Call Center Operational Performance Indicators and Customer Satisfaction: An Explanatory-Exploratory Investigation

Call Center Operational Performance Indicators and Customer Satisfaction: An Explanatory-Exploratory Investigation

Alexandre Ferreira Oliveira (Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil) and Luiz A. Joia (Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/jisss.2011040102


This article purports to investigate the relationship – in an empirical way – between the various operational indicators currently used for the management of call centers in Brazil and customer satisfaction. In this context, a set of call centers rendering services to a telecommunications company will be analyzed in order to verify which of their indicators are positively associated with customer satisfaction. A methodological approach based on surveys as well as stepwise multiple linear regressions is developed and applied in order to achieve the objective of this paper. The “First-Contact Resolution Rate” and the “Average Handle Time After the Call” indicators present a statistically significant relationship with customer satisfaction. Some alternative call center operational performance indicators are proposed, in an exploratory way, so as to convey an enhanced relationship between call center performance and customer satisfaction.
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Literature Review

Call Center Operation: An Overview

According to Dawson (1999a, 1999b), call centers are run by a group of hierarchically organized people, which may range from a small to a large number of participants. The staff is usually divided into different levels, with a larger group for first contact and a smaller group for more specialized enquiries requiring more in-depth training of the agents, and involving a longer conversation time with the end customer.

In addition to the agents, there are also systems that can automatically handle less complex calls, thereby avoiding staff overload. These systems are called IVR (Interactive Voice Response). These are synthesized voice systems that by eliciting replies from customers can guide them to the automated service, such as obtaining a current account balance for example. According to Brown et al. (2002) for the financial sector, 80% of customers can be handled directly by automated systems.

When service cannot be handled directly by an IVR, the call is directed via an ACD (Automatic Call Distributor), to an agent who is able to handle that type of service.

Once a call has been directed to an agent, the latter handles the enquiry normally backed by a computerized service system. This system may be integrated to a CTI (Computer Telephone Integration), which can, for example, after receiving the identification data from the ACD call, conduct a database search in order to identify the customer who is calling.

This group of systems provides an infinite number of data that are processed into various operational indicators, which are monitored by call center managers.

This article seeks to establish precisely which traditional operational performance indicators gathered by all of this hardware and software structure have any bearing on the level of customer satisfaction with the call center.

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