What Does It Mean?

Cost per call measures the amount in dollars it takes to handle a single call. While the measure seems highly specific, it is used as a broad indicator of how efficient a call center can be. The KPI is used in customer service analytics to track efficiency and cost-effectiveness, rather than just employee performance.

Call Center Analytics - Customer Service Dashboard A Call Center Analytics Sisense dashboard

Why Does It Matter?

When you examine your costs and operational expenses, it’s hard to determine exactly how efficiently each dollar is spent in relation to units of work. Cost per call gives you a clearer idea of just how effective your spending is relative to how much it costs to get work done. While it’s an imperfect measure of quality—cheaper isn’t always better—it can be used with performance KPIs such as customer satisfaction to determine if the cost is justifiable.

How Do You Measure the KPI?

To calculate your cost per call KPI, you first need to collect data concerning all your operational expenses. This includes wages, benefits, training, recruiting, software licenses, HR and other expenses that support the operation of your call center.

With the data gathered for the measured period, divide the total costs by the total number of calls made during the same time frame. This will give you a general view of what each call costs. You can apply the same logic to individual agents, focusing on the costs to keep them employed.

What Sources Would You Use to Measure the KPI?

Measuring cost per call requires multiple data streams. To register an accurate reading, you should use data from HR, payroll, accounting, and general expenses. Additionally, measuring the volume of calls made and received is crucial.

Give Me an Example…

Let’s imagine you notice that the volume of calls your call center handles has increased over the past few months, but so have your costs in general. To find out whether these costs increases are negative or simply a side effect of the added bandwidth, you measure the cost per call for the period, broken down into months.

This will help you see if the costs are increasing faster than the call volume, or vice versa. An increase in cost per call can highlight that you’re spending too much on each call, while a decrease may show that while costs are on the rise, so is efficiency.

What Benchmark/Indicators Should I Use?

  • Total call volume
  • Costs per month
  • HR expenses
  • Overheads

More Customer Service KPIs