Category Archives: Customer Service

Call center NPS, Definition and calculation

Call center NPS or Net Promoter Score has emerged as one of the key measure of customer satisfaction in service industry. Before going in details lets understand what NPS is. While calling up a helpline you might have come across a feedback survey asking you to rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 10 or a similar scale. This survey is known as NPS survey. Based on the score provided in this survey companies determine how likely is the customer to recommend their services or product to his or her friends and family. Generally for a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is the lowest score and 10 the highest, interpretation of scores is as follows:
Score of 9 and 10 is considered to be promoters i.e. these customers will recommend the services or product to their friends
Score of 7 and 8 are considered to be Passive, i.e. these customers are fence sitters and might not promote the product and services
Score of 6 and less are considered to be detractors i.e. these customers will tell their friends and family not to use the product
How to calculate call center NPS score
Now let’s see how to calculate NPS score. The formula for this is
NPS score= (count of promoters – Count of detractors)/ Total survey responders * 100

Let’s take an example. Say for a service a total of 10 customers responded to NPS survey. The breakup of responders basis the above criteria is as follows:
Promoters : 5
Passive : 2
Detractors : 3
Now as per the formula the NPS score will be calculated as follows:
NPS score = (5-3)/10 *100 = 30

Keep in mind the NPS score can vary between -100 and +100
A score closer to +100 is considered to be good whereas a negative score means more customers will tell their friends not to use the product or service.
This is an important satisfaction measurement tool and knowledge of NPS is critical to your success in advancing your call center career.
Another article you might find useful
Tips to handle difficult bosses: Easy, practical & fun

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Tips to ruin your call center career

Traditionally call center career is considered to be an easy way to start your professional life even with limited skills. With over 17 years of experience in this field now, I have seen loads of people joining call center and turning it into a dead end job. Achieving this is fairly easy if you don’t want to grow in this industry or are comfortable in a single position. Just follow one or more of these tips and you will most likely ruin your call center career. Be warned that doing the opposite of below recommendations might lead to a promotion or fast career growth.

• Don’t focus on your KPIs – KPI or Key performance indicators are the baseline for measuring efficiency of an individual in call center. Just be oblivious to values like NPS, CSAT, AHT, sales target and you are half way through. The good thing about this advice is that it works for all levels right from telecaller to head of operations.
• Be invisible- You will not need any super powers for this one. Just make sure to have minimum interaction with your manager and seniors. The less they know that you exist lesser will be the chance that you will be recommended for any new assignment or promotion. With large team sizes in call center industry, it is very rare that senior management will recognize more anyone apart from their direct team. People who are more visible because of their good work or participation in various activities tend to stand out and thus have a better chance of faster career progression.
• Refuse any additional work- Make sure to refuse working on any additional assignment or task being given to you. Say that you have to take your dog to a vet or any such excuse. If you are still not able to wriggle out of it then simply do a bad job of it. Taking up additional work apart from your daily work will make you seem to be proactive. Proactive people are generally seen in a good light and thus have more chances of being promoted.
• Never work overtime- Never agree to put in extra hours. Even when you know that your manager needs your help, just give some excuse and get out of there. Management has this habit to identify hard workers from the lot and then give them extra work. Once you have been identified as one of these lot they will try to retain you no matter what thus leading to a successful career.
• Ignorance is Bliss- These are certainly wise words and can go a long way in ensuring a dead end call center career. Simple trick is to keep your knowledge of your company or the product and process you are working on to be very limited. Knowing the processes or product in dept will lead to you being seen as a subject matter expert or SME. Managers generally tend to consult or guide new people to be mentees to such individuals. You know what happens next, first SME and then a team leader and we certainly don’t want that.

Any one or combination of the above tips are a sure shot way of stalling your call center career growth. Doing the opposite will surely boost it!!!

