The Most Critical Three Call Center Metrics: Why They Got an 'F'?
Contact center metrics are often a cause of concern and controversy. Call centers metrics have some
kind of myths and air of questions around them and certainly, are much talked about issues in any
Some of the most critical and important call center metrics are service level, C-sat, FCR, forecast
accuracy, adherence to schedule, contact quality, E-sat, and agent attrition but here we are going to
discuss three of the most significant and traditional call center metrics which are seen as more than
critical to adjudge the quality and performance of call center agents and call center.
1) Average Speed of Answer
It is also termed as ASA. The term is referred to the tracking of the time spend by caller on phone for
waiting to reach LIVE agent or rather, we should say forced to be on- line waiting to get an answer
from a human being whom he could interact with and resolve his queries. However, it has been unable
to make to the 'A' list of call center metrics. Service level got the lot better of this metric.
What makes the ASA trumped by Service level is the "X percent in Y seconds" which means ASA is
unable to report accurately about the experience of caller trying or waiting to reach an agent. For
instance, when we say that ASA time is 40 seconds it does not mean sharp 40 seconds. ASA time could
be more or less than 40 seconds. So, while looking for an accurate measurement and performance
metrics to know the real time of waiting, we suggest to keep Service level as main and most significant.
Key Performance Indicator otherwise just adhering to and relying only on ASA will conceal many of
irate customers who have had to wait for long.
2) Abandonment Rate
This is one of the accessibility metric which indicates the percentage of the callers who hung up before
their call is reached to an agent. Abandon rates can be determined by ACD or Automatic Call
The formula which is used to calculate Abandonment Rate is:
Total # of calls abandoned ÷ (total # of calls abandoned + total # of calls answered)
It is an important metric and call center outsourcing services providers should track it on regular
intervals. However, its again, not completely reliable. Abandonment rates can be high because of many
things such as insufficient staff, lack of management skills or coordination but sometimes, the reasons
can be beyond the power of call center management.
There are also numbers of factors which make relying on abandonment rate dubious. For instance, you
may never know why customer has hung up? Is it because he has to wait a way too long or its just
because call center lacks smooth operational skills.
There is another thing you may want to consider. Typically 1.5 percent of abandon rate is treated as an
OKAY within call center one day but if on second day, there is some promotional activity going on for
specific time of the day, there may be less percentage of customers who would hang up because they
are expecting to get some reward or freebie in lieu of this waiting but still, in any terms it does not
imply that service level of call center is fine and customers are happy with its services.
3) Average Handle Time
Average Handle Time (AHT) once ruled and topped the list of call center metrics when the only
concern of call center was saving and reducing costs but now when call centers have evolved and
customer services have grown to new levels, AHT has lagged behind. A call center is now not only
expected to reduce and save costs but also to keep track of quantity while maintaining quality and
focusing on customer satisfaction and quick resolution.
A call center should not just feel done with AHT as it is still the most reliable tool to assess the
productivity of an agent. The call center of-course needs to know how many calls are handled by an
agent and what they can do better in terms of training, or technical adjustments to make the number any
better. Again, a call center should not be 'strict' with AHT objectives anyhow. There are so many of
factors that can influence handling times such as complexity level of calls, mood of caller and other
physical or psychological reasons or else, if there are strict AHT targets, agents would opt something
which can deteriorate the quality of the calls such as rushing the calls, and making mistakes knowingly.
So, to overcome this problem and securing the interest to put quality with the work, call centers
managers set an acceptable range of AHT and only focus when an agent is continuously falling behind
on them which could be because of numbers of problems such as lack of staff, agent compliance to
work and lack of skills or knowledge in agents.
In modern call centers, AHT is seen as managers' responsibility as its their duty to keep forecasting and
scheduling processes of call center in check. Managers also make sure that agents are thoroughly
trained and receive coaching before they handle calls.