Contact Center Metrics for Success: Do Your Agents Measure Up?

Ever wonder how contact centers determine whether they are delivering superior customer experiences? What parameters do they use to ensure the team is delivering peak performance?

With numerous calls being handled daily, it is difficult to understand which call center metrics are important when it comes to measuring agent productivity. Here are the top performance metrics or KPIs which can be critical for identifying performance gaps and managing agent productivity while ensuring optimal customer experiences.

Contact center leaders learned a lot during those early days of flux and it is important to look at what worked, what didn’t, and what additional refinements need to be made. Here are some of the key trends to keep in mind while building a resilient and adaptable contact center in 2021 and beyond.

First Call Resolution (FCR)

This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to measure contact center agent performance and productivity. Resolving a customer issue on first contact is of the utmost importance for any contact center which is why FCR tops the metrics list. FCR is the percentage of customer calls that an agent resolves without transferring, escalating, or returning the call. If an agent has to transfer or escalate calls too often – or a customer has to call about the same problem multiple times – then the issue should be addressed. Maintaining a high FCR proves agent efficiency and indicates a better understanding of customer needs which can positively influence the customer’s perception of your brand.

Average Handle Time (AHT)

AHT provides real-time measurement of how long it takes to complete a call, from initiation of the call to wrap-up, including any hold time in between.A recent market study shows that approximately 75% of the customers feel that faster customer service is a top priority.AHT should always be within the timeframe set to handle a call. If an agent takes more than the average time designated to complete a call, it means the agent is struggling to provide resolution and something is going wrong during the interaction. On the other hand, if the AHT is too short, it may indicate the agent failed to provide any real assistance to the customer. Focus on agent training, provide the right tools and information, and deploy quality assurance software to track the quality of calls to make sure AHTs are consistent.

Transfer Rate

This metric points to the total number of times an agent transfers a call to a supervisor or the manager for resolution. High transfer rates means frustrated customers and shows the agent does not have the autonomy to decide on a proper resolution to the customer’s pain point. Step in to review the reason for transfer rates. It can be either that the agent does not have the necessary information at hand or fears being reprimanded for higher AHT. Support agents with proper guidance to do away with poor service experiences.

Average Hold Time

This refers to the average time an agent places a customer call on hold. This metric provides insight the agent’s ability to provide satisfactory resolution. A recent survey of 2,500 customers revealed around 60% feel being on hold for about a minute is too long.Clearly, the average hold time should be as short as possible. Measuring this metric will provide vital information on why your agents are tripping up and what’s prompting your agents to put the call on hold. Work together with the agents to find a solution to efficiently drive down this KPI score.

Customer Effort Score

This is the measure of an aggregate score that helps measure the amount of effort the customer had to make to resolve an issue. In a way it points towards customer satisfaction. Through customer surveys, the company can ascertain how the customer felt interacting with the contact center agent. Using a scale to determine the customer’s effort and the friction that existed during the interaction, strategies can be formulated to resolve such pain points in future.

Call Abandon Rate

The average call abandon rate refers to the percentage of calls that are disconnected before reaching an agent. This metric provides insight agent productivity and why agents may be unable to respond to calls in a timely manner. While measuring this metric, be aware there is small percent of inflation that might occur when a customer calls the wrong number and hangs up immediately after hearing the automated welcome message. Make sure agents are answering calls promptly which, in turn lowers the abandon rate and results in better customer experiences.

Customer Satisfaction Score

Customer satisfaction is the most direct and comprehensive way to measure your agent’s performance. While other metrics provide insights on where agents are falling short, the customer satisfaction score can provide the overall productivity and competence score of how efficiently contact center agents support your customers. Usually determined by conducting after-call surveys, this KPI helps identify both the strengths and weaknesses of agents.


Setting metrics is critical for agent benchmarking purposes. The above performance metrics can be harnessed to identify key areas for improving agent performance, glean valuable insights into customer perceptions, and improve overall contact center productivity. Agent performance correlates directly to customer satisfaction and retention that can lead to long-term relationships and improved sales.According to a Harvard Business School research, profits jumped from 25 to 95 percent after increasing the customer retention rate by 5 percent.

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