Unlocking Call Center Productivity: How to Measure and Increase It

Unlocking Call Center Productivity: How to Measure and Increase It

October 27, 2023 | Convoso

Increased competition, technological change, and regulatory headwinds… It’s not the easiest time to be in the call center industry. Whether it’s in service, lead generation, or sales, many of today’s leaders have the same question on their minds: How do we do more

It’s a simple question—but it doesn’t come with easy answers.

In this guide to increasing call center productivity, we make it as easy as possible—breaking down the basics of productivity measurement and diving deeper into advanced tips and strategies to help you get the most out of your call center’s team. Dive in to uncover the tools and tactics you need to unlock the productivity gains you’ve been after. 

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What is call center productivity?

In the most general terms, call center productivity refers to the efficiency and effectiveness with which a call center operates to achieve its goals. 

Call center productivity is about capturing how much input — be it time, money, or the number of call center agents — it takes to drive output. Depending on your call center, that output might be defined as outbound calls made, talk time, ticket resolutions, appointments set, and so on.

How to measure call center productivity

Because call center productivity is tied to the individual call center’s particular goals, there’s no single be-all, end-all way to measure call center productivity. 

Technically speaking, you could measure call center productivity with the following formula for labor productivity: 

(Total Output / Total Input) X 100 = Productivity

This formula is generally used to measure the productivity of companies as well as entire countries. And, if you ask us, this general formula is far too broad to be terribly effective or helpful. 

Applied within different call centers, it quickly begs the questions that we raised above: What is input? What is output? 

Ultimately, this general productivity formula is just that: too general. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the formula, though. In reality, the issue is that call center productivity itself is a very general term—one that can’t be captured in just one formula or metric.

Why it’s important to focus on your call center agent productivity

Just because call center productivity can’t be encapsulated in one single metric doesn’t mean that it’s not still vitally important for call centers to understand. Finding your own ways of assessing and improving the productivity of your agents can help you:

  • Enhance customer experiences: Efficient and productive call centers tend to handle customer queries, complaints, and other customer interactions more effectively. Likewise, productivity can be a measure of outbound lead generation and sales output. 
  • Improve operational efficiency: Measuring productivity allows call centers to optimize their processes and resource allocation. This ensures that agents are not overburdened or underutilized, leading to a smoother operation and a reduction in overhead costs.
  • Improve agent satisfaction and retention: Between high performance and efficient allocation, productive environments often lead to better morale, which helps fight call center agent burnout and create positive feedback loops.
  • Make better decisions: Focusing on the right productivity metrics, which we’ll cover below, contact center leaders and managers are empowered to make better decisions to further improve performance.
  • Increase revenue and drive growth: All told, the added efficiency and output that can be driven with a focus on call center productivity can support greater revenue and a contact center that’s built to grow.

8 helpful metrics for measuring call center productivity

So, if there’s not one measure of call center productivity, how do you put this focus on agent productivity into action?

There are a variety of call center productivity measurements that can help leaders and managers better understand the efficiency and effectiveness of call center operations, whether they’re running an outbound, inbound, or blended call center. Explore these examples of call center performance metrics and find the right mix of KPIs that match your call center’s productivity needs.

Average Handling Time (AHT)

AHT measures the total time an agent spends on a call, including talk time, hold time, and after-call work. A lower AHT indicates that agents are resolving customer issues quickly, but an extremely low AHT might suggest rushed interactions. Assessing AHT can help managers find a balance between speed and quality, pinpointing potential areas for training or process enhancement.

First Call Resolution (FCR)

FCR calculates the percentage of calls where the customer’s issue is resolved in the first interaction. A high FCR suggests that customers’ problems are being addressed promptly without the need for follow-up calls. Enhancing FCR can lead to greater customer satisfaction and reduced operational costs, shedding light on areas where agents might require more resources or training.

First Call Close (FCC)

This metric evaluates the success rate of securing a sale or agreement during the initial call in sales-driven environments. A high rate denotes an effective sales pitch and agent capability, while a low rate could indicate a need for refining sales techniques or product offerings.

