Identifying Key Customer Service KPI

Agent and call center efficiency should be measured based on crucial customer service KPI as these indicators will help evaluate the performance of both agents and call centers vis a vis company goals.  

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurements that can be quantified. These critical success factors vary depending on the nature of an organization. In the case of call centers, customer service KPIs are crucial indicators of overall call center performance.

It is undeniable that many call center managers are unaware about the crucial role that KPIs play in the management of call centers. Instead, they focus more on agent statistics such as average speed of answer and abandonment rate which industry experts consider as unimportant metrics. In contrast, KPIs are given importance for their ability to monitor and predict performance as well as identify, diagnose and resolve call center performance problems.

The average customer service call center employ technologies that can give them information access to more than 25 metrics. While these can assist managers in evaluating agent performance and utilization, some of these are unnecessary that they need to be narrowed down to those metrics that really matter. Call center experts identify five metrics that they consider most important. These metrics include cost per call, customer satisfaction, first contact resolution (FCR) rate, agent utilization and aggregate call center performance.

Cost and quality should be among the essential metrics as call centers exist to provide the best quality services at the lowest possible cost. In call centers, the most important cost metric is cost per contact. On the other hand, the best metric for quality of services is customer satisfaction. This explains why cost per call and customer satisfaction are two of the metrics included in the five essential call center KPIs as identified by experts.

First contact resolution (FCR) or the number of contact resolved during the initial contact with customer, is another metric that should be given importance as statistics show that call centers with low FCR rates also had low customer satisfaction ratings. While customer satisfaction could also be influenced by other variables such as Average Speed of Answer (ASA), and Handle Time, FCR is considered to be the single biggest driver of customer satisfaction. Agent utilization is also among the essential KPIs of call centers as it is the best measure of labor efficiency. Cost per call is decreased if agent utilization is high. Salaries and incentives of call center agents comprise more than half of call center expenses.

Reducing call per cost is the only leverage available to call centers to counter the effects of labor costs. Agent utilization, however, should not be kept at extremely high rates as this may result to employee burn out which in turn, leads to turnover. Lastly, aggregate call center performance is an essential metric as this is an indicator if the call center is improving or declining in terms of performance. The Balanced Score is established as the single score that measures the overall performance of a call center. This metric, when monitored over a period of time, will show stakeholders exactly how the company is doing.

There are other common metrics that were not included in the list of essential 5 customer service KPIs like call abandonment rate and average speed of call. While these can measure agent efficiency, they are less important and less effective as critical success factors.

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