Call center tracking is key to understanding how effective your agents and processes are. However, you determine the meaning of those results. Making sure you carefully plan and implement achievable goals. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find the best solution. Otherwise what you track will not be useful results for you call center.
Why It Is Important to Track Inbound Call Center Metrics
No matter what industry they’re in, almost every business manager or owner will tell you that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Just as this is true across industries, it’s also true when it comes to call centers.
Many call centers used to focus on call-center agent performance metrics exclusively. Managers would look at the number of calls their employees answered per hour, how long it took them to complete calls and their call resolution rate. While these metrics still provide valuable information, they can no longer be the only numbers call center managers focus on because they don’t take into account the entire customer experience.
Imagine a scenario in which you’re trying to shorten your average handle time. You instruct your employees to be faster and more efficient in their interactions with customers with the goal of shortening your center’s overall average handle time by three minutes. Your employees successfully achieve this benchmark, reducing your center’s overall costs and increasing its profitability in the short term.
What are your long-term costs for this interim success? If your staff members are shortening their call times at the expense of successfully resolving issues or satisfying client’s needs, your first call resolution rate may suffer, the number of complaints you receive may rise and customers may start flocking to your competitors.
Just as the tracking of time necessarily evolved from relying on the phases of the moon to the use of sundials to the precise measurements provided by today’s electronic devices, call-center results tracking has changed over the years. Tracking key performance indicators hasn’t just changed, it has also become increasingly important because of the opportunities for improvement that tracking KPIs can provide.
With the technology that is currently available for call centers, it’s possible for managers to become so overwhelmed with the number of metrics they can track that they may miss key opportunities to improve their call centers. According to a report entitled “Measuring Call Center Performance: Global Best Practices,” prepared by the International Finance Corp., industry experts suggest that call centers should “choose metrics that reveal key insights into the customer experience, emphasizing quality and quantity equally.”
The report goes on to advise call centers to establish benchmarks in four critical areas for optimal efficiency and performance. These vital areas and some of the inbound and outbound call center metrics that matter are provided below:
Service Level: Service level is the percentage of calls that come into your call center which are answered by your employees within a given length of time. According to the International Finance Corp., the global metric for service level is to have 80 percent of your calls answered within 20 seconds.
Median Speed to Answer: This KPI looks at the number of inbound call center software calls that are not answered by your employees within 20 seconds. Call center metrics best practices dictate that average speed to answer should be 28 seconds. If your average speed to answer is high, you may have to add employees to your team to get this metric down to an acceptable level.
Abandoned Rate: This metric tells you the percentage of all the calls your center receives that are abandoned by consumers before your staff members can answer them. The global standard for this is between 5 and 8 percent.
Forecasting Accuracy: According to the International Finance Corp.’s report, the globally accepted metric for call forecasting accuracy is a 5 percent variance. If your forecast is lower than the number of calls your center actually receives, it is likely that your call center will be too understaffed to handle your call volume. If you receive significantly fewer calls than you expected, your staff will not be operating at peak efficiency and your labor costs will be higher than necessary.
Schedule Adherence: This metric examines when your employees are available to receive phone calls. Just because your employees are in the building doesn’t mean they are at their workstations ready to respond to incoming calls. Staff members necessarily take breaks for various reasons throughout the workday, including visiting the restroom, grabbing a snack in the breakroom and talking to each other.
While it’s understandable why call center representatives are unavailable to receive calls at certain points during the day, the global metric for their adherence to schedule is 95 percent. This means businesses around the world expect their call center agents to field calls 95 percent of the time that they are on the clock.
Occupancy: This is an important KPI because it tells you the percentage of time an employee is engaged with a phone call. This metric accounts for the amount of time an employee talks to a client as well as the time it takes for your employee to wrap up a call by updating your system, completing paperwork or performing another task. The global standard for this KPI is 60-80 percent.
Absenteeism and Attrition: As a call center manager, you should know how important it is to track when your employees miss work and how many staff members leave your call center every year. If your staff members are calling off regularly, it may indicate they are experiencing too much stress at work or they lack motivation, problems that can have a negative influence on your call center’s performance, revenue and morale. If your attrition rate is high, you will have to absorb costs to recruit and train new hires, which can drive up your labor costs. The globally accepted benchmarks for absenteeism and attrition are 5 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
Customer Satisfaction: It is impossible to overstate how critical it is for you to track the level of satisfaction customers have with your call center. That’s because studies have shown there is a direct relationship between customer satisfaction and vital areas of your business, including how loyal customers will be to your call center and your bottom line. Customer satisfaction even has an impact on your employees’ morale as well as their performance.
