5 Inbound Call Center Software KPIs You Should Be Tracking

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Getting quantitative feedback on your inbound call center management strategies isn’t difficult.

It’s easy to track things such as call volume and average call length, especially with the right call center software.

But do those numbers tell you what you really need to know?

man standing in front of a computer screen representing various KPIs your business can track

It’s important when thinking about KPIs to begin with the end in mind. Answering calls is a tactic that helps your call center generate revenue; it’s not a goal in and of itself.

Let’s put that another way. Your call center’s goal isn’t just to answer a lot of calls, so maybe call volume isn’t a good KPI to track.

The KPIs you want to track should point toward goals that all lead to your ultimate goal: to make money for your business.

5 important call center KPIs you need to measure

There are a lot of KPIs out there to track, but not all of them correlate equally with business success.

In this piece, I’ll cover five call center KPIs that experts say tightly correlate with revenue growth, so you can ensure you’re looking at the numbers that matter.

1. Customer experience

In their most recent “Global Contact Center Survey,” Deloitte asked call center managers about industry changes they’ve observed in recent years and how they plan to do business differently as a result.

Managers reported intensifying their focus on customer experience and satisfaction. They’re even prioritizing these metrics over revenue, in terms of KPIs. Why? Because customers who are happier with their experience with a brand are more likely to purchase again and to recommend that brand to their friends.

According to the call center managers Deloitte spoke with, C-suite execs are increasingly interested in tracking how business decisions are impacting CX. Having a record of historical customer satisfaction is necessary to answer those kinds of questions.

How to measure it:

Use customer surveys to collect and present customer feedback as a measure of customer satisfaction. And if you’re struggling to get that feedback (or helpful feedback), check out our seven tips to up your actionable customer feedback game.

2. Churn rate

According to research from Harvard Business School, increasing your customer retention rate by just 5% can boost your profits by 25 to 95%. And Gartner’s “CMO Insight: Build a Powerful B2B Customer Reference Program for Loyalty and Profits” report shows that increasing customer loyalty increases profits, decreases sale costs, and lends your brand credibility (full research available to Gartner clients).

Churn kills customer loyalty. To reap the benefits of loyal customers you’ve got to reduce your churn rate.

What’s churn? Jill Avery, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and an author of HBR’s Go To Market Tools, defines customer churn rate as “a metric that measures the percentage of customers who end their relationship with a company in a particular period.”

How to measure it:

There are multiple ways to measure churn rate, and the best way for you depends on your business model. Check out “How to Measure Churn to Improve Your Mobile App UX” for insight on how to measure churn, and “The 3 Customer Success Metrics You Should Be Measuring” for a breakdown of three ways to quantitatively measure customer service success (including churn).

3. Call quality

Poor call quality frustrates your customers and makes your company look bad. No one wants to have to repeat themselves because of a fuzzy, spotty phone connection.

Common problems that degrade call quality include echo, choppiness, and delays. TalkDesk estimates that understanding and optimizing network infrastructure can improve your call quality by as much as 900%.

It’s a good idea to measure your contact center platform’s performance to prevent call quality variability.

How to measure it:

A few identifiable network issues are at the heart of most call quality problems.

Here’s what to measure:

  • Latency. This is what causes delays. Latency is the time it takes your software to send voice packets from the speaker to the listener on a call.
  • Jitter. This is what it’s called when words come in at variable speeds. It’s caused by the incoming packets arriving at variable times.
  • Packet loss. This causes dropped words. It happens when some voice packets never reach the listener.

You want to be sure your call center software is tracking all of these metrics.

4. Channel mix

Customers still prefer to get in touch with customer service over the phone. According to Microsoft’s 2017 “State of Global Customer Service Report,” 74% of respondents have contacted customer service by phone (email is the next most popular channel at 62%).

But Deloitte expects voice to drop from 64% of call center contacts in 2017 to 47% in 2019.

Which channels are growing in popularity? According to Deloitte, contact center executives expect synchronous online channels such as chat, messaging, chatbots, and text to grow from 6% of contacts in 2017 to 16% in 2019.

Today, according to Microsoft, nearly as many respondents typically begin their customer service interaction over the phone (43%) as online (49%).

Though it’s definitely not time to cut phone support, keep track of how customers are getting in touch with you. Deloitte research shows that 8% of call centers don’t offer chat to their customers.

How to measure it:

Though there are a lot of call center software options with live chat functionality, you may need customer service software to get a full picture of the channels your customers are using to try to get in touch with your support staff.

Customer service systems not only handle more channels than most call center software, but also make it easier to collect and analyze data on the channels your most profitable customers prefer.

Customer strategist Rachel Barton warns that many organizations assume their digital-savvy customers are the most profitable:

“This belief has led them to over-invest in digital capabilities and channels so they can give customers (particularly millennials) more digital experiences that they supposedly crave. However, the assumption is not entirely accurate.”

Make sure you’re using data analytics to quantitatively measure the ROI of CX initiatives to discover who your most profitable customers actually are and which channels they prefer.

5. First contact resolution rate

FCR for live calls or web chats is the percentage of times an agent resolves the customer’s issue without having to transfer them or call them back before they hang up or end the chat session.

According to IT service and support expert Jeff Rumburg, research across multiple industries indicates that first contact resolution (FCR) strongly correlates with customer satisfaction. According to TalkDesk, of all KPIs, FCR is the most important call center KPI because it has the highest correlation with customer satisfaction.

And since customer satisfaction is essential for loyalty and word-of-mouth, it’s something you definitely want to keep a close eye on.

How to measure it:

Calls or chats that require a customer callback or that are escalated to another source of support do not qualify for first-contact resolution.

To increase your FCR, focus on effective agent training and incentives and build a high-quality knowledge base. And you’ll want call center software with skills-based routing to make sure customers are connected with the best agent for their issue.

Go forth and measure

Hopefully, this post helped you decide which KPIs to track and offered some helpful advice on how to start measuring the KPIs that correspond with your business’ success.

By measuring customer experience, churn rate, call quality, channel mix, and first call resolution rate, you’ll know how your customers feel about your business, how loyal they are, whether they’re able to communicate clearly, how they like to contact support, and how often they’re able to reach resolution in their first call.

If you’re having trouble getting the information you need for some of these KPIs, look at your software.

If you need a new system, start with our directory. Capterra maintains a list of call center software with built-in reporting and analytics functionality, and our directory lets you compare options side-by-side according to price, feature set, and reviews.

Looking for Customer Service software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Service software solutions.

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About the Author

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Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is a former Capterra analyst.

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