How to Use Call Center Metrics to Improve Agent Performance

blended call center

Mar 13, 2017

Posted In: business performance, Call Centers, Customer Service, Outbound Author: Mckay Bird

You don’t know what you don’t measure. That is, you might have a general idea about call center performance. You could feel that agents are working well. However, you don’t know either of those two things with any sort of clarity. It’s all guesswork and gut instinct.

Unfortunately, the qualitative method provides few, if any, long-term benefits. Successful call centers are those that establish key performance indicators (KPIs), set milestones, track progress, and fine-tune efforts based on data. With those hard, and oh, so quantitative, numbers, call center owners demonstrate true impact and improve agent and business performance.

Call Center Metrics

Call center metrics give definition to your work. They provide minimum and maximum standards for performance. That performance, however, usually takes two avenues: agent, or individual, performance and business performance.

While the metrics sometimes overlap and definitely inform both personal and organization-wide goals, they can be placed in separate categories. Some metrics, after all, hold more import for the organization than the lone call center agent. That doesn’t mean the agent shouldn’t be aware of those metrics; in fact, sharing business performance metrics can help agents feel they’re part of something bigger. The numbers give them a reason for showing up every day and doing their very best.

To help you start setting call center objectives, goals, and metrics, use the following list.

• Average Speed to Answer
• First Call Resolution
• Customer Satisfaction Rating
• Auxiliary Time
• Schedule Adherence
• Average Handle Time
• Agent Occupancy
• Service Level Agreement Status
• Number of Calls until Resolution
• Number of Active Calls
• Number of Waiting Calls
• Right Party Contacts
• Commitments to Pay
• Hold Times

Some metrics obviously apply to agents while others relate more to the organization. Others, such as schedule adherence, affect both individuals and the organization.

When an agent fails to adhere to the schedule, he or she could receive negative marks for agent performance. That failure impacts more than the individual. It can influence a manager’s schedule and possibly employee morale. If other agents keep getting “the short straw” because another agent repeatedly misses work, they tend to get a little frustrated.

Agent Performance

The secret to improving agent performance is simple: share the metrics and analysis with them. Metrics outline objectives, which gives agents a target to hit. Analysis and feedback shows agents how they can improve their aim and hit the target more often.

In the past, you might have conducted those sorts of assessment on an annual or quarterly basis—the so-called performance review. Many organizations are getting away from traditional performance reviews; they can’t keep pace with the speed of business. As a result, many businesses and organizations turn to real-time performance reporting and couple it with in-person conversations, trainings, and teaching.

TCN makes this reality possible with the Agent Gateway. Any time your agents log in for a scheduled shift, they see how their customer communications have fared. They can then use that information to change their approach.

You can use that information, too, to nudge employees along. When you look at agent performance data, you might see that one agent excels in complex conversations while another performs well with outbound calling. Use the data to shift their workload so that they get to do more of what they’re good at. When agents get to use the skills that are hardwired into them, they usually come and go to work happy.

Business Performance

Business performance rarely transforms overnight or leads to positive changes through broad, sweeping initiatives. Rather, it improves by focusing on something small, something like agent performance. Agent productivity and efficiency are small stones dropped into a pond. As the ripples spread outward, they touch everything within the organization.

But you can facilitate that progress. By integrating data from a CRM and other applications in a secure cloud-based platform, you make it easier for agents to increase productivity and work more efficiently. You also mitigate aggravation—you know there’s nothing worse than searching for customer information when you need it, right here and right now.

You also can set organization-wide goals. It’s a good and wise thing to do. Sharing the goals can develop a sense of mission, helping agents see that they are doing good work. It also helps with creating a shared belief in your company’s vision so that everyone works toward the same goal.

You then follow up those goals with objectives and metrics. By measuring the objectives, you have a better chance to meet them. More importantly, you know how your call center and agents are performing in concrete, quantitative terms.

Want to see how the TCN platform could help drive agent and business performance at your organization? Request a demo today.

About the Author: Mckay Bird

Mckay Bird is the Chief Marketing Officer for TCN, a leading provider of cloud-based call center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies worldwide. Mckay oversees all marketing operations, campaigns and conferences including; content production, email marketing, and other inbound marketing activities.