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March 26, 2010

Call Center Statistics and Metrics: What's the Difference?

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor


While the call center can deliver significant value to the organization, it is also one of the most expensive of all its divisions. As such, it is important to understand how the center is performing and the best way to maximize its value to streamline costs and promote high productivity.

One of the best ways to measure the impact and performance of the call center is to capture statistics and metrics – but you must understand the difference between the two. Statistics captures the current status of the agent or group and performance metrics tell the story of how well the agent or group is performing.

Statistics

The advantage of statistics within the call center is that they capture what is happening in the call center at the moment, within a specific time frame or for the day. If an agent, team leader or manager wants to know the current status of the call center, statistics provides that information.

Statistics captured within the call center can include the average handle time (AHT) or the average call handle time (ACHT); service level or the percent of calls answered within a certain amount of time; the abandon rate of calls; the average speed of answer; the longest wait time (LWT) and the average wait time (AWT (News - Alert)); the number of calls in the queue (CIQ); and the ACD time (ACDT) or the total talk time by the agent or group spent talking to customers.

While these are just a sampling of the available call center statistics that can be used within this environment, each call center is different and should measure status according to the needs of the organization. In other words, while one call center must capture the number of abandoned calls, another call center in another industry may not need that information.

Metrics

As important as it is to capture statistics on the call center, it is also important to capture the metrics. Performance metrics tell the story of what customers think of the call center and its agents. Statistics can be done completely internally, but metrics is based on more the customer experience in relation to call center goals – much more difficult information to capture.

Even with such challenges, this information is still important to measure as performance metrics are used to manage the call center, drive sales, improve efficiencies and increase overall customer satisfaction. In plain language – improved call center performance metrics means improved state of business.

Here again, the elements that are actually captured by the individual call center to develop performance metrics can vary. A sampling of common measurements include: first call resolution (FCR); customer satisfaction (CSat); agent utilization rate (AUR) or Occupancy (OCC); cost per contact (CoC); average speed answer (ASA); and abandonment rate (ABN).

In summary, the performance metrics should provide a clear picture of the performance of the call center, identify its strengths and weaknesses and help to establish goals for the call center and agents.

Reporting

Overall, every call center wants to promote efficiency and effectiveness. To do so, call center reporting must include statistics and metrics. When both measurements are taken and reported on against overall goals, call center leaders have a better picture of total performance.

Spectrum Corp. offers call center reporting solutions that can capture such information and generate the necessary reports, which can be generated and displayed on LCD screens, Web-based reports, desktop dashboards, traditional LED Wallboards, smartphones and e-mail. In using these reports, call center leaders can know how agents are doing right now and what customers think of the center and its performance versus overall goals and targets.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard



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