4 Metrics to Watch When Running a Contact Center

By July 2, 2018 September 6th, 2018 No Comments

Your most valuable (and costly resource) in a contact centre will always be your workforce. Labour and staffing costs are largely determined by four key metrics that are directly affected by the efficiency of your telecom systems and your staff. An efficient and easy to use telecom system is critical to reducing your staffing and operating costs, and these four metrics are often directly determined by how efficiently a telecom system meets a contact centres needs and the needs of the staff.

1. Abandon Rate
An important caveat to keep in mind is that some of these calls are wrong number hang-ups occurring when callers dial and are connected but realize they aren’t calling the correct number. However, these only add an average of 1-2% to you abandon rate. The controllable factor for your contact centre is how long customers spend on hold before they speak with a representative. This means that the faster your people can get on new calls, the lower your abandon rate is likely to be. It is essential to keep calls moving as quickly and courteously as possible. Otherwise the abandon rate rises and call volumes become artificially inflated due to customers hanging up and trying again later. Older and inadequate telecom systems also generate higher abandon rates, and it is always a good idea to evaluate contact centres existing telecom infrastructure if the drop rate is unusually high.

2. Service Level and Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
Most contact centres define service level as calls answered per a predetermined amount of time. For example, if your staff are answering 80% of calls within 15 seconds, your service level is 80/15. Your goal service level depends on the nature of your business and your customers’ expectations, but by and large, most call centres strive to operate at an 80/30 service level, business allowing. Flexibility in this number is essential, as needs of the business and customers are also in a constant state of flux. The higher your service level, the more profitable and cost-effective your efforts are going to be for the business.

Regarding ASA, this metric is how long it takes for a call to be answered. If a customer is spoken to within 15 seconds, your call centre is operating at an ideal ASA. The lower your ASA, the higher your service level. Maintaining a high service level depends on the staff’s ability to answer and process calls quickly and efficiently, and if the telecom system in a contact centre is out of date or malfunctioning due to high call volumes and outdated tech, an upgrade may be in order. Newer and faster-transferring telecom systems also help reduce ASA, since calls are routed more rapidly than on older equipment.

3. Occupancy
This is a more management-oriented metric of your call centre and is defined as the number of staff scheduled to work versus the call volumes coming in each hour. If you schedule too many call agents, you have lots of idle time, and your payroll costs cut into profitability. If you schedule too few agents, then you overextend your workers. The goal is to keep your ratio of work hours versus call hours to roughly 80/100. A ration of 80/100 means that every 100 hours of calls, you have 80 hours of payroll going out.

More or less in either direction increases costs based on idle time or overloading your workers. Managing occupancy well is key to making your contact centre profitable and successful. Upgrading your telecom equipment for greater call handling efficiency makes your staff more efficient. The more efficient your staff can be with call times, and call handling, the better the occupancy numbers will be each month.

4. Cost Per Call (Contact)
A simple formula of calls per hour divided by an agent’s hourly wage determines your cost per call. Most businesses establish a basic cost per call so they can measure added costs of higher call volumes. For example, if you have an agent making $15 per hour, and they take 15 calls every hour, the centre’s basic cost per call is $1. This means that handling 100 more calls per hour would cost your centre $100 more in labour.

Knowing your basic cost per call also helps you manage your fully loaded cost per call metric, which is the annual operating cost and labour divided by the total number of calls in a given year. Fully loaded cost per call is generally how budgets are determined for contact centres, so managers want to make certain these calculations are as accurate as possible. While upgrading the telecom system may temporarily increase the fully loaded call costs for a year, in the long term, the increased efficiency that agents will be able to produce due to faster and better equipment will more than compensate for the investment in an upgrade.

Newer telecom systems provide the opportunity for vast improvements in four critical contact centre metrics: abandon rate, service level and ASA, occupancy, and cost per call. Contact centre managers seeking to improve their metrics in these four key areas want to consider the benefits of upgrading their telecom equipment to be as fast and efficient as possible. Not only does it make your staff happier and more effective, but it also reduces your overall staffing costs and cost per call. Visit our site today to find out how our telecom systems can help you make your contact centre a driving force in helping your company succeed.

Digitcom has 26 years experience working with Canada’s business community, helping to solve all their telephony challenges. If you are interested in running the most reliable phone system then contact us. We will help guide you through the planning, quoting, installation and continued support with 24/7 hour care and escalations for priority work. Call 1-866-667-8357 or email us at sales@


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