What is KPI (Key Performance Indicator)?

What is a KPI?

A KPI, or key performance indicator, is a metric that contact centers use to determine if they're meeting business goals such as efficiency and delivering exceptional service. Contact centers have a multitude of possible KPIs - the challenge is picking the right ones to holistically measure the different aspects of the operation, while not creating data overload.

Typical contact center KPIs measure labor efficiency and workload management and can include:

  • Abandon Rates - measures how many contacts are being terminated by the customer before they are even connected with an agent.
  • Average Speed of Answer - highly correlated to abandon rates, ASA measures how quickly customers are being connected to agents.
  • Service Levels - another way to measure how quickly customers are being connected to agents, service level targets are expressed as a certain percentage of contacts answered within a certain amount of time; for example, 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds.

Note that's three potential KPIs before the contact even gets to an agent. Once the agent is handling the interaction, possible KPIs include:

  • Average Handle Time - this is an efficiency metric that measures how much time, on average, agents are spending on each customer contact. It's a key input to staffing models.
  • First Contact Resolution - the percent of contacts that were resolved on the initial contact, no follow up required.

In addition to these very operational KPIs, many contact centers also measure the quality of the service they deliver as well as the effectiveness of their internal processes. These KPIs might include:

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Scores - typically measured by post-contact surveys, CSAT scores are a barometer of how customers feel about the service they received.
  • Net Promoter Score© (NPS) – measures the loyalty of a company’s customers, usually on a scale of zero to ten, where zero is called a Detractor and ten is a Promoter. Loyalty is often influenced by the quality of customer service provided by the contact center.
  • Quality Scores - analysts or supervisors evaluate contacts based on specific criteria, which produces an aggregate quality score for the contact center.
  • Agent Turnover Rate - measures how well contact centers are retaining their agents, which is critical in an industry plagued by high turnover.
  • Forecasting Accuracy - compares actual to projected volume to determine the effectiveness of a contact center's forecasting process.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all possible contact center KPIs but it illustrates the possibilities and complexities of choosing the right set of KPIs. Contact centers should pick KPIs that support business objectives and then consistently manage to KPI targets.

How NICE inContact can help

NICE inContact CXone is the market leading contact center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help a company holistically run its contact center operations and manage to its KPIs. CXone includes:

Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management that empowers agents to positively and productively interact with customers in digital and voice channels. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.

Workforce Optimization – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording and performance management (PM).

Analytics – turns insights into results by making data relevant, easy to consume and actionable to drive measurable improvements and understand the omnichannel experience customers receive. These solutions include interaction analytics, customer surveys, reporting and performance management.

CXone also includes pre-defined CRM integrations and UCaaS integrations with most leading solutions on the market. These integrations provide a holistic contact center software solution capable of elevating customer experiences for companies of all sizes.


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