Measuring Success in Healthcare Contact Centers

Top Metrics for Evaluating Performance and Efficacy

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

Call centers have been around for decades, and the industry has an established set of proven metrics to measure overall performance and outcomes. Let’s take a moment to review some of these top call center metrics to use in measuring success. Then consider how they apply to non-call interactions too.

We’ll  look at three categories of metrics: patient centric, agent performance, and scheduling, with three key considerations in each category.

Patient Centric Metrics

First Call Resolution: FCR or First Call Resolution measures the percentage of inquiries that are resolved on the first contact. No patient wants to call back and no agent wants to receive those calls. Do it right the first time.

That’s what matters most, especially in healthcare where patient frustration levels are increasing and not decreasing. Now take this concept and apply it to all your other contact channels.

Abandonment Rate: Another patient-focused metric is abandonment rate. It looks at the percentage of callers who give up before speaking to an agent. They hang up in frustration because the agent takes longer than expected. A low abandonment rate signals better customer service performance.

Just as with FCR, give the same attention to your abandonment rate on your text chat channel and with any other real-time interactions.

Customer Satisfaction: C-SAT, which stands for Customer Satisfaction, seeks to quantify patients’ overall satisfaction level after they interact with you. It can be measured through post-call surveys to assess the overall customer experience. This works equally well regardless of the communication channel used.

A key consideration, however, is to not ask too soon. For example, a C-SAT survey tacked on to the end of a call often asks for feedback before the patient can give an informed answer. When this occurs, they’ll guess, but you’ll never know.

Agent Performance Metrics

Average Handle Time: AHT measures the average time for an agent to handle a call, from start to finish. This includes agent talk time, hold time, and post-call work. A low AHT suggests an efficient operation, but balance this with maintaining your patient-centric metrics, as a too low AHT will increase patient frustration.

Average Speed of Answer: ASA looks at the average time agents take to answer calls. A lower ASA reflects better call center efficiency and more satisfied callers.

Quality Assurance: QA evaluations measure the quality of patient-agent interaction. This may be done by a person or automated through technology. Keep in mind that this occurs independent of the patient and merely addresses what the call center thinks is important to the patient.

Schedule Metrics

Adherence: This metric confirms how well agents follow their schedule. Full adherence ensures agents are present when they’re supposed to be.

Occupancy: Occupancy tracks the percentage of time agents spend handling calls and patient-related activities. It looks at work time versus idle time. Strive to keep agents comfortably busy without overwhelming them, which only leads to burnout.

Availability: This stat measures how much of the time agents are ready, or available, to interact with patients and callers. Agent availability is within the control of agents, determined by their willingness to be ready to communicate with patients.

Measuring Success Conclusion

Review these nine standard call center metrics and consider which ones you need to give more attention to. Then, determine how to apply these concepts to all your communication channels. This is the best way to help you in measuring success.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

Learn about his books, Healthcare Call Center Essentials and read more of his articles at