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Performance Measurement in a Call Center

The productivity of a call center greatly depends on its performance measurement system.

The performance management system or the quality assurance (QA) program analyses the calls attended by the center and thus suggests areas of development for the agents, managers and the center as a whole. Many clients demand the implementation of these QA programs to regularly evaluate the service quality provided by the outsourcing vendor.

Clients and vendors should also use clearly defined parameters that do no involve complicated measurements and thus reduce the possibility of disputes over service quality. Using parameters that enable performance measurement on an objective basis is the key to avoid complicated measurements.

Some commonly used service evaluation parameters include the following:

  • Average talk time: The average time a customer is connected with the agent is obtained from the ACD. Lower talk time ensures customer satisfaction and guarantees efficient call handling.
  • Average speed of answer: When customers make calls to the customer service center, the ACD picks up the calls and distributes them to different agents. The average time required by the ACD to carry out this process is the average speed of answer of a call. A lower speed of answer ensures lower customer dissatisfaction.
  • Hold time: The average time an agent keeps the customer on hold to obtain data from the database is obtained from the ACD. This includes initial hold time (before the call is answered) and the time the customer is kept on hold by the agent while accessing data. Contact centers try to reduce the hold time as longer hold time leads to customer dissatisfaction.
  • Calls per hour: The average number of calls attended by an agent in an hour is obtained from the ACD. Higher calls per hour ensure higher agent efficiency.
  • Average time in queue: Average time in queue is the total time required to reach an agent divided by the number of calls attended by the center. The average time in queue should be lowered to increase customer satisfaction.
  • Occupancy: The average time an agent spends on his/her seat and is ready to answer calls is also obtained from the ACD. Clients who pay the outsourcing vendor for the number of agents employed demand a specified occupancy rate. This ensures that the vendor has not overcharged the client.
  • Percentage of calls answered: Many clients demand the vendor to answer at least a fixed percentage of incoming calls. By decreasing the rate of abandoned calls, clients strive for greater customer satisfaction.

Clients and vendors also use additional parameters such as number of blocked calls (call handling errors), number of dropped calls (calls that were dropped due to system failure), number of misdirected calls (calls directed to a different division) and database access (slow access of database leads to customers disconnecting the calls).