Talk Time

Talk time quantifies the duration of conversations in outbound call centers. By understanding talk time, one can measure agent efficiency and the interest level of the call recipient. If conversations are consistently too short or too long, it might signal a need for revisiting the approach or the pitch, offering valuable coaching and training opportunities—or a chance to improve your call center’s scripts.

Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT)

Use CSAT to gauge the overall satisfaction level of customers after their interaction with your agents. High scores demonstrate effective agent-customer interactions, while low scores can reveal areas for enhancement in communication, processes, or agent knowledge. Utilizing this feedback can directly improve productivity and service quality.

Revenue Per Agent

This financial metric provides insight into the monetary contribution made by each individual agent to the call center. Analyzing the revenue per agent allows managers to identify top performers, discern effective sales methodologies, and decide where to allocate resources to enhance revenue generation.

List Profit and Loss

List profit and loss helps decision-makers understand performance on an individual campaign or list basis. Rather than zeroing in on only agent productivity, this metric helps sales and lead generation contact centers determine the productivity of their costly lead data.

With the right reports, managers can assess which campaigns or lists are most lucrative, so they can make informed decisions on which lists to prioritize (or pause altogether) and which dialing strategies to employ to maximize returns.

Contact Rates

While it doesn’t give you a window into the success of conversations, your call center’s contact rates offer an important perspective on productivity. Without the ability to get leads and customers on the phone, you’re going to struggle to maintain, let alone improve, productivity. 

How to increase call center productivity

While we’ve provided some suggestions on how to improve some of these key measures of productivity, these tactics should be complemented by a more holistic approach to call center improvement. Today’s call centers can become more effective, efficient, and ultimately profitable with the help of these top productivity strategies and tools.

Use Robust QA to Drive Continuous Coaching & Improvement

Quality Assurance (QA) plays a pivotal role in ensuring call center agents adhere to standards, protocols, and best practices. By employing a robust QA system, call centers can identify both strengths and areas of improvement in agent performance. Continuous feedback based on this QA analysis offers agents timely coaching, reinforcing best practices and addressing any weaknesses. 

This iterative process of monitor-feedback-improve not only refines the skill set of agents but also ensures that the service or sales experiences provided are of the highest caliber. Over time, this elevates the overall productivity of the call center by reducing errors and improving handle times as well as conversion rates—helping to grow your business as you elevate the skills (and productivity) of your agents.

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Rely on the Right Dialer Technology

In outbound operations, your dialer is the engine that powers—that makes possible—call center productivity. Without intelligent predictive or power dialing capabilities to help your team dial at a steady, optimal pace, wait times go up and productivity goes down. 

Choose a dialer that delivers flexibility in your dialing mode, letting you pick from predictive, power, progressive, or preview dialing based on a campaign’s needs. But also choose a dialer that adds efficiency and effectiveness beyond dialing mode, helping you craft dialing strategies that put your agents in the best position to succeed. The optimal outbound contact center software should lead to increased call volumes, improved lead engagement, and enhanced sales.

Implement Omnichannel Communications

In today’s interconnected world, customers engage with businesses through a variety of channels—from traditional phone calls to emails, chat platforms, social media, and more. 

Omnichannel marketing and communication, whether outbound or inbound, ensures that call centers can provide a seamless and integrated experience regardless of how the customer chooses to interact. 

By offering more channels through which they can communicate with your business, you’ll open up more opportunities to make sales or provide service—a straightforward way of increasing overall call center productivity. 

Utilize Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Across QA, dialing, and omnichannel communications—not to mention a host of other contact center tasks and capabilities—artificial intelligence and automation technologies can deliver a whole new level of efficiency and productivity.

From always-on, AI-powered call monitoring tools that provide QA in real time and like never before, to omnichannel intelligent virtual agent software that automates routine texts and calls with conversational AI, cutting-edge solutions are able to complement the work of your team’s agents and drive incredible increases in productivity.

Taken together, these technologies, tools, tactics, and metrics can help fuel your call center’s best production yet.

To learn more about how Convoso’s leading dialer software can play a central role in boosting your call center’s productivity, sign up for a free demo today.

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