Call Centre Service Level Definition


  • 1
    What is the call centre service level?
  • 2
    How is the service level calculated in the call centre?
  • 3
    Ways to calculate the call centre service level standards
  • 4
    What is a good service level for the call centre?
  • 5
    What affects the service level in the call centre?
  • 6
    How to improve the call centre service level?
  • 7
    How to forecast the call centre service level?
  • 8
    What are the call centre service level agreements?

What is the call centre service level?

The call centre service level (CSL) is a crucial metric that allows companies to assess the performance of customer service delivery through phone calls. They may refer to problem-solving related to product inquiries, payments, technical issues, complaints, returns, etc. While calls represent the primary communication channel in most such support centres, evaluating the promptness and effectiveness of their management is essential to identify weaknesses and uncover potential fields for enhancement. This, in turn, leads to increasing satisfaction and loyalty.

How is the service level calculated in the call centre?

Call centre calculations typically refer to the balance between calls answered within a defined target time and abandoned ones, presenting the results as percentages. For instance, if 95% of calls are responded to within 60 seconds while only 5% are left unanswered, the 95% figure becomes a valuable Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for performance assessment. This can also be represented as “95/60”, indicating that 95 per cent of calls are handled within 60 seconds. The higher the first number within this proportion, the greater the likelihood of meeting buyer expectations through timely support.

Ways to calculate the call centre service level standards

Nevertheless, various standards and methods to calculate call centre service levels may depend on service level agreements (SLAs), organisational priorities, customer expectations, industry standards, technology, or operational rules and principles. Following different approaches, many considerations can be incorporated, encompassing the percentage balance of answered calls, acceptable abandonment rates, specific call handling times (especially for complex inquiries), or the implementation of call prioritisation and efficient queuing strategies. The calculation method choice usually depends on the call centre’s specific context and objectives.

What is a good service level for the call centre?

There is no one right call centre service level defined. While the adopted practice is the 80/20 rule, which aims to answer 80% of phone calls within 20 seconds, it is important to note that a one-size-fits-all approach may not apply in each situation. Some call centres can aim to exceed these results, while others accept lower performance while focusing more on building trust and growing satisfaction through more thorough, personalised and empathetic interactions.
What affects the service level in the call centre, and how to improve it?

What affects the service level in the call centre, and how to improve it?

A few variables can impact the call centre service levels, and they can be overcome with relevant solutions:

Negative impact factors
How to overcome this

Call volume

Facing more significant call volume as a result of the occurrence of unexpected situations, such as service disruptions.

Training agents to handle multiple-area inquiries while providing customer self-services for simpler routine requests.


Difficulty in finding and keeping personnel with the necessary skills and qualifications, as well as increased absence due to seasonal flu or holiday periods.

Securing enough talents for handling different call volumes, especially during the busiest seasons, focusing on staffing flexibility and agility.

Call duration

Experiencing longer call duration than anticipated due to, for instance, more complex issues to address in a given time.

Introducing quality assurance programmes to ensure that call centre employees improve their skills and uphold best practices, leading to faster issue resolutions.


Lacking consistency in scheduling or having inaccurate forecasting.

Utilising advanced data-driven forecasting techniques that allow for better call volume estimation and resource allocation.

Managing tech stack

Absence of innovative technology and modern infrastructure.

Implementing advanced call centre technologies to streamline operations, such as predictive analytics or automated routing.

How to forecast the call centre service level?

Forecasting the call centre service level is a great way to secure future operational efficiency and resources while prioritising customer satisfaction. This initiative requires deep analysis of historical data related to past buyer interactions to determine trends, patterns, or potential disruptions that may impact call volume and service demands. This entails deploying innovative solutions, such as machine learning and predictive analytics, to ensure accuracy.

What are the call centre service level agreements?

The call centre service level agreement can be either a valuable source of internal knowledge on managing and monitoring the support performance or a guarantee of holding external call centre service providers accountable.

  • First, SLA can serve as a valuable guideline for the call centre’s managers, helping them make well-informed decisions and ensure operational efficiency following the defined performance expectations.
  • On the other hand, SLA can define the collaboration rules between the company and its call centre outsourcing provider. In such a case, SLA provides specific parameters, performance metrics, and targets that the BPO partner must achieve and maintain to meet the client’s customer service expectations.

Refering to the call centre service level, it is also worth emphasising that modern organisations or departments deal with various other interaction methods beyond phone calls. These may include email, text or video chats, or social media messengers. These can also be subjected to comprehensive assessment, allowing for delivering exceptional customer experiences across all touchpoints. 

Customer support analytics

Text based customer support vs.

phone based

Let’s get in touch!