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6 metrics to help you improve your call center performance

Written by on July 26, 2016

When you talk performance and customer acquisition strategies, the discussion is practically meaningless if data doesn’t enter the conversation. Data is what helps the barista at the coffee shop down the street have your coffee ready even before you walk in the door. Data is what helps businesses recommend related products to you when you’re browsing.

When you measure how your call center is performing, you’re essentially plotting your expenditure against your returns. Your expenditure, that’s your capex and your opex — the money you spent setting up the infrastructure when you have  and the money you spend running the call center — the salary, the cost per phone call, the whole shebang. Capex is practically negligible, in comparison, when you use a cloud-based PBX system, so opex is the real contender when you’re plotting growth. So, to make sure you’re sticking to your targets, you need to keep track of certain metrics.

Here are some metrics you can leverage when putting together a report to show call center growth:

  1. IVR time:How much time does the caller spend in the IVR (Interactive Voice Response)? In the interest of self-service, a lot of businesses end up putting together a complicated IVR tree, a tree that ends up making customers spend long minutes just navigating between sections. We’d recommend a simple decision tree, nothing more than 3 levels, to avoid a search akin to the Holy Grail quest.
  2. Queue time: How much time does the caller spend waiting for an agent to be assigned to their call? This, in our opinion, is the wait that frustrates the customer the most. There’s no industry standard time per say but we’d recommend that you work off your Abandon rate — an abandoned customer is an unhappy customer and lost revenue. To reduce average queue time, we’d recommend that you staff up or introduce more self-service options; you could even let callers opt for a callback x seconds after they get into the queue.
  3. Speed of answer: This metric covers ring time i.e how long does the phone ring before the agent answers the call? According to the IFC, the global metric for Average Speed to Answer in a call center is 28 seconds. So, if you see a longer ring time, that means it’s time to hire more agents to handle the load.
  4. Hold time: Once the call has been answered, how much time does the caller spend on hold? This could be for any number of reasons. The agent might put the caller on hold while switching them between departments, they might be conferring with a supervisor…any number of reasons. To reduce hold time, your agents could offer to call your caller back with an answer after figuring out the solution, or conferring with other teams or the supervisor.
  5. Talk time: How long is the conversation? The global metric for talk time, or call duration time as some people and the IFC like to call it, is four minutes per call. There are, of course, some outliers but largely businesses try to make it as short and snappy as possible.
  6. After Call Work Time: Once the call is disconnected, how much time does the agent spend wrapping up call related work before becoming available again? The global metric for After Call Work time or Wrap-up time in the call center is six minutes (IFC). The rule of thumb, however is that if your after call work time takes up to a third of the talk time, you have a problem on your hands — this might be because your process is inefficient (i.e attaching recording to ticket is a hassle) or because your agents aren’t properly trained with the software they’re using.

Based on what you track and measure as a business, you can also consider other KPIs and metrics such as first call resolution rate, call abandonment rate, CSAT score, cost per contact, and more.

Trying to figure out how a cloud based pbx system can suit your business? Freshdesk’s phone channel might just be the perfect fit.

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