Improving productivity is one of the biggest challenges modern contact centers face.
There are many things you can do to make your call center more productive, like motivating your agents, equipping them with technological solutions, and implementing self-service options.
But before thinking about solutions, it’s important to measure your current productivity metrics to be able to track progress down the line.
In this article, we’ll help you understand what call center productivity is, how to measure and track it with metrics and KPIs, and ways to improve it.
What Is Call Center Productivity?
The definition of productivity is pretty simple: the ratio of the output to the input.
When it comes to the call center, the input here is your agents, while the output is the number of calls or support tickets handled in any given time frame.
How to Calculate and Measure Call Center Agent Productivity
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” – Peter Drucker
Accurately measuring your contact center agent productivity is vital for you to find opportunities for improvement. Without accurate measurement, you won’t be able to set goals and come up with actionable steps to meet them.
Traditionally, productivity was measured with the following formula:
Number of resolved queries/number of available agents
For instance, if you have 60 agents in your call center that resolve 400 customer queries each day, then your call center’s productivity factor is 6.66. The higher this factor gets, the more productive your call center is.
However, since the point of improving productivity is to boost your call center’s profitability and enhance the customer experience, relying exclusively on this formula won’t give you the full picture.
An agent may resolve 5 customer queries in one hour without creating the same revenue impact as another agent that resolved 2 queries in the same time frame.
As such, it’s virtually impossible to measure productivity with a single metric. Instead, call center managers need to look at multiple metrics and consider various factors to get a sense of how productive their employees are.
Call Center Productivity Metrics
Now, let’s check out some of the most relevant call center metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for measuring productivity:
First Call Resolution (FCR)
First Call Resolution (FCR) is a customer satisfaction metric that can also be used to measure agent productivity. It’s the number of customers that get their query handled from their first encounter with an agent without any call transfers.
Here’s how the FCR is calculated:
Number of customer inquiries resolved in one call / total number of resolved calls
A higher first contact resolution percentage means that fewer employees need to work on the same customer query, contributing to better overall productivity.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is an indicator of how satisfied your customers are. To measure the CSAT, you can add an after-call survey that enables customers to rate their support experience on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Then you can calculate the CSAT score as follows (taking into account 4 and 5-star responses only):
(Number of 4-star and 5-star ratings / Total number of responses) x 100%
If your call center is productive, your CSAT should be 85% or higher, and the opposite is true.
Average Handling Time (AHT)
The Average Handling Time (AHT) is the total amount of time an agent spends handling a customer, measured in seconds. This includes the time spent in the phone call itself, in addition to after-call work and hold and transfer time.
To calculate the AHT, use this formula:
(Total talk + hold + follow-up time) / total number of live calls
A higher AHT may indicate that your call center is productive, and vice versa. But beware, too high AHT values could mean your agents aren’t devoting enough time to each customer, which might impact your customer satisfaction score.
Missed-Call Rate is the number of unanswered customer calls due to long queue waiting times.
A customer that waits too long on the first call attempt won’t likely call again, resulting in poor customer satisfaction and lost opportunities.
Here’s how to calculate the missed call rate for your call center:
(Number of abandoned calls / total number of incoming calls) x 100
Optimizing your missed call rate goes hand in hand with improving your contact center productivity.
Higher productivity means fewer customers will have to wait in a queue for too long until they lose interest.
You can make your agents more efficient, hire more agents, or improve your IVR system to boost productivity.
The Impact of Agent Productivity in a Call Center
Workforce productivity can have a significant impact on your company, customers, and agents. It results in more satisfied customers, better call outcomes, and faster call resolutions.
Productive call center agents are more capable of providing the best level of customer support, ensuring better customer retention.
Productivity also directly correlates with revenue. The higher your contact center’s revenue is, the easier it’ll be for you to reward your agents with incentives, further motivating them to be more productive.
From the customer side, productivity means your customers will get the support they need in the fastest and most streamlined way.
Mistakes When Looking at Productivity
One major mistake call center managers make when measuring productivity is to use its factory definition.
When call center productivity is measured as a percentage of occupancy or the total number of calls per hour, factors like service level objectives and staffing levels aren’t taken into consideration.
For service-based industries like contact centers, live chat requests and calls arrive randomly, meaning your agents are either waiting for a call or handling a customer at any given point in time.
The occupancy rate is a good indicator of resource utilization, but it won’t help you offer a good service level for your customers. Ideally, you need your occupancy rate to be under 90% to compensate for random demand fluctuations and avoid agent burnout.
