The Changing Landscape of Contact Center KPIs

Call center key performance indicators (KPIs) have evolved.  Along with a subtle industry nomenclature change from ‘call center’ to ‘contact center’, a host of new customer contact methods and a new definition of customer service has been born.  Customer service is no longer a reactive entity that takes customer phone calls.  It is has become a proactive, multi-channel contact center whose representatives are versed in email, chat, text. Customer service must also grow a partnership with marketing to ensure a unified voice when interacting with customers in the social channels.

The Customer Service Evolution

it is clear that we have entered the age of the customer.  Industry nomenclature has even evolved. For example, in the web development world “user experience (UX)” has been replaced with “customer experience (CX)”, and the traditional sales terminology “buying cycle” has morphed to “customer journey”.  When one mediocre or poor customer experience can define your company with a single viral post, what KPIs can business leaders and customer service managers turn to to help improve customer service processes?

Unfortunately, there is no magic metric.  The answer is deceptively simple – find out what is important to your customers and then do that.  The complexity is in the “how.”

What Do We Measure?

Standard tried and true KPIs (such as the classic “calls answered”) no longer give the complete picture of a contact center’s health.  No single standard measurement works across industries for a contact center.  For example, the cosmetic company MAC, likely requires a contact center with heavy focus on social interaction and a very close relationship with marketing. With over 16 million followers on Facebook and counting, you can see MAC lodges everything from product accolades to customer service complaints on their Facebook page. Most responses require an individualized response. Conversely, a medical center like St Rose’s Dominican Hospitals, who has a healthy social presence, likely puts more emphasis on getting phone calls and email queued and routed to be answered quickly and efficiently.  In both cases, the classic “calls answered” KPI does not give an accurate picture of their service level.

Robust reporting features in solutions on the market today allow a contact center manager to use some seemingly simple information to take a true peak into CX (customer experience).  Two types of metrics show a piece of the customer puzzle:

  1. Individual representative performance
  2. Group performance



Individual Representative KPIs

When reviewing a contact center representative’s metrics, we have found these 3 KPIs best help gauge performance in a call center (in general terms):

  • Number of transfers
  • Classification of wrap up times
  • Frequency of holds

Rather than measuring how many calls a rep answers, a more effective measure might be the number of calls completed by the rep without transferring or putting the customer on hold.  Transferring and frequent use of hold may be indicators the representative needs additional training.  One metric that demonstrates the success of a rep could be how many times a call is transferred after the initial conversation.  If the customer service representative is attentive and responds to the concerns of a customer the first time, the caller could be sent on to the correct department immediately, eliminating the need for multiple transfers.

Contact Center Group KPIs

Getting a picture of the overall health of a contact center is challenging.  Identifying the overall trends that speak to customer satisfaction, as well as business success, is imperative in the “age of the customer”. Trends can also be elusive. Two KPIs we have found from many years of experience to be a great barometer of overall strength of a contact center are:

  • Time interval of call abandonment
  • Average call duration

Take a closer look at your time interval of call abandonment.  Customers no longer carve out time during their day to make calls to deal with orders.  Instead they make a quick call while in line at Starbucks, or open a chat while sitting in a conference room waiting for a meeting to start.  The call might be disconnected because it was their turn to order coffee or a chat might be shut down because a meeting time got moved.  Neither is reflective of the health of the contact center.  By analyzing average call duration and time interval on when a call is abandoned, we can do two things: First, determine if there is a solution to get information to customers prior to that average call/contact abandonment time. Second, identify any breakdowns in the queue tree.  In this way, we provide the customer service manager information to act on to help improve the contact center environment.

Individual Metrics for Individual Service

Whether working for a hospital or for a renown make-up company, customer service managers ultimately have the same goal – to yield better customer experience by creating the best possible service environment.  Modern KPIs offer an analytical approach to help both the customer and the representatives have a better experience.


Want to learn more about KPIs? Take a listen to our webinar on Key Contact Center KPIs. This webinar goes deeper on why they are important and how to run the KPI reporting in a ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center.

Download Call Center KPI Webinar

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