32 Call Centre KPIs That You Need to Track (And Why!)

A picture of someone tracking footprints

Our panel of experts share their favourite contact centre metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) and why they believe they are so important to track.

1. Customer Satisfaction

There’s arguably no better way to gauge the contact centre experience than simply asking callers how they feel.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys and follow-up calls go beyond binary “good” or “bad” assessments to add more context…

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys and follow-up calls go beyond binary “good” or “bad” assessments to add more context to a customer’s response.

Many companies use scale-based assessments to determine how satisfied customers are with their experience, but they can go more in-depth if necessary.

For example, many contact centres report on this KPI as an indicator of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), use it to guide their target service levels and even to test their quality scorecards and standards.

2. Forecast Accuracy

Contact centres cannot afford to continually staff their facilities or remote workforces according to the theoretical peak. It’s simply not sustainable.

A headshot Kumaran Shanmuhan

Kumaran Shanmuhan

On the other hand, failing to meet staffing requirements leads to long wait times, overworked advisors, and poor customer experiences.

Forecasting demand is essential for planning capacity, but only if you’re getting it right.

Measuring Forecast Accuracy shows businesses if these efforts are predicting what will actually happen or completely missing the mark.

Thanks to Kumaran Shanmuhan at Jacada

3. Total Number of Interactions

Total Number of Interactions, also known as contact volume, is a primary measure of contact centre activity. It measures how many interactions were handled by the contact centre during a certain period.

This KPI should be tracked across all channels – like voice or email – and then rolled up into a total.

Total Number of Interactions can be benchmarked against forecasts and used to improve Forecast Accuracy.

Being an activity measure, Total Number of Interactions can be benchmarked against forecasts and used to improve Forecast Accuracy.

In addition, the KPI is needed to calculate other measures.  For example, Cost of Operations can be divided by Total Number of Interactions to determine Cost Per Interaction, as in the equation below.

Formula for Cost Per Interaction:

Cost Per Interaction = Cost of Operations ÷ Total Number of Interactions

Formula for Cost Per Interaction

4. Quality Scores

Quality Scores reflect an advisor’s performance in meeting both customer and business needs during a customer contact.

This KPI usually involves manual scoring of a customer–advisor interaction, using a scorecard that summarizes your organization’s vision of what great customer service looks like.

A picture of scorepaddles

Your scorecard will likely have been weighted based on what drives CSAT most, with a few other compliance criteria…

Your call centre KPI scorecard will likely have been weighted based on what drives CSAT most, with a few other compliance criteria – but there are a whole host of things that can make up your scorecard and Quality Scores KPI.

For example, scorecard criteria can range from subject-matter expertise to proficiency in workflows, tools and systems

5. Utilization Rates

Utilization is the percentage of time that an advisor is available and expected to deliver service.  This is typically measured by dividing an advisor’s logged-in time by their total shift time.

Utilization helps to balance labour costs against contact centre demand.

This KPI is important because contact centre labour is a significant cost. Utilization helps to balance labour costs against contact centre demand.

If utilization rates are high during periods of low contact volumes, then labour costs will be unnecessarily high. Conversely, if Utilization is too low during periods of high contact centre demand, then service levels and resulting CSAT may decline.

Also, Utilization can be used to determine whether your workforce is spending too much, or too little, time logged in and in a state of readiness.

6. Cost of Operations

Cost of Operations measures all the activity costs directly associated with a contact centre.

These costs typically include variable costs like salaries, communications charges, software usage fees and any other cost that vary according to use.

These costs typically include variable costs like salaries, communications charges, software usage fees and any other cost that vary according to use.

Operating costs also include fixed costs like hardware costs, allocated overhead, contract costs and other costs that do not vary with use.

Cost of Operations is an important KPI because it is benchmarked against budget to determine whether costs are being controlled.

7. Advisor Attrition

Advisor Attrition measures the turnover rate in your advisor workforce.

Labour is one of the largest components in contact centre cost of operations, with labour costs being a function of salaries and benefits along with recruiting and training. High advisor turnover results in higher recruiting and training costs.