Because customer satisfaction is subjective, there isn’t a universally applied method that’s used to measure it. Call centers can use some common tools to measure customer satisfaction, however. Whereas many businesses used to rely on mailed surveys or phone interviews that took place several days after a customer’s phone call, a lot of call centers now solicit feedback from their customers immediately after their calls are over.
In many cases, a call center will invite a caller to complete an interactive voice-response survey that asks them to use a numeric scale to rate various aspects of their recent call center experience, such as their conversation with the responding agent and whether they plan to do business with your call center again.
While every call center would love to have a customer satisfaction rate of 100 percent, it’s not always possible to make everyone happy. Some people will contact your call center during a bad day or after they’ve received some unfortunate news, which may influence their perception of how a phone call went. Since an array of factors that are beyond your control may affect a customer’s level of satisfaction, call center metrics industry standards suggest the optimal level of customer satisfaction for a call center is 90 percent.
First-Call Resolution Rate: Your first-call resolution rate shows you the percentage of the calls your call center receives that are resolved during an initial call, without further actions such as transferring a caller to a manager or calling a customer back at a later point. Although the global metric for first-call resolution is between 70 and 75 percent, it’s critical that yours be as high as possible. Recent studies have shown that no other KPI influences customer satisfaction more than first-call resolution, or FCR.
According to the Service Quality Measurement Group, call centers generally see a 1 percent increase in customer satisfaction for every 1 percent their first-call resolution rate improves. After studying more than 150 call centers, the Service Quality Measurement Group found that contact centers that were considered world class had an average FCR of 86 percent. By comparison, call centers that weren’t viewed as world class had an average FCR of just 67 percent.
Improving your first-call resolution rate can do more than just improve the level of satisfaction your customers have with your call center. It can also improve the level of satisfaction your agents have with their jobs because they won’t have to handle as many callbacks from irritated customers. If your employees are more satisfied, it can reduce your absenteeism and attrition rates.
Increasing your FCR can also help you improve your bottom line and increase customer loyalty. Service Quality Measurement Group says only 3 percent of customers are likely to do business with one of your competitors when their issues are resolved during their initial calls. When their issues aren’t taken care of entirely during their initial calls, 38 percent of customers may choose to switch to a competing business.
Metrics for Outbound Calls
While some of the inbound call-center metrics discussed above can certainly be applied to your center’s outbound calls, including forecasting accuracy and adherence to schedule, you can use additional measurements to track your outbound calls.
Some of the outbound call center metrics that can help you improve your call center results include the following:
- Hold Time: This KPI is typically expressed in seconds. As its name implies, hold time measures the length of time an agent keeps a customer on hold over the course of a call. Even if you try to prevent your employees from putting clients on hold, they may still have to do so from time to time to look up information or consult with another agent to find an answer. By monitoring hold time, you can identify agents who put customers on hold often and/or for excessive lengths of time, which may present an opportunity for you to provide additional training and stop these practices from continuing.
- Phone Etiquette: Phone etiquette is a percentage that represents the quality of an agent’s politeness during a phone call. In general, an agent’s phone etiquette rating is based on a number of factors that are checked off by a quality monitor who is listening to the call. The more factors are checked off, the higher the score the agent will receive.
- Adherence to Procedures: Like phone etiquette, adherence to procedures is expressed as a percentage. This KPI gauges how closely an employee followed your call center’s policies during a call. If an agent fails to follow your center’s sales script or greet a caller in the prescribed manner, or the employee breaks protocol in another way, it will be reflected in the individual’s adherence to procedures score.
- Idle Time: Also known as call wrap-up time, idle time measures the amount of time an agent spends performing work related to a call after the caller has hung up. Activities employees commonly do during idle time include updating the call tracking system, filling out paperwork and preparing materials a customer requested to be mailed.
