Contact Center Reporting tools defined. Everything you need to know about the tools you have as a Contact Center Manager.
Not everyone geeks out about reporting like I do. But even if you don’t get excited by schedule adherence, there is still a lot of cool stuff that reporting can tell you about your phone system and contact center staff. Critical data like identifying top performers and clients, contact surges and when people give up on you.
The first step: designing reporting that works for you. Step 1a is considering what you want to report on, how often, who needs to see it, how you act on it, and how easy it is to update the metrics tracked. You need expertise to do this well, if you don't have the internal staff knowledge make sure you can lean on an outside expert. Not all reporting software is created equally, and you’ll want to review how easy it is to use the reporting suite. Chances are good that besides your own need for data, you will need to teach others how to use the software, or run reports for them, and possibly even create scheduled reports for others.
It is the rare organization that buys a phone system based on how good the on-board reporting is. OK, that probably never happens, but it should! There are a few reporting items to consider during the evaluation process. How many people need access to the reports, and how many might need to be reporting and/or accessing data at the same time? How do you want to store the reports, and who will have access to them? How easy is it to export the data? A last consideration: how the reports look – graphs, charts, spreadsheets?
Every decent reporting software should have, at bare minimum, the following data, but do make sure that you’re getting at least these 6 essential reports:
- Agent talk time
- Trunk load
- Average call handling
- Wrap-up time
- Offered calls vs Accepted calls
- Abandoned calls
Essential Contact Center Reports Defined
- Agent talk time – is the agent taking too long on calls and wasting resources? Are their calls too short and you’ve got a quality issue?
- Trunk load – if your phone lines are maxing out, new callers are getting a busy signal which means you're missing calls
- Average call handling – this data will help you with scheduling your agents for
- Wrap-up time – similar to Agent talk time: how long is the agent spending on after-call work? Is it higher or lower than the average agent?
- Offered calls vs Accepted calls – how many calls enter the system (offered) versus how many calls are answered (accepted) by an agent
- Abandoned calls – this stat tells you how many callers make the effort to call your business but hang up before an agent can answer the call
Key Insights on Essentail Contact Center Reporting
- Agent talk time - There is no golden target for agent talk time. How long your agents should spend with callers is going to depend on your business. You might already have a good sense of how long an average call should take, but if not, you can look at the weekly averages for your best agents as a benchmark. Once you know the range for your business, you want to make sure that your agents are within a 10-20 second range of that talk time. Too long of a talk time might indicate a need for additional training. Too little talk time could point to a quality assurance problem – is the agent giving the best service to the caller in that short timeframe?
- Trunk load - Trunk load is really about dollars and cents. You have to find the balance between having trunks available but not too many sitting idle. If you are paying for trunks that get used twice a year, there are better ways to handle seasonal increases in call traffic. Speaking of dollars, average speed to answer impacts trunk load, too. Load gets worse when you don’t have enough agents answering calls. In other words, long queues strain your trunk resources. That means short staffing the contact center might look great for the bottom line, but the costs could be popping up in the phone bill instead of on the contact center P&L sheet where they belong.
- Average call handling - This metric includes how long it takes the agent to answer the call, help the caller, and wrap up any after-work and be ready for the next caller. As with agent talk time, look to your best agents to find the benchmark for how long this should be. Something to remember with call handling is that queues might demand individualized call handling metrics. A call to a tier 1 technician or to your Accounting department might take longer than a call to a tier 2 technician or to your scheduling department, so your metrics and expectations need to be tailored accordingly.
- Wrap-up time - Even in small contact centers it's hard to keep a handle on your agents' productivity. The wrap-up time metric will help you know how effectively the agents are doing their job.
- Offered calls vs Accepted calls - As with wrap-up time, this report will help you know what's really happening on the contact center floor. A call is offered to an agent, but the agent has to accept the call. The difference between these two numbers tells you about productivity of the agent. Many factors can impact this report, but at its core, this tells you if the agent is in their chair when they are scheduled to be in their chair.
- Abandoned calls - Abandoned calls are just a fact of life. You can reduce abandoned calls, but you cannot eliminate abandons, and you shouldn't even try. It's a fool's quest because there will always be people who enter a queue and almost immediately drop out. They abandon for any number of reasons which have nothing to do with your contact center. Trying to staff to eliminate abandons will send your agent idle time through the roof. Your entire budget will be eaten up by staff, and it still won't give you a perfect score.
Not to be Overlooked when Managing a Call Center
Other reporting goodies to look for from your telephony system: Basic work force management that will assist with scheduling your agents for the best possible coverage. Queue data to help you know which queues are under performing, and agent login/logout information that will give you a snapshot of the agent's day.
Reporting is never going to substitute for hands-on managing. It will give you the concrete information you need to correct bad behavior, spot gaps in coverage, or beef up your infrastructure to handle the call traffic. Without the data, all you have is gut instinct, and no one ever got a budget increase approved based on that. So do yourself and your organization a favor - learn the reporting software, use it weekly, if not daily, to understand what's really happening in your contact center. With solid data in hand you can move mountains.
Next Article: The Modern Call Center
Author: Beth Lyons