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9 min read

Metrics that Matter: The Key for Service Success

In the world of call centers, service teams live and breathe metrics. Even before big data made a splash in our world, call centers were known to operate based on the numbers. This is how we scale up and down, how we measure and meet capacity, how we improve our company ratings, and so much more. 

We don’t have to convince those in the customer service teams that data is important. We can clearly see how well those numbers match and have a direct impact on our day-to-day operations. But, how well do we actually understand what those stats mean? Do we know what our numbers are easily, or do we have to dig far and wide to get them? 

Do your metrics signal success, or do they reveal underlying issues in staffing, training, systems, or processes?

Could crucial KPIs be missing from your radar, hindering your team’s progress?

Without a firm grasp on your metrics, you lack the compass necessary to gauge your performance. It's akin to embarking on a voyage to Hawaii without a map, navigating solely by hope across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Similarly, striving to meet KPI targets without the guidance of metrics is akin to sailing blindly.

Sensentia's AI-driven solutions have the potential to enhance these metrics and more, all while minimizing the overall costs associated with business operations. Knowing these key data points allows service teams to be more proactive at defining resolutions or pinpointing the challenges.

Service Teams & Contact Centers: 

Many companies can make the mistake of reporting out on these metrics as a whole, but miss the detail needed to identify specific team trends or problem areas. Many metrics should be monitored at the agent level, the team level, the center level, and the global level. As challenges can occur at the most granular levels, and identifying them proactively providing you time to fix them is always much better than reactively addressing when the damage is done.

  • Abandon Rate - The percentage rate at which a call or chat is presented to the queue that is not answered or acted upon in a timely manner causing loss.

    • What is an acceptable level of abandoned rate? 2%, 4%, 6%

      • Zero abandon rate could mean you have too much staffing causing waste; too little staffing and your abandon rates can hit double digits quickly.

  • Is your staffing off at that interval causing you to lose calls?

  • Staffing forecasting can be as much an art as a science usually involving historical trending. If your abandon rates are high, validate the staffing plan, if they are low, evaluate the staffing plan

  • Are you checking your abandon rates at intervals early mornings, mid-morning, late afternoons, always check your “off shifts” when you cut staff to match volume?

  • Are there specific centers, teams, agents, increasing your abandon rate? This could indicate MGMT and engagement issues, or simple performance management issues.

  • Average Speed of Answer (ASA) - Average time a call or chat is sitting in your queue before activity.

    • What is an excellent ASA? 5 Seconds, 10 Seconds, 20 Seconds, 30 Seconds? If you are operating to meet a mandate, are you missing the boat with your member experience? For example, 30 Seconds can feel like an eternity hearing a phone ring or queue music.

    • If your ASA is too low indicating you may be over-staffed. If it’s too high, are you under-staffed, or are their morale issues where reps are not happily taking the next call, or system inefficiencies causing delays getting to the next call?

  • Average Handle Time (AHT) - The average length of time a call takes to be fully serviced

    • This is a largely important metric that can equate to a large expense if people and process are not managed well, or it can be a huge competitive advantage if managed well.

    • Time is money in a call center, and each wasted second adds up over the aggregate to large dollars.

    • People and processes should be consistently managed and evaluated to ensure your calls are being expertly serviced as efficiently as possible.

    • When you take a $21 per hour employee, and break it down to minutes you're running at 35 cents a minute, with hundreds of employees, and hundreds of thousands of calls, what is the value of shaving off 3 minutes of handle time off your AHT.

    • We have seen companies save $5M or more in one year when they implement our solutions. And often the solutions pay for themselves in savings alone, and allow excess budget to be applied elsewhere.

  • Rate of First Call Resolution - Rate at which service calls or chats are solved on the first interaction

    • What is an acceptable amount of repeat callers 2%, 5%, 10%. How happy is a consumer when they have to give up after engaging a rep with no clear resolution, only to call back again, and how many times did they call back?

    • If FCR is high that is excellent, meaning people are getting the service they deserve and correct responses to issues, if it’s low that can indicate problems somewhere in your operations

    • If you have numerous repeat callers, you have issues.

