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10 Important Call Center KPI Metrics Your Organization Should Track

Do you know how well your call center is really doing? 

The only way to find out is by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) across your operations. As the old saying goes, you can’t fix what you don’t see. 

But collecting and analyzing data doesn’t just help you spot areas in need of attention. It also allows you to tweak technologies you’ve already adopted, funnel appropriate resources into your fastest growing service channels, and keep your agents motivated by rewarding them for excellent performance.

Contact Center Weekly (CCW) conducted a global survey asking industry leaders which KPIs are the most important today. Based on those results, here’s a breakdown of the top 10 KPIs every call center should track and why. (The number beside each KPI indicates its ranking in the survey results.)

  1. Customer Satisfaction

  2. First Contact Resolution

  3. Time to Resolution 

  4. Customer Retention Rate

  5. Customer Effort

  6. Average Speed of Answer 

  7. Average Handle Time 

  8. Agent Satisfaction 

  9. Abandonment Rate

  10. Agent Retention 


1. Customer Satisfaction

Operating the most efficient, productive call center in the world means nothing if every single customer comes away unhappy. That’s what customer satisfaction KPIs are all about. In fact, six out of every 10 consumers say they’ve stopped doing business with a brand due to just one poor customer service experience. Here are a few ways to measure customer satisfaction: 

  • Surveys - ask each customer to complete a brief digital CSAT survey rating their interaction with your contact center 

  • NPS - Net Promoter Score surveys ask each customer one question: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend, family member or colleague?”; a benchmarking system allows you to compare your scores with global industry averages

  • Sentiment Analysis - AI-based software indicates the emotions of each customer by analyzing their words and voice during the call

2. First Contact Resolution (FCR)

FCR measures the percentage of customer cases resolved during the first initial interaction without requiring a callback or additional followup. A low FCR may suggest snags in areas like call routing, IVR, chatbot technology or agent training. 

FCR can be measured across various channels (calls, emails, texts, chatbots, social, etc.) to pinpoint which channels resolve certain customer cases most expediently. The industry standard for this KPI is 70-75%. A low KPI for FCR can eat into your revenue: 45% of customers say they will stop buying from a brand if its contact center can’t resolve their issue in just one interaction. 

3. Time to Resolution 

This is the average amount of time it takes for a contact center to resolve each customer’s issue. Calculate the combined total of how long it took to resolve each matter, then divide that figure by the total number of cases resolved. If this KPI is high, it could point to technical glitches or the need for:  

  • better agent training

  • easier agent access to resource/case materials 

  • better visibility/integration between service channels 

  • higher agent staffing levels

  • more support from managers or LOB in dealing with challenging cases

4. Customer Retention Rate 

This KPI indicates a call center’s ability to retain existing customers. It’s a bellwether of customer loyalty, not just customer satisfaction. According to the same CCW report we mentioned earlier, “customer retention rate is a check on customer satisfaction. It lets businesses know whether their (customer) experience is strong enough to retain business or merely satisfying enough to prevent complaints.” 

In fact, a low volume of customer complaints doesn’t guarantee your customers will stick with you: 91% of dissatisfied customers silently leave a brand without even bothering to complain! A low customer retention rate can also hurt your bottom line: it costs six to seven times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. 

5. Customer Effort

This KPI assesses how easy it was for a customer to have their issue resolved. It’s measured more by customer sentiment than it is in seconds or minutes. 

For example, even if an agent had a short, successful interaction with the customer, the customer may feel frustrated after spending a long time on hold, dealing with a confusing IVR menu or having to try different channels before finding an agent who could resolve their case. 

Measure this KPI by surveying each customer with one question after their interaction: “How much overall effort did it take for you to have your matter resolved by our contact center?” Possible answer options can range from “almost none” to “way too much.”

6. Average Speed of Answer 

How long does it take to initially respond to a customer’s first contact? In traditional call centers, this KPI measured how long it took for an agent to pick up an inbound phone call (excluding the time customers spent navigating IVR menus). In today’s omnichannel universe, this metric tracks first response times across various channels. Here are some common industry targets

  • phone call: 20 to 30 seconds

  • live chat: 48 seconds

  • SMS: 40 seconds

  • Twitter: 15 minutes

  • Facebook: 1 hour

  • email: 1 hour 

Why does this KPI matter? If your average speed to answer is too high, it means customers are waiting too long for someone to get to them, which can chip away at customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

7. Average Handle Time (AHT)

AHT is similar to ‘time to resolution’ but also includes:

  • time the customer spends waiting on hold

  • time the customer spends talking or actively interacting with the agent/system

  • time the agent spends wrapping up the case after it’s resolved (i.e., updating the CRM, sending the customer followup info, etc.) 

AHT is calculated by: total talk time + total hold time + total wrap time divided by number of contacts handled. 

The industry standard to aim for is usually six minutes per customer. Longer AHTs could indicate: 

  • lack of agent training

  • need to automate some processes

  • need for better integration (of customer data, workflows, etc.) 

8. Agent Satisfaction 

The pandemic has made it tougher to find and retain talent, so contact centers must pay more attention to agent satisfaction in today’s tight labor market. According to researchers: 

  • low agent satisfaction correlates with high absenteeism and turnover 

  • high agent satisfaction correlates with higher customer satisfaction

You can measure agent satisfaction by conducting: 

  • anonymous agent satisfaction surveys 

  • exit interviews with agents who leave

  • an eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) survey asking your agents “would you recommend working here to a friend or relative?”

9. Abandonment Rate

This is the percentage of customers who hang up the phone before being able to reach an agent. The KPI is calculated by dividing the amount of abandoned interactions by the total number of inbound interactions. 

The industry average to aim for is 5-8%. The higher the percentage, the more likely it is that customers are disconnecting their ringing call out of frustration – and potentially disconnecting their loyalty from your brand. A high abandonment rate could actually be a type of busy signal: a signal that your existing agents are too busy and perhaps more staffing is needed. 

10. Agent Retention 

Assess this KPI by tracking turnover, which is the percentage of agents who leave the job at your contact center every year. The average turnover rate for U.S. contact center agents is about 30%, which is shockingly high compared to most other industries. Ignoring this metric can be expensive, since it costs an average of $10,000 to $15,000 to replace just one contact center agent. Low agent retention can also hamper team morale, staff scheduling and customer satisfaction. To calculate agent retention, divide the average number of agents that leave per year by your average total agent headcount, then multiply that figure by 100.  



While tracking KPIs for your call center may seem overwhelming, a self-service business intelligence tool can help. A self-service BI tool can bring all your desired KPIs together on one interactive dashboard for easy and quick analysis. Additionally, with drill-down capabilities, you’ll have better visibility and be able to pin point where your center is excelling or failing. With a business intelligence tool, tracking your call center KPIs doesn’t have to be a daunting task anymore!

Christine Wong

Christine Wong is a freelance writer in Toronto who's been covering enterprise IT since Mark Zuckerberg was in fifth grade. As a journalist, her bylines have appeared in CIO magazine and IT World Canada while her branded content clients have included Nokia and Allstream. 

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