HR Management for CX

Measure Agent Performance With These 10 Best Metrics

When you’re a contact center leader, you have plenty of daily decisions to make related to agent performance—choices that directly impact your organization’s bottom line.

Not having a handle on contact center agent performance metrics, overall operational performance, and customer sentiment is not an option for you. In fact, without the means to clearly measure key metrics, you simply can’t effectively manage your desk agents, improve the experience for your customers, and achieve your business goals.

That’s why contact center team leaders like you need agent performance statistics to help boost positive customer experience throughout the customer journey. Agent performance statistics like the examples below help you address—and improve—the experience regardless of channel type:

  • Average hold time
  • Transfer rate
  • Average resolution times
  • First interaction resolution

Current, real-time data like this will give you a firm handle on incoming customer interactions so you can continually measure agent performance and the overall productivity of your customer service center.

What Metrics Should You Measure To Optimize Agent Performance?

Customer support center software can offer a wide variety of metrics in real time. But smart agent performance management goes further. It takes understanding which metrics are most important to your success, and which levers to pull to do better. Of course, once you understand the key performance indicators (KPIs) most important to your business, you also must know how to use them to adapt operations and achieve success.

Knowing what key metrics to measure, and understanding what you can learn from them to optimize your customer service center, is essential. In fact, it may be the most powerful agent performance tool you have for workforce optimization.

To help sharpen your tool, here are 10 of the most impactful performance metrics to track, and why these agent performance statistics are so critical to overall agent performance management.

1. Abandonment Rate

Abandonment rate measures the percentage of contacts that disconnects from the channel before reaching an agent—regardless of mode of customer interaction.

This metric won’t tell you much about an individual agent, but it says a lot about overall agent performance and the productivity in your customer service center over a time period. If your abandonment rate is high, look for problems that affect all your desk agents to uncover why your team isn’t getting to your customers.

A good place to start is by taking a look at the effectiveness of your agent onboarding process. Use real-world customer interaction details to enhance the onboarding process and implement continuous training to address issues you identify.

Abandonment rate is closely tied to overall customer experience through interactions with agents. For any incoming call, if customers have to wait too long a time period for your team to connect with them, and they give up, then something needs to change in your support center to drive better customer experience.

This isn’t all bad news though. In fact, it’s a powerful agent performance tool.

Once you’ve identified consistently high abandonment rates over a time period, you have an agent performance management opportunity. You can now fine-tune your customer experience center’s approach to agent performance management and boost your agent performance evaluation capabilities.

2. Blocked Interactions

The blocked interactions metric indicates the number of contacts that was prevented from reaching any of your desk agents, significantly decreasing total customer contacts. Blocked interactions often occur during extreme peak times, when incoming calls are prompted to try again later, sometimes offering a callback option for a specified time period.

If this metric is too high across channel types, it means your agents are losing opportunities to help customers, who will likely grow frustrated quickly. And if you don’t have a strategy to fix it, you’ll see negative sentiment instances increase just as quickly.

When you aren’t meeting this important KPI, it may be because you don’t have enough available agents assigned to a shift. This means it’s time to re-evaluate your workforce management approaches and consider adding new tools to help.

Implementing more customer self-service options can also help with a percentage of calls resulting in blocked interactions. That’s because simpler customer service issues, which are often a significant percentage of calls, often can be handled without agent support. Self-service creates time for an agent to handle a more complicated customer request your self-service options can’t.

With self service, customers aren’t turned away frustrated and without answers. You’ll see measurable improvements in positive sentiment instances and a better  experience throughout the customer journey.

According to TechTarget, positive feedback from consumers about self-service experiences with inbound call centers is the result of:

  • Increased convenience
  • Greater consumer experience and comfort with self-service support 
  • The community created through self-service forums
  • Improved self-service offerings by businesses
9 Contact Center Metrics

3. Queue Time

Another performance and productivity metric worth monitoring is average queue time. This metric can be calculated by dividing the total time callers wait in the queue by the total number of interactions answered. If your agent performance statistics related to queue aren’t positive, look for ways to get better, including:

  1. Leveraging workforce management solutions to improve how you staff shifts
  2. Empower callers with a callback option
  3. Provide real-time agent coaching 
  4. Leverage smart AI technology for enhanced agent training

Queue time is also related to your abandonment rate because as the time in queue increases, so does the likelihood of abandonment. If you find customers are experiencing longer hold times than usual, one effective agent performance management approach includes challenging your team to improve by encouraging feedback to understand their challenges.

Use what you learn to implement continuous improvement of customer interactions with agents, including ongoing training on best practices for handling interactions. Another effective tool for improvement is a callback option and self-service features to reduce or eliminate wait time.

4. Service Level

Service level is another critical agent performance management metric. It measures performance in real time as agents have interactions. It’s a percentage of interactions answered within a specific number of seconds.

