In the world of endless chatbots and emails, we might assume that modern businesses rarely make outbound calls to close deals. However, even in the digital era, the opposite remains true. 69% of consumers report that they will answer one or more sales calls, and 82% of buyers will schedule a meeting after a series of phone calls from a call center.
What’s the best way to optimize our outbound call centers and drive better performance? To get started, it’s essential to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help businesses succeed and drive higher revenue. Measuring KPIs will help us analyze gaps in the process, allowing our managers to optimize the customer experience and improve productivity.
In this article, we’ll walk through the top outbound call center metrics to analyze effectiveness and performance to scale our businesses. Let’s dive in!
What are Outbound Call Centers?
While inbound call centers receive calls from customers to provide troubleshooting support, outbound call centers focus on making sales. Most of these centers call leads to sell services, promote new promotions, survey past customers, or collect market research. The outbound call representatives will focus on qualifying leads and gathering contact information to inform future conversations.
Pull quote #2: 70% of consumers prefer companies that proactively reach out
70% of consumers prefer companies that proactively reach out with new sales information. However, for call centers to be successful, we need to call customers at the right time, with the right message to land a deal. Oftentimes, this means providing a more holistic customer experience to better need the lead’s needs. While primarily focused on phone calls, outbound call centers might also utilize the following technology to communicate with customers on:
- Live chat
- SMS text messages
- Social media
By offering an omnichannel approach to communicate with leads, our outbound call center can focus on reaching out to prospects on their preferred platforms and using the right messaging to drive future answers. In fact, the average customer receives eight touchpoints from a company before making a purchase decision.
The Common Challenges Call Centers Face
With the growth of emails, text messages, and the comprehensive omnichannel approach, it can be challenging to determine which outbound call metrics we should track. While text messages are ideal for earning initial attraction, a B2C outbound call delivers confidentiality and personalization that digital methods cannot replace.
Unfortunately, managing an outbound call center can feel like we’re looking for a needle in a haystack. Depending on the target audience, our call centers might initially struggle with getting leads to answer the phone. This is especially true with the increase of fraud and robocalls that often try to scam people.
The best way to avoid these challenges is to monitor performance and keep track of call center statistics to help our staff better connect with prospective customers.
We can fight these challenges by measuring our call center’s performance to:
- Highlight errors and challenges
- Optimize processes to maximize staff
- Improve talking scripts or resource development
- Help managers stay abreast on evolving customer needs
- Educate the business on customer behavior patterns
15 Outbound Call Center Metrics to Start Tracking Now
Many organizations utilize call center KPIs to monitor performance and motivate employees to reach company-wide objectives. We can even implement competitions or yearly bonuses based on the statistics to help impact outcomes. However, analyzing statistics goes beyond simply tracking the number of calls and conversion rates. Instead, you’ll want to dive deeper into the metrics to discover underlying patterns.
To monitor and improve our outbound call centers, get started with these top 15 metrics:
1. Occupancy Rate
By identifying how busy our call centers agents are, occupancy rate includes the time spent on active calls and post-call maintenance like updating the lead’s contact information. This metric helps measure the agent’s productivity compared to idle time, which should help organizations optimize resource levels and improve customer experience.
For example, if we notice an agent’s percentage is too low, the center may be experiencing workflow issues, or the agent may be too focused on non-work-related tasks.
Formula: Occupancy rate = (Total call time / total logged-in time)*100 = %
2. Call Quality
The call quality helps measure the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the agent’s customer interactions. It’s important to note that the number of calls the agent takes doesn’t always equal quality, so it’s essential to measure a few qualitative points to understand overall conversion rates.
Get started by recording a few live outbound calls and score them based on the following factors:
- Agent tone and behavior
- Ability to follow the script
- Product or company knowledge
- Time spent on call
- Lead conversion
3. Hit Rate
Hit rate, also known as the average sales per agent, is a direct indicator of lead quality and the agent’s ability to convert. The hit rate is the percentage of conversions compared to the total number of leads per agent. We can break this metric down by call campaign, team, or the entire center, depending on our overall goals. For example, if we’re running a sales promotion on a targeted call list, the hit rate allows you to calculate overall list quality and determine if the campaign was successful.
Formula: Hit rate = (Sales converted / leads)*100 = %
4. Lead Conversion Rate
The lead conversion rate is an essential metric determining how many outbound calls convert into customers or sales. Overall, the lead conversion rate speaks directly to the return-on-investment (ROI) and how successful our teams are at closing deals. If we notice a lower conversion rate, the cost per lead (CPL) will increase and negatively impact business revenue.
Here are a few tips to help increase conversion rates in the call center:
- Provide free education and resources to customers
- Empower agents with the right support and specs to quickly answer questions
- Hire a talented workforce that has experience in outbound selling
- Develop a process for transferring calls to the right support person
Formula: Lead conversion rate = (Total number of conversions / Total leads)*100 = %
5. Average Handle Time (AHT)
The AHT metric is the average time for call center reps to handle complete customer interactions. AHT allows us to identify an agent’s efficiency, but it also helps calculate the number of reps needed for each shift. While a lower AHT indicates that the agents are handling more calls, it could also mean that customers are receiving a negative experience due to agents feeling rushed.
Optimize the AHT metric by:
- Shadowing calls to identify current organization gaps
- Utilizing an internal call routing and communication process
- Initiating frequent agent performance reviews to foster growth
- Improving the agent training programs
Formula: Average handle time = (Talk time + hold time + after-call work time + dialing time + contacting time) / Total interactions handled = %
6. Call Abandonment Rate
Outbound call abandonment is the total number of calls abandoned while a lead is on hold with an agent. Typically, this occurs when auto-dialers call multiple prospects simultaneously for the same agent. If the agent cannot answer the call fast enough, the prospect will inevitably hang up. A higher abandonment rate is a strong indicator that the dialer is burning through the contact list, and there aren’t enough agents staffed to handle the pipeline.
