Call center productivity is a key element in delivering outstanding customer experience and achieving business growth. In this article, we’ll cover some of the basics around call center productivity calculating and measuring it, some key metrics and strategies, and a brief summary.
What is Call Center Productivity?
Call center productivity reflects a call center’s efficiency and effectiveness in handling customer interactions, such as calls, emails, and chats. It is a key performance metric that measures how well a call center is meeting its goals and delivering a positive customer experience while managing costs, processes, and resources.
How to Calculate Call Center Productivity
Calculating call center productivity usually involves a formula: total output/total input. Call center productivity can be measured in partial factor productivity and multifactor productivity.
Generally, measuring call center productivity involves tracking various KPIs to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations. Collecting and analyzing these metrics can help call centers continuously improve their operations and get better aligned with business goals.
Key Metrics for Call Center Productivity
Call center productivity metrics consist of a combination of operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and performance indicators. Here are some of the most important call center productivity metrics:
Response Time: How quickly calls or inquiries are answered or responded to by agents. Lower response times are generally better for customer satisfaction.
First Call Resolution (FCR): The percentage of customer issues or inquiries resolved during the initial contact. High FCR rates are a sign of efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Average Handling Time (AHT): The average time it takes for an agent to handle a customer interaction, including talk time and associated tasks. A low AHT indicates higher call center productivity.
Service Level: The percentage of calls answered within a specific time frame, such as 30 seconds or 2 minutes, reflecting the call center’s ability to meet response time targets.
Abandonment Rate: The percentage of customers who abandon their call before speaking to an agent. High rates usually indicate problems with response times or service quality.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Measures customer satisfaction with the agent interaction, usually collected through post-call surveys.
Net Promoter Score (NPS): Measures the likelihood of customers recommending the company’s products or services.
Average Speed of Answer (ASA): The average customer wait time in the queue before an agent answers.
Factors Affecting Call Center Productivity
Call center productivity can be influenced by a wide range of factors, including:
- Call volume High call volumes can lead to longer wait times and increased pressure on agents, potentially reducing the efficiency and quality of these interactions.
- Agent training Call center agent training and expertise play a crucial role in productivity. Well-trained agents are more efficient at handling customer inquiries and resolving issues.
- Technology and tools The quality and efficiency of the call center’s technology infrastructure can significantly affect productivity. Along the same vein, tech issues (such as system outages or software glitches) can disrupt operations and reduce productivity.
- Quality assurance programs can enhance productivity by ensuring consistent service quality and identify areas of improvement.
- Employee engagement and job satisfaction are critical to call center productivity. Happy and engaged agents will be productive and provide better customer service.
- Customer behavior and expectations are wild card factors that can impact call center productivity. Changes in customer preferences, communication channels, or demographics may require adjustments in call center operations.
- External factors such as seasonality, marketing campaigns, product recalls, industry changes, and other factors can lead to fluctuations in call volume and affect productivity.
- Regulatory compliance requirements in regulated industries may create additional tasks and required training for agents, affecting their handling times.
6 Strategies for Improving Call Center Productivity
There are many strategies that call centers can apply to improve productivity. Below are a few recommendations by category:
Ongoing training and development
- Implement comprehensive training programs for new and existing agents to ensure they have the skills and knowledge needed to handle customer inquiries efficiently.
- Ongoing coaching and feedback to help agents improve their performance and adapt to changing customer needs.
- Upskill and cross-skill agents to handle a variety of inquiries and reduce idle time during low call volume periods.
- As part of their training and development, give agents the authority and tools to resolve customer issues without unnecessary escalations. Promoting autonomy and decision-making reduces bottlenecks and delays.
Elevate quality assurance processes
Call center productivity can be helped by solid QA processes:
- Regularly evaluate agent-customer interactions and provide constructive feedback for improvement.
- Optimize these processes by adding enhancements, such as flexible forms, utilizing smart segmentation, establishing better feedback loops, and determining root causes.
Leverage technology and tools
Below are some examples of technology and tools to look for as part of improving call center productivity:
- Microlearning helps reinforce training by sending bite-sized learning modules within the flow of work. AI-powered microlearning will trigger learning materials by detecting learning and performance gaps.
- Gamification taps into intrinsic and extrinsic motivators that add a touch of fun while keeping employees engaged and performing. Go beyond the leaderboard and include an ongoing narrative, levels, badges, rewards, and other features to drive long-term behaviors and productivity.
Create a culture of learning
Call center productivity can be improved by creating a culture of learning. Some tips:
- Develop a robust knowledge base that agents can access quickly to find accurate and consistent information.
- Consider implementing social sharing capabilities. Agents can contribute their own tips and tricks for success, building a culture of collaboration and trust.
Monitor and analyze metrics
Monitoring and analyzing metrics is critical as part of call center productivity:
- Benchmark against industry standards and adopt best practices to stay competitive and innovative.
- Continuously monitor key performance indicators to identify trends and areas for improvement.
- Use data analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences.
Create a customer feedback loop
Call center productivity can benefit from establishing a customer feedback loop:
- Solicit feedback from customers and use it to make improvements to products, services, and call center processes.
- Actively listen to customer complaints and take steps to resolve issues promptly.
Meet Centrical Сall Center Solutions— Deliver daily experiences that make your agents engaged and effective.
Centrical’s connected Performance eXperience Platform provides a complete solution that enables optimal, efficient call center performance and supports your call center’s productivity. The platform includes targeted microlearning, real-time performance visibility, augmented coaching, advanced gamification, and Voice of Employee. Centrical also has new generative AI capabilities to support automated training content creation.
Centrical customers have experienced solid results, including:
- 15% increase in CSAT scores
- 50% faster onboarding
- 30% reduction in early attrition
Summary and Key Takeaways
We have covered some of the core aspects of call center productivity. Below are some key takeaways:
- Call center productivity is a critical success metric that reflects a call center’s ability to deliver an outstanding customer experience while maintaining efficiency and effectively managing costs, resources, and processes.
- Core call center productivity KPIs include response time, AHT, FCR, CSAT, NPS, and other metrics.
- Factors such as high call volume, gaps in agent training, employee morale and engagement, customer behavior, tech issues, product updates/recalls, and other can affect call center productivity.
- Call center productivity strategies include continuous agent training and development, elevating quality assurance processes, monitoring and analyzing metrics, implementing new technology and tools, and creating a culture of learning.
- For over a decade, Centrical has enabled greater call center productivity for the world’s leading organizations. To learn more about Centrical, and how our platform can benefit your organization, watch the platform in action and request your personal overview today.