How Does Your Contact Center Measure Up?
Part of any digital transformation is measuring the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your customer-facing operations -- i.e. your contact center (see "Measuring the Effectiveness of Digital Transformation"). Your organization’s executive leadership and contact center management team need to know how well the contact center is performing. However, it’s hard to judge performance when you’re unable to compare your operations with those of other contact centers.
There are separate metrics for inbound and outbound traffic. Inbound traffic includes customer support and ordering centers. Key metrics for inbound call centers includes average time in queue, abandoned calls, and average hold times -- in other words, you’re measuring the customer experience. Agent performance can be gauged by login hours, average talk time, average speed to answer, and average wrapped times.
Key metrics for outbound call centers include maximum calls dialed (manual or automated) and average answer rates.
Cloud-Based Contact Centers
When utilizing cloud-based services for your contact center, your provider is often able to look at a large number of calls across multiple customer’s contact centers. This can provide much better insight into how well your contact center is performing compared to other contact centers.
Kookoo, a cloud-based contact center provider, was able to collect data from 160 million calls made on its platform supporting nearly 50,000 active agents. By collecting and analyzing the call data, Kookoo is able to provide statistics about KPIs for contact centers ranging from seven to more than 700 agents. The analysis covers 2018.
The average inbound time for callers in 2018 waiting in queue is about 75 seconds. A different measurement is how many calls were unanswered by the call center agents. This produces an average abandonment rate of about 12%. The abandonment rates measured were as low as 8.4% and as high as 26%.
When you measure agent performance metrics, it begs the question: “Are agents well-trained and well-managed?”
Kookoo found the average agent handle time to be 188 seconds. The average agent handle time is the time the agent is on the phone with a customer, or the amount of time required to complete a call. Good training and good management can lead to faster call resolution time, and therefore shorter handle times.
Kookoo found that the average speed to answer a call is about six seconds. This does not indicate how long a caller has spent in an IVR or in queue. The longer the answer time, the more likely that agent training is required. Or, it could indicate that excessive call volumes were encountered, but not predicted and planned for the agents.
The average agent wrap time is 29 seconds, Kookoo found. This indicates how long after a call it takes for an agent to complete their work, such as data entry. If wrap times are equal or below the average, this indicates a well-designed and well-trained call center staff.
There are other KPIs for measuring agent performance. This report found that agents are logged in for about 5.8 hours on average. During the login time, the average agent handles 28 calls. The average answer rate was 88%, with a maximum answer rate of 91.6%
Outbound calls are important, but unfortunately a lot of people think unknown numbers are robocalls and don’t answer the phone. Kookoo discovered that only 44% of those called will answer. However, there is a performance difference between manual dialers and automated dialers. More calls are dialed and answered with automatic dialers. On average, of 58 calls dialed manually, 27 are answered; by contrast, of 137 calls made with automated dialers, 53 are answered on average, Kookoo found.
Automated dialers may be more efficient. However, when the call center is offering high-value or specialized products or services, the success rate for manually dialed outbound calls may be higher, since the agent can select the most convenient times to make the calls, thereby increasing the number of calls answered. Using manual dialing decreases the number of agent conversations to 27 per day, slightly lower than the number of calls that can be handled for inbound calls.
Although the KPIs reported by Kookoo are averages, the call center management should be aware that the KPIs will vary considerably based on the products or services sold and the industries that are supported. Nevertheless, some insight into other contact center operations can be valuable as a benchmark.