The top six key metrics your contact center should be tracking

In customer service today, contact center agents interact with hundreds of customers everyday and are tasked with solving every support issue they possibly can. While your agents are spending significant time working with customers, it’s just as important to be spending the same amount of time tracking your contact center performance to measure how effective your customer support really is.

As each quarter comes to a close, it’s critical for your contact center team to track and analyze your support performance data in order to identify what gaps can be fixed to ultimately improve both the customer and agent experience. There are a lot of different contact center key metrics, but you may be wondering: which metrics are the most important for my team to be following? When it comes to measuring the success of your contact center, there are a handful of key metrics your team should be tracking.

To learn more about what are the top key metrics your center should be tracking to improve agent success and customer satisfaction, keep reading below.

Defining the top contact center key metrics

1. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net promoter score, or NPS, is one of the most critical metrics to track the health and success of your customer service. NPS gauges end user satisfaction and how likely they are to recommend your product or service to someone else. Net promoter score is collected through a customer satisfaction survey with the question, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our organization to a friend or colleague?”

There are three distinct categories your customers will fall into when it comes to calculating NPS:

  • Promoters: survey respondents who respond with a score of 9 to 10. Promoters are likely to advocate for, and recommend your business to others.
  • Passives: survey respondents who respond with a score of 7 to 8. Passives are neutral customers and may not have a strong opinion about your company or your support. 
  • Detractors: survey respondents who respond with a score of 0 to 6. Detractors may be more likely to share negative experiences about your brand to others. 

How to calculate promoters, passives and detractors

Before you can calculate NPS, you must first calculate the percentage of promoters, passives and detractors.

First, calculate the percentage of survey promoters:

[Total number of promoters / total number of responses] x 100

Then, calculate the percentage of survey detractors:

[Total number of detractors / total number of responses] x 100

Lastly, calculate the percentage of survey passives.

[Total number of passives / total number of responses] x 100

After you’ve calculated the percentage of your promoters, passives and detractors, now you are ready to retrieve your NPS score.

How to calculate NPS

To calculate net promoter score, the formula is as follows:

Net promoter score = The percent of survey promoters – the percent of survey detractors 

This resulting number will provide you with your final NPS score on a scale of -100 to +100. 

Benchmarking NPS

An NPS above zero is considered a “good” score. An optimal score is that of 20 or above, and a score of 50 or above is considered “excellent”. The highest potential NPS is a score of 80 or above, and is most often considered “world class”. 1 The global median benchmark for NPS is a score of 44 or above. 2

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2. First call resolution (FCR)

First call resolution (FCR), also referred to as first contact resolution, is defined as a contact center’s ability to resolve a customer’s issue or service request within the first call. FCR can have a major impact on your customer satisfaction rates as well as your company’s ability to maintain a loyal customer base as solving a customer’s issue on the first interaction removes the need for any future callbacks and reduces friction for your customers. By providing answers to customers efficiently and consistently, your contact center can significantly improve FCR and decrease the amount of customer call backs entering the queue.  

How to calculate first call resolution rate

To calculate first call resolution rate, the formula is as follows:

[The number of resolved interactions on the first contact / the total number of interactions] x 100

The industry standard for first call resolution is around 75%, with a high FCR rate being 90% or above and a low FCR rate around 40% or less.3 A high first call resolution rate can help your company retain its customers, and is often a good sign that your agents are equipped with the right tools and expertise to help your customers succeed. 

On the other hand, a low FCR rate can negatively affect your customer satisfaction and retention. When customers are left with having to call into contact centers multiple times for a new or repeat issue, they are more likely to experience dissatisfaction with not only your customer service, but with your business overall.

3. Customer retention 

One of the key metrics to focus on when it comes to contact center success is determining how many customers your company is able to retain. Great customer service involves improving brand loyalty among your customers with every positive service interaction. 

Your support representatives are the front lines of keeping customers happy and this directly impacts your customer retention rate; therefore, equipping your agents with the most effective contact center support solutions is key to maintaining a loyal customer base.  

Additionally, as most businesses know, it can be extremely expensive to acquire new customers. By focusing on retaining current customers rather than allocating all of your team’s resources towards acquiring new ones, your business has an opportunity to make smarter investments. This can be especially prevalent in saturated markets, such as cell phone carriers and cable providers.

