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10 Essential Contact Center KPIs to Monitor for Agent Productivity & a Positive Customer Experience

by User Not Found | Apr 13, 2021, 05:09 PM


Managing a contact center can be a difficult task. Between managing queues, de-escalating customer situations, and supervising agents, it can be almost impossible to find the time to drive improvements and find efficiencies to optimize your contact center. Some of the most successful contact centers have figured out how to cut through mass amounts of data to identify what is most important. One way to easily increase efficiencies is to understand the KPIs and metrics that are essential to agent productivity and the customer experience.

Due to restricted in-person customer service, contact centers have seen an influx of volume over the past year. Now more than ever, customers are using chat, IM, email, and calling for support and answers to their questions. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for business leaders to reach and engage customers in new ways while maintaining a positive customer experience.

In addition, the modern workplace has evolved to accommodate working from home. Maintaining agent productivity remotely presents a completely new challenge of its own. With an expanded opportunity to reach customers, increased significance on the digital customer experience, and the widescale adoption of remote work, it can be challenging to know what metrics to monitor to maintain customer satisfaction and agent productivity.

In this post, we will run through the 10 most important KPIs to ensure your contact center maintains a positive customer experience while optimizing agent productivity.


What is a KPI?

A KPI, also known as a key performance indicator, is a quantifiable measure used to indicate progress towards a specific goal. KPIs are used by business leaders to understand how effectively a company or business unit is achieving long-term goals. Contact center supervisors use KPIs to measure agent productivity, customer service, and operational efficiency, among other things.


Real-Time KPIs

The first set of metrics we are going to dive into are measured in real time and accessed immediately. These KPIs update as agents assist customers, and customers contact your organization through chat, email, or phone. Real-time KPIs are essential for ensuring your contact center is operating efficiently and effectively. Below are 6 real-time KPIs that you should regularly track to maintain a high-performing contact center.

  1. Abandon Rate

    The abandon rate measures the percentage of customers who exit the system before they reach an agent. A high abandon rate can indicate the wait time to reach an agent is too long, creating an unpleasant customer experience. High wait times can suggest that there are not enough agents to meet the demand or that they need additional training to handle customers more efficiently.

     Another KPI that will help you to understand the abandon rate is the short abandon rate, which is the percentage of customers who exit the system within a specific time frame (i.e., 10 seconds). Typically, the short abandon rate includes customers who exit the system due to a misdial rather than an unnecessarily long queue time or poor customer service. Setting a proper short abandon rate will ensure your abandon rate isn't skewed on the high end as it is excluded from the overall KPI. All in all, the abandon rate is valuable to monitor to ensure a positive customer experience and agent productivity.  

  2. Average time to Abandon

    Similar to the abandon rate, the average time to abandon is measured by the average amount of time each abandoned contact waited in the queue. A low average time to abandon can indicate customers are unwilling to wait, and you may need more agents to support the queue to improve the customer experience. This KPI is critical to consider when setting targets for average queue time and short abandon rate. Understanding the average time to abandon can directly improve the customer experience and inform hiring decisions.

  3. Average Time in Queue

    Everyone knows the feeling of waiting on hold for what feels like forever. Long wait times in queue can lead to frustrated customers, negative reviews, and an overall poor customer experience. The average time in queue is measured by the amount of time customers wait in the queue divided by the total calls answered. A high average time in the queue indicates inefficiencies in the contact center or the need to hire additional agents. Potential solutions may include additional resources for agents, training to handle calls more efficiently, or adding a call-back service to effectively reach customers on their time.

  4. Grade of service (GOS)

    Keeping track of agent productivity while working remotely can be difficult. Monitoring the grade of service (GOS) in real time can help ensure a high level of agent productivity. GOS measures the percentage of offered customers that have been handled within the target average speed of answer (ASA). The GOS is one of the best indicators of agent productivity. When this KPI is too low, it may indicate agents aren't moving from one customer to the next as quickly as they could. There are several possible solutions to a low GOS, including providing agents with additional resources and training.

