Call Center Metrics Best Practices

I’m somewhat passionate about  call center metrics best practices. You know how important metrics are for just about anything in the business world, right? I mean, if you don’t’ take many, detailed metrics on most facets of any aspect of your business, you’re basically numb to your environment. And blind to it as well.

So, given how important the call center is, call center metrics best practices are something I should touch on more often than I have, because there are always new metrics to be obtained and new standards for obtaining them.

The unfortunate thing is that call centers actually suck. Nobody is going to argue this, including those who work in them or run them. However, given how central to communications telephones were in our global civilization’s formative years, and how slow TCP/IP has been in seeping into the business world beyond databases … we’re stuck with this. So, if we’re stuck with it for a while to come, let’s see what metrics we really need to measure frequently, to diagnose the quality, efficiency and practicality of our call center.

Our first metric is our first call resolution rate. Now, the best way to define this metric is to have parameters of X per Y in Z period, just like fiscal metrics. A standard positive rate is usually about ninety percent of calls per day ending with first call resolution. Now, first call resolution is not strictly defined as a positive, successful call ending in the customer getting what they wanted. What it means in fact is that one way or another, it needn’t be continued after communications cease, and whatever could be done, if anything, has been done. It’s not always positive.

However, our next metric is positive resolutions per case, which actually encompasses all of the first call resolutions, as well as multi-call resolutions, or cases. If you’re doing better than half, you’re technically successful, but an ideal and honestly possible goal is seventy five percent, frankly.

Now, your next metric may be a little less frame-precise, and may require some drudgery to measure, but this one is important, severely so. Remember when, during a call, a customer is notified their call may be recorded for quality? This is actually necessary, because it provides a metric on how customers are handled via tone and respect, but also in how well communications are handled.

Let’s admit that a lot of call centers outsource to non-English countries, so making sure all agents in such a situation speak clearly enough for natives to understand them is entirely critical.

All but the last of these call center metrics best practices have definitive ratios, but the last one is just about intuition and really has no tolerance levels beyond “if it does not work right, it needs adjusted somehow”. Still, these are common metrics, and the best practices on how to measure them and how to interpret the measurements you get. These metrics may be more expansive if you’re offloading anything to alternative channels aside from the call center – something being done on an increasingly frequent basis now.