International Call Forwarding Facilitates the Use of Call Centers around the Globe
Many businesses utilize call centers to minimize their customer service expenses. When their customers call a local or toll free number for questions, these calls are frequently forwarded to inbound call centers in other countries. This is accomplished via international call forwarding. Telemarketing, solicitations, and other customer contacts utilize outbound call centers for their calls. These outbound call centers may or may not rely on international call forwarding.
In 1998, Pramod Bhasin opened the first India call center. Since then, business outsourcing services—such as call centers—account for much of India’s economic growth by employing many of India’s educated, English speaking citizens. The India call centers employ several hundred thousand workers.
In recent years, the number of Philippines based call centers has been increasing to the extent that Philippines call centers employ more people than Indian call centers. This is because Filipinos have lightly accented English speech compared to the speech of Indians. Furthermore, many Filipinos are more familiar with American culture since the Philippines was a former US colony. Bangladesh and the West Indies are also active in the call center industry.
International call forwarding has driven the global expansion of the call center industry to countries with English speaking population and low wage structure.
Key Performance Indicators Are Business Specific
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are business specific. Select them wisely by considering the strategic interests of your business. There are four basic areas to consider:
- Affordability and sustainability of the call center,
- Maximizing your customers’ experience,
- Improved business outcomes, and
- Efficient use of your human resources.
Keep these in mind when selecting the KPIs that you monitor.
Call Center Standard KPIs
The following is a list of call center standard KPIs. The listing order is arbitrary and is not indicative of priority or importance. Your business goal should determine the priority and importance of the KPIs that you track.
Percentage of Calls Blocked
This is the percentage of incoming calls not connected to an agent. Either the agents were busy, or the call center software could not handle the call volume. Blocked calls lead to customer dissatisfaction and possible loss of future business.
Average Time in Queue
This KPI represents the total time callers wait to speak to an agent divided by the total number of calls fielded by the agents. Since customer frustration increases with increasing queue time, this gives the impression that your business has poor customer service.
Average Abandonment Rate
The call abandonment rate is a measure of customer hang-ups before reaching an agent. This has happened to all of us. Customers gravitate to companies that are easy to reach in a timely fashion.
Service Level or Response Time
Service level is the percentage of calls answered within a specified period. Call center managers often set a service level goal such as 90/30 (i.e., 90% of the calls are answered within 30 seconds). Some consider service level to be the most important KPI since customer service and service level are closely related.
Average Speed of Answer
This metric measures the sum of time in the queue and time waiting for the agent to answer their ring. It does not include the time the caller spends working with the interactive voice response system. The metric measures the efficiency and accessibility of the call center team.
Average Handle Time
The average handle time is calculated by adding the agents talk and hold time to the after call work time and dividing this sum by the number of calls handled by the agent. Managers trying to reduce the handle time must be careful in their approach as customer satisfaction could be affected. There are several steps to improve the average handle time:
- Thorough training of agents,
- Continuous monitoring of agents’ performance,
- Recording of calls,
- Effective coaching of agents,
- Streamline agent workflow and processes,
- Optimize call routing,
- Use a knowledge base,
- Utilize an internal communication system, and
- Ensure customer information is current.
Average after Call Work Time
After a call is completed, agents complete tasks such as emails, updating databases, and contacting call center teammates. After call work time encompasses these tasks.
First Call Resolution
First call resolution occurs when a customer’s query is satisfied during their initial call, and follow-up is not necessary. Research suggests that this metric has a greater positive impact on customer satisfaction than any other KPI.
Companies use customer surveys to measure customer satisfaction.
Occupancy rate measures the total time agents are on calls or completing other work related tasks divided by the total work time.
Human resource personnel routinely track the days lost from work for all call center employees. Effective call center operations minimize absenteeism.
Agent Turnover Rate
Agent turnover rate is the percentage of agents the quit their employment. Human resource personnel also track this KPI.