Manager’s Step by Step Guide: Call Center Key Performance Metrics

Call Center Key Performance Metrics

One of the most important tasks in call center management is utilizing Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to gauge the success of staff in their call answering and problem-solving capacity. These call center metrics are measurable values that show the level of effectiveness of your team in achieving the goals you set.

Call Center KPIs

Research conducted in 2017 by call center software provider Talkdesk showed that there were four impactful KPIs that should be included in the call center metrics of successful businesses. Their rates of occurring vary by industry and the company has noted the average benchmark across all industries as guidance for setting metrics for a successful call center (see chart below).

  • • Average Abandonment Rate – The number of calls that are terminated between the Interactive Voice Response (IVR ) system and the moment an agent answers divided by the total number of inbound calls a call center receives – not including those callers whose needs are satisfied within the IVR system.
  • • Average Time in Queue – The average amount of time the caller spends on hold in the queue while waiting to be connected to a call center representative. Customers experiencing long wait times are more likely to abandon calls and may choose to never call back. This is a missed opportunity to connect with your customer to ensure they are happy, promote your brand and potentially upsell.
  • • Average Speed to Answer – The average time the agent took to answer inbound calls including the amount of time while the agent’s phone is ringing; however, this does not include the time the caller spent in the IVR system or waiting queue. This KPI is associated with efficiency and accessibility and is a contributor to customer satisfaction.
  • • Service Level – This call center metric measures how accessible a business is to their customers and is a good indicator of a company’s ability to plan for call volume fluctuations and execute their staffing strategy. This is clearly tied directly to customer service quality and inbound call center performance; thus, this is usually at the core of a manager’s call center metrics toolkit.

Inbound Contact Center KPIs by Industry

Industry Average Abandonment Rate Average Time in Queue (secs) Average Speed to Answer (secs)
Totals 9.07% 17.28 8.97
Software & Internet 11.12% 14.32 9.24
Financial Services 11.62% 22.95 8.07
Retail & Consumer Products 9.02% 17.86 8.93
Other 7.46% 9.80 8.53
Consumer Services 7.21% 13.32 8.94
Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals & Biotech 8.21% 11.38 7.99
Manufacturing 6.71% 15.53 7.61
Travel, Recreation & Leisure 7.17% 45.38 10.73
Computers & Electronics 5.03% 40.40 10.34


Chart Source: Talkdesk

Given the benchmarks for your industry, it is important to set KPI standards and make certain that they are reached. Using a 24-hour call center such as Responsive Call Center can help you trim costs and efficiently and effectively set KPI standards, as well as ensure that all quality and call center metrics meet your standards.

Contact Responsive Call Center today to learn how we can help you maximize your KPIs.

Offshore, Onshore versus Nearshore Call Center Solutions

If you are considering outsourcing your business’ call center, you have numerous options.  In the process, you will want to evaluate such factors as how close the center needs to be to your business’ location, the cost of the center’s operation, and language and cultural requirements.

When considering the location of your call center services, you have three options: onshore, nearshore, and offshore.

Onshore call center outsourcing is a popular strategy that involves a business selecting a company located in its region or nation to provide its services. The benefit to the business is a reduction in labor costs and access to skilled labor with a very slight risk of language or cultural barriers.

Nearshore call center outsourcing is when a business selects a company in a country nearby the country where the business is located. Typically, businesses that choose this option experience slightly greater cost savings over the onshore option and have similar access to skilled labor with reduced risk of language and cultural barriers.

Offshore call center outsourcing involves a business selecting a company in a foreign country to provide services despite the strong possibility that agents will speak a different language than that of the business’ customers. While this strategy usually offers the highest cost savings and access to skilled labor, the risk of language and cultural barriers is higher.

However, this risk can be mitigated for US-based businesses depending on the country selected to provide outsourced call center services. Currently, more than 38.3 million people in the US speak Spanish in their homes – a figure that is more than twice that of 1990, according to the American Community Survey conducted by the US Census Bureau. Given this statistic, it’s easy to see why Nicaragua and Peru are becoming the countries of choice for businesses that outsource their call centers offshore.

