Series: Contact center planning

Plan metrics, measurement, and reporting


Most contact centers use performance metrics to measure success in hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and annual time frames. It is essential to implement the right objective and subjective performance metrics to determine what you do right and where you go wrong.

It is a challenge for every contact center leader to find the right mix of objective and subjective metrics that:

  • Support the organization’s mission and strategy,
  • Accurately reflect the customer experience you want,
  • Reflect how efficiently you are running your business.

The best time to revisit contact center metrics and measurements is during new contact center technology implementation. Keep in mind that calculations used to measure metrics, especially your new technology, may use different terms, calculations, and report layouts. You may have access to new performance statistics and have to figure out if they are relevant in your environment.

Selecting a limited number of key performance objectives is part of a comprehensive measurement strategy. If users must pay attention to every available statistic, they will not see the connection between contact center metrics and daily activities — or know where to focus their efforts. That’s why it is vital that the leadership team:

  • Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) most important to the contact center,
  • Communicate them across all levels of the contact center,
  • Describe how to measure them and the actions that impact them.

Refer to the standard contact center metrics below for examples of commonly used KPIs.

Questions

Discuss the following questions with your team:

  • Do contact center metrics align with the organization’s mission and strategy and your Customer Experience Strategy? If the CES describes the desired customer experience, then key contact center metrics should reflect whether the contact center carries out the strategy. If not, point the way toward prime areas of improvement.
  • Do KPIs and supporting metrics cascade throughout the contact center into team and individual performance metrics?
  • Do you consider how metrics drive employee behaviors? For example, rigid individual handle-time metrics can make agents rush–an unintended consequence. Conflicting or misaligned metrics may drive behaviors that are at odds with your mission and objectives.
  • Are all individual metrics within the individual or team’s ability to control? For example, agents don’t control how many calls they receive during their shift.
  • Are contact center objectives clearly defined, measurable, actionable, and attainable?
  • Do reporting stakeholders clearly understand where each metric is derived along with the metrics and calculations used for each? Can report stakeholders explain each metric and explain why it is important, how it fits into the overall strategy, and how they and other employees impact it?
  • Have you matched report stakeholders with the reports and statistics they need? Be aware that senior leadership does not need as much detail that supervisors require. Do not bog leaders down with extraneous information.
  • Is data organized and presented in a way that is easy to understand on reports and dashboards? When statistic layouts are confusing or unclear, it is unlikely stakeholders will use the data for its intended purpose.

Actions

Take the following actions before moving forward in the planning phase:

Preparation Assigned to Complete date
Gather current reports and determine if they are still relevant, valid, and useful. Document required metrics/measurements/statistics with their current definitions, calculations, and targets. 
Identify potential gaps in current and future reporting and define future needs and requirements. Determine if there are elements of the current reporting environment to replicate in the new system. Determine if there are requirements that weren’t possible to meet in the past that is possible with the new system.
Identify current sources of reporting metrics, and review level of effort in creating and delivering reports. Focus on opportunities to automate.
Consider cross-functional reporting requirements for departments outside the contact center. For example, the marketing team may value a report that shows call volume by marketing source. Or the product management team may find meaning in the contact center’s product complaints by customer, product, and complaint type.
Ensure that all employees fully understand how the organization manages performance and how they and managers access performance metrics. Verify the accuracy of calculations and data sources before you hold employees accountable for performance objectives.

Standard contact center metrics

 

Metric Definition
Metric Definition
Abandon %

The percentage of offered interactions in which the customer disconnected before connecting with an agent. The abandon rate can identify queues that require extra staff to handle interactions in a timely manner.

Calculated by: (Abandoned Count / Offered Count) * 100

Abandon

The number of interactions where a customer disconnects in an ACD queue before connecting with an agent. For example, the customer hangs up before an agent answers, or the system disconnects the interaction.

Average abandon

The average amount of time before a customer disconnects in an ACD queue before connecting with an agent. For example, the customer hangs up before an agent answers, or the system disconnects the interaction.

Total abandon

The total amount of time interactions are in queue waiting for an agent to answer them before customers abandoned the interactions.

Active agents

The number of active agents. In some views, this number is shown next to the total number of queue members.

After-call work (ACW)

The total time spent in after-call work (ACW). After-call work is the work that an agent performs immediately following an interaction. Work may involve keying activity codes, updating customer databases, filling out forms, or initiating outbound contact. As a metric, it indicates the total time an agent takes to finish working on a call. If an agent must complete work before the agent can handle the next contact, then ACW is factored into the average handle time. 
Note: ACW for callback interactions is always zero. 

