Inbound call center metrics are a performance indicator of critical concern in a time when contact centers are the lifeline of customer service. They are a critical piece of the customer satisfaction puzzle. Despite a global pandemic affecting operations – shifting from onsite to remote – businesses still need to navigate similar customer needs and optimize for the customer experience.

Focusing on inbound call analysis can help you increase your resolution speed, agent productivity, and overall call center performance. We’ll cover eight of the top inbound call center metrics to measure and share tips for optimizing them which, in turn, will improve the customer experience.

Top 8 metrics for inbound contact centers

1. Abandoned call rate

Abandon rate is the percentage of calls that are dropped or terminated by the customer. This is an important metric because you won’t be able to get the information you need or provide service to the customer if they don’t remain on the phone. This is one way to clearly determine the level of customer satisfaction.

2. Average handle time

This is the amount of time an agent spends with a customer. Generally, this is a metric a contact center would want to keep low in order to provide service to the highest number of customers in a reduced time. You can utilize speech analytics to understand why an agent’s call lengths are consistently too long or too short. Are they struggling to provide the right answers? Or are they not giving real assistance to the customer?

3. First contact resolution

Also referred to as first call resolution (FCR), this metric measures how often a customer issue is resolved in the first interaction. Customers are less likely to churn if they get their issues resolved on the first try. If a customer has to call back more than once, that’s time and resources from your agents. If this measurement isn’t positive, it’s a great signal for areas you’d need to improve within the contact center.

4. Average time in queue

How long is your customer waiting to speak to someone? Measure average time in the queue to get a sense of your customers’ experience. This metric helps contact center managers assess contact center efficiency. If a customer is, on average, waiting too long to speak to an agent, you can think about streamlining an agent’s script or adjusting the way an agent interacts with customers.

5. Customer satisfaction

This is the metric that ultimately determines the success of your call center. Are the customers happy when they hang up the phone? A net promoter score (NPS) is generally used to determine this metric.

6. Percentage of calls blocked

This is the number of calls in which a caller receives a busy tone on the other end. It represents missed opportunities to provide customer service.

7. Average speed of answer

The title of this metric speaks for itself. How long does it take for a human agent to answer the phone? What’s to prevent an agent from picking up a call faster?

8. Average after call work time

How long does it take for an agent to do the work after finishing a call? You can often provide your agents with templates or systems that reduce the effort and time to close out a call.

Industry standards for contact center metrics

Improving your call center operational efficiency is about more than just numbers on paper. The performance metrics above are tied to three key focus areas that set the industry standard for a high-functioning call center.

Customer experience

An exceptional customer experience isn’t something that’s created by simply checking off a series of boxes. It’s a complex goal impacted not just by call center metrics, but by brand consistency, perceived value, and that certain ‘X factor’ that makes some agents a pleasure to interact with. In terms of metrics, however, striving for a low average time in queue, a high first call resolution, and ever-improving CSAT scores will contribute to a great customer experience.

Agent productivity

Unlike the customer experience, which can be hard to pin down in tangible terms, agent productivity is much easier to measure using inbound call center metrics. Some basic inbound call analysis will give you a pretty clear picture of the productivity of any given agent. Speed of answer, average handle time and after-call work time are key performance indicators in this area.

Call center operations

Your inbound call center metrics can be a rich source of insight into your overall operational efficiency. How well are your systems working? Are customers falling through the cracks? To find out, take a closer look at your abandoned call rate and percentage of calls blocked, which can point to the effectiveness of your available support channels.

Customer experience metrics

The metrics we’ve covered up to this point focus primarily on the contact center’s actions–how quickly agents answer calls, how many of those calls end in satisfactory resolutions, and so on. Now, let’s take a look at some actions on the customer’s side which can also shed light on your performance.

1. Repeat contacts

You want your customers to come back again and again–but not for support. If your average number of interactions per customer is high, it could indicate something is lacking in the quality of support you’re providing.