With populations that include large numbers of English-speakers who are very familiar with US culture, these countries are fast becoming an alternative to Asian countries for quality call center services with as much as a 50% cost reduction over onshore options. Both Nicaragua and Peru are also the answer to providing bilingual services to customers as the countries and companies who do business there properly train a willing workforce that shows no signs of dissipating.

Wherever You Want to Be, Responsive Call Centers Can Help

Responsive Call Centers’ near and offshore call centers provide exceptional service thanks to our specially selected personnel. Our representatives in the US and Latin America are fluent English and Spanish speakers. Every offshore international call center representative is tested for proficiency in English and Spanish, including reading and writing skills, fluency and pronunciation. They’re tested after an intense three-week training program to ensure they can respond to US-based customers both in the English and Spanish language.

Considering nearshore or offshore call center solutions for your growing business? If so, contact the team at Responsive Call Center today to discuss the many options available to you.

It’s Time to Comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation

It's Time to Comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation

Even though all companies doing business with residents of the European Union (EU) will need to comply with its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by May 25, 2018, most will miss that deadline, according to a recent survey of corporate tech decision makers conducted by Crowd Research Partners.

The survey also found that only 7% of companies it surveyed report being in compliance with the regulation that requires substantial protection for the personal data of EU residents and thorough notification to them if that data is breached. And 28% have not even begun the work to be GDPR compliant by the deadline, the research found.

The high cost of GDPR compliance is likely one reason for corporate inaction. According to respondents to PwC’s survey of thousands of businesses that operate in the EU more than 77% of companies plan to allocate $1 million or more on GDPR compliance and compliance efforts – with 68% saying they will invest between $1 million and $10 million and 9% expecting, to spend over $10 million to address GDPR obligations.

However, ignoring GDPR compliance can bring stiff fines from EU officials: Penalties can run as high as 4% of an enterprise’s worldwide financial revenue. Those working to be compliant are investing resources in initiatives that include Privacy Shield and binding corporate rules, as well as model contracts for EU cross-border compliance. They are also centralizing data centers in Europe and de-identifying European data to reduce their GDPR risk exposure.

Businesses affected by the GDPR specifically include all companies that do business in the EU; companies that process the data of EU residents with more than 250 employees; and companies with less than 250 employees whose data processing rights impact the rights and freedoms of data subjects on a more than occasional basis and include certain types of sensitive personal data, in other words, any company that does business with an EU resident in any shape or form.

The type of identity information the GDPR requires businesses to protect includes name, address and ID numbers; web data such as location, IP address, cookie data and RFID tags; health and genetic data; biometric data; racial or ethnic data; political opinions; and sexual orientation.

GDPR compliance also specifies the roles that are responsible for ensuring compliance as the data controller, data processor, and the data protection officer. The data controller defines how personal data is processed and the purposes for which it is processed. The controller is also responsible for making sure that outside contractors comply.

In addition, companies need to make certain that their data management vendors are compliant. The EU considers vendors an extension of the companies they work with for the purpose of gathering, storing and protecting their data and managing data breaches. This means that all company contracts with vendors must be updated to reflect that systems and practices have been put in place to comply with the GDPR. As with individual businesses’ contracts, these vendor contracts need to define consistent processes for how data is managed and protected, and how breaches are reported.

“Organizations should not see [GDPR compliance] as just a regulatory compliance program,” said Peter Gooch, cyber risk services partner at Deloitte. “Having the right privacy requirements embedded into an overall customer engagement strategy can also be a competitive advantage. All businesses rely on consumer loyalty. A breach can put the company’s existence at risk.”

Why the Call Center is Still Relevant

Why the Call Center is Still Relevant

While it may seem logical that customers would prefer service delivery online or via phone without a human involved, that’s actually not the case at all. Today’s customers expect more from brands than ever before and these companies need to step it up if they are to be successful. How do call centers factor in?

Microsoft’s 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report found that 69% of US respondents to their survey said customer service is very important in their choice of or loyalty to a brand. The report also elaborates that knowing that customer experience is such an important factor, it is essential to “deliver personalized and contextual interactions throughout the customer journey.” Breaking this down further by age group around the world, the message is clear – customer service is very important in the choice of or loyalty to a brand.