Answered

A measurement of the number of assigned ACD interactions answered by an agent in a given period. Answered increments when the agent is the first to connect to the interaction.

Meal

The time spent in the Meal status for the specified period.

Average wait

The average amount of time an interaction is in a queue before an agent answers it, it flows out, or the customer abandons it.

Calculated by: Total Wait Time / Interactions

Average hold

The average number of seconds that interactions were placed on hold.

Calculated by: Total Hold Time / Count of interactions with holds

Average after-call work (Avg ACW)

The average amount of time agents spent completing after-call work.

Calculated by: Total ACW / Interactions

Note: ACW for callback interactions is always zero. 

Avg talk

The average number of seconds spent interacting on a media type.

Calculated by: Total Talk time/ Count of interactions with Talk time.

Contacts handled

The total number of ACD and non-ACD interactions agents were involved in, including answered interactions, transfers, callbacks, and outbound calls. Handle increments in the interval in which the interaction ends, after the agent completes any after call work and completes the interaction. 

Customers interacting

The number of customers in conversation or on chat with an agent.

Customers waiting

An instantaneous observation of the number of interactions waiting in the queue to be answered. Waiting is calculated by the sum total of the number of interactions waiting.

Average handle time (AHT)

The average amount of time agents spent handling interactions. This calculation includes talk time, hold time, and after-call work. For outbound calls it also includes dialing and contacting time.

Calculated by: (cumulative talk time + cumulative hold time + cumulative after-call work + cumulative dialing time + cumulative contacting time) / Number of interactions handled.

Average speed of answer (ASA)

The average amount of time an interaction waits in queue before an agent answers it. This metric does not include interactions that agents do not answer. ASA is directly associated with service level and provides insight into the customer service your company provides. ASA is recorded in the interval in which the agent answered the interaction.

Calculated by: Total Time to Answer / Number Answered 

Held interactions

The number of interactions with holds.

Hold

The cumulative hold time for all interactions.

Interacting

The time that the agent was handling interactions.

Training

The time spent in the Training status for the specified period.

Logged in

The total amount of time a user is logged in for the specified period.

Meeting

The time spent in the Meeting status for the specified period.

Offered

The number of interactions routed into the queue for an agent to answer. Offered interactions are either answered, abandoned, or flow-out interactions. 

Offered to assignment

A measurement of call attempts that reach the Assignment Service including abandoned calls.

Break

The time spent in the Break status for the specified period.

On Queue

The On Queue metric represents the number of agents that are on queue for a specific queue.

On unassigned interactions

This metric represents the number of agents currently working on non-assigned interactions. This value may not indicate misappropriated work. Non-assigned interactions could include after call work calls. 

Remote

The name or number in communication with the named agent. A name appears only if the remote number matches a directory entry.

Service level %

Service level target is a contact center performance statistic expressed as “X percent of contacts answered in Y seconds.” For example, a goal of answering 80% of voice calls within 20 seconds provides a service level target of 80/20. You can set the service level target for each media type in a queue. Analytics uses this service level target to calculate whether you are within the service level % defined by your service level agreement (SLA). For more information about setting the service level target, see Create queues or Edit or delete queues.

The service level percentage is the percentage of interactions that meet your contact center's service level target. Calculated by: (Number of answered interactions - number of answered interactions that miss the service level target) / (Number of answered interactions + number of abandoned interactions)*100

Admins can also choose to include flow-outs in the calculation. For more information, see Configure the service level calculation. If you include flow-outs, the service level calculation is: (Number of answered interactions - number of answered interactions that miss the service level target) / (Number of answered interactions + number of abandoned interactions+ number of flow-outs)*100

Note: Any interactions that leave a queue without an agent handling or transferring the interaction, including callbacks, count as flow-outs. Callbacks do not count as answered within service level, even if the callback was offered before the Service Level Target was reached.

Staffed agents

An instantaneous observation/query equivalent to Joined to Queue X. Staffed agents are the set of people that are currently staffed on a queue.

Supplemental agents

An instantaneous observation/query equivalent to Role of Agent & Eligible to Join Queue X & Online & not joined to queue X. Supplemental agents are the set of people that can be staffed for a queue.

Talk

Amount of time spent interacting on a media type.

Time in status

The amount of time the agent has been in the current status.

Transfer %

The number of transfers compared to the total number of interactions answered.

