- An Analysis Of 24 Million Calls Uncovers the State of Call Centers in 2021
- Driving customer satisfaction has been challenging through 2021
- E-commerce shines in various parameters like Pick up time, Queue Time and Abandonment Rates
INDIA: A study was undertaken by Ozonetel, India’s leading provider of on-demand cloud communication/telephony solutions, has unveiled interesting insights pertaining to the call center industry in 2021.
This study is an analysis of a sample set of 24 million calls made on Ozonetel’s CloudAgent platform by nearly 61914 active agents in 2021. The analysis covers both inbound and outbound calls made on Ozonetel’s platform across various verticals including eCommerce- Groceries, Ecommerce D2C, Restaurants, Insurance, Fintech, & Financial Services, Banking & Broking, Healthcare & Pharma, and Real Estate call centers.
Speaking about customer experience matrices in yet another unprecedented year, Chaitanya Chokkareddy, Chief Innovation Officer, Ozonetel said, “Given the challenging atmosphere of 2021, brands had to work really hard to ensure client satisfaction. The sectors that are doing well under different parameters are the ones adapting to technological advancements quickly and creating omnichannel touchpoints. We have been doing this study annually and every year it uncovers many interesting insights and learning for us and our customers.”
The report dwells on some of the areas where call centers excelled this year as well as some areas where they struggled.
Some of the parameters that call centers excelled this year are:
- Connection Rate: In outbound calling, a lot of calls dial to busy lines, or go unanswered. Average connection rates inform us how many calls gets connected to a contact. The average connection rate this year saw a drastic uptick, i.e., 47% as compared to 38% in 2020.
INSIGHT: When answer rates increase, it generally indicates an agent is reaching out to the right prospects and at the right time. Another reason could be the implementation of appropriate technology by businesses like Truecaller integration, which shows the prospects the reason for calling them even before they pick the call. This ensures higher customer attention and lower rejection/ ignorance of unknown calls.
- Agents are more prepared than ever before: ‘Average Agent Speed of Answer’ (pick up time) is the average time a call center agent takes to answer inbound calls. This includes the duration for which the agent’s phone rings but does not include the time the caller spends in the IVR or waiting in queue. The average agent speed of answer in 2021 has been reported at 8 seconds, the same as in 2020.
INSIGHT: This year, even during the second wave of COVID-19, the call centers were more prepared and equipped to handle the sudden surge in demand. The stability of the overall average pick-up time by the call center indicates the consistent availability of agents at all times.
- Average Talk Time: ‘Average Talk Time’ indicates the time an agent spends talking to a caller on an average. In 2021, this number is 3.7 minutes, which is nearly the same as of 2020.
INSIGHT: A consistent talk time indicates that agents are able to resolve calls fast enough or that customers do not need to speak more to explain their issues.
- Wrap time: ‘Wrap Time’ typically affects how fast call center agents can attend to the next call which affects queue wait time and productivity. There has been a decrease in the time taken for After Call Work, from 45 seconds in 2020 to 41 seconds in 2021.
INSIGHT: The decrease in wrap time indicates that agents are able to find an appropriate disposition code to tag the conversation and schedule quick follow-ups through calls or SMS. However, the average wrap time reported in 2019 was 25 seconds. This showcases that though there is an improvement from last year, the call center managers may still need to work on this parameter to go back to the pre-pandemic status.
- Hold Time: ‘Hold Time’ indicates the average time an agent puts a customer on hold either to route it to other agent or check on the queries. In 2021, the average hold time has decreased to 11 seconds as compared to 13 seconds in 2020.
INSIGHT: The decrease in hold time indicates that an agent has details to get back sooner to the call. This also means higher customer satisfaction as customers need to stay on the call for less time after the initial communication and this, in turn, leads to a better flow of the conversation.
Some of the parameters, where call centers struggled to ensure the highest customer satisfaction, this year are:
- Callers had to wait longer: ‘Average Time in Queue’ is the amount of time callers have to wait in queue before they are connected to representatives. This is an important customer experience metric as the longer customers wait, the less satisfied they are likely to be.Ozonetel’s report reveals that on an average a caller waited 46 seconds to get connected to a live agent as opposed to 37 seconds in 2020.
INSIGHT: Queue times decrease when there are more agents available to answer calls. This increase was seen mostly in sectors that saw a sudden spike in call volume during the pandemic. Today, most queue times have reverted to their pre-pandemic levels.
- Customers are more impatient: ‘Abandonment Rate’ tells us how many calls went unanswered by agents as callers disconnected in queue itself. On an average 28% calls were disconnected before being routed to an agent in 2021 as compared to 15% in 2020.
INSIGHT: This year, as we have an increased average queue time, the abandonment rates are also higher. This indicates that customers have become more impatient and expect faster service than before.
The Vertical Report Card:
2021 has turned out to be a challenging year for the call center industry under some parameters. However, sectors like Restaurants, e-commerce have kept their service standards high. Whereas sectors like, banking, real estate have struggled to keep up. Here is a list of verticals that did the best and struggled under different parameters.
|Contact Rate||Restaurants (77%)||Real Estate (27%)|
|Pick Up Time||E-commerce Groceries (2.25 seconds)||Banking & broking (14.5 seconds)|
|Talk Time||Real estate (2.9 minutes)||Insurance, Fintech, & Financial services (6.5 minutes)|
|Wrap Time||Restaurants (5.25 seconds)||Insurance, Fintech, & Financial services (96 seconds)|
|Time in Queue||E-commerce Groceries (20 seconds)||Banking & broking (125 seconds)|
|Abandonment Rate||E-commerce Groceries (8%)||Real Estate (47.25%)|
|Hold Time||Restaurants (1.5 seconds)||E-commerce groceries (29 seconds)|