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The Role of Metrics in the Contact Center

by Justin Robbins

This is the first installment in an ongoing series about the role of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) in defining, measuring, and achieving success in the contact center. 

What Does Contact Center Success Look Like?

Is it about saving the business money? Improving customer loyalty? Informing innovations? All of that and more? Contact center success can take many forms, and there’s a variety of ways in which businesses can track and quantify their achievements. 

Great contact center leaders don’t simply know where to look for these signs of success, they also understand how to effectively use metrics to motivate and lead people towards achieving their desired outcomes in a consistent and predictable manner. 

Over the next several months, we’re going to look at many different contact center metrics and dissect where they help and where they hurt. We’ll explain how they affect behaviors and when they can cause confusion or mislead decision making. 

We’re going to challenge you to think differently about how you measure what matters most, and we’ll share how change-making contact center leaders deliver clear and meaningful value to their business, their employees, and their customers, and it all begins by clearly understanding the role of metrics in the contact center.

Why Do Contact Center Metrics Matter?

At their most fundamental level, metrics serve two purposes in the contact center:

  1. Providing tangible, quantifiable measures of the contact center’s priorities and its unique definition of success. 
  2. Reporting on the contact center’s progress toward or away from its goals.  

In other words, one look at a contact center’s metrics should be able to tell you what’s most important to them and indicate what’s helping or hurting their success. 

Metrics aren’t meant to be cryptic. They should be clear, actionable, and aligned to the value that the contact center can deliver to its customers, employees, and business stakeholders.

What metrics matter most to customers, employees, and businesses?

One of the most challenging aspects of managing a contact center is meeting the often conflicting needs of different stakeholders. What’s important to the business might be at odds with what customers need and value and, furthermore, could create an unwinnable situation for employees trying to meet the needs of both. 

This is often exacerbated by shifts in strategy, business priorities, or perceived urgency that cause pendulum swings from hyper efficiency and cost control one minute, to customer experience enhancement and added value the next. Effective contact center leaders understand how to balance the needs of these three groups and leverage metrics that provide compelling evidence on whether or not they’re delivering meaningful value to them.

We’ll delve into the specific metrics later in this series but, as a foundation, the metrics for these three stakeholder groups can be grouped into three specific themes:

Customer metrics are those which measure the experience. These indicators could apply to the product or service that’s being offered, the person or team that delivered it, the process involved, the atmosphere, location, or method of service, and the customer’s confidence or reassurance.  

Employee metrics look at what’s within the individual's control or influence. It’s through these measures that employees gain clearly defined expectations and understand their impact.

Business metrics are ultimately about revenue and efficiency. These performance indicators enable a company to find a balance between the cost efficiency of service and the business results they’re trying to achieve.

How Well is Your Business Balancing Its Measures of Success?

If you feel like you’re struggling to strike the right balance in your metrics and drive predictable performance improvement consistently, you’re not alone. Many contact centers leaders cite challenges with their metrics that range from getting employees to buy-in to looking for a better way to define and measure success. It’s our goal, through this new metrics series, to effectively equip you to overcome these challenges and more. 

Have an idea for a metrics topic that you’d like us to explore in this series? Let me know by sending a note to justin.robbins at

Next week, we’re going to look at two types of metrics: lagging and leading indicators, to help you establish performance measures that will change the way you look at quality assurance, ongoing coaching and development, and your contact center’s approach to performance improvement.

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Justin Robbins is a researcher, educator, and advisor who’s spent the past two decades helping businesses define and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Justin is currently the Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Evangelism at UJET, where he leads the Public Relations, Analyst Relations, Customer Marketing, and Thought Leadership programs.