On Sep, 22 2023
Keeping agents happy should always be a high priority for contact centers. After all, it’s much easier to retain the agents you have than to find, hire, and train new ones from the ground up.
However, directly asking an agent “are you happy?” probably isn’t going to yield the most authentic response. In fact, it could also get the wheels turning in an agent’s head…
“Why do they want to know if I’m happy? Are other agents unhappy? Are there things I’m doing that make it seem like I’m not happy?”
Instead, a more indirect approach can sometimes be a better gauge of actual happiness than a straight and to the point question that puts an agent on the spot.
To help with understanding the actual happiness of agents, below are 7 important contact center metrics to monitor for boosting agent retention.
1) Check in times – Consistently showing up late to work is a classic sign that an employee is at risk of leaving a company. But what about during the day when they come back from breaks and lunch? 15 minutes away can quickly turn into a half hour off the phones without a proper monitoring solution. Having a system that not only lets an agent check in on their own but also alerts a supervisor or workforce management (WFM) analyst of their status keeps everyone in the loop around hours worked. Too many late check ins are never a good thing.
2) In adherence percentage – A metric like adherence directly correlates with an agent doing their assigned job. An in adherence percentage is a single data point obtained through WFM software that indicates how often a specific agent is working in their primary role throughout the day. If this metric begins to fluctuate, it may indicate an agent is struggling for one or several reasons.
3) Agent in queue time – When an agent is ready to take a call, they hop into the queue and get connected with a customer. At the end of a workday, a contact center supervisor can see exactly how long each agent was in queue for. If a particular agent has spent considerably less time in queue over the past week than usual, it could indicate a potential retention issue.
4) Average handle time – This metric is a staple of any contact center and is often related to the queue time. Sure, long conversations mean more time on the phone, but they also correlate to increased agent fatigue and a desire for additional breaks. Keep an eye on handle times throughout the day and provide agents that have had fewer but longer conversations more time to step away, especially if they are working with high profile customers.
5) Time off requests – It’s typically not a good sign when an agent who has a history of being stingy with time off suddenly decides to zero out their time off balance. Modern WFM software tracks time off and makes it easy to compare time requested against other metrics (like the ones listed above) to see if anything appears to be out of the ordinary.
6) Schedule bidding participation – Some contact centers have agents bid on their preferred schedules for a set period of time. If an agent has been active in the bidding process in the past but now either neglects the process entirely or spends very little time bidding (i.e. they choose the first 5 options every time) it’s often a bad sign. This probably means they are not caring as much as they should in other areas of their work as well.
7) Mobile app usage – Implementing a mobile WFM app into your contact center is a great way to stay connected with agents. However, this experience is a two-way street. If an agent isn’t showing interest in activities through the mobile app (such as shift opportunities), or worse doesn’t even have the app installed on their phone, it could be a sign that the agent is disengaged with their work. Keep an eye on which agents are frequently accepting additional shifts and even consider doing a subtle spot check for app installs.
Hopefully this list of contact center metrics was helpful in highlighting potential areas to watch so you are able to improve agent retention. When an agent performs poorly or shows unusual behavior in multiple metrics, it really becomes important to intervene and try to get the agent back on track before it’s too late.