Skip to main content
Help Lightning Blog

5 Important Call Center KPIs to Measure

September 23, 2021

The call center KPIs in your business is one way to evaluate how well your company is: 1) serving its customers, and 2) protecting its long-term goals. KPI itself stands for “key performance indicator” and is an ultra-important measurement when it comes to making objective improvements to your customer service or call centers.

Now, KPIs sometimes inspire equal parts dread and dislike in managers for a reason: they’re not always useful, and can present bureaucratic, time-consuming processes (like filling out reports and conducting employee evaluations), which don’t actually push the needle. For that reason, as opposed to having dozens of KPIs to measure, you’re far better off choosing the most essential metrics.

You can then leverage these KPIs to understand where your business is losing money, easy tweaks you can make to improve your customer retention rates, and how you can differentiate yourself from competitors in your industry on service. (As an added bonus, you can use your KPI scores to better understand other revenue-drivers, such as your CSAT and NPS scores). 

So let’s dive into the top 5 call center KPIs that you should consider implementing in your call center, and the ideal benchmarks for each one. 

Top Call Center KPIs To Begin Implementing

1. Service Level

Your business’ service level call center KPI typically relates to your accessibility. How well are you able to forecast the number of incoming calls? And are you able to match this forecast with the necessary resources (aka agents) available?

Within call centers, the 80/20 rule typically dictates that – ideally – you answer calls in 20 seconds or less. As such, the more callers you connect with agents, and the quicker you do this, the better your service level KPI. 

The best way to improve this call center KPI is one of two routes: 1) Hire more agents, or 2) implement customer service software to resolve issues more quickly, so you can optimize your existing agents’ time and productivity, and increase the number of problems a single agent can reconcile in a day. 

2. Abandonment Rate 

This call center KPI may be the most self-explanatory. If a customer hangs up the phone before routing them to an agent, consider the call abandoned. The way to calculate this KPI is to measure the total number of calls your center receives per day, and divide it by the number of calls that never make it to an agent. 

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that the average abandonment rate hovers between the 5% to 8% mark. 

Keep in mind that abandonment rate is usually closely related to your service level rate. This is one of the call center KPIs discussed above. There is a definitive correlation between the time a customer sits on hold, and how many of your customer service queries abandon prematurely throughout the day. 

Improve your abandonment rate by getting agents to at least speak with callers first before placing them on hold and alerting customers to their place in line. 

 3. Average Call Duration 

From the moment the agent picks up the call, to the moment the call ends, is the average call duration time. This measurement specifically does not include other tasks such as pre-call preparation or post-call wrap up. The IFC finds that the average call time is 4 minutes, but this can be much higher depending on industry. Businesses selling complex or technical products, for instance, will definitely see a higher average call duration time than a furniture store.

What’s great about this call center KPI is that both agents and customers agree. They both want to efficiently and quickly resolve the dispute or problem. 

One fool-proof way to improve this metric is to empower your representatives with more abilities (for instance, the ability to escalate an issue, give refunds or store credit, change information on a customer’s bill/profile, and more). 

We recommend that you (if you don’t know already) speak with customer service representatives to discover the top 5 grievances customers raise. Try your best to empower your representatives to resolve these issues without having to place customers on hold. Waiting for a manager or transfer to a different department is not ideal. Long-term, this will yield happier customers, improved customer retention rates, satisfied customer service representatives, and reduced average call duration times. 

4. First Call Resolution Rate 

We won’t go into too much detail here, as we have another article dedicated to how to improve your first call resolution rate – but know that there is no one way to measure this KPI. Some businesses report they conduct a post-call survey, while others log any repeat contact in CRM systems (such as SalesForce), while others count a call as resolved the first time if they receive no subsequent calls from the same customer within a given period of time. 

That being said, the average first call resolution rate across industries hovers around 70 to 75%.

5. Average Idle Time 

Once your representative has resolved your customer’s problem, it’s time for them to log any call notes, send a follow up email, or any other tasks that require completion before a case can be shut. This will be counted as idle time, in addition to any minutes spent waiting for the next call. 

Ideally, average idle times would be on the lower end, but we don’t recommend you reduce idle time by making customer’s sit on the line while representatives carry out these responsibilities, as that will only skew your average handle time measurements. 

Reduce idle time by eliminating “busy work,” implementing fast-moving software with quick load times, and only have agents carry out essential tasks after a call (for instance, updating a customer’s information, or filling out any critical call notes). 

Interested in learning about other smart KPIs that can help grow your business? Grab our guide to smart KPI tracking here

Alternatively, if you’re interested in leveraging technology to increase CSAT scores and optimize for all the essential call center KPIs on this list: check out Help Lightning’s AR-powered software and take your customer service to the next level. Schedule a free demo here.

Explore the
Help Lightning Platform


Request a product demonstration from one of our experts.


We’d like to understand your needs and provide a value analysis.