What Are the QA Metrics and Terms in a Call Center?

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What Are the QA Metrics and Terms in a Call Center?

Updated March 2023 (originally posted October 2018) Quality is key. No one wants a subpar product or experience. QA metrics are important for gauging and maintaining quality and thereby customers. Contact center analytics can track and parse many of these alphabet soup metrics including:

Abandonment Rate

This metric measures the percentage of customers who abandon a call or interaction before it is completed.

After Call Work (ACW) 

Work an agent must do after ending a customer interaction to complete their work on the issue. It’s not over until it’s over, or at least until all the boxes are checked. For example, a customer calls about getting a replacement for a faulty item. The agent may have to log their actions made during the call and complete any additional actions pertaining to requesting/sending a replacement that was not completed during the call.

Average Handle Time (AHT) 

How long it takes to complete an interaction from beginning to end. This includes talk time (ATT) and post interaction work (ACW) for the agent and hold time (ASA)  for the customer. Therefore, ASA+ATT+ACW ÷ total calls = AHT

QA metrics that track Customer Wait Time are important to improve satisfactionAverage Speed of Answering (ASA)

Also referred to as Average Wait Time (AWT) This is how long a customer waits in queue or how long before they explode. Just kidding (sort of), but the length of time a customer waits has an impact on many other metrics like AHT, CES and CSAT (see those terms below).

Average Talk time (ATT) 

Length of a call interaction from answer to disconnection.

Callback Rate

This metric measures how often customers need to call back for the same issue or question.

Customer Effort Score is a trackable QA metric
It’s good to keep customer effort low

Customer Effort Score (CES) 

These QA metrics are about what the customer has to go through to achieve satisfaction. If a customer feels they have had to walk across a desert to acquire their answer they are less likely to stay with a brand or recommend it. They may even complain about it using the megaphone of social media if their CES is poor.  

Customer Service feedback window from CSAT.AI saying thank you to show CSAT metric as part of QA in call center discussion

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) 

CSAT reflects pleased the customer is with the interaction, or not. This QA metric has impact on retention, future sales and brand loyalty/sentiment (see NPS below).

Escalation Rate

This metric measures the percentage of customer interactions that are escalated from a front-line agent to a more senior agent or supervisor.

First Call Resolution (FCR) 

When an initial contact solves the problem. It may not cause balloons to fall from the ceiling but when this happens everyone wins.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) 

Customer’s impression of a company – How likely are they to remain a customer, upgrade and/or recommend the brand or wear a hat with the company logo on it or create a mocking meme that goes viral.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

This is a contractual agreement between a service provider and a customer that specifies the level of service to be provided and the support offered.

Empathy definition in a book as concept for QA in call center customer service metric

Empathy as Metric

The importance of empathetic service has become a key part of the QA in call centers discussion. It poses a unique challenge because it is a nuanced part of the customer interaction that can slow down other metrics, yet improve the end result. 

Agents concerned about their time focused KPI’s like ATT and AHT can struggle with how to employ empathy while still maintaining a professional, efficient interaction. Training agents to use statements that indicate empathy such as “I’m sorry” or “I understand your frustration” is only the first step. Customizing empathy so that it fits the customer’s individual experience is key to making it work. 

Tools like CSAT.AI help management track usage of empathetic statements alongside query resolution and examples of excellent service. It also facilitates proper levels of empathy based on the tone of the customer and the practical nature of their inquiry. This gives a clearer picture of whether empathy efforts are effective or not. This data helps enhance ongoing agent training.

These are some basic QA metrics and terms for contact centers. For more on QA Metrics check out these articles:

Goals: Save Money in Contact Centers

NPS, CES, and CSAT: What is your go to metric? (whitepaper)

How KPIs Help Call Centers Win in the Business Game

5 Reasons Surveys Suck and New Empathetic Ways to Improve CSAT and NPS