    • Are your members getting excellent service, or are the reps rushing them off the phone to manage talk time?

    • Do you have issues with reps not able to find complete answers expediently causing escalations and prolonged hold time? Possible process issues, or incomplete step actions.

    • Are your members letting a rep “off the hook” due to shoddy service and low confidence, only to call in again in hopes of getting a better rep? Pull your data over multiple days for best results as many customers get frustrated and wait a day or two to try again.

  • Disenrollment Rate - Rate at which members are disenrolling based on tenure

    • What is an acceptable disenrollment rate? 2%, 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%?

    • Disenrollment rates can indicate problems with sales or service processes. 

    • Sales - If sales teams are not properly matching plans to people and simply selling the plans with the most attractive singular benefits, the plan choice becomes an issue when service is needed. We suggest that all plans follow a simple, repeatable, process involving education about options, qualification, information gathering also called needs analysis, and then a plan recommendation with reasoning supplied. If sales teams follow a simple process it is controllable, repeatable, and can be easily changed to meet the needs of the business, and all KPI measurements should be similar from rep to rep.

    • Service - Service teams often are managing to mandated service levels rather than optimal experience levels, and are using software that comprises several segmented systems to perform multiple tasks, with varying UI’s which can lead to waste (time is literally money), challenges seeking answers to complex questions, supervisor escalations, call backs, prolonged research times, and complaints, which all impact the member experience negatively and costs the company themselves unnecessary dollars that can be removed by evaluating and investing in superior support systems.

  • Attrition Rate - Rate at which fully trained employees leave the position

    • What is an acceptable attrition rate? 5%, 10%, 15, 20%

    • If your attrition rate is low that is a great thing and can signal you’re doing things right, when they creep up into double digits and higher it can signal challenges in people and/or process, or a combination of both..

    • We have often found that with many service teams, employees want to feel like they can truly help members, and have a deep desire to deliver on that. If systems and processes limit their ability to help, they feel powerless and start to dread taking the next call, which has a compounding effect on them mentally, and eventually physically.

    • Perform focus groups and truly listen with an open mind where it’s not perceived as a complaint session, it’s perceived as a roadmap to success. When fully trained employees leave a position, that equates to sunk costs of time, effort, and money that cannot be easily gained back.

  • Complaint Rate - Percentage of members filing a formal complaint (CTM,Grievance, formal filing)

    • Are complaints coming from a center, a team, or specific agents? Digging in to evaluate at this level can help you form opinions and define whether it’s a systemic issue, or an isolated area. Evaluating the dta at this granular of a level is important when problem solving.

    • If you’re in Medicare (MCAG, CTM & Grievance) rates are usually widely known

    • If you’re in other business segments, you may need to look at supervisor escalations and the types of escalations they are servicing. Are these issues that should have been able to be solved at a lower level, or are these truly complex issues that need careful guidance?

  • Trended CSAT - Customer Satisfaction Score measures how satisfied your customers are, trending over time indicates which direction your team is heading.

    • There are many measurements to obtain a rate for this metric; make sure it is well balanced and trended similarly so you can evaluate if it is headed in the right direction. If it’s positively trending you’re doing the right things. If it’s trending downward you must keep digging to find the right mix of corrections to implement.

  • Trended NPS - Net Promoter Score measures how satisfied your customer are, and their propensity to recommend to others, trending over time indicates which direction your team is heading

    • Similar to CSAT, there are many measurements to obtain a rate for this metric, make sure it is well balanced and trended similarly so you can evaluate if it is headed in the right direction. If it’s positively trending you’re doing the right things. If it’s trending downward you must keep digging to find the right mix of corrections to implement.

Knowing your contact center team’s stats is crucial; we all know this well. However, what we do about that is another story. Many teams are looking for ways to streamline their operations and scale up efficiently. In today’s world, there are so many resources (Sensentia being one of them)that can streamline your team and help you improve your core KPIs, while also allowing for fluctuating customer demand without extensive staffing and training. When you combine tools like Sensentia with a keen understanding of the core KPIs to care about, your contact center can become one of the most efficient parts of the business! 

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