Improve Customer Satisfaction With Call Center Analytics

Learn how to use analytics to gather rich data from your contact center that can improve customer satisfaction and accelerate the growth of your business.

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Improve Customer Satisfaction With Call Center Analytics

Your call center, also known as a contact center, is where your business makes direct contact with your customers. For inbound call centers, this contact often takes place over the phone, perhaps after your customers are first routed to the best agent through your interactive voice response (IVR) system. If you have a multichannel contact center your agents may be communicating with customers via several channels at once, for example SMS, in-app chat, or Facebook messenger. Outbound call centers often operate on multiple channels as well, reaching customers on the channel they prefer.

While your contact center is the hub of communications with your customers it also serves another important purpose. Modern contact centers, built with cloud-based software, provide a rich source of data about your customers. With the right call center analytics, you can use that data to improve customer satisfaction and constantly advance your business.

Call Center Analytics and Customer Experience

When your call center software is built on APIs it’s easy to use analytics to track, measure, and iterate. The key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most important for your business are unique, but you’ll want to be aware of the ones outlined here. When your call center agents are armed with real-time and historical analytics reports from all your channels and data sources, they can act immediately to make improvements.

One of the great benefits of a cloud-based contact center is the ability to iterate as often as you like. To provide ongoing customer satisfaction, you need to gather customer feedback, look at the metrics that make sense for your company, roll back the things that didn't work, and keep the things that did work. Ideally, you should test and measure the components of your contact center just like you do with your webpage or mobile app.

Customer Effort

The first category of call center analytics you’ll want to pay attention to is customer effort. The KPIs under this category have to do with the kind of experience your customers are having in your call center. How easy or difficult is it for them to connect with an agent? How long do they have to wait? Do they get frustrated and abandon the queue even before they reach an agent? Obviously, your customers would prefer to make as little effort as possible. By regularly checking the following analytics, you can make changes in your contact center to reduce customer effort, which will boost customer satisfaction.

First Contact Resolution

When an inquiry is resolved during your first contact with a customer, it’s known as first contact resolution. You can discover your contact center’s first contact resolution rate by dividing the total number of inquiries your agents resolved during first contact by the total number of first contacts you’ve received. If your first contact resolution rate is low, perhaps your agents need additional training or support. First contact resolution helps to reduce call volume by eliminating multiple calls for the same purpose and to increase customer satisfaction.

Self-service Displacement/Automation Rate

Sometimes a customer’s needs can be met without the help of an agent. A customer may only need to hear an account balance or confirm a delivery, for example. Often simple calls can be resolved by your IVR system. To determine your contact center’s self-service displacement rate, or automation rate, divide the total number of customers whose needs were fully resolved in the self-service channel by the total number of contacts offered to the self-service channel. If this rate is low, perhaps it’s time to update your IVR options.

Transfers, Holds, and Callbacks

Once you have a customer on the line, how many steps do they have to go through before they get what they needed when they called?

Transfers refers to the number of agent transfers per transaction. Holds refers to the number of times a customer was put on hold. And callbacks refers to the number of time your customers requested a callback phone call. Generally, these are measurements you’d like to minimize.

Complaints and Escalations

When your contact center operates on multiple channels, the breadth of information you can gather with analytics expands. While you naturally want to keep complaints and escalations to a minimum, it can be very helpful to see if certain channels are receiving more than others. Complaints per channel is a measurement of the total numbers of complaints received per contact center channel. Escalations per channel is the total number of contacts that needed to be escalated to a higher level of service per channel. And channel escalation refers to first-channel contacts that result in follow-up contact via a subsequent channel, such as an inquiry by SMS that an agent follows up with a phone call. These measurements are important indicators of whether your customers are experiencing equally excellent service on all channels.

Wait and Hold Time

Various time measurements are crucial KPIs for any contact center. To increase customer satisfaction, you need to serve your customers as quickly as possible. There are several measurements of time that provide insight into your customers’ experience. Queue time refers to the time it takes before a customer gets an answer from one of your agents. Ring time is a measurement of how long the phone rings before an agent answers a call. Waiting time includes both ring time and queue time. Hold time refers to the amount of time a customer spends on hold once the call has been answered. And average wait time per channel will let you know how long customers are waiting per channel you offer.