  • • Ages 18-34 – 66% selected Very Important
  • • Ages 35-54 – 56% selected Very Important
  • • Ages 55+ – 55% selected Very Important

In the US, the phone is the customer service channel respondents use most – 74% of respondents have used the telephone as a customer service channel. In fact, the phone is more popular than email, in-person, live chat, mobile app, text message, self-service, chat bot, search engine, social media or online community in the US and in most areas of the world represented in the study.

Keep in mind, however, when asked about what the most frustrating aspect of a customer service experience is, 34% of US respondents selected “Automated Telephone System (IVR)/inability to reach a live person for customer support.” Microsoft’s study reports that 59% of US respondents say they have stopped doing business with a brand because of a poor customer service experience. Seeing as customers base their loyalty to a brand, in part, on their customer service experience, businesses looking to hit the mark with their customer base need to understand that people still prefer to speak with another person when it comes to receiving service from a company and furthermore, they will discontinue doing business with a brand when not pleased with a customer service experience.

In the 21st century, some may be shocked by these results but the results make it clear that businesses with the most responsive call centers will have a significant competitive edge. Many such businesses will choose to partner with a highly-skilled telephone call answering services provider due to the substantial infrastructure involved in delivering the best call center-based customer service. They also recognize that this partnership provides them with more time to focus on growing their business because experts are managing their customer service call center.

According to the US respondents, 33% to be exact, “a friendly & knowledgeable representative” is the most important aspect of a good customer service experience. The right call answering service will have live operators trained in the specifics of your business available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to speak with your customers and potential customers. This means that your business is open all day, every day with trained professionals always ready to represent your brand which should translate into brand loyalty from your customers.

At Responsive Call Center, we provide that and more. Our operators follow your predetermined protocol so that every caller receives the attention they need to solve their problems. They use state-of-the-art equipment to make certain that you never miss any of your customers’ calls. This combination delivers growth for your business and leads to happy customers who refer your business to others.

Responsive Call Center offers a complete menu of call answering services that includes bilingual answering capability, virtual receptionist services, call screening and forwarding, online faxing, and emergency dispatch.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help your business grow while improving customer loyalty and make sure that you receive all of your important calls.

Support Your Brand’s Social Efforts in 2018

Support Your Brand's Social Efforts in 2018

Handling customer satisfaction through social media platforms was an idea that many people could not comprehend less than 10 years ago. A few years ago, it may have been questionable whether social media could be a way to take care of customers or market products. Today, social media is used more and more to address consumers’ questions and concerns, therefore, it is advisable to review the various platforms and how they can benefit your business.

Social Customer Efforts are evolving

While some customers still prefer face-to-face or over the phone interaction, many consumers turn to social media as their first choice when contacting a company they do business with. Most people will expect a reply to their social media comment or question within a day or even hours. Managing customer satisfaction on a social media platform is difficult as it is there for everyone to see, at any time. Transparency and professionalism are the most important features when responding to customers.

Social media platforms allow consumers to speak and be heard by many. They can easily post on your social channel whenever they have a question or concern, and expect to be heard. It has been found that businesses who treat these interactions with their customers with respect and address their concerns promptly, benefit greatly.

Responsive Call Center is the Answer

As more businesses turn to technology to handle their social interactions, it is clear that robotic responses will not survive. The modern consumer prefers organic interactions. Scripts and robotic responses are not acceptable to today’s consumers; they prefer to interact with someone who is “listening” to them and is capable of offering a reasonable solution.

The representative needs to have an understanding of the brand and their goals in order to be effective. Here are some other skills an effective agent can demonstrate:

  • • The ability to make good decisions on the spot
  • • The ability to cope with tough interactions professionally
  • • Excellent writing skills
  • • Appropriate sense of humor
  • • The ability to handle technology and stay up to date with the latest features of the social platforms
  • • Show empathy when appropriate

Once the foundation has been laid, ongoing training should be required of all agents to make sure everyone is comfortable with the ever-evolving social platforms.

Companies are using various social platforms to interact with consumers, therefore, every business needs to keep up with social media strategies and train agents to quickly respond to the demands of customer social interactions.

If your business needs assistance maintaining your social media efforts, contact Responsive Call Center today – it’s all in our name. We are here to help!