Also, high Advisor Attrition can have a systemic impact on other aspects of contact centre operations.

A thumbnail picture of Mark Ungerman

Mark Ungerman

For example, if the ratio of skilled to new (and less trained) advisors is low, then service levels, related operating costs, and even CSAT will all be negatively impacted.

In addition to this, high Advisor Attrition is often an indicator of more fundamental problems within the work environment which degrade morale and motivation.

Thanks to Mark Ungerman at NICE inContact

8. Customer Complaint Volumes

One thing that organizations often forget to take into account when setting their customer service goals is improving products and services. The contact centre can play a big part here.

A headshot of Linsey Jepma

Linsey Jepma

If you tag messages within your customer engagement tooling with specific categories, such as “complaint about website” or “complaint about product X”, you can see whether the volume of a specific complaint is very high and take action where necessary.

Tracking this KPI is a great way to drive the voice of the customer into the wider organization and showcase the value of the contact centre.

Thanks to Linsey Jepma at OBI4wan

9. Average Handle Time

This KPI is a well-known one and, although it’s well known, it can sometimes be misunderstood.

Average Handling Time (AHT) is the average length of a customer interaction from start to finish. This includes call initiation, talk time, and wrap-time.

AHT is still an important metric in contact centres. Lower AHT might imply more calls being made per advisor and possibly more revenue. This KPI can therefore be useful in understanding team efficiency, advisor training gaps and service level.

Trying to reduce your AHT means more calls per advisor. However, this could result in your advisors rushing customer calls

Trying to reduce your AHT means more calls per advisor. However, this could result in your advisors rushing customer calls, which can have a drastic effect on the customer experience.

If your advisors are rushing a phone call, customers can end up confused or dissatisfied. They might end up calling your contact centre again, which will impact other KPIs such as First Contact Resolution.

To reduce AHT safely, consider changing the following variables:

  • Provide up-to-date, user-friendly support portal for customers
  • Provide an intuitive, unified platform for advisors
  • Enable ongoing advisor coaching
  • Optimize routing and IVRs
  • Record and analyse interactions

10. Next Best Action

Next Best Action (NBA) refers to the action that is suggested by the advisors to the customer after their issue has been resolved.

For example, a customer may call a contact centre to book home insurance. After helping with this, the next best action might also be offering travel insurance for any trips they plan to take later in the year.

NBA as a KPI shows a strong focus on customer needs to promote customer loyalty as well as opportunities for sales (cross-selling and upselling).

Some contact centres may see NBA as a process that can help with improving and measuring other KPIs.

A thumbnail picture of Brent Bischoff

Brent Bischoff

For example, after rolling out an NBA strategy, contact centres can measure how many of the next best actions were carried out, how many had positive or negative outcomes and which advisors were most associated with the successful outcomes.

On this basis, for example, NBA success or implementations might be another call centre metric you might want to track.

Thanks to Brent Bischoff at Business Systems

11. Customer Sentiment

Customer Sentiment is becoming an important KPI for many organizations because it shows how contact centre performance relates to customers’ feelings.

While contact centres can use simple feedback surveys to measure this KPI, tracking this in a more sophisticated way can build a better overall picture of their customers’ attitudes.

A thumbnail picture of Sunny Dhami

Sunny Dhami

Sentiment analysis tools use artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyse large volumes of customer data. This data can reveal not only how a customer feels when they are engaged on certain topics, but also what the customer may purchase or query next thanks to predictive analytics.

Contact centres can use these predictive analytics to create more tailored interactions that are specific to each customer.

Thanks to Sunny Dhami at RingCentral

12. Visitor Intent

Why are customers contacting you?

Having a “Visitor Intent” KPI will help you to answer this question and figure out your key demand drivers.

A headshot of Magnus Geverts

Magnus Geverts

For example, if this KPI tells you that a large number of chats are about late deliveries, could you swap live advisors with chatbots to answer queries of this nature swiftly and accurately? This KPI will help you see if there is value in doing so.

To track this KPI you simply need to ask advisors to enter contact reason codes in the CRM, during their After Call Work (ACW), after every call.

