Blog / Agent Performance:
Improving Inbound Contact Center Metrics

By Katherine Burnett  /  Published on April 26, 2019

Salesforce recently released an infographic on Call Center Best Practices. Alongside their post on 6 things a rep should never say, it’s a great resource if you’re in charge of – or part of – an inbound contact center.

One of the things the infographic highlights is what TechTarget describes as the 7 most important inbound contact center metrics for your company. If you’re looking through the list and thinking, “Uh oh, my average handle time isn’t very good. How can I fix that?” - there’s good news. Computer telephony integration (CTI) positively impacts each of these primary metrics with standard features. Here’s how.

Service level, response time and abandonment rate

These first 3 metrics are all important to measure independently, but improvements to one will impact the others. First, a reminder of what each of these metrics is:

  • Service level: the percentage of calls answered within a predetermined number of seconds
  • Response time: the average time it takes to respond to a customer call
  • Abandonment rate: the number of callers that hang up before they connect to an agent

Reducing the number of clicks for each agent and making it easier for them to answer calls will go a long way towards improving service level, response time and abandonment rate. A CTI solution like InGenius brings integrated call controls into the CRM. Since agents don’t need to tab between multiple applications or their actual phone, the number of clicks and effort required to answer a call is reduced.

An omni-channel solution goes one step further and brings agent state into the customer relationship management (CRM) system, automatically changing when a rep is busy, available or offline. Having agent state synched through CTI means that agents don’t lose available time if they forget to manually change their state. It also allows for blended agents to operate effectively, because voice and other communication channels, like chat, can all be configured to change agent state.

Average handle time

Average handle time (AHT) is the average amount of time spent on each call, including administrative duties associated with a call. To provide good customer service, it isn’t a viable solution to simply ask agents to reduce the length of their calls. This opens the door to losing quality for the sake of quantity. Instead, a better option is to reduce the time it takes to perform after call work (ACW).

Standard features like call logging, click-to-create a case and call wrap-up codes make tracking each call accurately in the CRM with appropriate information and notes, a matter of mere clicks. Administrators and individuals can set up templates for common call reasons - like rescheduling a delivery or follow up is required - to make ACW even shorter.

Using a function like click-to-create allows agents, in just 2 clicks, to create a new case that is automatically populated with any known call information, such as input from an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Any notes made during the call are also brought over to the case, and at hang up, the call result is also saved and attached. This saves reps multiple clicks and eliminates the risk of human error.

First-call resolution, customer satisfaction and quality monitoring scores

Once a call has been completed, TechTarget defines 3 metrics that should be looked at to determine “success”:

  • First-call resolution: resolving the query or concern in one call
  • Customer satisfaction: how happy the caller is with their service
  • Quality monitoring score: a rating determined by evaluators based on a live-listen or listening to a recording

Here too, CTI can help your teams improve their scores. InGenius enables IVR integration, which can be used to qualify leads before they even reach an agent. When a call comes in, basic features such as screen pop allow agents to see a caller’s information and prior history before they pick up, which allows them to provide a warm start to the call. Just this one feature positively impacts the customer experience and in turn, the customer satisfaction level.

When possible, it’s best to avoid transferring a caller. However, if required, CRM screen transfer will show the new agent the customer’s record and any existing call notes, so no information needs to be repeated. This helps to make the caller’s experience as seamless as possible.

In a call center, one of the best ways to monitor quality is to listen to a rep as they work. In larger contact centers, monitoring requires a large investment of time. Setting up reports in the CRM that use call data can help to identify problem areas before they truly become an issue. These reports can be as basic as call length and handle time per call, or as complex as call results broken down by the time of day.

The call logging and wrap-up code templates mentioned above make it easy to set up reports that work for your team, as they standardize the call logs. When all calls are recorded in the same way, management can be confident that the data they’re seeing is the complete picture.

As Salesforce says, “No matter which metrics you use, always remember the goal of your call center: helping your customers”. The good news is that starting with factors you can control – like ensuring your agents are able to work effectively and without frustration – puts you on the right path to improving your call center metrics, however you define them.

Check out the full infographic from Salesforce:


Call Center Best Practices Infographic: Improving Inbound Contact Center Metrics