Formula: Call abandonment rate = (Total number of calls handled / number of calls put on hold)*100 = %
7. First Call Close (FCC)
First call close (FCC) measures the level of sales made by the agent on the first call with a customer. A higher FCC indicates potent agents, engaging sales scripts, and overall brand sentiment. To optimize your FCC, you need to develop a dynamic script that guides the agents through a sale and processes to route all new customers to an inbound sales professional afterward.
Formula: First call close = (New leads closed on the first call / total new prospect calls)*100 = %
8. Contact Rate
The contact rate will identify how many leads result in human contact from callers if we have extensive contact lists for the center to work through. Contact rate, sometimes known as the call completion rate, will help determine if the list is quality, the outbound campaign performance, and how effective employees are at reaching leads at the right time.
To avoid missing out on calls, consider:
- Scheduling outgoing calls based on the lead’s schedule preference or user behavior
- Utilizing high-quality, targeted lists that are more likely to result in an answer
- Engaging voicemail scripts to encourage leads to call back
Formula: Contact rate = (Total calls answered by leads / total calls dialed)*100 = %
9. Cost per Call (CPC)
The CPC metric determines the sum of all operational costs, such as internet charges, software fees, and phone systems, divided by the total number of calls. Since the purpose of maintaining an outbound call center is to generate business, measuring the cost per call (CPC) allows us to budget and optimize resources to ensure we’re getting the most out of each call campaign.
To reduce the overall CPC, consider the following recommendations:
- Implement a robust training program to mitigate habitual mistakes
- Offer a remote culture to save overhead infrastructure costs
- Use top-tier technology to provide better support
- Keep callers motivated by offering rewards and incentives
Formula: Cost per call = Complete operational costs / complete number of outbound calls = #
10. After Call Work Time (ACWT)
After callers hang up the phone, they often need to wrap up many tasks such as updating databases, scheduling follow-ups, and sending feedback forms. The ACWT metric identifies how long each caller takes to work through additional customer-related tasks.
If we notice a longer ACWT time, we’ll want to consider developing more robust workflows to create better efficiency. A few tips include:
- Training agents to multitask
- Develop workflows through a customer relationship manager (CRM)
- Creating a knowledge resource center for agents to answer questions quickly
- Surveying agents frequently to understand which processes to optimized
Formula: After call work time = Total handling time – (total hold time + total talk time) = #
11. Average Talk Time (ATT)
Often confused with AHT, the ATT metric determines the amount of time each agent actually spends talking to customers, instead of additional wrap-up time. While a higher ATT score might mean we’re using inefficient software, it also could mean that callers are having more meaningful conversations with customers. The best way to optimize the ATT metric is to provide streamlined call scripts to keep agents on clear conversation paths.
Formula: Average talk time = (Total handling time – total hold time – total wrap up time) / total calls handled = #
12. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
To understand the high-level cost of converting new leads, the CAC refers to the aggregate expense of acquiring new customers. The CAC metric considers costs from marketing and sales campaigns to provide insight into how the organization spends and converts opportunities.
Ideally, a lower CAC is better for our ROI. Start optimizing the CAC metric by:
- Reduce overhead costs and resources
- Develop robust buyer personas to develop more targeted call lists
- Improve the average answer speed for prospects
- Utilize a CRM system to automate manual processes
Formula: Customer acquisition cost = Overall sales and marketing cost / total number of newly converted customers = #
13. Calls per Agent and Calls per Hour
To help track overall agent productivity, utilize the calls per agent metric to determine how many calls each agent initiates during their shift. Organizations can also take this metric further by analyzing calls per hour to track efficiency in a shorter time frame. Call centers often favor calls per hour because it helps understand gaps, technology needs, and resource constraints.
To improve the calls per agent KPI, we’ll want to optimize workflows and manage break requests to ensure agents fulfill a high number of calls without sacrificing customer experience. It’s essential to configure the autodialer to deliver maximum efficiency.
Formula: Calls per agent = Number of placed calls / number of agents = #
14. Customer Satisfaction
Collecting customer feedback and understanding brand reputation are integral parts of an outbound call center’s success. By understanding customer satisfaction, you can analyze data around service, products, and experience and optimize the processes to meet needs better.
Here are a few ways to determine customer satisfaction:
- Feedback satisfaction surveys after outbound calls take place
- Provide callers with prompts to ask leads while on the phone
- Ask customers to rate service with a CSAT or Net Promotor Score (NPS) to more easily track improvements
15. Online-to-Schedule (OLTS)
The OLTS metric helps monitor the caller’s productivity by tracking the minutes each individual logs on compared to the duration they were supposed to be online. While it doesn’t include factors like designated breaks, elements like idle and wrap-up time help determine OLTS. Call centers can optimize OLTS by setting milestones for callers to adhere to and providing time-tracking tools that stop agents from wasting time.
Formula: Online-to-schedule = Total minutes required to log in – actual logged in minutes = #
Boost Call Center Statistics By Measuring Top Outbound Metrics
Statistics will not only help improve the call center’s performance, but it will also provide a better customer experience that could lead to higher conversion rates and improved ROI. While there are dozens of outbound call center metrics to analyze, tracking the right metrics depends on the organization’s objectives and current status. By consistently managing performance, we can continue to improve quarter-over-quarter and develop better outbound processes for the entire organization.
Ready to optimize your call center with AI technology? Get started with Pipes.ai today.