The Rise of The Digital Native
Who are they & how will they shape the customer's digital experience?
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: data is critical to building a great customer experience, as interactions between agents and customers will make or break your brand.
But the list of KPIs customer experience executives can pull from is seemingly infinite. Though data is important, too much of it can overwhelm C-Suite members and agents alike. Measuring every data point in the books can also strain operations. Sometimes, certain KPIs overlap and essentially give you the same information about your customers.
It’s essential to track the metrics that make the most sense for your brand’s products and customers. Square peg, meet square hole.
Consider this your guide to pinpointing what KPIs to use. (And check out our CX glossary for more metrics to look out for).
Brands have different goals, depending partly on customer preferences and pain points, the stage a company is in, and the overall mission. All of these factors will play a role in choosing the correct KPIs for your contact center. When evaluating what data to track, think about:
It’s time to choose the metrics that work best for your contact center. These 20 options can help you tap into your customer insights.
What it is and why it matters: Active waiting calls is a real-time metric that gives call center managers a look at how many customers are on hold versus the number handled. If too many customers are on hold, wait times will be longer and CSAT will drop.
How to calculate it: Total Number of Callers vs. Total Number of Callers On Hold
How to improve it: Recruit more agents, coach current ones to handle calls more efficiently, streamline workflows, and update technology. You can reduce call volume with ChatBots and digital FAQs.
What it is and why it matters: CX leaders are customer-obsessed and are hyper-focused on customer satisfaction. But it’s essential to keep an eye on agent morale, too. Qualified agents know your customers, technologies, and expectations. CX leaders want to retain them. Agent attrition rate tracks the number of agents who retire or resign.
How to calculate it: (Number of Agents that Left During A Given Period)/(Average Number of Agents for the Period) × 100%
How to improve it: A high rate signals potential contact center culture issues. Agent satisfaction surveys can indicate pain points, including pay, hours, or career development opportunities. Collecting and acting on this data can improve agent attrition rates.
What it is and why it matters: Agent Utilization Rate also clues CX leaders into an agent’s performance. It lets them know the average time an agent spends on calls in a specific period relative to their total work hours.
How to calculate it: (Average Number of Handled Calls x Average Handle Time)/(Total Work Hours in Given Period) x 100%
How to improve it: Contact center managers can work with individual agents or develop group training programs to work with the entire call center or agents with particularly high utilization rates to address common issues prolonging calls.
What it is and why it matters: If customers are on hold for too long, they’re going to get frustrated and hang up. The average abandonment rate will measure how often this happens over a period of time, such as a month or quarter. CX leaders want this number as low as possible. If a customer abandons a call, they may also abandon your brand.
How to calculate it: (Number of Calls - Number of Handled Calls)/Number of Calls x 100%
How to improve it: Log all abandoned calls. Then, look into whether the customer is hanging up or choosing to leave a voicemail (both come up as abandoned calls). If they’re hanging up, determine whether the abandonment rate is a product is agent performance, a need for more agents, a need to update slow technology, or a combination of these by digging into other data points. Then, use that information to improve the call center through more training and staffing or upgraded technology.
What it is and why it matters: Average after-call work time (AWT) is another metric used to track agent performance. It recognizes that an agent’s job isn’t done once the call ends. Instead, the agent may have other tasks complete, such as submitting a ticket.
How to calculate it: (Total Time to Finish All Post-Call Tasks)/(Total Number of Calls)
How to improve it: Explore where agents are getting hung up and provide further training on items like ticketing technology (or upgrade it if it keeps crashing or buffering). Also, keep in mind that sometimes working a bit slower means an agent is more thorough and making fewer mistakes.
What it is and why it matters: Customers demand efficiency and effectiveness from agents. Average handle time (AHT) tracks how long an agent spends on the line with a customer. How to calculate it: (Agent’s Total Talk Time + Total Hold Time + Total After-Call Work Time)/Total Number of Calls
How to improve it: First, keep in mind that agents cannot solve every problem in a minute. Some issues are more complex than others, and the right answer is more important than a fast one. Other times, more agent training is needed. And sometimes, a higher-than-average AHT isn’t an indicator of poor agent performance but rather that the contact center doesn’t have up-to-date tools.
