Key contact center metrics you should be tracking


There are five key performance indicators you should track to make sure your contact center operations are aligned with customer expectations.

There are myriad metrics and indicators that an organization can monitor to measure contact center performance. And while each has its place and can add more detail to a big picture view, the following five are the best for signaling if contact center operations are aligned with customer expectations and that the levels of service being provided by your agents is helping to move the needle positively in terms of customer loyalty and advocacy.

First Contact Resolution (FCR)

FCR is the percentage of all incoming contacts that are resolved by the agent receiving the question or query without having to transfer to a superior, a different department or having to call back the customer. FCR should be a North Star metric for all contact centers as it measures efficiency, performance, agent training levels and tests internal processes and systems. The metric is calculated by dividing the number of contacts resolved in the first interaction by the total number of contacts received; or by dividing the number of contacts resolved in the first interaction by the total number of first contacts received.

Average Handle Time (AHT)

An efficiency metric, average handle time measures the amount of time it takes each agent to converse with a customer. This includes the time it takes to answer the call or begin the chat session, the amount of time spent in direct conversation, the amount of time the customer is on hold while the agent searches for information and the amount of after call work that is required (following the conversation) before the agent is able to accept another call or begin another chat session. Lowering AHT lowers the cost to serve and increases agent availability.

However, to be a genuinely effective metric, AHT needs to be viewed in context. If a contact center is well managed and properly leveraging the right technologies for reducing contact volumes and automating repetitive tasks related to being an agent, AHT may seem high. This is likely because the remaining interactions are typically complex issues that can only be resolved by talking with a live agent. Therefore, view AHT alongside first contact resolution.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Unlike many metrics and indicators, CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) provides a near real-time view of how your customer experience is lining up against expectations as it asks customers to rate an interaction moments after its conclusion.

Whether the interaction in question is a phone or chat conversation with an agent, accessing self-service content or using an automated channel such as a chatbot, a CSAT survey asks customers to rate the experience in question on a three-point, five-point, seven-point or ten-point scale.

This potential for providing instant feedback makes CSAT an ideal means for judging and comparing the performance of individual customer journey touchpoints.

But beware, the term “satisfaction” is subjective and could mean massively different things to different people. For this reason, it’s a good idea to use surveys with smaller, three-to-five-point scales to minimize outliers and improve data consistency.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS or Net Promotor Score is a metric aimed at measuring customer loyalty and willingness to promote your brand on a scale of zero to ten. Customers responding with a score from zero to six are brand detractors and likely to actively dissuade people they know from doing business with a brand. They are also the most at risk of cutting ties with the organization. Those giving a score of seven or eight are considered passive. They won’t dissuade people from doing business with a brand, but they’re unlikely to actively promote it.

That leaves promoters, the customers who rate the brand with a neine or a ten and, theoretically, will talk positively about you to those they know.

Once all surveys have been completed, the NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

If used properly, NPS surveys help to segment your customer base by identifying which types of customers are ready to churn and which ones could be nurtured into becoming brand advocates. They’re a good means of capturing feedback that could be used to improve products and services and, because it’s a metric used across all industries, NPS is a valuable way for the C-suite to gauge the wider market and benchmark performance within it.

However, NPS also has limitations. Because it measures a cumulative experience, it’s a survey that should be used sparingly. It is not realistic to expect a customer to provide an NPS score on a monthly basis. Therefore, unlike CSAT, NPS isn’t a real-time metric.

Service Level (SL)

Service Level provides a snapshot of contact center productivity and performance as it measures the percentage of customer interactions – whether phone calls online chats or emails – that are answered within a specific pre-agreed timeframe. So, for instance, it could be 30 seconds for a phone call, 45 seconds for a chat session to begin and less than 24 hours for an email or other asynchronous channels.

However, like AHT, service level needs to viewed in context. If SL is dropping but other metrics such as CSAT and FCR remain constant, it could indicate the need for more staff or that there is an upstream issue that is increasing contact volumes.

Measuring success

When monitored regularly and viewed in concert, these five metrics will help you gauge how well your organization’s CX delivery is aligning with customer expectations. However, they are by no means the only means of measuring success or of identifying potential issues before they become real business challenges. For instance, agent-focused metrics such as eNPS are also crucial to maintaining a positive CX. When the employees charged with embodying your brand in customer conversations are satisfied and happy to work at an organization, your customers are also going to be satisfied and more likely to promote your brand.

Thanks to our colleagues at Foundever for sharing this blog to help members improve customers’ experience and track the performance of your customer service operations.

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