Another article you might find useful
Tips to handle difficult bosses: Easy, practical & fun

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Average Abandonment Rate in call center

Average Abandonment Rate or Abandoned percentage as it is commonly known is the percentage of calls dropped or abandoned before being answered by an executive.
Let’s understand this with an example:
Say during a particular interval a total of 50 customers called on your helpline and chose to speak to an executive. Due to call flow all these customers went into a call queue before their call was answered. Out of these 50 customers 10 chose not to wait for their call to be answered and dropped the call or in simple words hung up. So in this scenario the Average Abandonment Rate or Average Abandoned percentage will be
Abandoned%= (Calls abandoned/ Calls offered) * 100 = (10/50)*100 = 20%
Keep in mind that Average Abandonment Rate is directly linked to Average speed of Answering ASA or Average Wait TimeAWT. Greater the ASA or AWT higher will be abandoned percentage.
Another simple way of calculating Average Abandonment Rate is to simply subtract Answering rate from 100%
For example if for a particular period answering rate is 92% then the abandoned% for this period will be 100%-92%= 8%
IF you are managing operations in a call center then this is a very critical parameter to gauge the performance of your process. You will need to manage your staffing carefully during peak call flow intervals to keep abandoned% to a minimum level
Another critical parameter that you would want to know is Call Center Service Level : Definition and Calculation
In case you find the information useful, please spare a few seconds and leave a comment below to let me know what else would you want to know about call center careers.

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Call center FCR First Call Resolution explained

First Call Resolution or FCR as it is commonly known in call centers has evolved as a key parameter to measure the efficiency of a process.
Some companies call it FTR or First Time Resolution
Let me first give you the basic definition and calculation of First Call Resolution.
FCR is defined as the number of calls answered by an executive which were not escalated or the customer did not have to callback the helpline for the same concern for a specific interval of time. That is customers concern was resolved in the first call itself.

Calculation of FCR
FCR = Total number of calls received only once during an interval / total number of calls received during that interval
I know this is a little confusing so let’s understand it with an example
Suppose during a specific day 3 customers Tom, John and betty call up the helpline of their mobile operator.
Tom calls and enquires about his monthly bill and is given complete details.
John calls and complains that his mobile is not working. The executive tells him to wait for an hour and his concern will be resolved.
After waiting for an hour John again calls back and informs that his mobile is still not working. This time the executive tells him to change some settings on his handset and it starts working.
Betty calls to get some service activated on her phone and the executive helps her with that.

Now in the above example Tom’s and Betty’s call will be considered as FCR but John’s calls will not be considered as first call resolution as he had to call twice for the same concern.
So FCR in this case = 2/4= 50%
Let me change the scenario a little, suppose the executive handling John’s first call had got the settings done and his mobile started working. In this case John would not have called back after one hour and so the FCR would be 3/3= 100%
Keep in mind that FCR is a subjective parameter and different companies calculate it differently. For example some companies do not consider the nature of inquiry while considering the repeat call. Say if John had called twice for two different inquiries unrelated to each other still his calls will be taken as repeat calls. That is because according to some companies the executive should have probed and anticipated the next call. Whereas some companies consider only calls related to the same concern as repeat calls and not unrelated calls even if they are from same customer.
Another variable is the time difference between two calls from the same customer. For considering a call to be repeat or non FCR some companies consider 24 hours from the first call to be the ideal threshold whereas it may vary from industry to industry.

Another critical parameter that you would want to know is Call Center Service Level : Definition and Calculation

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Call Center Service Level : Definition and Calculation

Call center service level is defined as the percentage of calls being answered in a specified time. Service level or SL as it is commonly known is the most basic and essential parameter to track a callcenter’s performance.
Most times you will get a service level target like 80-20 or 90-60 or any similar value which is a combination of two figures. Let’s understand what this means. When you get a SL target of 80-20 this means you are expected to answer 80% calls within 20 seconds, that is 80% calls offered on your callcenter should have a queue time of less than 20 seconds.
Similarly a service level of 90-60 would mean that 90% calls should be answered within 60 seconds.
Now that you understand the meaning of the term, let’s move to the calculation part of it.
Suppose you have been given a SL target of 85-15, that is answering 85% calls in 15 seconds. You will require the following values:
1. Total calls offered during the interval for which SL has to be calculated
2. Calls answered within 15 seconds (You will get this value from ACD report, that is the software you use to distribute calls across callcenter)

Now that you have these 2 values it is fairly simple to calculate SL. The formula is”
Call center Service Level = (Calls answered within said duration / Total calls offered_ * 100

For example in above case if the total calls offered were 1000 and the total calls answered within 15 seconds were 900 then the Service level would be:
Service Level = 900/1000 * 100 = 90%

Since the target given to us was 85-15 that is to answer 85% calls in 15 seconds and we have answered 90% calls in 15 seconds, hence the SL target is considered met.
Suppose we had answered 800 calls in 15 seconds then the service level would have been 800/1000*100= 80%, so the SL target was missed.
Hope this clarifies your doubts about this topic, if not just leave a comment below and I will get back to you with the solution.