Calculated by: (# of transfers / Interactions Answered) * 100

Transfer

A measurement of the number of interactions an agent answered in one queue and then transferred. A transfer counts for the queue in which an agent answers the interaction. This measurement is calculated by the number of interactions blind transferred or consult transferred. 

Blind transfer

The number of interactions an agent answered in one queue and then blind transferred. A blind transfer counts for the queue in which an agent answers the interaction. 

Consult

The number of interactions an agent answered and then consulted with another participant without fully transferring the interaction. A consult counts for the queue in which an agent answers the interaction, even if they consult with another queue.

Consult transfer

The number of interactions an agent answered in one queue and then consult transferred. A consult transfer counts for the queue in which an agent answers the interaction. 

Trunk load

Trunk load is a time-related metric that includes all components of a voice interaction, other than the after-call work which does not require a circuit.

Trunk load =  Ring + Attendant/IVR + Assignment + Talk Time

Total wait

The average amount of time before a customer disconnects in an ACD queue before connecting with an agent. For example, the customer hangs up before an agent answers, or the system disconnects the interaction.

Waiting

The number of interactions waiting to be answered. Waiting is calculated by the sum total of the number of interactions waiting.

Working interactions

A derived metric of the total count of unique interactions being worked by an agent within a time period.

Calculated by: Unique Interactions Holding + Talking + ACW.

Communicating

The agent is on a non-ACD call, and, in relation to agent utilization and call routing, PureCloud treats the non-ACD call like an ACD call. For example, administrators could configure agent utilization so PureCloud does not route new interactions to agents while they on an ACD or non-ACD call. This status only appears if administrators have selected “Include non-ACD conversations” when they configured agent utilization.

Not Responding

An agent was On Queue or Interacting and did not answer an offered interaction. The agent could still be handling and completing other previous interactions. While Not Responding, the agent does not receive new interactions.

Available

The time spent in the Available status for the specified period.

Away

The time spent in the Away status for the specified period.

Busy

The time spent in the Busy status for the specified period.

Idle (Away)

The time spent in the Away status. PureCloud puts agents into the Idle status when they are logged on to the desktop application but the screen saver engages, the screen locks, or the system enters sleep mode because of the agent's inactivity. The amount of time it takes for PureCloud to change the agent's status to Idle depends on the user's system settings. When an agent enters Idle status, PureCloud displays the agent's status as Away (for example, on the agent's profile page).

Idle

This routing status represents agents who are On Queue and able to take interactions but are not working with interactions. 

 
Flow-Out

Flow-outs are interactions that enter and leave a queue without getting answered by an agent and without getting disconnected. Flow-outs are an indication of customer service level and queue productivity. High numbers of flow-outs can indicate staffing issues or ineffective agents when used with high handle times (bullseye matching metrics).

Flow-outs can include transfers to voicemail, callbacks, and any system-driven events such as in-queue flows that transfer to another queue or external party after a certain amount of time. Flow-outs can also occur if the caller opts to exit out of the queue and return to the IVR. Offered interactions are either flow-out, answered, or abandoned interactions.

Outbound 

This metric represents the number of outbound interactions placed on behalf of queue.

Total handle

The total amount of time agents spend handling interactions. This calculation includes talk time, hold time, and after-call work. For outbound calls it also includes dialing and contacting time.

Calculated by: (cumulative talk time + cumulative hold time + cumulative after-call work + cumulative dialing time + cumulative contacting time)

Total dialing

The total amount of time an outbound interaction spends dialing a contact.

Average dialing
The average amount of time an agent spends dialing and waiting for a contact to answer during outbound interactions.
Calculated by: (total dialing time/ total number of dialing segments)
Total contacting

The total amount of time outbound interactions take to connect to the agent’s phone. Usually, this duration is short. However, if the agent uses a remote phone the duration may be longer.

Average contacting

The average amount of time an outbound interaction takes to connecting to the agent’s phone. Usually, this duration is short. However, if the agent uses a remote phone the duration may be longer.
Calculated by: (total contacting time/ total number of contacting segments)

Alert - No Answer

The number of times the agent did not answer an offered interaction while On Queue or Interacting.  While Not Responding, the agent does not receive new interactions, but the agent could still be handling and completing other previous interactions.

Total Alert - No Answer

The total number of seconds PureCloud offered an agent an interaction before the agent declined the interaction or the interaction timed out.

Alert

The number of times agents receive an alert for interactions. 

Total Alert

The total time PureCloud alerts agents before the agent accepts or declines an interaction. 


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