What it is and why it matters: Average waiting time looks into the amount of time a customer spends on hold after reaching an agent. Sometimes, an agent must place a customer on hold. The issue may be uncommon, for example.
How to calculate it: Total Number of Seconds Customers Spend Waiting/Total Number of Calls
How to improve it: An agent who is constantly asking for a supervisor may need more training. Likewise, outdated technology contributes to a high average wait time.
What it is and why it matters: Sometimes, an agent needs to transfer a customer, such as to another department better trained to resolve the problem. Transfers are not always an issue with a company’s contact center when this happens—the customer may have selected the wrong option. But customers don’t typically enjoy being transferred, so CX leaders want to see this rate as low as possible.
How to calculate it: (Number of Transferred Calls ÷ Total Number of Calls) x 100%
How to improve it: Dig into the reasons behind transfers. You may need to streamline, shorten, or re-order your automated greeting to make it more straightforward. If agents are transferring to seek support from managers and colleagues, they may need further training.
What it is and why it matters: This metric tells CX leaders exactly how many incoming and outgoing calls agents are handling during a specific period. It indicates the workload the center is handling.
How to calculate it: You can count the number of calls handled by agents and automated systems.
How to improve it: You can reduce call volume by making it easy for customers to solve issues using ChatBots and developing informative self-service guides. Often, it’s about managing call volume effectively, though. Ensure you have proper staffing to support customers.
What it is and why it matters: CX executives and their C-suite counterparts are often hyper-focused on the bottom line. How much revenue are we making? How much are our initiatives costing us? What’s our ROI for those initiatives? Cost per call (CPC) helps paint this picture from a contact-center perspective. It shows CX leaders how much each call costs a contact center, providing insight into efficiency.
How to calculate it: Total Cost of All Calls/Total Number of Calls
How to improve it: Longer calls cost more money. If possible, reduce the time of these calls with further agent training. But keep in mind some issues are more complex and require more time and seek a balance. Fix any technical issues forcing customers to hang on longer for a solution.
What it is and why it matters: This is another metric that provides CX leaders insights into customers’ experiences with a brand, and it’s a popular one.
How to calculate it: There’s not a standard formula. It’s collected using single-question surveys, such as:
“How satisfied were you with your experience with our brand?”
CX leaders can develop an arbitrary scoring system based on the responses, such as assigning all “very satisfied” ratings a 3, satisfied a 2, not satisfied a 1, and very unsatisfied a 0.
How to fix it: Poor customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a flag that CX leaders dig into specific points along the customer journey, including contact center experiences like long wait times or the need for repeat calls, to pinpoint opportunities for improvement.
What it is and why it matters: The customer effort score (CES) lets CX teams know how much effort a customer has to put into resolving an issue. Contact centers want to make the process as easy as possible for customers. The higher the score, the better the service.
How to calculate it: As with CSAT, there is no standardized scoring system for CES. It also uses a single question, such as:
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 representing “strongly agree” and 1 representing “strongly disagree,” did the service you received today make it simpler for you to resolve your issue?
How to improve it: Poorly trained agents can increase the effort a customer has to put into resolving an issue, but sometimes a low CES is an operational problem. Further training is essential. Long wait times because of staffing issues or the need to transfer callers contribute to CES. You may need to streamline your call process.
What it is and why it matters: Customer churn rate (CCR) tracks how many customers stopped doing business with your company over a specific time. Some customers are bound to churn. Perhaps your product only services a target audience for a specific time in their lives, such as the home-buying process. But generally speaking, brands want to keep customers around, using top-notch support to help make that happen. A high CCR is a flag.
How to calculate it: (Number of customers you lost during a given period/Number of customers you had at the beginning of the period) X 100%
How to improve it: Dig into other metrics, such as customer satisfaction, repeat calls, and wait times to improve customer retention.
