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How to Calculate Contact Centre Service Level

It's no news that every company piggybacks on the successful outings of their business process outsourcing (BPO) contact center partner for a practical customer service experience. Various metrics and key performance indexes are being calculated as barometers of success. 

One example is the service level agreement (SLA), the cornerstone of customer satisfaction. The intricacies behind contact center service level calculation encapsulate every aspect of your contact center process, including call abandonment rate, call response time, time interval, etc. 

Contact center service level indicates the proficiency of the contact center tools, your strategy towards managing customers, and the availability of agents for callers. The concepts serve as the proper basis for analyzing the performance level you intend to achieve compared to what you earn. 

The complexity surrounding how business leaders and decision-makers calculate contact center service levels with various formulas on display can be an off-putting experience. This article captures every aspect of contact center service level calculation for efficient customer experience and increased revenue. 

What is Contact Center Service Level 

Contact center service level can be regarded as the measure of predefined standards or agreements that indicate how contact center BPO partners uphold their statutory obligations of responsiveness to customer calls and providing solutions to their complaints within a specific prime. 

Ideally, every business has a formal agreement communicating their expectations and objectives to the BPO contact center partners. 

However, the contact center service level is the yardstick at which these objectives are measured to indicate if the BPO contact center partner is falling short or meeting the company objectives. 

Click to learn: What Is The Business Process Outsourcing Meaning

Why is Contact Center Service Level Calculation Important 


There is this famous saying that data is power. This is not just a buzzword or word on the street because, with appropriate insight, you have the proper understanding of where to delegate your resources, either to reinforce your area of strength or rescue your sinking metrics. This simple analogy can be applied to showcase the importance of contact center services level calculation. Here's why it matters. 

1. Improved Customer Satisfaction

Your contact center BPO partner is as good as the quality of your customer and the level of satisfaction your customer will derive from your product and services. It's as clear as daylight that no one fancies being put on hold for an extended period just because of mere inquiries or complaints. 

Calculating your contact center service level is one meaningful way to get adequate information on the promptness at which your contact center business process outsourcing (BPO) partner answers your customer calls. Another reason for calculating your contact center service level is how fast your BPO partner finds solutions to customer problems. 

This helps you discover where complaint resolution flops and provides adequate remediation options to salvage that through optimized customer service processes and an updated knowledge base that beckons faster fixes. 

2. Enhance Decision Making 

Arbitrary business decision-making can be tagged as a Barbaric act that can only lead to doom. To mitigate the occurrence of poor business decision-making, you need timely contact center service level calculations that predict the volume of calls your contact center receives and the number of agents you will need to handle such volumes. 

This is an elite way of decision-making where you follow data-driven decisions on how you delegate your resources to where they're more important, opening up your business area of strength and weakness while getting to know where your investment is much needed. 

3. Build Customer Relationships 

It's not rocket science to build customer relationships. As you can see, building customer relationships is such a win-win situation for your business and the customers. You need a real-time overview of your customer service performance to uphold a standardized version. 

Calculating your contact center service level gives you an accurate estimate of your customer service goals and performance improvement over time. Additionally, customers are always in for a business that can give them what they want. 

If you can position your business as offering quality customer experience and other things they want, you will gain their trust and build long-term relationships with them.

Popular Approaches to Calculating Contact Center Service Levels In BPO 

The three main approaches businesses can use to calculate their contact center service level are the following. This is important to get complete real-time insights and information about the efficiency of their agents and contact center strategies.

1. Basic 80/20 Rule 

The 80/20 rule is the most simplified approach to calculating your contact center services level. This approach works on the premise that 80% of your customer calls are being answered within 20 seconds of them calling. 

The 80/20 method gives you the entire idea of the extent to which your contact center agents answer your customer calls. The only implication of this approach is that you can never get any metric on customer satisfaction and how the call yields a reasonable customer service experience. 

Worked Example 

Assuming you answered 910 calls within a 20-second threshold out of the 1000 calls offered. 

Formula: (Number of calls answered within the 20-second threshold / Total number of calls offered) x 100.  

In this instance: (910/1000) x 100 = 91% 

Your service level rate would be 91%, indicating a good metric for every company. Remember that this formula does not count the number of abandoned calls.

2. Counting Numbers of Abandoned Calls 

Calculating the number of abandoned calls will provide you with an all-inclusive method of getting accurate contact center service levels. This approach covers the flaws of the 80/20 rules by considering the number of calls customers hang up on before reaching the contact center agents. The number of abandoned calls works because the lower the call left figure, the higher the contact center's success. 

Working Example 

Assuming you answered 910 calls within a 20-second threshold out of the 1000 calls offered, 80 calls were abandoned within the 20-second threshold. 

Formula: Total Number of calls answered within the 20 seconds threshold / (Total number of calls offered + Abandoned calls before the 20 seconds threshold)) x 100. 

In this case: (910)/(1000+60)x100 = 86%

Your service level rate for this calculation is 86%, indicating a drop in your success ratio when considering the number of abandoned calls. 

3. Time

This is another approach you can use to determine the average period your contact call center agent used in resolving customer complaints and inquiries. The uniqueness of this approach is that it allows you to calculate how quickly your contact center resolves issues and how efficient they are at resolving the problems your customers face.

Additionally, calculating your contact center service level with period allows you to identify the peak and off-peak performance, staffing needs at each period, and the effectiveness of reinforced training. 

Working Example

To get your calculations right, you need to gather the call data for each period of the day and calculate your contact center service level for each period. Let's assume the total number of calls offered in period Y is 500, and your agent answered 300. 

Formula: Total number of calls answered within SLA threshold in period Y / Total number of calls offered in period Y ) x 100

In this case: (300/500)x100= 60%

Your service level rate at that specific period is just 60%. You can get a cluster of periods and calculate the service level for each period. 

Best Practices to Calculate Contact Center Service Level 


To ensure an accurate and insightful contact center service level, you must get everything on point and compare your services with industry standards. The following are the best practices for calculating the contact center services level. 

1. Collate  Important Data. 

Your most important data are call offered, call answered, and call abandonment. These data should be collated using reliable sources or a call reporting system. 

2. Define How You Classify Your Abandoned Call 

Single out abandoned calls data so you can define the parameters of judgment. You must determine what your call abandonment means, like missed calls, unsuccessful call attempts, missed opportunities, or any other indices you intend to count. 

3. Choose appropriate formula 

There are various contact center service-level formulas out there that you can select from. One thing you should always remember is the appropriateness of the procedure you intend to choose for your specific needs. 

Also, ensure you calculate your contact center service level on every level and period to get adequate information on the areas of improvement and get feedback on every progress. 

4. Continuous Review 

Contact center service level calculation is a dynamic process that requires constant review to ensure you are in touch with reality. It would be erroneous to suggest you only need to calculate once and capitalize on the result for an extended period. 

Final Thought  

The contact center service level is an important agreement that must be adhered to between the company and the chosen contact center BPO provider. However, measuring the proactiveness and other agreed-upon standards between the company and contact center BPO provider can be daunting and mar your entire customer service experience without care. 

There are many formulas to go about this, all classified from basic 80/20 to the more specialized tile period that give you the overview of what's happening in a specific period. 

Related reading: How To Identify Contact Center Scammers

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