As mentioned earlier, call-center dialing software tracking is critical to understanding how effective and efficient your agents and processes are. As a manager, it’s up to you to determine the metrics that can help you improve your employees’ performance and streamline your call center’s procedures.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll then need to set challenging yet realistic goals. A call tracking system can help you track the KPIs that are meaningful to your business, and it can also monitor the progress your call center and your individual employees are making toward achieving the goals you’ve established.
If you’re interested in a call-tracking system that can give you the actionable information you need to improve the performance of individual employees as well as your entire call center, our Parrot Contact Center Software may be just the solution you’re looking for. Parrot Contact Center Software enables you to track many things, such as using dispositions, and it generates detailed reports you can use to make important business decisions.
With our software solution, your employees will be able to respond with inbound and outbound email in real-time, too. Managing dropped call rates and setting callbacks is simple with our Parrot Contact Center Software. In addition, Parrot Contact Center Software even gives you the ability to provide live coaching during calls as well as the ability to join ongoing calls whenever necessary. Keep reading to learn more!
Tracking Using Dispositions
While the system will automatically disposition certain calls, such as not in service or busy numbers, for live answers the agent will have control. At the end of their call an agent will pick out a disposition or status for a call – a statement about how the call ended. While the Cloud Contact Center comes with preset dispositions, they can be customized, changed, or added by a manager for relevancy to your business. The importance of setting up relevant dispositions is to better aid and organize your agents. Dispositions can be used to track what to do with a customer. Has a sale been made? Does the client need a callback? Should you add that number to your internal do not call list? All of those questions can be answered easily with dispositions. Dispositions can be changed under the System Statuses menu or our support team will be glad to assist.
Call Center Tracking in Reports
- Track Calls in Real-Time Report – This field is where you can select whether you want the call to be tracked in the Real-time screen as an incoming IVR (Interactive Voice Response) type call.
- Lead Export Report – In this report you can pull all leads in a specific disposition or status to see the lead info, notes, and what agents completed these
- Outbound Calling Report – In this report is breaks down a total list of each of the dispositions for a specific time period.
- Tracking Group – This is the ID that you can use to track calls to a Call Menu when looking at the IVR Report.
The Parrot gives you the ability to create custom fields or forms in the phone dialer software. If you need an agent to gather info separately when in a call, you can create a custom form for the agent to fill out and submit while they are on the phone. That form can then be emailed to a manager. This can include custom fields, drop downs, radio buttons, and text boxes. Custom forms can be found on the “Form” tab of the agent interface. Once a Custom Field is created for a List, that field will be visible on the lead loading page for that List. Use the “Copy Custom Fields” to easily copy created fields to new lists. Custom forms can not be used to filter leads.
Parrot comes with several pre-fabricated reports such as: the Real Time Main Report, Outbound & Inbound reports, and Agent Performance Detail reports. However these reports may not fit the needs of your company. Call center tracking’s relevancy is dependent on what you choose to track. Our programmers can coordinate with you to develop reports custom-tailored to your business to show the statistics that are important to you. There may be a development charge for this depending on the time and scope of the project.
In Campaign options you can set up a custom web page that will be opened when the user clicks on the WEB FORM button. The “web form” address can use custom variables just like the script functionality can. Through Web Form buttons, agents can link to web pages such as Google Maps, calendars, and link up CRM systems.
Different calendars can be used in conjunction with Cloud Contact Center. Below we have link to a good one for appointment setting: Teamup.com (Example: https://teamup.com/ksc584b1c0080884d6).
The benefits of using Teamup.com include: it’s free to use, allows agents to see when other appointments were booked, no need to have separate logins, can have manager versions.
Different CRMs (customer relationship management) can be integrated with the Cloud Contact Center. Depending on the CRM, it can be integrated via open API:
- Sending a new lead into a CRM system using a disposition
- Opening a synced CRM lead in a new tab when the call is live
- Other CRM integration may be available
Call center tracking is an important part of managing a call center. Without knowing how well or how poorly you are doing and for what reason, you’ll never be able to improve or maintain consistent performance. Good tracking will lead to good forecasting, allowing you to create attainable goals, just like our Paleolithic ancestors.
What you track is also important. An inbound call center will have different needs from an outbound call center and even industry matters. You can customize dispositions and forms so that your agents can have relevant terms and information when taking or returning calls. At EVS7, we can custom tailor your reports to fit your needs. Knowing results that are key to sustaining and improving your call center also gives you room to be creative and try new solutions.