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Jul 06, 2021 Melissa Gilbertson

A Complete Glossary of the Most Important Contact Center Metrics

Contact Center glossary

Your customer service program is a fundamental component of your customer experience (CX). Great customer service is important to your business because it empowers your company to drive up customer satisfaction, improve customer loyalty and increase sales.

Through your customer service program your business will drive revenue opportunities, recoup customer acquisition costs and cultivate a loyal following of customers that promote your brand to their peers.

In fact, if a company’s customer service is excellent, 78 percent of consumers will do business with a brand again even after a mistake (Salesforce Research). 

To provide superior customer service experiences to your customers, analytics is crucial. Using the right metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) ensures your business is aware of where it is right now, what you are currently doing well and the areas you need to improve for better results. 

With that in mind, Advantage Communications has created this ultimate list of the most important contact center metrics. We hope you can use this list to maximize the KPIs that truly matter to your business.

The call center metrics you need to know

Abandonment rate (drop-off rate)

Abandonment rate, also known as drop-off rate, is the percentage of inbound phone calls made to a call center or service desk that are abandoned by the customer before they even speak to a customer service representative (CSR). The percentage is calculated by the number of abandoned calls divided by the total inbound calls.

Agent effort

Agent effort score is a satisfaction survey that measures how easy it is for your agents to support the customer. A single question is asked - how much effort is required to successfully resolve a customer’s issue? - and agents rate the effort involved on a scale from very easy to very difficult.

Agent satisfaction 

When agents aren’t satisfied with their job, absenteeism, turnover and customer satisfaction declines. Agent satisfaction can be measured in a number of ways, with the most common method performed through a survey. 

Agent adherence

Agent adherence, or schedule adherence, is a KPI used to measure whether or not call center agents are adhering to their assigned schedules. It’s expressed as a percentage, and measured by taking the total time a call center agent is available and dividing it by the time they are scheduled to work.

Agent retention

To calculate agent retention rate, you simply divide the number of employees on the last day of the given period by the number of employees on the first day. Multiplying that number by 100 gives you your call center retention rate.

Average handle time 

Average handle time (AHT) is the average duration of an entire customer call duration, from the moment a customer initiates the call to the moment the call is ended. That time includes all hold times, transfer times and any after-call work the CSR has to perform. Average handle time is calculated in either seconds or minutes with the calculation - Total talk time + hold time + after-call time / number of calls completed = average handle time.

Average speed of answer

Average speed of answer (ASA) is a calculation that measures the amount of time it takes to answer a typical call once it has been routed to your call center. ASA is calculated by: ASA = total wait time for answered calls / total number of answered calls.

Cost per call/interaction

Cost per call measures the amount in dollars it takes your customer service team to handle a single call. This metric is used as a broad indicator of how efficient a call center is. To calculate this you need to divide all operational expenses (such as wages, benefits, training, software licenses, HR, recruiting etc.), by the total number of calls made during the same time frame.

Customer effort score

Customer effort score (CES) measures how much effort a customer has to exert to get an issue resolved. CES is calculated through a survey in which respondents are given one statement - “[Placeholder for company name] made it easy for me to handle my issue” - and then must choose from seven answer choices ranging from strongly disagree (score 1) to strongly agree (score 7). The CES score is then calculated by finding the average of all responses. 

Customer satisfaction score

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a metric used to measure the degree to which customers are satisfied with a service, product or experience with your brand. Customers are sent a short survey after an experience with your brand, with the method of scoring typically being ranked on a scale of 1-5 or good to bad. CSAT score is then calculated as the percentage of positive survey scores. 

Customer retention rate

Customer retention rate is used to measure the number of customers a company retains over a given period of time. This is calculated by finding out how many customers you have at the end of a given period, subtracting the number of new customers you’ve acquired over that time, dividing by the number of customers you had at the beginning of that period and then multiplying it by 100 to find out your percentage.  

Customer lifetime value

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the total value to your business that a customer has over the whole period of the relationship. CLV is calculated by taking your average order value, multiplying it by your average customer’s purchase frequency and then dividing that number by your average customer lifespan. 

First contact resolution

First contact resolution (FCR), or first call resolution, is the percentage of contact that is resolved by a customer service team on the first interaction they have with a customer. There’s a range of ways to calculate FCR, but resolved incidents on first contact divided by total incidents x 100 is the simplest. 

Net promoter score

Net promoter score (NPS) is a metric to assess customer advocacy. It’s calculated by sending a single question to customers - “On a scale of 0-10, how likely is it that you would recommend [company name] to your friends, family or business associates?” - and customers that give you a 6 or below are ‘detractors’, a score of 7 or 8 are ‘passives’ and those who score 9 or 10 are ‘promoters’. By subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters, you’ll get your NPS. 

Self-service completion rate

Self-service completion rate is a KPI used to analyze the effectiveness of your customer support program by measuring the percentage of users that customers are able to troubleshoot on their own. 

Call transfer rate

Call transfer rate (CTR) is the percentage of total calls that are transferred from one agent to another agent. The better your CTR, the most efficient and effective your customer service strategy is. 

Time to resolution

Time to resolution is a key performance indicator that measures the average amount of time between when a customer interaction is created and when that interaction is marked as resolved. Take the total time of all resolved conversations and then divide that number by the total number of resolved requests

Do you have any questions about any of these customer service KPIs, or simply want to inquire about improving your customer service program for higher profits? Contact Advantage Communications today. Our team of customer service experts would love to help. 


Customer Service Trends 2021

Published by Melissa Gilbertson July 6, 2021
Melissa Gilbertson