Skip to content

KPIs for Managing your Contact Center 

Contact centers are highly complex operating environments with a lot of moving parts and activities. In an attempt to achieve full transparency and visibility, contact center leaders may receive dozens of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), some of which seem to contradict others. In other contact centers the data is stale by the time it is received, making it essentially ineffective for helping the manager control their own destiny and performance. So what information does a contact center leader need to properly manage their operating environment?

It shouldn’t be complicated. Most good contact center leaders use a surprisingly small number of KPIs, maybe 10 – 15, to manage their operating environments. (They likely use other KPIs when they need to drill into issues.) These leaders are looking for KPIs that let them know if they are meeting their goals. However, if their “shop” is not performing as expected, then they probably need additional KPIs to identify and fix the underlying problems.

Performance Management is the Right Way to Measure Contact Center Performance

In an ideal world, a contact center would have a performance management system that aggregates and presents balanced performance scorecards in real time as well as on a historical basis. A performance management system can collect data from all relevant systems, analyze it, and present it in a format that allows the recipient to understand how well their contact center is performing on many levels: customer effort and satisfaction, efficiency, productivity, quality, etc. Typically, these solutions allow managers to drill down from the high-level numbers to the details so they can find the cause of performance deviations. For example, if a contact center site is missing their goal for transfers, the manager should be able to drill down from the summary number to see which agent(s) are causing the problem. This approach gives managers the data they need to take corrective action on a timely basis.

KPIs for Managing your Contact Center

Contact centers generate dozens and possibly hundreds of reports, which means that the department leader is inundated with data. It’s typically better to focus on a few KPIs, as it is more realistic to be able to follow a limited data set in the course of a workday and on a historical basis. KPIs fall into many categories, and each leader should come up with a set of metrics that allows them to quickly evaluate the “health” of their contact center throughout the day. Different types of contact centers – customer service, sales, collections, etc. – need different combinations of KPIs to allow the manager to do their job. Below are list of KPIs to measure various aspects of a customer service contact center. The top metrics for customer effort are:

  1. Average wait time (for each of the channels handled by contact center)
  2. First contact resolution (FCR)
  3. Self-service displacement (automation) rate
  4. Number (or percentage) of transfers
  5. Number (or percentage) of holds
  6. Call abandonment rate
  7. Number of callbacks
  8. Number of complaints
  9. Number of escalations

Contact center leaders also need to measure customer satisfaction, as reflected in metrics such as customer satisfaction scores, customer retention and social media “likes.” And they need to take into consideration agent productivity, which, depending on the channels supported, is measured based on a variety of KPIs, including:

  1. Call average handle time (average talk time + average after-call work time)
  2. Email average handle time
  3. Chat/SMS average handle time
  4. Social media post average handle time
  5. Occupancy rate
  6. Utilization rate
  7. Staff adherence
  8. Cost per transaction

Next Steps

Every contact center leader should come up with a list of 10 – 15 KPIs that they require to evaluate the performance of their contact center. Omni-channel environments need to use KPIs that capture all aspects of their operating environment. Leaders who want to meet their goals need real-time data so they can take corrective action throughout the day; they also need historical information in order to spot trends. While it’s ideal to use a contact center performance management application that delivers real-time and historical data to managers on an ongoing basis throughout the day, leaders can keep their department on course by managing to a small set of KPIs, as long as the data is timely and accurate.

Happy New Year!

As 2017 comes to an end, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing in DMG’s mission to help companies deliver an outstanding customer experience. 2018 is shaping up to be a year filled with new and wonderful opportunities. We look forward to helping you achieve your operational and technical objectives in the New Year.

Wishing you a wonderful, health, happy, successful and exciting 2018!

DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at