  5. Occupancy rate

    The occupancy rate measures the percentage of total work time that agents spend on live customer interactions or in wrap-up time related to a customer. This KPI is essential for monitoring agent productivity. If this KPI is too low, it can indicate that agents are spending too much time not engaging in work-related tasks, or that there are too many agents for the subsequent level of demand. When setting the target occupancy rate, it's crucial to be mindful of agent stress and burnout.

  6. Average Wrap-up time
  7. This KPI measures the average time it takes for agents to complete customer-related tasks after the conversation has finished. Agents enter the wrap-up state after assisting a customer. This allows them to finish any necessary tasks to complete the customer request and prevents them from receiving an interaction from the queue until they are back in the ready state. While it's beneficial to minimize wrap-up time to ensure agents are ready to help the next customer, you also want to ensure they are completing the work accurately and thoroughly. In order to minimize wrap-up time, it can be helpful to provide agents with the proper templates and tools to make customer support direct and straightforward for your agents. 

Historical KPIs

Although real-time KPIs help your organization make decisions based on current challenges and opportunities, historical KPIs offer insights on long-term trends and customer data. Historical KPIs are particularly helpful in identifying areas of growth for agent productivity, resulting in an overall more efficient and effective contact center. Below, I have outlined the top 4 historical KPIs that will increase agent productivity and thus improve the customer experience.


  1. Average handle time

    This KPI measures the average time from when an agent answers an interaction to when they release it. This average doesn't include the time when a customer is on hold or when consultation or conference calls are placed. The key to tracking the average handle time is to find a benchmark that accounts for the appropriate workload and allows agents to provide a positive customer experience in a reasonable amount of time. If the average is too high, it may indicate agents are struggling with customer requests. On the other hand, if the average is too low, it may indicate customers aren't getting the proper support they need. Other tools, such as quality assurance, can be useful to use in combination with the average handle time to ensure a positive experience. Proper tools and training can help agents respond to customer queries in a timely and effective manner.

  2. Agent Absenteeism

    Agent absenteeism is the total number of days per year that agents are absent as a percentage of the total number of working days. Agents can be absent for many reasons, including sick days, burnout, mental health, and high levels of stress. A high agent absenteeism rate may indicate high levels of agent stress. While there can be many reasons for this, one reason could be unreasonable targets or a need to hire additional agents to manage the workload. Agent absenteeism can affect the workload distribution and decrease agent morale. Monitoring this KPI can be helpful for budget planning and optimizing workforce management practices.

  3. Schedule Adherence

    Schedule adherence is necessary to ensure your contact center is operating and utilizing resources efficiently. This KPI is measured as the percentage of the working day where an agent is available for interactions. It's crucial to understand that agents can't be 100% productive all the time without suffering consequences such as burnout and low morale. Establishing a reasonable schedule adherence target is pertinent to ensuring you are hitting your targets. A low schedule adherence rate may indicate that agents struggle with time management or are engaging in unrelated work tasks. This KPI can be improved through adequate training, establishing team leads, or setting a reward system. Setting a proper schedule adherence benchmark can increase productivity, enhance operating efficiency and improve internal planning.

  4. Customer Satisfaction

While this is a difficult KPI to measure on its own, it is the most direct measure to tell if your contact center is successful and providing a positive customer experience. Customer satisfaction can be calculated using surveys where customers can rate their experience, level of support, and whether their questions were answered. Through surveys, you can measure the net-promoter score to monitor the level of customer service provided over time. The net-promoter score measures how likely a customer is to recommend your organization's product or service to a friend or colleague and is one of the best measures of customer satisfaction.

Key Takeaways

Overall, tracking KPIs is necessary for planning and strategizing for the long-term success of your contact center. Tracking KPIs such as the average time in queue, abandon rate, and grade of service can significantly improve the level of customer service your contact center is providing. Additionally, tracking KPIs such as average handle time, agent absenteeism, and schedule adherence can inform business decisions related to scheduling, capacity, and operating efficiency.

If you are interested in learning more about optimizing your contact center, check out our blog on 12 Resources to Help you Maximize your ice Contact Center Investment

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