may be an indication that the IVR menu is difficult to use, too long, or unable to offer the information customers need.

KPI #6 Call Abandonment Rate

The abandonment rate is a KPI that measures the percentage of inbound callers who hang up after waiting on hold out of the total number of callers. Callers often abandon when wait times are too long. Like the IVR abandon rate, this is one of the KPIs that warn a company that customers may ultimately abandon the brand itself as they are dissatisfied with service. High abandonment rates can therefore negatively impact customer retention rates. 

KPI #7 Average Wait Time in Queue

This KPI refers situations in which an inbound call center receives more calls than it is able to handle, making it necessary for callers to wait in a queue. This KPI shows whether or not your agents are working efficiently and offering the best service possible, or if there are not enough agents available. If the rate is high, your company may choose to offer customers callbacks at their preferred times, direct customers to other queues with shorter wait times, or add more agents. The goal should be to reduce wait times and increase first contact resolution rates while adjusting call flows in real time according to KPIs.

KPI #8 Average Hold Time

The average hold time, or AHT, KPI refers to the average amount of time customers are asked to hold during a conversation with an agent. This happens when an agent is unable to provide an immediate answer. For example, an agent may ask the customer to wait while he or she looks up specific information or asks another agent for assistance. Long hold times are a sign that agents may not have all the information they need and need better tools or processes to offer more efficient service.

KPI #9 After Call Work Rate

This KPI pertains to the time a call center agent spends wrapping up a request post-call. The agent may take the time to make notes or updates to the customer profile, such as noting the reason for contact, updating the customer’s profile, or messaging other agents about the interaction. This rate should be reduced as much as possible to ensure that agents have more time to take other customer calls.

KPI #10 Agent Occupancy Rate

The agent occupancy rate calculates the amount of time agents spend on calls with customers, including hold times. It is one of the KPIs that call center managers must target carefully. An agent that is not occupied enough may lack motivation, whereas an agent with a high occupancy rate may suffer from stress. Customer service call flows must be adjusted to balance occupancy rates so that agents are not overworked and are able to offer optimal service.

And one little extra: Customer satisfaction level

It’s always a good idea to evaluate customer satisfaction levels immediately after a service interaction. This can be done by offering a short and simple survey on a numerical scale at the end of a call via SMS or through your IVR menu. These short surveys allow your company to tell at a quick glance if your call centers are offering the best service possible.

Evaluating KPIs is essential to understanding how well a call center is performing. By looking at these numbers, you can determine how best to support your agents so that they can provide the quality service that keeps your customers satisfied.

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