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Essentials to grow in callcenter career, an interview with Sean Hawkins

The one thing I have been asked most frequently is the secret to grow in callcenter industry. To get an answer to this I got an opportunity to interact with Sean Hawkins. Sean Hawkins is a Customer Experience and Contact Center expert with over 15 years of call center experience. In that time, he’s worked in numerous roles in the public, private and government sectors.

His many years in contact center leadership have provided a solid understanding of the call center environment. Sean has a terrific pulse on incorporating innovation into the contact center. He’s implemented social, outsourcing partners, new technology, and new products, while maintaining an award-winning contact center.

Let’s know Sean a little better and see what advice he has for us to excel in this field.

How did you come to join call center industry?

After discharging from the US Navy, I worked in an auto plant and went to school. After graduation, I had the chance to work for a company in Stockton, CA. as a one man IT department/Support Team. I was under qualified, uncertain of myself and deathly afraid of making mistakes. It was an amazing experience!

It is said that it is difficult to grow in call center field, what has been your experience?

I would disagree. Growth and advancement abound in the contact center. I think leadership has to do a better job of professional development with their staff and helping them create a career path. Lack of growth is generally due to these reasons.

When and how did you get your first promotion?

My first promotion occurred a few months after I started in my first call center back in 2000. I was promoted to a Technical Lead responsible for taking escalations from our Tier 1 team.

What are the 5 essential skills that one must have to make a successful career in call center?

That can vary based on the call center you are in, and what you are supporting. I’d say the most important are a high EQ, an ability to understand data, understand basic metrics, a great work ethic, and love for the job.

What terms/matrices should be known to all successful call center professionals?

Well, there are so many terms and matrices, to try to remember them all could be quite difficult. Furthermore not all are used in any given center. I’d say first learn what is used in your current center. There are some common metrics such as CSAT, Handle Time, Custom Effort, Score, Net Promoter Score, TSF, and ASF that are certainly worth knowing.

Who have been your inspiration/mentors and what key lessons did you learn from them?

I’ve had many in my career from Joyce Nyhaug, Erie Luces, Sarah Stealey-Reed, and John Tedesco. From a personal standpoint, my wife (Yvette Hawkins), parents, grandparents, and in-laws have influenced and inspired me as well.

I’ve learned that effort, determination, aspiration, a thirst for learning, and kindness will take you very far in life.

Tell us a little about Call center weekly

That is a blog I created with Jeremiah Methvin and Brooks Webb. We had a desire to provide a forum for call center agents and managers to share their stories, offer their advise. So often it is the those on the front lines who are responsible for successes, but they rarely have opportunity to receive recognition. The blog was a way to give voice to the front line staff.

What other resources do you recommend for people in the field of contact center?

There are organization such as ICMI, CCNG, HDI that specialize in contact center training. If possible, attend conferences, seminars, and webinars. I’d also take advantage of social media. Connect with people, companies and organizations and begin to engage them.

What advice do you have for call center professionals who feel that they are stuck in a single profile?

I’d encourage them to seek out mentors, ask questions, and find resources to help you. There are so many opportunities available to you

So readers this was Sean sharing some insights into fast tracking your callcenter career. Do let me know if you have any queries. You can write to me at ashish@callcenterdecoded.com or just leave a comment below.

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Agitated Customer : Tips to handle them

There is nothing serious in a business than an agitated customer, and a successful business is one which has a manpower possessing the special skills to handle such customers.
The author has tried to jot down an overview of some of such useful skills which might be referred to as customer cooling skills (CCS) for such an hour.
Top skills to be possessed could be as follows:

  • Listening – Listen very patiently and react very empathetically, if at all required. The last thing an agitated customer would want is any interruption while reporting a grievance and the first thing which they admire and which undoubtedly would help them cool down a bit is lending them an ear.
  • Consideration – Be considerate to offer the customer a seat and a drink or a snack in a very courteous manner. The customer will definitely feel and appreciate the courtesy, with or without expressing the satisfaction directly.
  • Accept and Apologise – After listening to their grievance completely and understanding it, do not waste time to accept negligence and apologising for the fault. The anger would certainly cool down a bit more by now.
  • Reassurance – After accepting and apologising reassuring the customer for not to repeat the incident in the future would go a long way making customer a regular client.
  • Compensation – Compensating a customer with a grievance could be a step forward in a business. The compensation could be for a customer’s fuel being used to come back and report, it could be an on the spot free gift or a free service offer. You will see a cool customer by now. After all taking leads and referrals might be in the store by offering this service.
  • Argument– A biggest no to any argument at any point of all the discussion with any agitated customer please.
    Hope to convert an agitated customer to a cool customer referring more customers at the end.

