Building Resilience Through Contact Center Performance Metrics

Customer Experience (CX) is the number one predictor of business resilience. CX is your secret weapon against tough times. And outstanding CX depends on understanding the key contact center performance metrics.

Your customers expect reliable, effortless contact, whenever they reach out. Interactions should be seamless, speedy, and effective. Failure to deliver an outstanding experience to every customer will undermine the resilience of your organization in the long run.

Getting a handle on contact center performance metrics is essential to taking control of your CX. These metrics can be grouped into several broad categories:

  • Customer success metrics – those metrics that measure customer outcomes and are usually reported by customers, e.g. Value Enhancement Score, Customer Effort Score, CSAT.

  • Agent performance metrics – measurements of how individual agents perform on a day-to-day basis, often collected automatically, e.g. Occupancy, First Response Time.

  • Customer journey metrics – metrics that quantify the customer’s journey through the contact center, also collected automatically, e.g. Average Handling Time, First Contact Resolution.

In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of reliability in building a resilient contact center. In this blog, we explore the world of contact center performance metrics, and how they support reliable CX. Are you ready to build a resilient contact center?

Building a Resilient Contact Center through Performance Metrics

When things get hard, customers start making hard decisions. This means choosing between the businesses they want to drop, and those they stay loyal to. Demonstrating your commitment to customers is the first step toward weathering uncertainty.

When it comes to supporting your customers, contact center performance metrics provide a foundation on which to build. 44% of people report being irritated or angry with a 5 to 15-minute wait time. Tracking your contact center performance metrics, then, is the first step toward avoiding sub-standard performance.

Ensuring a great experience for your customers should be your number one priority. How do we define what a ‘great experience’ means?

Measuring Customer Success in the Contact Center

The first set of contact center performance metrics measures customer success. This means, in essence, how the customer perceives their experience. Was the customer satisfied? Was interacting with your business a pleasant experience? Would they reach out to you again?

If the answer to all these questions is ‘no’, you have a serious problem. What are some customer success metrics you should be tracking?

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) – The bread and butter of customer success metrics. Customers are asked, ‘How satisfied are you with your experience’, and answer on a scale from ‘very satisfied’ to ‘very dissatisfied’. In general, a score above 50 indicates that the majority of your customers are satisfied. A score above 70 is cause for celebration.

  • Value Enhancement Score (VES) – A new contender on the metric landscape, VES asks two questions, ‘How successfully were you able to use our product/service?’, and, ‘How confident are you with your purchase?’ The answers reveal both the success of your business and the experience of the customer journey.

  • Customer Effort Score (CES) – CES asks the customer to report how much effort they had to expend to reach a resolution. This provides a direct look at your contact center; a high effort score means inefficient, confusing, and poorly structured customer communications.

Notice; each of these metrics depends on the customer providing information. In a world so saturated with surveys, only a tiny fraction of your customers will respond. To fill in the gaps, you need to broaden your contact center performance metrics.

Contact Center Agent Performance Metrics

Your agents are your most important resource. A resilient contact center gets the most value possible from its agents, while also offering a high standard of Agent Experience (AX). Contact center agent performance metrics allow you to gain a ground-level understanding of you CX, to better support your agents, and ensure an outstanding experience, every time.

  • Contact Center Occupancy – A staple of the contact center, occupancy measures the total time agents spend engaging with customers as a total proportion of their day. An occupancy of 75-80% is the best level for sustainable CX.

  • First Response Time – Not every contact comes over the phone. First Response Time measures the speed of response across every channel, painting a holistic picture of the omni-channel contact center.

  • Post-Call Time – Every contact comes with associated after-call work. Post-call time measures the time spent on these tasks and can reveal essential information about the working habits of individual agents.

Outstanding CX depends on outstanding AX. If you’re not supporting your agents adequately, they won’t be able to support your customers. Monitoring contact center agent performance metrics allows you identify the gaps—the places where your agents struggle—to better target training, or to guide investment in new technology. For a resilient contact center, monitoring agent performance metrics is essential.

Measuring the Customer Journey

On top of self-reported customer sentiment and agent performance metrics, you need ways to track the customer throughout every interaction. Contact center performance metrics that focus on the customer journey let you identify pain points, opportunities for improvement, and even room for innovation.

  • Average Handling Time – Customers want speedy resolutions. Average Handling Time measures the total time spent addressing a customer’s inquiry. A high Average Handling Time can indicate any number of problems, from poor routing sending customers in circles, to long queues wasting customer time.

  • First Contact Resolution – When a customer calls up, they expect to have their problem resolved on the first attempt. A low First Contact Resolution can indicates that customers are being let down by your CX. This could be due to long wait times, or the failure of the agent to provide a solution.

  • Abandon Rate – When a customer grows frustrated, they’ll drop the call before they reach a resolution. This is the worst case scenario in the contact center. Some abandoned calls are unavoidable, but a high Abandon Rate indicates major problems.

  • Sentiment Analysis and AI-Backed Analytics – The AI revolution is ongoing, and offers a host of ways to gain insight into the customer journey. Sentiment analysis is one example. This assigns an emotional value to every word used by the customer, in order to draw out the overall tone of an interaction. This allows you to automatically detect hostility, even during an ongoing interaction. Agents can be supported with script suggestions, and the interaction can be escalated to a supervisor where necessary.

Contact center performance metrics make the customer journey transparent. Identifying flaws in your customer contact is the first step towards building a resilient contact center that supports your business through uncertain times.