What is KPI (Key Performance Indicator)?

A KPI, or key performance indicator, is a metric that call centers use to determine if they're meeting business goals such as efficiency and delivering exceptional customer satisfaction. Contact centers have a multitude of possible KPIs - the challenge is picking the right ones to holistically measure the different aspects of the operation while not creating data overload.

Typical key performance indicators for contact centers

  • Abandon Rate - measures how many contacts are being terminated by the customer before they are even connected with an agent at a contact center.
  • Average Speed of Answer - highly correlated to abandon rates, ASA measures how quickly customer calls are being connected to agents.
  • Service Level - another way to measure how quickly customers are being connected to agents, service level targets are expressed as a certain percentage of contacts answered within a certain amount of time (for example, 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds).

Contact center KPIs for agents

  • Average Handle Time - an efficiency metric that measures how much time, on average, agents are spending on each customer call. It's a key input for staffing models.
  • First Contact Resolution - the percent of contacts that were resolved on the initial contact, with no follow up required.

Customer satisfaction KPIs for call centers

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Scores - typically measured by post-contact surveys, customer satisfaction scores are a barometer of how customers feel about the service they received.
  • Net Promoter Score© (NPS) – measures the loyalty of a company’s customers, usually on a scale of zero to ten, where zero is called a Detractor and ten is a Promoter. Loyalty is often influenced by the quality of customer service provided by the call center.
  • Quality Scores - contact evaluations by analysts or call center managers based on specific criteria, which produces an aggregate quality score for the contact center.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) - a call center metric used to gauge the level of effort customers have to exert when interacting with a company, with lower scores indicating a more effortless experience and higher scores suggesting greater customer frustration or difficulty.
  • Agent Turnover Rate - measures how well call centers are retaining their agents, which is critical in an industry plagued by high turnover.
  • Forecasting Accuracy - compares actual to projected volume to determine the effectiveness of a contact center's forecasting process.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all possible call center KPIs, but it illustrates the possibilities and complexities of choosing the right set of KPIs. Contact centers should pick KPIs that support business objectives and then consistently manage to KPI targets.

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