Agent performance metrics to focus on for hourly maximization
Running a successful outbound marketing campaign requires the finesse of a dialer admin, a quality dialing plan, and (as always) a good source for data. But, don’t overlook the significance of call center agent efficiency.
Putting these pieces together might seem straightforward on the surface. But to hit or exceed your sales expectations and drive call center profitability, you have to tackle the unique challenge of maximizing your agents’ time and productivity.
My name is Michael Velardi, I served for many years as Senior Vice President at a large solar marketing company. From my extensive experience as an outbound marketing administrator with both inbound and outbound strategies, I want to share the top 5 call center agent performance metrics I toggled between and balance to maximize my agents’ efficiency, productivity, and sales.
I think it’s fair to say that in theory most outbound admins focus on a strategy of getting the agents as many calls as possible in their shift and counting the number of sales. But in reality, there are several factors, beyond the number of calls made, that contribute to success or failure.
To achieve and exceed our hourly and daily sales goals, we need to set realistic agent expectations. I’d like to say it’s as simple as putting agents on the phone, but…it’s not that easy.
There are two sides to ensuring agents are performing at top levels: 1. Management of the dialer and outbound strategy, and 2. Management of agent energy and time. I will break down the Top 5 Call Center Agent Performance Metrics so they’re easier to manage individually, and offer tips to maximize agent efficiency and call center profitability. `
TOP 5 AGENT PERFORMANCE METRICS
1. Agent Sales
Here’s the basic litmus test: Do your agents have sales? I need to know this whether the answer is a good one or bad one. So, I find out where my sales are coming from—which agents and lists—and then can I recreate that within the larger group of agents. That’s being said, I’m always looking at my agents as a group—what sales do they have collectively? Then I look at a cross section of predictability, which means my top known producers, and I look for the difference in what I expect vs what I’m seeing. I’m constantly looking at all of my agents to try to assess if I can see good and bad patterns at the same time.
Key Takeaway: When you look at your agent sales metrics, are you only seeing sales by your top agents or are you seeing a healthy mix? Are agents meeting sales expectations?
2. Agent Call Time
Call time measures how productive your agents are on the phone. Now they can’t be productive every single minute they are logged in. But I want them to meet and be on pace for a foundation of agent expectations for acceptable pause, wait, wrap up and expected daily sales.
I’m constantly toggling my views between keeping the agents engaged with data and a good pace of calls. That balance of a good pace of calls and acceptable pause and wrap up time leads to waves of engagement. When I say engagement, I mean that it is a substantive conversation with a customer for 1 minute or more. As I see agents progressing towards 1 minute, I focus on building up to multiple agents at or above 1 minute.
Successful agent call time shows as an increase within a campaign in the number of agents simultaneously on the phone for over 1 minute. That’s a key predictable indicator of future sales.
It’s important to measure more than whether or not your agents are on the phone. What patterns do you see, good and bad? Do they have short call times and long wrap up times? Or do they have long call times and no sales?
These are indicators of agents possibly improperly vetting customers and dilly dallying or talking. I look at the length of calls and whether they’re having substantive conversations. If the length of conversations are low, look into other areas such as lead lists that are best called at another time of day, or aren’t suited to the present situation.
Key Takeaway: Measure your agents’ pause, wait, and wrap up time to determine pace. Measure efficiency by tracking call length. Look for patterns to see what’s working on a campaign, productivity of your agents, and performance of the lists.
3. Agent Wrapup / Disposition Time
We need to understand that being courteous and winding down a call has an acceptable range of time to complete the wrapup. But there’s a difference between courtesy and low agent efficiency, and we still need to measure and monitor agent wrapup time.
If you’re seeing large swings in any direction it’s a cause to investigate further. Very short wrapup times might mean customers are being hung up on, cut short, or possibly the line is empty because they hung up long before. If agents know you’re watching, they’ll keep their eye on wrapup and disposition and move to the next call.
But when managers or admins get lazy and let an agent hang out in dispo for an extra 30 seconds for 50 to 60 times a day over a few days, that adds up to several hours of lost dials for that agent.
It’s so important to keep an acceptable level of how long agents are taking to wrap up their calls. When an agent is having an off day they might hang anywhere up to 60+ seconds on their wrapup time, which could be as much as 25-30% longer than an average day. So in relation, the agent’s productivity will decrease due to the missing time.
Key Takeaway: You need to monitor those seconds it takes to end a call and the time in between calls because they reduce an agent’s overall dials and performance.
4. Agent Pause Time
Pause times are acceptable times off the phone, and include lunch, breaks, training, meetings, etc. These are productivity and agent efficiency stealers if not managed properly. Pause time leaves the agent with less time on the phone to meet their daily goals and can contribute to lower agent performance.
This metric tells me if the agents are taking too much unscheduled pausing, or taking longer off the phones than expected, such as excessive bathroom breaks. (Pause time can also give me a window into issues of agent burnout.)
Also, consider whether managers training or talking to an agent for too long, giving them less time to accomplish their goals.
Do you have a cell phone policy? Agents will find times to give themselves a break, with 3, 4, 5 minutes here and there. This unscheduled break time adds up and is often due to cell phone access as agents scroll through the web, text, and update social media.
Key Takeaway: Track pause time to look for patterns that might identify a higher than normal break trend.
5. Agent Number of Calls Taken
The number of calls an agent takes can be an indication of agent focus. Do they have any distractions? Are they on their cell phone?
This metric can also be impacted by new agents asking questions or when new products are introduced and an agent gives explanations to their peers, which increases pause times.
Key Takeaway: Is your agent focused? Track the number of calls agents make in relation to their average and your expectations based on team averages.
Tracking Agent Performance Metrics
Improving agent performance by tracking key metrics will drive increased call center agent efficiency and profitability.
As long as you have the right call center reporting and analytics tools as your disposal, this can be done in real time visually and with data-driven reporting. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my dialer setup. And, I constantly jog between my setup and the metrics I’ve pulled into my reporting dashboard that tell me whether my agents are efficient. If I’m hoping to hit my daily numbers, I have to take into account the balance between my set up being on point—with nice even waves of calls for my agents—and at same time, whether they’re being efficient with what I’m creating.
For Agent Efficiency, Look for Balance
Some people think managing agent efficiency is simply serving up a constant wave of calls to your agents and to maximize each agent’s time to get them the most calls. Results from this strategy can be fleeting in the long run.
Trying to provide more and more calls within the same time frame to your agents could increase agent production in the short run, but it might also contribute to fatigue or being overwhelmed, and can lead to waste and reduced productivity.
Wrapping It Up
To help improve agent performance and efficiency, you need to track the right metrics. When you see those numbers, you can take actions. Tracking metrics helps you understand individual and team performance over time so you can set expectations and measure against those.
Customize your dashboard to monitor agent performance throughout the day, and balance adjustments between your agent metrics and tweaking your dialer configurations accordingly.
Here again are the agent performance metrics I use and suggest you track for your call center:
- Agent Sales
- Agent Call Time
- Agent Wrapup/Disposition Time
- Agent Pause Time
Agent Number of Calls Taken
About the author
Michael Velardi was Senior Vice President and outbound dialer administrator at a large solar marketing company for many years. His expertise in setting up systems within the Convoso dialer and maximizing his call center’s profitability placed him amongst the respected administrators in the outbound call industry. Michael’s core experience is embedded in dialing outbound on several different campaigns simultaneously, working with a variety of verticals, and applying both outbound and inbound blended call center strategies.