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Inbound KPI Metrics for Call Centers

Inbound KPI Metrics to Monitor for Operational Efficiency

June 9th, 2021

Optimize your call center by monitoring and analyzing the right key performance indicators, or KPIs. These indicators help you assess the vital signs of your inbound call performance, but they can also work for your outbound campaigns. Explore the top inbound KPI metrics you should monitor to improve your operational efficiency.

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Importance of Inbound KPI Metrics

Are you providing the level of service your customers deserve? According to a 2017 Microsoft report, 97% of global consumers say that customer service experiences affect their brand loyalty and buying decisions. Without KPI metric monitoring, you may not even know which areas of your operations need improvement.

The latest call center software offers the dynamic services your customers need, but first you must use these inbound metrics to discover bottlenecks, inefficiencies and weak points in your call center customer service experience. Monitoring metrics is the first step in improving your operations.

Top Metrics You Should Monitor

The most important KPIs can vary. For example, your call center may excel in areas that are a weak area for your competitor. Use innovative monitoring and analysis steps to monitor these top metrics to identify areas of strength and weakness.

Abandonment Rate

How many callers hang up before an agent picks up or solves an issue? This is known as the abandonment rate. High levels could mean your inbound calls are experiencing too high of wait times or your agents aren’t resolving issues fast enough. Reduce your inbound call abandonment rate to increase customer retention.

Time in Queue

More motivated callers won’t hang up, but that doesn’t mean they’re satisfied with the time to resolve an issue. Monitor the average caller time in a queue and determine whether that’s an acceptable time frame or an unacceptable wait to reach one of your agents. Consider ways to reduce the number of inbound calls or increase the number of agents to improve this KPI.

Answer Speed

Similar to time in a queue is the answer speed. This metric measures the time spent in a queue and combines it with the length of time the phone rings. Start measuring this KPI after a customer leaves your IVR and wait until they’re greeted by an agent.

Don’t make your customers wait too long to speak to an agent. Slow answering can lead to a high call abandonment rate or low customer satisfaction.

Handle Time

Your customers want quick answers. The handle time starts when an agent answers and only ends when the agent disconnects the call.

This is one of the most important KPIs to monitor and analyze. A long average handle time is not only a sign that your caller satisfaction can be improved, but also that your agents may need additional training in efficient handle time.

After Call Work Time

While most inbound KPI metrics affect customer service, after call work time is a sign of operational efficiency. Measure the average time it takes for your agents to update accounts, cancel accounts or process caller requests.

All that time takes away from your agents’ abilities to handle new calls. Find software and training solutions to reduce time spent finalizing accounts and processing requests to increase operational efficiency.

First Call Resolution

An efficient inbound call strategy connects customers to the right agent right away. If your agents can resolve an issue during the first call, your IVR and other systems are directing customers successfully.

Look for these signs that you need to improve your first call resolution:

  • Transferred calls
  • Returned calls
  • Escalated calls

These all reduce first call resolution rates, which in turn reduces customer satisfaction. Monitor this metric for one of the most important ways to improve your operations.

Occupancy Rate

Add the handle time and after call work times together to arrive at the occupancy rate. This is one of the most overarching KPIs that monitor the efficiency of your agents.

Use caution when setting a strict occupancy rate for your agents. Stress and workload levels can make a very low occupancy rate unrealistic for your agents. Pushing too hard to reduce this rate could lead to agent absenteeism and turnover rates. If you see an increase in turnover or days lost per year due to absent agents, it may be time to reconsider workload goals.

Service Level

This KPI tracks calls over a specific number of seconds. The percentage of answered calls during this time can be used to determine the number of agents in a call center and the level of service provided.

You can use this metric for your own inbound calling strategy, but it’s most commonly used to ensure you’re meeting the service level agreement of a contract signed by a third-party company. Measure this area of your center to ensure you’re completing the contract as specified. Most contracts will stipulate a minimum service level required, otherwise you may be found in breach of contract.

Customer Satisfaction

The customer experience of your inbound call center is a foundational KPI. There are, however, many ways to assess overall customer satisfaction. Here are just a few common ways you can measure customer satisfaction in your operations:

  • Customer surveys
  • Retention rates
  • First call resolution
  • Answer speed
  • Average handle time

Some call centers attempt to measure satisfaction directly through surveys. Others look at operational efficiency as a determining factor, while still others combine both to create a satisfaction metric. Find a way to identify how your customers feel and what you can do to improve satisfaction.

Customer Retention and Churn Rate

Customers can choose to cancel a contract or continue to enjoy services from month to month. You can express these two situations in the retention and churn rates.

High retention rates are a good sign that customers are satisfied with your services. Churn rates could mean they are unhappy with your services or your services are no longer competitive.

Measuring either rate gives you the average of both rates. Identify how many customers choose to continue or cancel services for a clear sense of your operational efficiency and product competitiveness.

Why Tracking Inbound KPI Is Essential

Use data to improve your call center operations. Once you’ve successfully measured one or more of these KPIs for an extended period, it’s time to make operational adjustments.

Request a demo of the CallTools platform to see how this popular software can help your call center grow. Identity areas of weakness in your operations and see how this innovative hosted dialer can improve customer satisfaction and agent efficiency.