Like NPS, customer retention involves a few key variables that have been simplified into the following acronyms:

  • CE: total number of customers at the end of a given time period
  • CN: total number of new customers acquired during the given time period
  • CS: total number of customers at the start of a given time period

How to calculate customer retention rate

To calculate customer retention rate, the formula is as follows:

[[CE – CN] / CS] x 100

4. Customer churn

Just as it’s critical to track how many of your customers you’re retaining, it’s equally important to measure how many customers you’re losing over time. Customer churn is defined as the loss of customers from a business. Also known as customer attrition, customer churn allows businesses to recognize how many clients are turning over within a given time period. Like most sales metrics, customer attrition rates vary across industries. 

As with acquiring new customers, it’s also extremely costly to lose customers. Customer churn ties directly back to the contact center. If your customers are consistently dissatisfied with your customer service, they are more likely to take their business elsewhere all together. In fact, researchers have found that 15% of customers end up withdrawing from a brand is due to repeated customer service issues.4

As mentioned, your agents play an integral role at your company when it comes to learning from your customers’ needs and issues that they may encounter. An equipped customer support workforce can greatly prevent significant churn.

The average customer churn rate in 2020 for telecom and wireless industries is about 21%, hardware and electronics at 11% and 25% within the cable industry.  

Customer churn rate in the United States in 2020 by industry, Statistica

How to calculate customer churn rate

To calculate customer churn rate, the formula is as follows:

[The number of customers lost within a given period / The total number of customers at the beginning of the given period] x 100

5. Repeat call rate

Another critical metric to be tracking in your contact center is repeat call rate. Repeat call rate is defined as the percentage of customer calls that address the same issue. RCR can also be used to measure the number of customer interactions or service requests that are re-opened by an agent after they’ve been solved. Repeat calls often detect which topics or issues are most common or frequent for your customers. This may include device onboarding, device or account resetting and more. 

How to calculate repeat call rate

To calculate repeat call rate, the formula is as follows:

Number of calls involving the same issue / Total number of calls

Repeat calls constantly entering your contact center can cost your company valuable time, money and resources that could be instead spent on solving more complex customer issues and requests. One way your team can reduce the amount of repeat calls is by implementing effective self-serve tools for end-customers. By allowing your customers to attempt to solve their own technology issues on their own, your team will see a decrease in the number of repeat calls that enter your contact center by promoting digital adoption and user confidence amongst your customers.

6. Transfer rate

Another key factor in assessing your contact center success is transfer rate. Transfer rate is defined as the number of times a call is transferred from one agent to another. How often are your agents having to transfer a customer to their colleague to assist with or complete an interaction? Oftentimes, when customers are consistently transferred between agents throughout the duration of the call, customers tend to become frustrated with their provider’s customer service, not to mention having to re-explain their issue each time to every new agent, which adds even more frustration.

How to calculate transfer rate

To calculate average handle time, the formula is as follows:

[Number of calls transferred between contact center agents / The total number of calls handled in a given period] x 100

Improving transfer rate is key to reducing the number of calls that are left unresolved or having more customers frustrated with their support. When your agents are left to rely on search engines and online forums to answer customer inquiries, you’re more likely to see customers having to be transferred from one agent to another.

Transfer rate can be reduced by empowering your agents with the most comprehensive contact center support tools to increase problem resolution rates. Agents that have access to a single source of truth that’s complete with reliable, up-to-date resources, you’re able to then  boost agent confidence and their ability to handle even the most complex customer issues. An optimal support platform should offer the latest software, hardware and app versions along with proactive, suggested answers at any time, through any channel for your agents. 

Understanding success: contact center key metrics

Understanding the top contact center key metrics is critical when it comes to improving your overall customer service. Tracking these key metrics such as NPS, customer retention, customer churn, handle time, transfer rate and more will allow your business to assess what changes are necessary to improve your customer support. The top performing businesses today are using these metrics on a regular basis to drive meaningful change amongst their customer service teams. Providing exceptional customer service is costly and resource-intensive. Ensure you are maximizing your investment in your customer satisfaction by regularly reporting on these metrics and using them to make data-driven decisions around where to invest next.