Metrics that Matter in the Contact Center

Apr 01, 2014 7:39 AM  By

contact-center-scalableThe consumer landscape has changed and not only do consumers expect a quick response, but also a thoughtful and informative dialogue, says Michael Moseman, director of the customer contact center at Brooks Brothers. And those can really only be captured through customer satisfaction scores and first-call resolution type metrics.

“Without a robust monitoring program, you run the risk of being very efficient, but perhaps not very effective in truly supporting your customer,” Moseman says.

So it should not come as a surprise that the most important contact center metrics, according to the MCM Outlook 2014 survey results, involve making customers happy.

In fact, almost half (49.5%) of respondents said customer service scores are the most important contact center measurement they rely on. Last year, customer service scores ranked as second-most important, but at 34.7%

An interesting aside – 51.4% or B2C respondents said customer service scores were the most important metric, as did 50% split of B2B respondents. It was those who said they had an even split of B2B and B2C customers (38.5%) that brought the overall number down.

Service level (48.4%) was the second-most important contact measurement, followed by first-call resolution rate (35.5%). Respondents who rely on first-call resolution rate nearly doubled from last year’s 18%.

“When agents feel pressured to end calls within a certain time limit, or pick up the phone as quickly as humanly possible,” wrote StellaService client development manager Chris Vodola in an article for “They’re putting more priority on putting out fires and less emphasis on actually getting to the root of the customer’s problem by doing proper research on the issue and potential solutions. It’s not always about speed – successful interactions fully resolve all of the customer’s questions. ”

Return on investment also saw a big jump based on the 2013 MCM Outlook results. While 16.7% of respondents measured ROI in the contact center in 2013, 25.8% are measuring ROI in 2014.

Debra Ellis, founder of Wilson & Ellis Consulting, notes that those four metrics are not only gaining importance, but are closely related.

“Customer satisfaction and loyalty is directly tied to ease of service,” Ellis says. “First call resolution has the greatest effect on people’s willingness to return to a company and recommend it to others. This is good news for merchants because the solution that improves loyalty also reduces costs.”

Also of interest: In 2013, 32% of respondents said they do not rely on any contact center measurements. This year, that number fell to 17.2%. However, it is interesting to note that in 2014, 21.4% of the B2C respondents are not measuring any contact center metrics.

Multichannel Merchant’s MCM Outlook 2014 survey was fielded from Feb. 10 to March 10, and drew 1,281 respondents. Of those respondents, 470 identified themselves as a merchant or a retailer.

The full MCM Outlook 2014 report on Operations and Fulfillment will be released in conjunction with Multichannel Merchant’s Operations Summit 2014, which will be held April 22 to 24 in Indianapolis.

  • Scott Heitland

    When it comes to call center metrics, especially outsourced centers and BPOs, there is often a big difference between what the call center SAYS and what it actually DOES. For example, many of them will claim that customer satisfaction and loyalty metrics (like NPS and CSAT) are important to them, but when you peel back the layers of the onion and examine the operations, it turns out they’re pushing metrics that have a lot more to do with how they get paid, e.g. average handle time.

    When front-line call center agents learn how to interact with a customer effectively (which means learning how to identify and address the customer’s emotional need, not just solving the customer’s practical problem or issue, and how to provide a low-effort experience), they can actually improve the customer satisfaction and loyalty metrics AND reduce AHT at the same time. Most call centers view these things as mutually exclusive, but they don’t have to be if the right behavioral skills are learned and applied.