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Performance or Experience? What’s more important for a contact center to monitor?

The ones to watch: KPIs that maximize contact center efficiency. #CX #customerexperience #contactcenter #callcenter

Customer service teams, specifically contact centers, are awash in variables; in fact, the only constant in delivering customer service is knowing that each interaction will be different! The silver lining? Variability means data! Thanks to today’s robust CRMs and AI-powered analytics, every customer service option collects data that your brand can use to maximize its CX and ROI. This onslaught of data, while an asset, can feel like an avalanche: it just keeps coming, and the sheer volume can start to obscure the goal of collecting it in the first place. That’s where your brand’s chosen metrics, or KPIs, come into play; creating direction out of data.

Just like customer trends, a contact center’s needs are variable and unique; what works for one industry might not be relevant to another, so it’s important to choose KPIs that are relevant to your business and audit them frequently to ensure that these points of attention continue to contribute towards the brand’s business goals. That said, there are some metrics that are universally helpful when focusing on strengthening the efficiency and effectiveness of a contact center and its role in building customer relationships: those that monitor the contact center’s performance, and those that monitor customer satisfaction. Let’s take a closer look at both.

Metrics for monitoring contact center performance

These metrics lend transparency to everyday operations by analyzing a contact center’s logistics to uncover strengths and weaknesses.

Call Arrival Rate

A standard across almost every industry, this essential metric gives visibility to call volume trends so that management can staff and schedule the contact center more effectively according to the fluctuations of daily and seasonal needs.

Percentage of calls blocked/average call abandonment

These two metrics work hand in hand. Percentage of calls block measures how many customers receive a busy signal instead of connecting with an agent, while average call abandonment tracks the percentage of calls that were abandoned before connecting with an agent, usually due to a long wait time or technical difficulty.

Both of these metrics can indicate potential sources of customer frustration that can threaten the strength of the customer’s relationship with the brand. Calls blocked and calls abandoned are potential symptoms of the same problem: understaffing or underproductive agents, inefficient processes, and/or technical issues that hinder call connection in a timely manner.

First Response Time (FRT)

Simple, but effective: FRT measures how long it takes for a customer to speak to an agent when they connect with the contact center. It goes without saying that the lower the FRT the better; customers always want shorter wait times, and being able to connect quickly goes a long way to make customers feel like a priority.

First Call Resolution (FCR)

FCR measures the percentage of calls where the individual agent was able to solve the customer’s problem within the span of the call, without needing to transfer, pause, escalate or schedule a callback. A high FCR indicates that agents are supported and engaged to create ideal solutions for customers, increasing their satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Agent Utilization Rate

This is a detailed view of how agents are using their time during their shifts, including specific measurements of the time they’ve spent on calls, follow-up, administration tasks and training efforts. This metric tends to be very specific to the industry, and even more so to your brand’s needs, but once established, an effective agent utilization rate can help shape ongoing training modules and goal-setting initiatives for your team, which can help gamify their daily work experience and make their workplace culture more enjoyable.

Average handle time (AHT) This is a measurement of how long the average customer/agent interaction takes from start to finish, including any transfers to other team members and resolving case escalations. While one would expect that a lower AHT is key, there is a balance to be struck here: if call times seem too short, this could be an indicator that customers are leaving the call without the desired outcome, only to have to call back – an inconvenience that can stress their relationship with your brand. AHT helps to establish how long the call process should take, giving you a baseline to measure agents’ effectiveness. When calls run too long, or too short, it could be an indicator that agents need more training or coaching, or that their processes are being hampered by inadequate technology.

Metrics for monitoring customer experience

These metrics are like a report card from your customers; after all, who can speak about your brand’s actual customer experience better than they can?

Speed to Satisfy

A new contact center industry standard, Speed to Satisfy measures the actions needed to increase brand value based on AI-powered analysis, providing recommendations needed to retain and deepen your brand’s customer relationships. Retaining customers is vastly less expensive than acquiring new ones, so tracking Speed to Satisfy can help cultivate customer relationships with your brand’s loyal fans, which in turn grows revenue and reputation.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) measures how satisfied your customers are with their experience of your brand, including their contact center experience. Customer surveys power the engine behind this metric, and because each brand is unique, the survey process needs to be aligned to its operational goals, rather than following a general template. A good rule of thumb is to ask customers how they would rate their satisfaction at various points of the interaction, from low to high: the percentage of high responses represents your brand’s CSAT. How your brand qualifies and measures CSAT is contingent on its business goals, so establishing and addressing CSAT on a continuing basis can help better inform operational and CX decisions.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Your brand’s Net Promoter Score works in tandem with its CSAT. This metric determines the percentage of customers whose experience with your brand made them want to tell others; for better (or worse!) Customers who are willing to spread their good news about your business can help new prospects develop a bond with your brand even before making a purchase; focusing on your NPS can help your brand capitalize on this beneficial aspect of its customer relationships.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Your brand’s CES indicates how easy it is for customers to get their issues resolved. The harder a customer has to work to get their issue looked after, the more it can undermine their trust and loyalty to the brand. By asking customers to rank how quickly and easily their issue was resolved, from low (slowly, or unresolved) to high (fast, easy resolution), your contact center can determine the efficiency of its customer support and focus efforts on improving it.

Naturally, without data management, analysis and action, your brand’s data can’t live up to its full potential. But with a data-driven approach to customer service, the right AI-enhanced technology, and a focus on those important KPIs that track your brand’s business goals, your brand’s data can enable your contact center team to effectively manage day-to-day challenges, while deepening customer relationships through more authentic and informed customer service.

bespokeCX gives contact center teams the framework, tools and perspective to deepen customer relationships and deliver exceptional customer experience. AI-driven insights maximize operational alignment while strengthening customer connection, helping agents excel at providing confident, authentic customer service that can improve your brand’s reputation and revenue. Visit to learn more.

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