Five Essential Call Centre Metrics

Emily Dye

Emily Dye

A vital role of a call centre manager is to obtain all relevant metrics from their call centre data. By obtaining the right metrics, you will have all the data you need to effectively manage the customer experience, motivate your call centre agents and maximise your return on investment.

1. Abandon Rate: the caller hangs up, agents are busy or not logged in

There’s a common misconception that the abandon rate should be near to 0% but there is a diminishing return on your investment if you invest too much into zeroing it out. Across multiple industries, a typical abandon rate is between 4% and 8%. Below 4% means you may be spending a lot of money on call centre staffing without a commensurate increase in customer satisfaction. An abandon rate above 8% indicates that you probably have customer service issues.

By analysing this metric, you’re monitoring staffing levels, measuring customer satisfaction and ensuring the highest ROI for your employee investment.

2. Queue Time: wait time before a caller hangs up or has to wait for any exit reason (abandon call, call answered, all agents busy, forwarded etc).

The comparison of queue time for abandoned calls in relation to overall queue time for the group provides important insights for a call centre manager.  By analysing both metrics, you can adjust staffing levels by testing whether or not customers are willing to wait slightly longer for an agent. The willingness by customers to queue a little longer gives flexibility around staffing level planning, especially when combined with an analytics platform that can tell you when and under what circumstances customers are willing to wait longer.

Additionally, if your queue time for abandoned calls is substantially higher for the group, customers are generally willing to wait, so you can test reducing or repurposing your staff, without compromising customer satisfaction levels. But if your queue time for the abandoned calls is lower than the overall queue time, along with an abandon rate of 7-8% or more, your customers might not be willing to wait as long.

Another option is to measure the number of agents logged in per day/hour, then adjust your staffing to meet customer needs during peak call times and reduce queuing time.


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3. Agent Call Handle Time vs. Percentage of Calls Transferred

Agent call handle time: the total time an agent is on a call, including talk time, hold time and any wrap time.

Percentage of calls transferred: the number of calls that the agent takes in a group and then transfers on to someone else, divided by the total number of calls that agent takes from the group in any time period.

In a customer support setting, it’s ideal to have the call handled by the first agent who answers it, to offer the best customer experience.  A high average handle time and high percentage transfer often means that the agent needs additional training. A low average handle time in conjunction with a high percentage transfer can be a sign that an employee needs additional guidance or coaching because they’re not resolving the customers’ issues.

4. Agent Percentage Available vs. Percentage Calls Answered

Percentage available: the percentage of time that the agent is logged in to the queue and able to take calls but is not on the phone, in wrap-up, or in release.

Percentage calls answered: the percentage of calls that the agent answered from the queue out of the total number of calls that were presented to them.

The value of this metric is dependent on the call distribution pattern for the group. If calls are presented to the agents one at a time (round robin, longest idle etc.), this metric should be closely monitored. However, if calls are presented to all agents simultaneously, tracking this metric is of little value.

Both of these metrics are good to track individually but can add even more value when examined together, for tracking staffing levels and agent productivity. A high percentage available and a low percentage calls answered on a per-agent basis can mean that agents need additional coaching. If they are logged into the group but are not answering calls, this could result in inconsistent customer service levels and should be addressed.

A high percentage available and a high percentage calls answered across the board (not on a per agent basis) is an indication of an over-staffed call centre, meaning that agents are spending significant amounts of time waiting for calls to come to in.

5. Wrap-up Code Count & Average Handle Time

Wrap-up code: a “reason” code applied to the call during or after the call. The agent can generally select from a set of pre-defined codes for future reporting.

Many call centre managers track wrap-up codes but often don’t track the average time taken for each code, which can really drive automation and improve customer service.

For example, a Technical Support Contact Centre group may have a set up wrap-up codes that describe the reason for the call, including password reset, VPN issues or backup problems.  If that group receives 100 password reset calls in a week that require a 5-minute response on average, versus the same group receiving 50 VPN issues that require a 30-minute response on average, it’s easier to determine which types of calls would derive more value from an automating solution.

Want to know more?

Blackstar Solutions have partnered with Brightmetrics, an IT analytics company specialising in ShoreTel and Mitel contact centre technology.  Brightmetrics allows you to run reports and correlate data for hundreds of different call centre metrics. Their software looks at summary information and drills into any piece of data to seamlessly view the detail behind it and can continue to drill all the way down to a graphical representation of everything that happened on any individual call.


To find out more about how you can improve your call centre performance, contact Blackstar Solutions on 0333 1232123.