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18 "Make or Break" Metrics for the Call Center

Brian Cantor

Customer management is plagued by a baffling proclivity to reduce the concept of performance management. Call centers are either driven by "efficiency" and married to metrics like average handle time and average speed of answer or driven by "customer-centricity" and focused on broader concepts like customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score.

The notion of middle ground, for whatever reason, is a foreign one.

But insofar as measuring is not managing, there is no reason to approach the call center from such a one-dimensional mindset. Concern about agent efficiency does not prevent a center from adapting to the needs of its customer. Concern about the customer does not mean call statistics have no relevance.

The best customer management leaders approach their function not from a binary standpoint but from a holistic, organizational standpoint. Through strategic alignment with other business units and executive management, they develop a clear vision for success, a clear barometer for the efficacy of the operation.

While working to realize that vision, they are measuring with a combination of scope and nuance, assuring that all metrics of potential consequence for the operation are available.

That palette of information gives them a complete view of the contact center and a fool-proof understanding of how every element of the operation is performing. Rather than blinding themselves to the totality of agent performance by zeroing in one facet of the customer experience, they enable themselves to see every gap.

From there, they can build agent management strategies that drive success against the entire vision. They can deliver exactly what customers need while also strengthening the very core of the business.

Aware of this need for a broader, more open-minded approach, Call Center IQ advisory board member Michele Crocker recently shared a list of "make or break" contact center metrics and assessment points.

Are there other metrics of immense relevant for your center? Probably. Will each of these metrics have direct management implications for your center? Probably not.

But when measured collectively, they represent a full "state of the union" to demonstrate and explain the relationship between what goes on in the call center and what value that center brings to customers and the greater business.

Average Handle Time
Adherence to Schedule
Quantity/Quality of Work (Errors)
Service Level (Thresholds for Volume, Average Speed of Answer, ABD%)
Call Quality (Score)
First Call Resolution
Voice of Customer
Self-Service Usage (vs. Inbound Usage)
Cost Per Call
Training Hours (% of Working Hours)
Labor Turnover
Forecast Accuracy
Revenue Generation
Span of Control
360 Degree Satisfaction (Engagement)
Leadership Effectiveness
Succession Planning

What is your take on these metrics? Are there others you feel were unjustly omitted from consideration? Are there some that are too antiquated from any perspective (productivity or customer-centricity) to matter? Comment below!