2. Repetition of their issue

Customers don’t want to have to say why they’re calling or repeat their personal details multiple times. If they do, it’s a strong sign you’re not making full use of the available technology. An integrated contact center platform can automate the identity verification process and ensure customers only have to state the reason for their call once–if at all.

3. Number of transfers

Every additional transfer adds to the customer’s frustration level. An IVR system with intelligent call routing can help more customers get connected directly to the right person or resource on the first attempt.

4. Customer effort score

Customer effort score (CES) is a numerical measure of how much effort the customer has to put forth to get their issue resolved. Every additional step they need to take–waiting on hold, switching channels, and so on–increases their CES. A low customer effort score is one of the strongest predictors of customer loyalty, so it pays to focus on this performance metric.

How you can improve your inbound with customers

There are many ways businesses can interact and optimize the service provided to customers. All of the metrics above can be improved through several inbound contact center strategies. By selecting the correct technologies and integrated platforms, contact centers can be a hub of efficient activity. Let’s walk through a few:

Self-service using Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Create IVR strategies to help drive self-service and accurate call routing to improve customer service. IVR helps to decrease customer frustration caused while on hold with features including in-queue self-service and callback options, wait-time features, and IVR-based payment capabilities. IVR also streamlines escalation to agents and makes sure customers are serviced quickly by the right agents.

Decrease response time with virtual agents

A virtual agent is a software platform that utilizes a set of rules and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interact with customers. A virtual agent allows for quick response time, while also helping to escalate issues that need to be solved quickly. Like IVR, virtual agents are the first line of information gathering from customers and can often resolve issues prior to needing a human agent.

Improve contact center metrics with Speech Analytics

Speech Analytics helps decision-makers review contact center and agent interactions, understand what’s working and what’s not, and improve the quality of customer exchanges and experiences.

All of these strategies can improve the performance of inbound contact centers. By providing automation as a first interaction (think virtual agents, bots, and IVR), proper escalation to human agents, and the analysis of the interactions, businesses can consistently increase inbound efficiency.

How to automate your contact center metrics and benchmarks

The use of automation in contact centers, particularly when it comes to metrics and benchmarks, is becoming increasingly important. Automation can help automate the process of collecting customer data and provide near real-time insights into performance. Automated processes are also often more efficient than manual approaches, saving both time and money.

But how do you automate your contact center metrics and benchmarks? Here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Establish your objectives. Before you automate, make sure that you have established clear goals and KPIs for your contact center operations. This will allow you to identify the metrics and benchmarks that matter most when it comes to tracking performance.
  2. Identify the data sources that you need to automate. Once you have established your objectives, you will need to identify the data sources that are needed to automate these metrics and benchmarks. This can include customer feedback surveys, CRM systems, call center recordings, or any other source of customer data.
  3. Utilize automation tools. Once you have identified the data sources, it’s time to automate. There are a variety of automation tools available that can help automate your contact center metrics and benchmarks. Depending on the complexity of your objectives, you may need to use multiple tools to automate your desired metrics and benchmarks.
  4. Track and monitor performance. Once your metrics and benchmarks are automated, make sure to track their performance on a regular basis. This will allow you to identify any patterns or trends in customer behavior that can be used to improve the customer experience.

By following these steps, you can automate your contact center metrics and benchmarks with ease. With automation in place, you will be able to track performance and make improvements more quickly and effectively.

What are call center metrics?

Call center metrics are quantifiable performance indicators that illustrate a contact center’s performance. Call center metrics can be used to measure agent productivity, operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and more.

What are KPIs in a call center?

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are measurements that a call center uses to determine whether they’re meeting their operational goals. KPIs are tied to call center metrics like average handle time, first call resolution, and net promoter score.

What are the most important call center metrics to track?


Some of the most important call center metrics to track include:
  • Abandoned call rate
  • Average handle time
  • First contact resolution
  • Average time in queue
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Percentage of calls blocked
  • Average speed of answer
  • Average after call work time

How do call centers improve metrics?

Call centers can improve their metrics by taking steps to increase resolution speed, improve agent effectiveness, manage inbound call volume, and provide convenient self-service options.