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Is Your Contact Center Properly Staffed? Learn What Metrics Can Help You Understand Peak Volume

Peak volume doesn’t have to be elusive for contact center supervisors. By understanding when it happens, you can ensure that you always have appropriate staffing. To best determine when peak volume is for your contact center, you’ll want to pay attention to specific metrics. Learning from your data will help you staff efficiently and improve customer experiences.

Why Does Knowing Peak Volume Matter?

If you schedule agents equally across all times and days, you’re likely overstaffed at times and understaffed at others. These inconsistencies can increase costs and leave customers frustrated with long waits. Looking at key performance indicators (KPIs) in your contact center software to define your peak volume could do the opposite. It may reduce labor expenses and delight your customers.

The Metrics That Matter for Calculating Peak Volume

With a robust contact center platform, you have access to lots of reporting and the ability to create dashboards. When defining your contact center staffing strategy, here are the metrics you’ll need to assess and find peak volume.

Queue Performance

A holistic evaluation of queue performance is critical to identifying peak volume. This report provides insight into all your omnichannel queues—calls, emails, and other channels. You’ll be able to see the flow of queue movement and evaluate the roadblocks impeding progress.

Many things impact queue operations other than volume. So, you’ll need to dig deeper into “why” the queue had a lackluster performance. Is it truly volume related? Or do agents need more training or tools to respond faster?

Call Volume

Possibly the most crucial contact center KPI for answering the question on peaks is call volume. However, you can’t just accept the numbers at face value. Call volume may spike at specific times of the year or post-launch of a new product. These spikes are not consistent over time. Rather, they are directly affected by internal or external factors.

Average Handle Time

Calculating average handle time (AHT) consists of looking at the entire customer interaction. It’s the average amount of time of a call from start to completion, which includes hold time and tasks that agents need to finish post-call.

Long handle times could be the cause of a large volume of calls. It could also be indicative of the need to better educate agents. This metric is a good baseline but be aware that handle times can be longer, even when the number of calls for those periods is lower than others.

First Response Time

First response time (FRT) describes how long it takes a customer to reach an agent. Look at the variance of FRT across days and times. Those periods with higher FRT could strongly indicate that you need more agents. The shorter this number is, the better because callers aren’t experiencing long wait times.

Call Length

The length of calls is another metric that can help you with peak volume. Long calls don’t necessarily demonstrate peak volume. Longer calls can happen for several reasons—complex issues, agents needing to investigate, or the need to escalate to a supervisor.

Think of these as outliers. On the surface, it may impact your FRT numbers and skew data, so you need context to understand why calls were longer than normal.

Abandoned Calls

Customers will often hang up while in the queue if they become agitated by the wait. An abandoned call is a missed opportunity to support a customer and resolve issues. It could influence customer sentiment and chip away at loyalty. If you see abandoned call trends, that’s a clear sign you need more agents.

The Connection Between Peak Volume and Staffing

All these metrics help build your data story of when peak volume really occurs. For most of these KPIs, you have to add context to understand them completely. By leveraging your contact center software reports, you can access these numbers in real-time, and supervisors can immediately respond.

Once you have a clear picture of peak volume, staffing can be more optimal in that it serves your customers and could help reduce expenses. You can use the data to drive better decision-making.

Does Your Contact Center Support Metrics?

The problem is that not all platforms provide easy-to-pull reports or metric dashboards. If you have to produce numbers manually, you aren’t working efficiently. For an exceptional analytics solution, which includes customer reporting, learn more about our contact center software.

About Kirsten Barta

Kirsten Barta is Program Manager of Digital Content and Strategy at Intermedia