Call Center Metrics: Contact Ratio

Find out what a call center’s contact ratio rate is and more.

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Also known as call conversions, the contact ratio is the number of contacts your agents convert into an appointment, sale, or other actionable goal, divided by the number of contacts handled, and expressed as a percentage. It can include cross-selling or up-selling, where an additional piece of revenue-producing business is added to the original order or sale.

With metrics firmly established as the best way to inform future decisions within any contact center, it’s no wonder that management is always looking for the most effective ways to measure the performance of both individual agents and the center in general. One of the key performance indicators (KPIs) used in this environment is the contact ratio, also known as call conversions. This is the number of contacts your agents convert into an appointment, sale, or other actionable goal, divided by the number of contacts handled, and expressed as a percentage. Contact ratio can include cross-selling or up-selling, where an additional piece of revenue-producing business is added to the original order or sale.

 

Not Just Outbound Anymore

The contact ratio metric has traditionally been used in the outbound-call and sales center environments; however, every customer contact, regardless of channel, should be recognized as an opportunity to produce revenue. As excellent customer service continues to increase in importance, continuously enhancing your customers’ experience ensures that your center contributes meaningfully to your business’ overall profitability. Cross-selling and up-selling are another way to provide value-added customer service, particularly in the service sectors such as banking and travel. Furthermore, these techniques are easy and cheap ways to increase revenues and drive down costs, as it takes your agents very little extra time to inform your customers of new service options and ask for additional business.

This has also proven true within healthcare contact centers. It’s always been important that these centers facilitate excellent patient care; now, however, it is the consumers who are asking customer-care agents to increase their own understanding by explaining the quality and pricing of services and by providing greater flexibility in related transactions. The concepts of contact ratio, cross-selling, and up-selling can support fundamental customer service goals even as healthcare agents strive to serve their customers’ needs for more personalized healthcare options.

 

Building Multi-Dimensional Goals

Many of the metrics traditionally used in inbound contact centers are operational and tactical in nature. While these metrics show the efficiency of your operation, you can build a more in-depth picture through a profit-and-loss analysis, which includes financial, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction measurements. Analyzing financial performance shows how your contact center is doing today, the customer satisfaction view gives insight into what will happen in the future, and employee engagement provides the biggest predictor of their future performance. So, if you’ve got all three – a good financial performance, great customer satisfaction or customer experience indicators, and strong employee engagement indicators – you can accurately gauge your contact center’s overall performance over time.

Effective performance measurement is required for making strong decisions. These measurements should include tracking agent productivity and identifying their strengths and weaknesses to determine actions that can improve performance and establish achievable goals for both individuals and the center as a whole. Simple metrics like call time and duration, response time, and agents’ ability to engage with your customers should be monitored and included in plans for continuous improvement.

Contact ratio is a financial measure. One way to increase your contact ratio is to streamline routing so your customers get quick and effective contact resolution. The goals are to reduce unnecessary call transfers and to ensure that every opportunity is maximized within every call. It’s also important to understand the characteristics of customers whose contacts result in conversions, as well as the paths they take to contacting an agent. For instance, are your customers doing their research through online search engines? Are they following up on an email or text, or on information they found on your website? Are they making first contact through social media?

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