Top Call Center Metrics and How to Use Them to Thrive in a Data-Driven World

We live in a data-driven world and businesses who thrive are the ones who can leverage this data effectively.

This specifically applies to contact centers which are in the frontline of customer service and are gathering heaps of information, insights and data every minute, every hour, every day.

As a call center manager, these waves of data that come from different channels and platforms can be overwhelming. Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should help you monitor and analyze this data but again, there are so many of them.

Don’t panic, we’re here to help! We selected the top call center metrics that will really help your call center succeed.

Want to know the best part?

We’re even giving out a few tips to make them better.

Quality of Service

1. Service Level: Service level refers to the percentage of calls being answered within a given time frame and measures the overall performance of how accessible your service is for customers.

Tip: Call center service levels can be disconcerting and need to be measured with the right method. Additionally, service level, in isolation, does not provide the full picture.

You might want to look at Average Speed to Answer (ASA) and Abandonment Rate (AR) along with SLAs.

With today’s software technology, analytics such as speech analytics and text analytics can also provide a clearer picture of the contact center performance.

2. Quality Scores: Quality scores measure agent performance since they assess the overall caller experience and focus on the interactions that agents are having with customers.

Tip: To improve quality scores, you should gather heaps of data from all your different channels and give ongoing feedback to your agent. Furthermore, you should invest in regular coaching sessions with a focus on the low performers.

3. Net Promoter Score (NPS): Your NPS score helps gauge customer loyalty and offers a complete view of customer sentiments regarding their overall experience with your brand.

Tip: Improving your Net Promoter Score is a never-ending task and you should never rest on your laurels. Earning customer loyalty takes time but can be destroyed in seconds. Therefore, you need to make sure you deliver an outstanding customer experience across all channels, ensuring your customers are satisfied and work on converting your detractors into promoters.

4. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): CSAT measures the degree to which a customer is satisfied with an agent interaction. For instance, on a scale of 1 out of 10, 1 being not at all satisfied and 10 being extremely satisfied.

Tip: You can tie your Customer Satisfaction surveys to key moments such as customer onboarding, after a customer support interaction, or a contract renewal. This way you will be able to measure something tangible.

Customer Experience

5. First Contact Resolution: First Contact Resolution (FCR) is a KPI that indicates if customers’ problems are being resolved the first time they contact your organization. It is important to keep this number low since it increases customer satisfaction and decreases repeat calls.

Tip: Assessing this critical metric is a challenge but more importantly you need to give your agents the right tools and techniques they need to deliver ongoing FCR improvement. To improve FCR, call recording and speech analytics can provide more insights.

 6. Average Speed of Answer: Average Speed of Answer (ASA) calculates the average amount of time it takes for calls to be answered in a given time frame. It often goes along with the Average Wait Time (AWT) metric which corresponds to the period of time before you get connected to an agent. ASA is usually a key component of a call center’s Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Tip: If this metric is too high, it means your agents are not moving as fast as they should. Ask what’s keeping them from handling calls faster. Reviewing the tools they are using to make sure they have proper training can make a real difference.  Sometimes even after making those improvements, you may find you just don’t have the right staff in place at the right time to make sure calls get answered in a timely fashion.  A workforce management tool can get you those numbers and greatly improve your ASA.

7. Abandonment Rate: Abandon rate represents the percentage of calls that are dropped by customers before they speak to an agent.

Tip: Long hold times are usually the root cause of high abandon rates. Make sure breaks, lunches and coaching sessions are scheduled at the right time of day, to ensure agents are available to get that next call.

You might also want to consider offering a call back service to your customers in order to keep them away from waiting.

Keeping an eye on how long customers wait is also key. Some contact centers see a decrease in their abandonment rates, only to see their Customer Satisfaction Scores fall. Customers may be hanging up because they have become accustomed to waiting a long time to reach an agent, which only adds to their frustration with interacting with you contact center.

8. Customer Effort Score: Customer Effort Score (CES) measures how hard it is for a customer to get connected to an agent/advisor

Tip: We recommend using more than one survey type to measure your CES. Also, keep in mind that CES is just the starting point. Once the analysis is done, the real work begins to improve your customer experience.

Operational Efficiency

9. Average Handle Time (AHT): Average Handle Time is a top call center metric that indicates the total average duration of a single customer interaction, including hold time, talk time and the admin tasks related to that call or case.

Tip: Average Handle Time can be measured in different ways. We have written an article to help you understand AHT and How to Reduce it

 10. Schedule Adherence: Schedule Adherence is a KPI that measures how well your agents are sticking to their work schedule timings.

Tip: Schedule adherence is a great way to see how your agents manage their schedule. Finding the right goal can promote good work habits, while still making sure agents have time to decompress in a busy, fast paced environment.

11. Wrap Up Time: Wrap Up Time is the after-call work (ACW) spent by an agent after a customer interaction. An agent has to feed the relevant data into the CRM system to keep track of the history.

Tip: You can provide your agents with additional training and show them how to use efficiently your tools and systems and teach them time-saving short cuts. You may want to use peer to peer coaching, which allow agents who have low wrap up times to sit with agents who are struggling to provide them with some time saving tips and tricks.

12. Forecast Accuracy: This top call center metric measures the ability of the call center manager/supervisor to accurately forecast inbound workload volumes for use in staffing mode.

Tip: An accurate forecast is the base of contact center scheduling and the way that will lead to higher profit. Workforce management software is the right tool to generate the most precise forecast in your call center.


13. Agent Attrition/Turnover: Agent attrition refers to the number of employees who leave the organization in a specific period of time. Agent attrition in call centers is usually around 30-45% which is much higher than other industries. The ugly truth is that contact centers are losing more money than they ever imagined from employee attrition.

Tip: You might want to give monitoring checklists to your agents since it encourages ongoing communication and one-on-one time between supervisors and agents to talk about their skills, challenges, areas of improvement, etc. Look for other morale boosters that might not take a big hit to the budget like extra lunch time or hour off coupons for agents with great attendance or good performance.

14. Shrinkage/Absenteeism: Shrinkage can be defined as the percentage of time for which agents are paid to work but they are not available to take customer interactions. There are many reasons that can cause shrinkage and can be classified as external or internal shrinkage. You can also break it into two distinct categories: scheduled and unscheduled. Scheduled shrinkage includes the elements that you can control (e.g. trainings, meetings, paid time off, etc.). Unscheduled shrinkage includes what you cannot control (e.g. tardiness, sickness, etc.).

Tip: If you want to learn more about call center shrinkage and how to minimize it, download our call center guide – How to Prevent Call Center Shrinkage.