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Dorottya Márton
February 26, 2021
#VCC News
8 min read

Industry Standards for Contact Center KPIs’

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Measuring and understanding the key performance indicators of your contact center is essential for understanding its effectiveness. KPIs’ can let you know where to concentrate your customer service efforts and can help you plan your next business decision.

Most contact center managers understand that they need to constantly oversee their operations’ KPIs’ and metrics. However, it might not always be clear what KPIs’ agents should focus on and what industry standard they can expect from their team’s performance. 

This guide looks at the top eight contact center KPIs’ along with their global industry standards. With this guide, you can make sure to put yourself on the right track towards excellent customer service!

1. Service Level

If you are running inbound operations in any form, this is your top contact center KPI to track, as it indicates whether you have enough agents to resolve your customer’s needs. Service Level helps your contact center estimate the percentage of calls answered within a specific amount of time. Usually, the industry standard for this amount is known to be 20 seconds and the common goal is to have 80% of your incoming calls answered by an agent.

However, it is important to note that this standard should be taken flexibly. Call volumes vary based on the specific company’s size, growth rate, and its amount of customers. Do some research on your audience and make sure to consider factors such as customer needs, expectations, and priorities before setting your Service Level objectives.

2. Average Speed of Answer

Not to be confused with Service Level, the  average speed of answer (ASA) is the average amount of time it takes for calls to be answered, in seconds. Even when reaching the target Service Level, it is possible for calls to spend a lot of time in que, depending on the various metrics of your business. Therefore, it is important to complement Service Level with ASA, as it represents the experience of individual callers.

Seen as an indicator for customer satisfaction and your operation’s overall performance, the industry standard for this contact center KPI is 28 seconds. Having longer ASA could be an indicator of weak customer satisfaction and can leave open the potential for agent burnout.

3. Average Handling Time

Like its name suggests, Average Handling Time (AHT) is the amount of time it takes for your operation to handle a call, starting from the initiation of the call (inbound or out), to its final resolution, including hold time and talk time.

Most contact centers aim to reduce this time to as little as possible, making up an industry standard of 6 minutes. However, just like with Service Level, this contact center KPI should be taken flexibly, as it can vary based on the specifics of your company, such as its scale and size, as well as on the sector you are in.

4. First Call Resolution

Similarly to Average Speed of Answer, this contact center KPI can be used to measure the experience of individual calls. First Call Resolution (FCR) measures the percentage of calls resolved by your agents on first interaction with the caller. This means that no follow up call or further interaction is required to solve the issue at hand. The general industry standard for this KPI is set at 70-75%.

5. Average Abandonment Rate

Average Abandonment Rate (AAR) measures the percentage of calls disconnected by customers before reaching an agent. This contact center KPI is generally seen as an indicator of how your clients relate to wait ques and it can be an indirect indicator of your general customer satisfaction; According to a study conducted by American Express, 67% of customers hang up the phone because they cannot get through to a live agent. The general standard for this KPI varies between 5-8% and can reach up to 20% based on variables, such as the time of day.

6. Wrap Up Time

Call Wrap Up Time, or After Call Work refers to the amount of time an agent spends on tasks after the call has been finished with the client. This includes follow-up tasks related to the call, such as setting a callback time, filling out CRM forms and resolving potential issues with their manager. The industry standard for this metric can vary, depending on the industry you are in. Additionally, the more complex the call, the longer you can expect your wrap up time to be.

While the global metric for this contact center KPI is set at 6 minutes, it is important to note the differences in industries. Wrap up time in tech support can be expected to be much longer than in retail for example.

7. Maximum Occupancy

Maximum Occupancy refers to the amount of time that agents work on call related activities. This includes talk, hold, and wrap up time. The general industry standard for this contact center KPI is 60-80%. Higher rates than this mean that your agents have no or very little time between calls, leading to agent burnout and high employee turnover.

8. Net Promoter Score

Net promoter score (NPS) measures customer loyalty to your brand or service. Measured on a 1-10 scale, customers are usually asked the following question after the call: “How likely is it that you would recommend a service to an acquaintance?” The clients are then grouped into: promoters (score of 9 or 10; satisfied and would recommend your business to others), passives (score of 7 to 8; overall satisfied, but do not promote your brand), or detractors (0 to 6; unsatisfied with your services).

Reported between a scale from -100 to +100. The median global industry standard for this KPI is +44. This means that half of companies score below and half score above this rate. 25% of the lowest performers have an NPS score of 0 or lower and 25% of the best performers have a score of 72 or higher. If your company scores below zero, you should start thinking about replanning your customer care strategy.

This list is essential whether you are just starting out your business and newly planning your customer care strategy, or already have your operations up and running. Keeping the most essential contact center KPIs’ in mind is essential for the planning and maintenance of any operation dealing with customer service. While these industry standards can vary based on the specifics of your industry and operations, they can be a good indicator of what to look out for when managing your contact center!

Dorottya Márton
Dorottya Marton is a writer, copywriter, and general media enthusiast. Her work intersecting between IT, media, and society, Dorottya's writing at VCC focuses on the social dimensions of technology and the practical applications of top-notch B2B software.