How Is Service Level Calculated in a Call Center? 3 Methods to Know

As a business owner, you want to make sure your customers get the treatment they deserve. This means ensuring their questions get answered and their concerns get addressed as fast as possible.

Though you can do this on your own, working with a call center makes the process easier. And believe it or not, you can measure your call center’s performance with a simple calculation.

How is service level calculated in a call center? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Service Level in a Call Center?

Service level in a call center refers to the percentage of calls answered within a given time frame. The more calls representatives answer within that predetermined time, the less time customers spend waiting on the line and the happier they’ll be with your company.

Typically, the service level is given as a percentage. The higher the percentage is, the better the level of service. Think of service level as both a goal and a way to measure the performance of your call center customer service team.

How to Calculate Service Level in a Call Center

The easiest way to calculate service level is to look at the number of calls the agents can answer within a certain time frame after the phone begins to ring. This set time can be anywhere from 10 seconds to a full minute. Divide that number by the number of calls coming in and multiply the result by 100.

This will give you the service level percentage. Within that calculation, you can better understand the service level in customer service at the call center so you can gauge the quality of customer service callers receive.

Let’s say your aim is to answer all calls within 20 seconds. On a given day, your call center dealt with 500 different calls, 425 of which were answered within 20 seconds.

425 calls answered within 20 seconds / 500 total calls = 0.85 X 100 = 85% service level

For that day, 85% of calls were answered within your chosen time frame, making that your service level percentage. That’s a good rate!

Ways to Calculate Call Center Service Level Standards

Though the calculation for call center service level is largely the same, there are three great methods you can use to better understand the true efficacy of your agents and your current systems.

1. The 80/20 Rule

For most businesses utilizing call centers, the 80/20 rule is considered the standard or ideal service level. So, what does 80/20 mean in a call center? In this scenario, 80% of calls get answered within 20 seconds.

This calculation gives you an idea of how quickly calls are getting answered. But it tells you very little about customer satisfaction rates or how long your customers are truly willing to wait for an available agent. It also doesn’t take abandoned calls into consideration.

2. Counting Abandoned Calls

Counting abandoned calls is the best method for companies looking to provide stellar customer service every time. Each abandoned call is a missed opportunity to reach out to customers and make sure they’re happy. The more abandoned calls you have, the lower your service level will be, but the more you’ll be able to identify shortcomings so you can make the necessary improvements.

3. Look at Your FCR

If you’re trying to gauge actual customer service quality and not just how quickly calls get answered, you’ll want to calculate the first contact resolution (FCR) rate. To calculate this rate, you need to look at the number of calls that were resolved during the first phone call (without the customer needing to contact you a second time or more) and divide it by the total number of calls received in a day. The higher the rate is, the more successful the call center is.

What is a good FCR rate? It depends on your specific industry, but an FCR rate of 70-75% is pretty solid.

A simple call center service level definition refers to a percentage that measures call center performance within a given time period. Though the metrics used to determine this percentage often vary from one call center to another, most companies choose to measure the percentage of answered calls, response time, or handling time in a set period of time.

Ultimately, call center service levels help with call center forecasting, staffing, and scheduling. Companies with a good service level demonstrate that they are accessible to their customers who call in or email the call center, while companies with a poor service level should aim to improve their accessibility to customers.

What Is a Good Service Level for a Call Center?

A service level objective is a way for call centers to set a goal for their average call center service level. Most call centers follow the 80/20 rule for setting their service level objective, meaning they aim to answer 80% of phone calls within 20 seconds.

But of course, not every call center should adhere to the exact same standards. Customer service is one of the key ways for today’s companies to differentiate themselves from the competition, and many call centers aim to have an even higher service level objective.

Still other call centers may be more relaxed on the 80/20 rule since letting customers wait longer can offer cost benefits. (Having fewer agents taking calls means the call center can get by with a slimmer staff.)

How Do You Maintain Service Levels in a Call Center?

The key to maintaining or exceeding a certain service level in a call center is to make sure you have enough agents on-hand at all times to address the incoming calls within the preferred time frame.

For business owners looking to answer their own customer service calls, this can be challenging. You’re limited to being able to answer a set number of calls based on the number of team members you have available to answer them at any given time. Hiring more team members to take those calls will improve your service level, but it will do so at great cost to your operating budget.

There are many ways to maintain or improve service levels within a call center. Here are a few ideas to consider.

1. Schedule the Optimal Number of AgentsCall center agents.

Optimizing staffing needs can be difficult, but it’s one of the best ways to maintain call center service levels. Call centers can ensure they have the right amount of agents on the schedule by analyzing call volume trends, measuring agent performance, and taking training and breaks into consideration.

2. Reduce Agent Turnover

Also known as agent attrition, employee turnover can hurt service levels in a call center. Reducing the number of employees who leave their position can improve efficiency and provide cost savings for call centers.

3. Increase Customer Satisfaction

Unsatisfied customers may spend more time on a call or even call back multiple times, which causes a dip in call center service levels. Investing resources to improve customer satisfaction will resolve this problem and positively impact other metrics, too (like average handle time and call volume).

What Is the Purpose of Service Levels?

Service levels show companies whether they are properly staffing their call center. They also demonstrate whether customers are getting their problems resolved quickly and getting connected to a call center agent within a reasonable amount of time. These metrics help companies better manage call volume spikes, improve customer satisfaction, and boost productivity.

Learn More from ROI Solutions

Now that you have a solid understanding of this call center service level definition, you can apply the principles to better maintain and improve your own service levels. Of course, one way to improve service levels is to let the experts handle it. ROI Call Center Solutions has years of experience representing countless brands with omnichannel call center support, and we can do the same for you.

Want to learn more about call center service levels? Contact ROI Solutions today to see how service levels can positively impact your call center or to see how outsourcing to ROI Solutions can improve your call center performance.

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About the Author: Han Butler

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Over the course of his tenure at ROI Solutions, Han Butler has led the charge on creating a company that is truly a leader in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. His drive, and enthusiasm for creating a culture of inclusion, and camaraderie from the top down within ROI is only exceeded by his love for his family, and his ever-growing collection of LEGOs. Through his keen eye for creating value and opportunity, Han has been able to help usher in an unprecedented era of revenue and growth for ROI Solutions.

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