Thanks to Magnus Geverts at Calabrio

13. Call Volume Trends

How many advisors should you schedule in order to meet demand? To find out, you need to keep track of call volume trends.

This important KPI indicates your busiest times of the day, week, and months over several years, enabling you to modify staffing to handle anticipated spikes in calls.

Sometimes a surprise spike in calls reveals that customers have a problem with a product or service.

Ideally, an increase in calls translates to more customers and sales, but sometimes a surprise spike in calls reveals that customers have a problem with a product or service.

In such cases, the call traffic KPI alerts you to the problem and is key in failure demand analysis, helping you to identify new or recurring problems.

14. First Contact Resolution

First Contact Resolution (FCR) measures the percentage of contacts that completely address the customer’s needs without having to transfer, escalate or return their messages.

Research by Service Quality Measurement has shown that for every one percent improvement in FCR, there is an equal one percent increase in customer satisfaction.

For every one percent improvement in FCR, there is an equal one percent increase in customer satisfaction.

To optimize this KPI, one option for your contact centre is to route every call to an advisor with the skills that best meet each customer’s needs.

Additionally, these advisors will ideally have the customer’s data and interaction history at the ready, so they can get it right the first time.

15. Hold Time

According to Arise, nearly two-thirds of people say they are willing to be placed on hold for only two minutes before hanging up. In a separate survey, 66% stated that being on hold for just one minute is too long.

However, it’s the nature of the beast that advisors sometimes must place customers on hold to look up information or ask other advisors for assistance.

A headshot of Yasir Bugrara

Yasir Bugrara

Your Average Hold Time KPI, usually expressed in seconds, is a window into how efficiently your advisors find answers and achieve First Contact Resolution.

Eventually, you can determine average hold times so advisors know when to check back with customers or how long before a call is at risk of being abandoned.

Thanks to Yasir Bugrara at Voci Technologies

16. Employee Engagement

Keeping a pulse on engagement at every part of the employee journey not only ensures advisors stay motivated, supported and trained, it also helps to ensure that advisors are working hard to meet customer needs.

To track Employee Engagement, we want to map out the employee journey and look at which other KPIs best represent Employee Engagement at each part of that journey.

A headshot of Aviad Abiri

Aviad Abiri

Take training, for example, we can look at how at Attrition Rates change from week to week during our induction periods. That will be our Employee Engagement KPI for this phase of the employee life cycle.

An alternative would be to employ solutions that track and measure coaching and understand employee performance to help supervisors with visibility as they suggest improvements and coaching plans to increase their sense of accomplishment.

Thanks to Aviad Abiri at NICE

17. Customer Effort Score

Customers want service to be accessible, easy and effective. The Customer Effort Score (CES) can tell you how easy or difficult customers find answers when they seek help.

It is typically calculated through a survey whereby customers are asked the extent to which they agree with a statement, to rate a company’s level of effort or to answer a question on their experience.

If a customer has a seamless experience when dealing with a brand, the likelihood of them remaining loyal to that company increases.

A headshot of Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson

A low CES indicates that your advisors and the contact centre technology you have implemented are delivering a good customer experience, and investment in self-service, chat and messaging can help you to achieve this. A high CES is an indicator that something is wrong.

Chatting with companies should be low effort, just like chatting with family or friends. The CES is the key KPI for many organizations that go along with this statement.

Thanks to Simon Johnson at Freshworks

18. Call Abandon Rate

Wait time is the primary issue forcing customers off the phones onto less personal communication channels such as chatbots and email. Call Abandonment Rate should, therefore, be a priority KPI for contact centres to measure.

To utilize Call Abandonment Rate effectively, businesses must have a strict threshold figure for the number of abandoned calls they are willing to accept. This threshold must then be rigorously monitored to ensure that the volume of abandonments does not rise above it.

A thumbnail photo of Neil Hammerton

Neil Hammerton

If and when it does, a structured response should be in place to deal with the high volume of abandoned calls. Having an intelligent phone system can help to gain full visibility over the queue and provide insight into an appropriate level of response.