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Top mistakes to ruin callcenter career

A call centre career is not the easiest of the jobs as perceived. The professional must be of a very confident and passionate to succeed.
Prominent mistakes one can avoid or get rid off to be successful in callcenter career are,
1. Not in time – Knowing and understanding the importance of being in time goes a long way through ages with a professional. Customers need your services all the time. So, with a considerate approach to a customer’s needs than anything else, one must be at your desk and on call in real time.
2. Non- communicative- Communication skills are undoubtedly a skill to possess and to succeed. It can be for communicating with customers as well as with bosses and colleagues. So, if you fail to convey and report what is needed then there are more chances of you to have a skill to look for another job.
3. Lack of product knowledge and updates- You must have a thorough knowledge of the product or service for which you are interacting with your organisation’s customers and prospective clients. Otherwise, the profile may be the same as it was before you joined your job, i.e., jobless.
4. Incompetent listening skills- Listening skills are on high demand when interacting with the stakeholders. If you are not an excellent listener then you are not a good call centre professional. So, skills of listening would need to be on top priority in a call centre.
6. Omitting steps from a set of processes- Every professional organisation has its own set of processes for a job profile. Now, if you as a professional are trying to or omit some steps of a process, then the purpose gets defeated. For example- After closing a call the professional must record and file the necessary information and then the process is complete.
To conclude, the call centre career is a homogeneous mixture of skills like, communication, reporting, listening, learning and timeliness.

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Most common callcenter interview questions and recommended answers

Here are the top 5 most common callcenter interview questions asked by recruiters

Q.1 Tell me about yourself?


This is a typical question that is asked in every call centre interview. Never start the answer with myself. Always start with “I am XYZ”. You have to speak for 2-3 minutes about your family background, about your qualification and experience, about your hobbies. You have to show your confidence and fluency while speaking.

Q.2 why do you want to join the call centre when you can go for any other job?


You should be prepared for this question as to why exactly you want to join a call centre. You can say that you see a great scope for this growing industry or it is best suited for your skills like team work or interpersonal skills. You have to show your intent regarding it.

Q.3 how would you handle a typical problem?


This will test your skills and knowledge about your field of expertise. You have to answer to the point about the particular issue. Never give lengthy answers unless and until you are asked to do so. Just be brief and to the point.

Q.4 The next question can be to test your skills regarding handling of pressure. The interviewer may give you a question where you have to fulfill a particular deadline e.g. How would you deal with some urgent issue?


You should be calm while answering this question. Never lose your sense while answering this one. It would add to an advantage if you keep a smile on your face. This will show your calm mind.

Q.5 What if some customer irritates you or misbehaves with you? How would you handle him/her?


Answer to this can be that you will first request that person to be polite and then warn him/her regarding his behavior and then you will cancel his call.

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How to build a connect with customer over phone call

Building a connect with customer over phone call is very necessary in providing a good customer service. It becomes even more significant in call centre where you are tested for it every minute. To build a good connect with the customer following things must be looked into:
1. Listen: Listen to your customer carefully and try to understand their problem that what exactly do they want. Be a good listener. Avoid assuming things.
2. Voice modulation: Customer should not feel that he/she is being ignored. For this you have to modulate your voice to show the concern that you are listening to him/her. You shouldn’t be too loud or too slow.
3. Repeat important details: Repeat the important details that customers give you about them. This will show that you are listening to them carefully.
4. Apology: When customer expresses some problem, be prepared to apologize. This is very necessary when you listening to customer grievances.
5. Be calm: Never rush out for things and listen to your customers very calmly. This calmness creates a big impact on building a good customer rapport.
6. Respectful: Show respect towards the customers even if they are irritating you. Every customers wants and deserves respect. This is by far the most important aspect of customer dealing.
7. Empathize: Empathize with your customers. Let them feel that you are with them regarding their problem.
8. Never make them wait for long: Never hold your customer for too long. This irritates them the most. Act swiftly.
9. Focus: Never divert the attention of the customers. Be focused on the issue in hand while solving it.
10. Positive: Always be positive towards the issue. This will help in easing the trouble of your customers who call you.

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