Call Time

Once you have your customers on the line, how long do your agents spend with them? Talk time measures the length of a conversation between an agent and customer. But often the customer has already spent time on the interaction before they connected to an agent. Experience time is a measurement of the total time your customer spends on the call, including ring time, time in your IVR, time on hold, and time talking to an agent. Again, this measurement of time comes back to customer effort: how quickly can you resolve your customers needs so they can move on with their busy days?

Abandonment Rate

Do you know how many of your customers hang up before reaching an agent? Another important metric you should be paying attention to is your abandonment rate. Your contact center’s abandonment rate is the total number of callers who abandoned the call divided by the total number of calls you received. Your abandonment rate can help you determine why your customers leave while waiting. Is your contact center understaffed and are your wait times too long? Are your customers trying to reach you outside of business hours? Abandonment rates can alert you to problems you may not have recognized before.


Agent Productivity and Performance

The next category of call center analytics you need to watch is agent productivity and performance. The KPIs under this category are related to your agents’ behavior, effectiveness, and customer empathy. Of course, you want all of your agents to be superstars who solve customers’ problems immediately, close loads of business, and receive high customer satisfaction scores. But sometimes, these analytics will let you know when your agents need further training or support. By regularly checking the following metrics, you can keep tabs on what improvements—or congratulations—your agents need.

Agent productivity

Agent productivity is a broad term that refers to the different activities your agents are busy with in your contact center. These include productive activities, such as being on a call, conducting after call work, and taking part in training, as well as non-productive activities, such as taking breaks and waiting for a call. Understanding how this ratio changes over time is an important indicator of how well you’re deploying your agents and how agents are spending their time.

Call Quality

Quality score is an evaluation of the standard at which an agent handled an individual conversation with a customer. You can give each interaction a quality score rating and also look at overall quality scores per agent, per department, per day, or for any other slice of the data you can imagine. Quality scores can help you uncover areas or agents that need your attention or additional training and coaching.

Detection of Silence and Cross-talk

During calls, you don’t want to have too much “dead air.” Silence often signals a problem such as agent knowledge gap, failure in processes, or systems that are too slow. Similarly, cross-talk detection raises a red flag when an agent is speaking over the customer or doesn’t let them finish a sentence. Both have an immediate impact on customer experience, and can lower customer satisfaction.

Call Time

We talked about call time from the customer perspective, but from an agent perspective, call time is viewed as handling time. This measurement includes talk time, hold time, and wrap up time. Wrap up time is the time an agent takes to enter notes or finish up any tasks before moving on to the next customer interaction. You’ll want to look at these metrics per channel, as agent performance on each channel will be unique. Additionally, the number of handled calls per hour is a good indication of who is taking calls and how well they’re doing it.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Want to know how satisfied your customers are? Ask them.

Satisfied customers buy more, stay longer, and share their positive experiences. You can learn how your customers really feel about the service they’ve just experienced by conducting post-contact surveys via channels like SMS, email, IVR, or a star rating after a web chat.

Customer satisfaction surveys help you collect metrics such as:

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) - the percentage of customers who are satisfied with the service they receive.

Customer effort score - a customer’s perception of how easy it was to get their issue resolved.

Net promoter score - a customer’s willingness to recommend a company to others.

Customer engagement score - a custom metric for each business but may include customer contact frequency and contact types, customer inquiries, social media activities, website activities, user community participation, rate of repeat transactions, new products or services purchased, and channel utilization.

All of these metrics help you answer the ultimate question: Did you increase or decrease customer satisfaction today?

Customer satisfaction surveys help you begin to understand your customer experience. However, it’s up to the customer if they want to communicate their satisfaction level—and this is beyond the contact center’s control. When you can’t secure a survey result, you can ask your agent to predict how the customer would rate the experience after the call. This is known as the reflection.

Contact Center Revenue, Costs, and Profit

Many of the analytics discussed here are particularly relevant for inbound contact centers. For outbound contact centers that focus on sales, measuring the profit and cost of the contact center can help you see its true impact on the whole organization. You can get full visibility into revenue, costs, and profit by integrating your contact center with your CRM and sales reports. With this type of transparency, you’ll be able to see the whole picture and assess your sales calls not only on how long they take, but also on their outcome.

Measure Your Call Center Performance

When you continually measure the success of your contact center, you see what's happening in real time so you know where your immediate focus needs to be. By looking at historical reports, you can compare and contrast, to see if you’re making improvements over time. With the right analytics, KPIs, and informed interpretation, you can identify any call center problems and take swift action to fix them. Ultimately, tracking the unique metrics that apply to your business will help you increase customer satisfaction and accelerate your growth.