Using the Call Abandonment Rate KPI in this way brings about actionable insight to further streamline customer service centres.

Thanks to Neil Hammerton at Natterbox

19. Customer Emotion

Emotion represents a key aspect of a customer’s experience with a brand. By identifying the emotion(s) expressed in each interaction and the strength of the emotional statement, brands can design emotionally appropriate engagement in their marketing campaigns and in advisor training.

Natural language processing (NLP) engines allow companies to evaluate unstructured text at scale, across the contact centre, enabling them to identify and measure prevalent customer emotions.

By combining these discrete measures into a composite score, organizations can obtain a complete picture of every customer interaction.

A thumbnail picture of Shorit Ghosh

Shorit Ghosh

This composite score can serve as a key metric for quality measures, proactive service recovery programmes and overall customer experience measures and provide greater insight into the impact of a programme.

You can also measure Customer Emotion by calculating a KPI known as “Net Emotional Value“, which is a survey-based metric.

Thanks to Shorit Ghosh at Clarabridge

20. Peak Hour Traffic

Proper planning prevents poor performance. Understanding and strategizing around your Peak Hour Traffic measurement can go a long way to set your advisors and business up for success.

Your Peak Hour Traffic measurement can go a long way to set your advisors and business up for success.

The ability to service the maximum number of clients during peak times allows individual advisors to handle the spike in calls and stay out of the weeds, so that they can focus on the tasks at hand.

By staying focused on the tasks at hand, advisors are also much more likely to achieve FCR, another important contact centre KPI for many organizations.

21. Longest Call Hold

Identifying longest hold times and analysing their root cause can alleviate tremendous call centre pressure.

When root cause is not immediately identifiable, simple trend knowledge and business planning can facilitate simple fixes.

When root cause is not immediately identifiable, simple trend knowledge and business planning can facilitate simple fixes.

For example, slight schedule adjustments can result in a massive impact on wait times.

Using this approach is a great way to lower AHT over time. Much better than targeting advisors to rush through processes like after-call work (ACW).

This brings us to another key metric, Wrap Time – which is the time it takes to complete ACW. This should be measured and monitored to determine how much time should be allocated for this part of the call advisor’s job.

22. Cost Per Call

A simple question. How much does each call cost? Calls made and calls answered.

Cost per call considers the costs – in terms of advisor time, technology costs and telephone costs – of making and taking that call.

Monitoring cost per call against industry standards and business operational targets can help put other metrics into perspective.

Monitoring cost per call against industry standards and business operational targets can help put other metrics into perspective.

One example is Absenteeism. How much does absenteeism increase Wait Time and therefore Cost-Per-Call? You may be shocked when you do the calculations!

23. Time Lost Due to Technology Issues

We’ve all been there. Turn it off, turn it back on. Installing updates. Audio issues. The instant rise of remote work due to the pandemic have only exacerbated these issues.

Computers, phones, WIFI, internets and VPN will not always work the way we want them to.

Knowing how much tech downtime your team is experiencing is a vital metric and potentially one of the easiest fixes to facilitate.

A headshot of Mark Knowles

Mark Knowles

A simple audit of tech downtime can lead to process improvements and overall customer and Advisor Satisfaction increase.

Tracking these KPIs can help your contact centre and team maximize objectives, improve the customer experience and improve overall performance.

Thanks to Mark Knowles at Aspect

24. Net Promoter Score

By asking just one question – “How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” – Net Promoter Score (NPS) provides an insight into customers’ satisfaction and loyalty.

Using a simple scale from one to ten, companies can identify satisfied customers or “promoters” with scores of nine or ten, highlighting a group of brand advocates.

A thumbnail photo of Brendan Dykes

Brendan Dykes

And because NPS is based on a single question with a multiple-choice answer, scores can be directly compared and analysed, allowing the results to be benchmarked across businesses much more easily.

Above all, it gives companies insight into the feelings of their customers, allowing them to identify whether they are providing good customer service or if their offering needs to improve.

Thanks to Brendan Dykes at Genesys

Even More KPIs!

While the KPIs above are the personal favourites of our panel of experts, there are still a number of other KPIs that are important for contact centres to report on.

