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“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.,” said Galileo Galilei, the renowned astronomer.
But what does measuring faraway galaxies and stars have to do with improving call centre agent productivity? Delivering stellar customer experiences, of course!
We believe that as customer expectations continue to rise, the contact centre’s role in a company’s success is becoming more central than ever. And as agents are the beating heart of every call centre, getting a handle on the right metrics to measure is the first step towards improving contact centre performance.
This is easier said than done because, according to Zendesk CX Trends 2022 Report, only 14% of contact centre agents report being happy with the metrics used to evaluate their work.
There’s a lot of room for improvement, so let’s take a look at what your call centre should be measuring.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The CSAT measures how happy your customers are about the overall experience they have with your company. Typically, the score is calculated with a short survey or question at the end of the call or as a follow-up email or text. Customers rate their experience on a scale of 1-5, 1-10 or on a simple binary scale. The survey usually takes the form of open-ended questions about the customer service process.
Why does CSAT matter?
The survey also measures the customer agent’s performance. This is why CSAT is relevant to improving your agents’ productivity. It can help you understand where your agents’ skills and knowledge are lacking on a case-by-case basis. On top of measuring agent productivity, CSAT is equally important for measuring sales performance. Therefore, it’s a vital metric to track for every call centre.
NPS (Net Promoter Score) to measure customer loyalty
Take it from us. EVERYONE looks at NPS.
At a recent roundtable Toku hosted on Scaling contact centre operations effectively in APAC, we observed the conversation turned towards NPS scores and suddenly, everyone was paying close attention (well, closer than usual).
These were Customer Experience (CX) leaders, and they all wanted to know the ins and outs of achieving a high NPS score of 90 and above using their contact centre.
Why does NPS matter?
It’s basically a quick indicator of customers’ loyalty to your organization. Furthermore, the CX your agents deliver can be a powerful factor in building customer loyalty. So, if you want to know if your agents are delivering a stellar customer experience that makes customers want to spread the word about your services or recommend you, then you’ll want to make sure you have an eye on your NPS.
Let’s now dive into some metrics that assess agent productivity specifically.
1. Average Response Time
This metric measures the average time a customer has to wait to interact with an agent. If response time is too high, and you know there are sufficient agents working the phones, it may mean that your agents are not being as efficient as they could. Your customers are waiting longer than they should to engage with your agent, which is not a good customer experience.
To reduce the average response time, you’ll need to look at what is preventing agents from picking up the call. For example, are they being tied up with a lot of queries that need a long time to resolve? Troubleshoot this and your average response times should be lower, and customers won’t have to wait so long for an answer.
What if you have multiple channels?
These days customers expect to be able to reach you on the channels of their preference – and they want to be able to do that on not just one channel, but multiple ones. Therefore, it is crucial that your organisation is equipped with a modern contact centre platform that allows you to monitor the response rates for all channels.
2. Average Handle Time
This metric measures the total time an agent is engaged for an incoming interaction. It includes any hold time and any other time for tasks related to the interaction.
While several factors contribute to long handle times, some are within your control and can be fixed. For instance, if you see your agents switching between different tabs, software and tools multiple times during a given interaction, that is a clear sign you need a Contact Centre as a Solution (CCaaS) that integrates seamlessly with your other tools such as the CRM and ticketing system.
We’re talking no-switching-between-tabs seamless. The less time your agent wastes going in and out of different systems just to access customer information, the more you can shrink average handle times and improve agent efficiency.
3. First Contact Resolution Rate
This is a unique metric that measures the percentage of incoming service calls or requests that are resolved during the first interaction with the customer. In other words, there’s no need for the customer or IT Support or other departments to follow up (because the agent has closed the loop with the first call).
While there will always be some forms of queries that take more than one call to resolve, it’s not impossible to have a high first contact resolution rate provided your agents are well trained for your standard operating policies and processes, and have access to the right documentation during the call itself.
This helps them to resolve issues on the first call, which is a good experience from the customer’s perspective since they don’t need to follow up with another call.
4. Abandonment Rate
Ecommerce players are often watching their cart abandonment rate with eagle eyes for any sign of increase.
For contact centres though, the abandonment rate is the percentage of callers who hang up before they can reach an agent. This is related to the Average Response Time we dealt with above. If you have a long response time, your callers are likely to get fed up of waiting. Eventually some customers will abandon the call, while others choose to patiently wait.
If your Abandon Call Rate is too high, you should investigate why your agents are not able to pick up the phone in time. It could be that you have too few agents manning the phones, which results in them being swamped with too many calls to handle. You should also look into some self-serve options for customers that empower them to resolve queries on their own without agents having to intervene.
Want to know another factor that impacts your Abandon Call Rate?
5. Average Call Transfer Rate
As its name suggests, this metric measures the number of times that contacts are transferred from one initial representative to another, transferred to another department, or to a manager or supervisor.
We know that not every query can be resolved on the same call with the first agent. However, that doesn’t mean you get to bounce a customer from one agent to another endlessly. That is a truly frustrating customer experience that will cause customers to abandon the call when they see it as pointless.
If you have identified endless transfers as a persistent problem, try to look at your training, processes and documentation. You might want to retrain your agents on who best to forward calls to based on query types. This can help reduce the number of transfers a customer has to go through before solving their issue.
6. Queue Time
This metric measures the average time that callers wait in the queue – not to be confused with average response time.
The goal is to aim for shorter queue times because nobody likes waiting. Think about it. As time in queue increases, the more frustrated the customer can get. You can lower this metric training agents to handle calls more efficiently so that they pick up the next call faster.
Tech can definitely help too. Your CCaaS should offer call-back service or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) integration. With call-back, you empower the customer to leave their details (and leave the queue) so that an agent can call them back later. This reduces the queue time naturally!
Ready to boost contact centre agent productivity the data-driven way?
First, accept that you can’t improve what you don’t measure.
You may think you have a good ‘gut feeling’ for whether your agents are productive or not. However, gut feelings in general don’t give you a clear direction on where exactly your contact centre is succeeding and failing. Paying attention to the key metrics we’ve mentioned here will help you establish a baseline on what’s working and what’s not. You can then make targeted adjustments in your agent training and tech that home in on the problem – instead of making wild guesses that benefit no one.