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On the Call, On the Ball

Call center metrics help a credit union assess the overall performance of the call center and its agents.

This article by Powerhouse Consulting originally appeared in Technology@CU, a quarterly technology supplement to Callahan’s Credit Union Strategy & Performance (CUSP).

Member experience is critical to generate long-term relationships, create marketplace ambassadors, and build a loyal base. Studies show members are satisfied with credit union customer service, but are credit unions aware of where the majority of their customer interactions occur? Perhaps not surprisingly, a credit union’s call center is often the most active branch in terms of customer support and interactions. Are you taking the best measurements for your call center?

For the Call Center

Abandon Rate
Abandons are calls in which the caller hangs up while delayed in the queue. The data is reported via the telephone Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system and is typically organized by percentage or actual numbers. Abandon Rate is the difference between calls answered and calls abandoned.

Abandon is a response to a condition, not a condition in and of itself. To fix abandon, one must look at service level, staffing, scheduling, etc.

Cost Per Call
Cost Per Call measures the cost at a high level in most cases of handling transactions in the call center. This data will NOT come from the telephone ACD system. Many companies simply divide the call center budget by the number of transactions to achieve a high-level number.

To achieve a more accurate Cost Per Call, an in-depth financial analysis must be conducted.

Revenue Per Call
Revenue Per Call measures the sales or revenue generated on a per-call basis. Total revenues are divided by the number of calls. This figure can be utilized if the ACD system allows the tracking of calls by a particular number or call type that indicates a sales opportunity.

Service Level
Service Level is reported via the telephone ACD system. It is the percentage of calls answered within a specified number of seconds (X percent of calls answered in Y seconds). The Y seconds is set in the system. Reports are organized in various time frames (depending on your system) and typically include daily, weekly, and monthly intervals.

Service level is used primarily as a planning tool to determine resource requirements; the measure is an indicator of the effectiveness of the planning process.

For Call Center Agents

Adherence to Schedule
Adherence to Schedule is an indicator of an agent’s ability to be available during a scheduled shift. It is most accurately measured when a workforce management system is in place and schedules are created and monitored using the system.

After Call Work
After Call Work (ACW) is work completed immediately following an inbound call, at the time when that work is critical to the prompt completion of the transaction. ACW is factored into Average Handle Time. ACW may include coding the call, placing a call, entering notes to a database, completing forms, etc.

Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average Handle Time (AHT) is the amount of time spent on a call. It is the sum of Talk Time and After Call Work. Call centers can also assess these metrics individually.

AHT must be an accurate representation of the time it takes to handle a contact within the call center. Systems, processes, and skill levels impact duration. Setting absolute targets is not recommended, particularly at the agent level, although many call centers use a range to assess agent proficiency.

First Call Resolution
First Call Resolution is the number of calls or percentage of total calls that are completed within a single customer contact. This must be measured using desktop systems or data collected from the agents (a less accurate method).

Safeguards must be in place to assure the measure is accurate and the call center’s systems and processes support such an outcome.

Quality typically refers to the scoring of an agent’s performance on the call. This is accomplished by supervisors or coaches conducting call observations and scoring them based on criteria developed by call center management. The scores are then rolled up to provide an overview of the center’s performance to identify areas of strength and weakness.

The criteria used to measure and score the call must be clearly defined, and agents must be trained in the skills and objectives of the program. Those conducting the observations and providing feedback must be trained in coaching and in developing agents.

Talk Time
Talk Time is the duration of a call beginning when an agent answers the call until the time they disconnect. Talk time represents the effectiveness of the agents and the efficiency of systems and processes. An industry best practice is to establish a range for the agents and an average for the call center.

This article is sponsored by a recognized solutions provider in the credit union industry. Callahan & Associates does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer, and the views and opinions offered here might not reflect those of Callahan. If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact the Callahan team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.
May 15, 2017

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