Using Performance Measurements to Measure Call Center Efficiency & Effectiveness

By Maggie Klenke

There are many performance measurements that are used to gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of the call center operation. The main purpose of these performance measures is to ensure the call center is meeting its goals and objectives. 

There are many sources of quantitative information from which to draw, while qualitative information comes from observation and monitoring to ensure adherence to the proper behaviors and actions. Analyzing performance results involves a variety of methods and tools to identify performance trends and pinpoint opportunities for performance improvement.

It is critical for every call center operation to have a performance measurement and management strategy in place. The old adage “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is certainly true when it comes to the call center. A significant amount of information is needed to gauge how a call center is performing from an internal operational and external customer perspective.

An effective system of performance measures allows call center management to do the following:

  • Review the call center as a whole.
  • Analyze performance trends.
  • Investigate root cause of problems.
  • Make informed business decisions.
  • Gain internal accountability and credibility.
  • Optimize use of call center resources.
  • Support the call center and organization’s strategic plan and objectives.

When setting call center, team, and individual performance goals, it is important to link to the organization’s mission, vision, and goals. A company’s mission statement describes the purpose of the organization. It defines why the firm exists, and therefore how it operates and makes decisions. The vision statement for an organization is a bit different in that it describes where the organization wants to be at some point in the future. This vision drives the strategy of the organization as a whole, and certainly should define the strategy and performance goals of each department (such as the call center), as well as the performance goals and standards for each individual within the organization.

The strategy provides the overall framework for accomplishing the company’s vision. Sample strategic objectives for an organization might include some of the following:

  • Increase profitability.
  • Increase customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Gain market share.
  • Increase productivity and efficiency.
  • Introduce new products or services.
  • Increase revenues.
  • Expand into new markets.

In order to meet one or more of these strategic objectives, the goals must be communicated throughout the company, and then supporting goals must be developed in each individual business unit or department, such as the call center. The performance measures for the center, for teams, and for individuals can then be defined. 

Department Goals and Measures

Every department or business unit within the company should fully understand the corporate mission and goals, and strive to create its own mission and goals to support the higher objective. This link to corporate strategy and goals is crucial to the success of the call center operation. Some examples of linking call center goals to corporate goals are illustrated below.

Linkage of Enterprise and Call Center Goals

Provide superior service that maximizes customer delight.

Enterprise Goal Call Center Goal
Maintain position as low-cost provider of services in this product sector. Maximize technologies and offerings for self-service options to minimize cost of support.
Provide unique and valuable products and services that meet the unique needs of each customer. Identify unique product requirements through customer interactions, and record them for use in product development and customization efforts.
Implement customer contact strategy that maximizes accessibility and quality of customer interactions.

If the organization’s goal is to provide superior service to maximize customer satisfaction and retention, then the call center’s goal might be to maximize customer accessibility and quality. If these are the primary goals of the call center, then the top performance measures of the center should be ones that determine if these accessibility and quality goals are indeed being met.

Team Goals and Measures

To support the call center’s goal to expand accessibility and increase customer satisfaction and retention, each team will need to identify specific steps they can take. Goals may be set for “one and done” completion by access channel. Or each team may set goals related to “customer saves,” customer satisfaction ratings, or quality scores. Likewise, performance metrics would be defined to gauge how well each team supports the mission and goals.

Individual Goals and Measures

To determine how each individual’s performance supports the corporate goal of improving customer satisfaction and retention, an approach similar to the one used with setting team goals should be used. Again, each agent will either directly or indirectly support the goal of increasing customer satisfaction, and this goal may be measured in a number of different ways. As the center and the team set performance standards for each agent, these individual and team goals will drive the performance expectations and performance measurements.

Quality Measures

The measures listed in the chart below are typically associated with quality of the contact handling process in the call center. Some are associated with resolution of the contact, while others are related to the actual process of the work.

Performance Measures – Quality

performance chart


While contact centers employ more metrics and reports than most other operations, the ones used are not always aligned with the overall success criteria of the enterprise.  Some common measures are easy to obtain but may not be the best indicators of success (e.g., speed of answer), while the most significant metrics may be difficult to access (e.g., first contact resolution rate). It is important to review the metrics and goals used to ensure they are tied to the overall company goals.  Start with the enterprise strategic plan and review each contact center metric to see if and how it aligns.  Also look for company goals the center can contribute to but there is no center goal to measure its achievement.  Reporting on these aligned goals will be more meaningful to senior management, enhancing the importance of the center as well.

Maggie Klenke has written numerous books and articles related to call center and WFM. A semi-retired industry consultant, Maggie serves as an Educational Advisor for QATC.  She may be reached at