TASKE Technology's Call Center Blog

Happy New Year. At this time of year, we often make personal resolutions intended to improve our sense of well-being. Your contact center likely has targets that help you determine whether you’re meeting or exceeding standards for service, which directly affect the well-being of your organization. This is a good time of year to review those targets and make sure they’re in line with expectations.

These targets are measured in terms of service level. Wikipedia defines that “service level measures the performance of a system. Certain goals are defined and the service level gives the percentage to which those goals should be achieved.” In a contact center, an important measure of the service level is defined by the telephone service factor (TSF).

Determine the TSF

TSF measures the service that your agents are providing to callers. You calculate this service level by determining the percentage of calls handled within a defined timeframe. For example, if eight out of ten calls are handled within 30 seconds, then the TSF is 80%.

It’s important to understand what types of calls are considered to be “handled” when calculating TSF, particularly if service level agreements require that you meet legislative or contractual baselines. For example, an organization that provides non-emergency medical transportation may have a legislative requirement to meet a TSF of 85% within ten seconds. If this service level isn’t met, the organization may lose the business or be subject to legal action.

At TASKE, we consider answered, outflowed, or abandoned calls as handled when calculating TSF. Outflowed calls were properly handled, but perhaps not by an agent. They may have been sent to another queue. For abandoned calls, sufficient resources were generally available to answer calls, but some callers chose to abandon the call anyway. In these cases, agents could not have changed the call outcome, regardless of the service level.

Resolve Poor TSF Levels

Short-term drops in any call center measure are expected during times when you have a number of new agent hires or unexpected peaks in call volume. If your TSF drops over time, however, you should investigate what the underlying issues may be. A good way to do this is to look at TSF in combination with other statistics. For example, if the average call duration has increased over the same timeframe, agents are tied up longer on calls, and therefore, can’t answer new calls as quickly.

Another good statistic to look at is the answer service factor (ASF). This statistic focuses on how many calls were answered in a given timeframe. If this statistic isn’t comparable to the TSF, you may want to find out why a high number of calls are being outflowed or abandoned.

Once you determine why agents require more time to deal with calls, you can take appropriate action, such as adding more agents to shifts or providing more training to help agents resolve callers’ issues more efficiently.

Given the nature of the call center, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations and focus on lower-level activities. Take time to review your service level targets. Your call center’s service level is one of the most critical factors in the success of your business. The efficiency of agents in connecting with your callers has a significant effect on customer satisfaction.

See you next month.

Tags: abandon rates, agent productivity, best practices, customer satisfaction, metrics, service levels, TSF.

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