Call center reporting boils down to two key types of metrics: efficiency-based metrics and customer satisfaction-based metrics. It’s important to state this upfront to avoid confusing operations goals with customer retention goals.
Typically, organizations institute systematized reporting practices for one (or more) of three reasons: 1) to provide accountability to investors, leadership and other stakeholders 2) to utilize data to improve performance 3) to promote their organization by sharing their exceptional performance. I’m sure others will disagree, but I’m confident most reasons can be reduced to one of these three. To rephrase them:
As you consider how call center reporting should be structured in your organization, consider which of those three questions might be most valuable to answer and how those answers will help with your broader organization goals (from both the operations and marketing/sales perspectives).
In some ways, these goals will be similar to best practice goals for live chat reporting (which you can read more about here), but they are not a perfect 1:1 parallel
The Context of Call Center Reporting
There are a few ways to talk about call center reporting, depending on how you conceptualize a call center. Is it handling inbound or outbound calls? Are they marketing/sales related or technical support/customer service related calls?
From an operations standpoint, the types of goals will likely be the same across call centers. You’re going to care about volume of calls, how the workload is managed (both in terms of the calls themselves and in terms of the administrative and follow-up work each call creates), and individual agent performance. You can reasonably expect outbound agents to initiate more calls but have fewer (and likely shorter) conversations than inbound agents—and so the actual target numbers you manage towards should be adjusted to reflect that—but otherwise efficiency can be measured by similar types of goals in any call center.
Customer satisfaction standpoint, this is a lot trickier. Even the types of goals will vary depending on the types of services your company provides, how familiar your target audience is with your offerings, and whether the ultimate goal of the call center organization is to book appointments, close deals, resolve issues on the first call, or something else entirely.
Call Center Reporting for Customer Satisfaction
If you had to simplify the customer satisfaction side of call center reporting as much as possible, it would probably come down to two factors: call abandonment rate and customer feedback. Abandonment rate reflects the percentage of calls that don’t ever reach a representative or agent because the customer got frustrated waiting and hung up. For obvious reasons, a high abandonment rate likely reflects a low level of customer satisfaction.
Customer feedback usually comes in the form of a brief opt-in survey at the end of a call. Many organizations use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) framework to evaluate a customer’s satisfaction, both with the interaction they just had and with the brand as a whole. This kind of information is extremely useful as it can inform you about individual agent performance, what customers are likely candidates for case study (or retention) programs, and how you might go about making process improvements to your call center.
Call Center Reporting: Beyond the Phone?
Freelance tech writer Aaron Lester has discussed integrating Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for new customer service channels, such as social media and self-service, into existing call center reporting. In the linked article, he presented the idea that efficiency/operations-based metrics should perhaps be de-prioritized in these new channels because ultimately it is about customer experience, not quantitative data. For social media, etc. quality interactions and empathy may be more important than average speed to answer (ASA), handling time or agent idle time (especially if the agent is not idle but rather responding to requests via a different channel).
That said, what the customer likely cares about most is getting their issue resolved quickly, easily, and professionally, the first time they reach out to your organization for assistance. Resolution does not equal satisfaction but it can have a major impact on it. As such, even for these new channels first time resolution rate is probably still an important metric, both from an operations perspective and from a customer satisfaction perspective.
Chris Childers is Senior Vice President at Velaro Live Chat. He is a results-oriented software executive with 18 years of experience in product management, software sales and team management. Before joining Velaro, he worked as a Senior Business Development Manager at Microsoft and held roles at AVIcode in product management and business development. Prior to working with AVIcode, Chris co-founded Artifact Software, where he led product management and was instrumental in building its first generation product.