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4 Key Metrics to Finding the Customer Service Sweet Spot


business men discussing operations



Feeling the Love Year-round with Sustained Call Center Performance

For Valentine’s Day, many call centers send out e-cards, flowers or sweets to customers to make them feel appreciated. Such gifts certainly have their place.

On this special day and year-round, however, we believe it’s better to deliver something of more substance—sustained performance. Here are four key metrics that indicate customer service success in the call center.

1. Agent attrition — What’s your rate of turnover?

Keeping great agents helps ensure consistent service. The call contact industry, though, is fraught with high turnover. Part of it due to the very nature of the work. Those numbers can be controlled.

Overall, Working Solutions’ monthly turnover rate averages a little more than 8%—well below the industry’s norm of double-digit turnover. It’s achieved, in part, by constant communications with agents throughout onboarding and operations. Well-defined processes also enable them to know where they stand so they want to stay. Routinely, our agents celebrate five-year, 10-year and even 15-year anniversaries.

2. Abandoned calls — How many customers drop off?

Callers are on hold. And they have little or no patience. GETVOIP reports: “According to a survey by Velaro, a live-chat software company, 60% of customers will hang up after waiting on hold for one minute, and 30.2% of customers are willing to wait one to five minutes.”

Long waits can be attributed to low-tech systems as much as inadequate staffing. The use of “virtual hold” or other technologies enable a customer to request or schedule a call back. A partial solution. With an on-demand contact center model, the number of remote agents at the ready can flex upward 150% to reduce wait times.

3. Average handle time — How long did the interaction take?

This metric varies, depending on the client program. A blog posted on Kayako, a customer service software company, took issue with the industry standard approach to this metric. Rather than just speed, it’s about “favorable customer outcomes,” delivered by better planning and responsive resources.

Again, it comes down to proven processes and well-prepared agents. Schooled in a client’s business, an agent using streamlined procedures can guide a customer through most situations. The system enables a solution. With preparation and experience, Working Solutions usually can best average handle times of in-house teams and other service providers by 5 to 15%.

4. First-call resolutions — Is the customer satisfied?

A long-time industry standard, this metric isn’t as prevalent nowadays. Customer satisfaction and net promotor scores replace it on many client scorecards. No matter the name, the intent remains the same: Is the customer pleased? First call. Last call. And every interaction in between.

It all goes back to point #1. Happy workers make for satisfied customers. Working Solutions agents know how to engage customers, with CSAT scores about 13% higher than industry averages. Such responsiveness requires fostering emotional intelligence in virtual call center operations, which then manifests itself in excellent service. That only makes sense. Because customers know when agents care.

Of course, there are other call center metrics to consider, such as forecast accuracy and conversion rates. Whatever the measure, value must be clearly defined upfront to be valid later—tracked by surveys and quarterly reviews.

It’s true not only on Valentine’s Day, but for the other 364 days as well. That’s the real measure of sweet success for any business.

How do your call center operations measure up?


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