What it is and why it matters: Ideally, agents can solve a customer’s issue on the first try without a callback or transfer. First contact resolution (FCR) measures this rate.
How to calculate it: Total Number of Reported Issues Resolved on First Call/Total Number of Calls OR Total Number of Reported Issues Resolved on First Call/Total Number of First Calls
How to improve it: A high FCR typically leads to higher CSAT. Evaluate which issues need multiple calls to resolve and provide further agent training or self-service guides on the website to streamline the process.
What it is and why it matters: Customers crave instant gratification. They want to speak with a qualified agent quickly. First response time (FRT) measures the time it takes to reach an agent after calling with a problem. This metric is critical for inbound contact centers that want to place a premium on customer service. CX leaders want to see a low FRT. How to calculate it: Total Wait Time for All Calls/Total Number of Calls
How to improve it: A high FRT may indicate a need for more agents, additional training, or faster technology.
What it is and why it matters: The net promoter score (NPS) will allow you to get a clue into how your customers feel about your CX operations, including contact centers. It uses straightforward questions, such as:
How would you recommend our brand?
The customer will then choose a number between 1 and 10, with 10 being the best possible rating. Promoters are customers who give scores of 9-10. Passives give scores of 7-8, while Detractors will choose a rating between 0-6. A poor NPS gives cause to look into all aspects of the customer experience, including more granular contact center metrics.
How to calculate it: (Number of Promoters/Total Number of Customers in the Sample) - (Number of Detractors/Total Number of Customers in the Sample)
How to improve it: “Close the loop” with your customers to understand why they gave a specific score. From there, use these insights to figure out what is and isn’t working within your contact center and train agents for better future outcomes.
What it is and why matters: Occupancy rate tracks the time agents spend interacting with customers on live calls and performing administrative duties that tie into these calls.
How to calculate it: (Total Contact Handling Time/Total Logged Time) ×100%
How to improve it: The best occupancy rates are around 90%, and anything from 75% to 85% is considered high. Remember, agents aren’t always on calls. Sometimes, they’re attending training sessions. Organic conversations with colleagues about calls also provide opportunities for improvement. But if your occupancy rate is lower than 75%, it may signal a need to cut down on meetings and trainings or poor agent work habits like taking long breaks.
What it is and why it matters: Peak hour traffic measures the times of day when call volume is highest. This metric can aid managers in scheduling agent hours.
How to calculate it: Simply put, you’ll count the number of calls received during a specific time.
How to improve it: Self-service guides and ChatBots may reduce the number of calls you get any time of day. It’s vital to manage peak hour traffic with an adequately staffed contact center with plenty of agents to handle the load.
What it is and why it matters: Repeat calls track how often a customer calls multiple times to resolve an issue. The more calls a customer needs to make to solve a problem, the more frustrated they’ll likely get.
How to calculate it: Track the number of instances a customer calls multiple times.
How to improve it: Delve into which issues are challenging to resolve on the first call. CX leaders may also need to work with the entire team to develop more self-service solutions, digital how-to guides, and further agent training.
What it is and why it matters: Revenue per successful call is often a KPI of interest for sales and customer success teams and is useful for CX leaders who work closely with them. It measures the average revenue a successful call is likely to generate. Revenue per successful call provides insight into whether agents are meeting sales benchmarks and the number of products agents are successfully directing clients to.
How to calculate it: Revenue from Sales Calls/Total Number of Successful Calls
How to improve it: Further scripting, information on popular products, and training opportunities can help agents meet sales targets.
Analyzing your customer data through the lens of these KPIs can show insight into how efficiently and effectively contact centers are operating. Is your CX program supporting your brand’s customer-obsessed mentality? If not, they’ll help you pinpoint where updates and where agents may need additional training.
The above industry KPIs are helpful in measuring success in your CX program, but you need to consistently look at the whole picture to gauge how and where to improve — and provide continuously improving customer experiences.
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