Use this metric to determine if agents are moving quickly enough from one interaction to the next. Review agent tickets for insights and context. Determine agent average and work with individual agents to keep this metric within your expected range.If you’re consistently struggling with low agent performance statistics related to service levels, it may be time to consider workforce management software and to address staffing shortages affecting your service levels. Both these strategies will have direct, positive effects on customer interactions with agents.

5. Response Time

When you want to measure and improve agent average productivity, one of the best metrics is response time. This metric calculates the average time it takes for agents to answer customer contacts within a specific time period.

If this metric is too high, it may mean your agents aren’t working as efficiently as they could, and your customers are waiting too long on hold. If the average time on hold is too long for customers, their interactions with agents start off negatively, and that is, unfortunately, a sign they will end negatively too. The result is an overall negative customer journey from start to finish, which is exactly what you want to avoid.

Find out what’s preventing agents from responding faster. Ask questions, listen, and review agent tickets to learn more. Changes as simple as introducing  improved work tools and increasing customer service training can help reduce average response time.

6. Average Handle Time

One of the most important ways to measure your customer service agent productivity is through the average handle time metric. This is the average time it takes from when a customer contacts your support center until he or she disconnects with the agent, including hold time and transfer time. It also includes the agent’s after-contact work related to the customer request.

Average handle time is a contact center metric with some nuance to it. When your agents’ handle times are too long, it may mean they’re struggling with customer issues, or they could lack competency in how to respond to and solve an issue.

On the other hand, if agents’ average handle time is too short, it may mean they aren’t offering any real assistance, rushing the customer through, or not listening thoroughly. Unfortunately, both these scenarios pave the road to a negative customer experience along the customer journey.

Use quality management software to monitor quality and address problems. Correlating this metric to your CSAT metric will help you gauge the most acceptable handle time for a positive experience.

Focus on training for better interactions with agents and provide the tools they need to respond quickly to customer queries. Give them all the information they need, when they need it, to succeed.   

Your agents’ success is your success. And understanding that is a critical component of effective agent performance management.

7. After-Interaction Work

Agent average after-interaction work time is a good way to measure customer service center agent performance. Average after-interaction work measures the average time it takes an agent to do the work associated with a customer interaction after it’s finished.

Your agents need to spend sufficient time doing this post-interaction work accurately and thoroughly. At the same time, if you find that the average after-interaction work time is too high, by agent average, there may be more to it.

For example, agents may not have all the resources they need; they may not know how to resolve core issues; or they may need some coaching on how to resolve them efficiently.

Asking (the right) questions is key. Is the paperwork too much? Is training sufficient? Find out what’s keeping agents from completing this work quickly, and find out how you can simplify their tasks after the connected time with customers.

8. First Contact Resolution

First contact resolution is one of the most straightforward ways to measure contact center agent performance and productivity through any mode of customer interaction. If a customer has to contact you multiple times for the same issue, has a high transfer rate, or is handed over to a supervisor to get an issue resolved, you have a challenge that needs solving.

By providing proper customer service training, encouraging agent empowerment, and not setting other metrics that work against first contact you are on the path to a solution, and will eventually fix this metric for your team. This is at the core of a strong customer experience and delighting from start to finish of the customer journey.

Regardless of the mode of customer interaction, people want their questions answered and concerns addressed, preferably solved during the first contact. This is a straightforward and simple fact.

If this is an area of weakness for your customer experience center, make it among your most urgent priorities to address. Use current, real-time data to find ways to continuously improve  your team’s competency and performance with all incoming customer interactions.

9. Occupancy Rate

Contact center occupancy rate is a way to measure agent performance across  every mode of customer interaction. It’s the measure of how much time your agents spend on interactions and/or finishing up work related to those interactions, as compared to being idle.

Simply put, if your agents’ occupancy rates are low, they aren’t doing everything they should. You’re missing out on productivity. Use this contact center metric to identify needed changes and address situations outside the interaction-related work they’re doing.

10. Customer Experience

A positive customer experience is a comprehensive way to measure contact center agent performance, though you can also measure the cost of a poor one. The bottom line is that customer experience should be among your most urgent priorities.

While many other contact center metrics can reveal areas where your agents are falling short, the customer experience, or customer satisfaction score, is the most direct measure of whether your contact center is providing the support your customers need. Ultimately, this is what it’s all about for the success of your brand and your organization. A good customer experience, based on interactions with agents, is usually determined by after-interaction surveys, although other contact center metrics such as Net Promoter Score may be included in the assessment as well. If your team is doing well in this metric and effectively solving customer issues, it’s a good cause for celebration and rewards. It’s a clear sign of effective agent performance management.

Playvox Can Help 

As a contact center manager, you might have a general sense of how well your agents are doing even before you look at the metrics. However, by effectively measuring contact center metrics and relevant KPIs, you’ll be able to pinpoint your successes and areas in need of improvement.

Success takes finely tuned agent performance evaluation capabilities, so continuously keep on eye on the data across every mode of customer interaction. If you’re looking to centralize your KPIs in one place and create contact center dashboards to share with your teams and agents, Playvox could be the solution that fits your needs.

Schedule a demo today.

You Might Also Enjoy