Another consideration is to avoid relying on the Average Handle Time (AHT) exclusively as a productivity KPI. This could pressure your agents into rushing their calls with the customers, negatively affecting the overall customer satisfaction levels.
Ways to Improve Productivity in the Call Center
Here are some ideas that can maximize your agents’ efficiency and make both your agents and customers happier.
Motivate Your Agents
Motivating your agents can boost your agent performance. It could be as simple as recognizing their hard work with positive feedback. You can even take it one step further with bonuses, free lunches, promotions, or other incentives.
It’s also a good idea to keep your agents informed of their performance and the key metrics and KPIs. Helping them know their hard work is paying off will motivate them to go above and beyond.
Technology can make your agents more productive by automating redundant tasks and assisting them during calls. Call center technology solutions can also be used to make customer information easily available for your agents, so they won’t have to waste too much time taking care of post-call work.
Some of the best technologies that you can implement in your contact center to boost productivity include:
- AI agent assistance call center software
- Text analysis
- Speech analytics
- Automated customer routing systems
- Quality Assurance (QA) technology
Reduce Your Turnover Rate
Retaining your high-performing agents can contribute to a more productive contact center in the long run.
You may not notice the impact of a high turnover rate immediately, but once you see a decline in productivity, you’ll realize how important keeping your turnover rate controlled is vital.
Losing a single good employee means you’ll have to invest in looking for a new hire, translating into more time dedicated to application filtering, interviews, and training.
If the new hire has limited experience as a customer support agent, their productivity won’t come close to your former agent’s productivity. It’ll take a while for them to catch up and learn the ins and outs of the industry.
Even if they have enough experience, they still need to adapt to their new work environment and the client’s industry, which impacts your call center’s overall efficiency.
Avoid Agent Burn Out
Giving your agents some time off to recharge is essential to avoid burnout and maximize productivity.
A midday lunch break with some smaller breaks spread throughout the day will keep your agents focused and motivated to perform better.
It might also be a good idea to rotate agents across multiple tasks and contact channels to break their daily routines. After all, routine work kills efficiency.
Keeping your agents satisfied will also reduce your agent turnover rate.
Integrate Self-Service Communication Channels
Self-service channels can take a lot off your agents’ plates, making your contact center much more productive. By allowing your customers to find the answer to their queries through self-service channels, your agents will have fewer calls to deal with.
You can create an online knowledge base that contains tutorials, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and articles. Also, consider using AI Chatbots that analyze your customers’ speech and automatically respond with the best matching solution. The Chatbot will only route the customer to an agent if the rule-based solutions aren’t helping the customer.
It’s also important to optimize your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system so that the customer is directed to an agent only if they can’t find what they’re looking for through the IVR system.
Segment Customers Using Skill-based Routing
Customer segmentation with skill-based routing can significantly reduce call transfers and boost the number of first-call resolutions. This can help make your agents more productive and reduce the time required to solve a customer query.
For instance, if a customer needs to talk to an agent who can speak German and is also familiar with payment problems, they should be routed to a German-speaking agent specialized in handling payment issues.
Making your routing system more efficient will help your agents be more productive by only having to respond to calls relevant to their skills. Similarly, this allows you to deliver maximum value for your customers by solving their queries in the shortest amount of time.
Develop Multichannel Agents
Training your agents to be comfortable handling customers on multiple channels will help maintain consistent service quality and maximize productivity.
It’ll also give your agents an opportunity to learn new skills and diversify their work, increasing their sense of fulfillment.
How Call Center Agents Can Improve Customer Satisfaction
Your agents play a big role in how your customers perceive your business.
Agents can improve customer satisfaction by maintaining a good conversation flow and making appropriate responses to the customers’ queries. A single sentence can result in dissatisfied customers, lost sales, and a damaged reputation.
The agent’s pacing and tone of voice are also vital here. The goal is to make the customer feel the agent is genuinely interested in helping them with their problem.
Agents should also be familiar with the scenarios that require the call to be transferred.
Technology Can Drastically Improve Your Call Center Performance
With Balto, you’ll be able to empower your agents with AI-enabled assistance during and after calls.
Guide your agents to accurately respond to customer queries. Access in-depth analytics of your customers’ interactions and develop solutions to increase productivity. Explore the causes of low scores and prevent mistakes from becoming habits with real-time QA.
And the best part is that it requires zero setup effort; just plug it in, turn it on, and let it do its magic – No coding or IT support is required!
We’re happy to offer you a free demo of our solutions to learn how they can improve your call center’s productivity and customer satisfaction.
You might also want to take a look at some of our case studies to get an idea of how Balto can make your call center more productive and drive revenue.