With this in mind, we wanted to add a few others to the list, which many contact centres would consider to be very important to track across their operation.

25. Absenteeism – This is a percentage measure of the unauthorized time that advisors are absent from the contact centre floor.

Absenteeism can be an important KPI to find out which advisors may be bending the rules and also to give you insights into what may be causing absence to spike at certain times in the year.

26. Advisor Proficiency – When scheduling advisors, we can’t assume that they are all equally proficient at their job. For example, a new starter may take twice as long as an experienced advisor to handle calls and transfer contacts.

By tracking advisor proficiency, we can schedule people much more efficiently, in terms of meeting our target Service Level and Occupancy rates.

27. Customer Lifetime Value – Tracking Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) helps us to maximize customer profitability, helping us to devise strategies to keep customers for longer.

Although typically measured in the contact centre, CLV is used to streamline each department to help improve process, CSAT and to reduce the cost of acquiring new customers.

28. Occupancy – This KPI tracks the percentage of time an advisor is handling calls, when they are logged in and available to do so on the contact centre floor.

Occupancy is a special consideration for staffing calculations, as many planners look to ensure that occupancy does not go over the 85% mark at any point of the day.

When this happens, advisors don’t get enough of a break in between handling contacts, and that can lead to advisor burnout.

29. Schedule Adherence – When advisors don’t adhere to their schedules, wait times go up, cost-per-call goes up and occupancy increases. It therefore negatively impacts customers, the wider business and their fellow advisors.

By monitoring Schedule Adherence in real time, we can actively reduce these negative implications “in the moment” and use historic adherence figures to find out where we need to improve.

30. Service Level – In the contact centre, we staff so that we answer a certain percentage of contacts in a certain amount of time. This is our intended Service Level.

Contact centres also track service level in real time, so we can check how well we are doing in meeting our Service Level target and tweak our staffing plans – if needed.

31. Shrinkage Shrinkage is a percentage measure of the time an advisor is taken away from responding to customer contacts. This includes everything from holidays to team meetings.

Again, this is an important measure for contact centre staffing calculations, as it ensures that we account for the fact that advisors will not always be available to handle calls when they are contracted to – for a number of different reasons.

32. Transfer Rates – Transfer rates measure how often a call is passed on from one advisor to another. They can be looked at across individuals and contact reasons, to spot training gaps, process failures and routing issues.

By reducing transfer rates, we make customer journeys more effortless and ensure that advisors are better supported to handle customer contacts.

We were recently asked…

I am really interested in speaking to anyone who uses conformance as a KPI, what targets you set and how accessible the day by day information is for teams in the contact centre.

So we asked the question of our readers and here are all the answers that you need to know:

  • Measure Something To Gauge Performance

    Conformance is one of multiple metrics driving to a KPI, not the other way. Measure something to gauge performance. We are beginning to create a culture of work rate, adherence, and conformance to drive the SLA and Occupancy KPI’s. We’ve made this visible with our WFO tool on demand at the agent, supervisor, manager, and site level.

    Thanks to Michael

  • I Wouldn’t Initially Set A Target

    I’ve used adherence and conformance as a KPI in contact centres and field engineering.

    All I would say is, I wouldn’t initially set a target, I’d benchmark where you are and then start getting your TL’s into the head space of continuous improvement.

    And I wouldn’t necessarily do it on a daily basis. I’d probably look at week on week, or even monthly. This makes sure you have a good sample size and you have enough days in your sample to make sure your agents don’t think you’re being too reactive.

    Thanks to Jimmy

  • Always Go Hand In Hand

    Not sure why you would go down conformance only?

    If an agent does every hour that that should do but doesn’t do what they should, when they should, then conformance means nothing , to me they always go hand in hand.

    Thanks to Alun

  • KPI Depending On A Lot Of Parameters

    KPI depending on a lot of parameters;

    1. Types of processes,
    2. Types of product and nature of service,
    3. Hierarchical info ( if possible),
    4. Vision towards setting up the contact centre

Thanks to Krishanu

For more advice from our panel of experts, read our articles:

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