Written by: Colin Gill, Product Manager at Akixi.
I am regularly asked by customers “how can we further improve our call centre performance?” Of course, the various levels of call tracking solutions we offer is one way of achieving this, but another crucial component of high call centre performance is to set customer service KPI goals.
So in this article I go into some detail on KPI goals and explain exactly how they can be used to take your call centre to the next level.
What are KPIs in a call centre?
The key to any successful call centre is to have effective, achievable and maintainable customer service KPI goals. That’s easy to say, but what do effective customer service KPIs look like? Simply put, an effective key performance indicator for customer service is any business objective that is easily measured over any timeframe, specifically in relation to customer service levels.
When it comes to determining which KPIs are most effective with regards to achieving high levels of customer service and satisfaction, the key business objectives must revolve around an individual’s engagement experience.
The most basic of these can easily be measured and set as a KPI. For example, how long was the customer waiting for their call to be answered, or how many times were they transferred between agents, or how long were they put on hold and, on the most basic level, was their call answered or did they hang up before their call was answered?
An example of a more advanced KPI would be a first call resolution (FCR) KPI. First call resolution measurements are derived from a number of criteria and variables and in some cases cannot be monitored in real time. This is because a FCR ‘window of closure’ needs to be determined to take in to account any subsequent calls from that caller.
The key to effective KPIs is to frequently measure customer satisfaction levels through other means such as surveys, then compare them against KPI levels. An effective KPI has to be dynamic and move in relation to monitored levels of customer satisfaction.
How do you calculate customer service KPIs in a call centre?
Whereas a KPI indicates performance with regards to internal business objectives, companies who provide services on a contractual basis also need to be measured on and meet agreed levels of service. Just like KPIs, service level agreements (SLAs) also need to be easily measurable and reportable.
So what are metrics in a call centre and how can they be used to measure SLAs? This depends on the objectives defined in the service agreement. Standard agreed service level objectives may include such things as answering a percentage of calls within a predefined time, or setting a minimum percentage of abandoned calls, or making sure calls are returned within a specific time period. All of these can be easily monitored and reported on.
How should you evaluate a call centre agent’s performance?
When it comes to considering which agent performance metrics to use, a wider, more holistic view of agent activity needs to be taken. As well as measuring an agent’s performance by looking at how many calls are taken or made over a timeframe, also consider monitoring the surrounding metrics. Average wrap-up time, average talk time, how many times and how long they put callers on hold for – these metrics could highlight a lack of experience or identify training requirements.
What are the KPIs when outsourcing call centre services?
When considering how to measure outsourced call centre effectiveness, the focus needs to be on measuring the agreed service levels rather than agent KPIs. Specific agent KPIs need to be measured and managed by the outsourced company, with the company’s performance being measured as set out in the SLA. Also, the bigger issue of value for money needs to be taken into account. For example, when considering which debt collection agency performance metrics to use, more than the call SLA levels need to be considered. Is the agency also upholding agreed levels of performance when it comes to collecting outstanding debts? As in most cases, call SLA levels and KPIs are only a part of the overall performance picture.
How can call centres improve performance?
When considering which call centre KPIs to measure or which SLAs to set, it always pays to look at the bigger picture. Rather than focusing just on customer service KPIs or hitting SLAs, use the KPIs and SLAs as part of the bigger solution. Of course, KPIs and SLAs are a good indication of performance, but they might not necessarily show where revenue is being lost due to bad call routing or poor utilisation of available workforce. Customer satisfaction has to be looked at as a whole and not just from the touch points where KPIs and SLAs are measured. But most importantly, you will need to continually measure customer satisfaction and regularly review and amend KPIs and SLAs. Don’t make hitting targets about ticking boxes. Targets are there for a reason and that is to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction and maintain service levels.
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