Changing Your View of Contact Center Metrics | ICMI
Empowering contact center excellence for 30 years!

Change Your View of Metrics--and Gain Insight On Metrics that Matter the Most to Your Brand

Metrics. The very word may send shivers down your spine. So. Much. Data! There can be voluminous, overwhelming amounts of data to sift through when you’re trying to find the nugget that will make a difference in the operation and performance of your brand’s contact center. The question then becomes one of: where to start?

Think about the last time you went car shopping. There were probably a lot of different factors you considered when deciding which models to take for a test drive, with fuel efficiency among the top considerations. With gas prices where they are, fuel efficiency is a key metric, if you will. When you buy a car, fuel efficiency is clearly listed for city driving and highway driving (18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, average 21 mpg combined). It’s a simple metric, simply listed, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Those are just averages and don’t take into account anomalies that will impact your mileage, such as running your air conditioner on a hot day or driving a steep grade. Both of these affect mpg because they use more gas. Similar anomalies happen in the world of customer service – holidays, sales, special promotions, etc. – and, with metrics, can be predicted and adjustments can be made to ensure there is no change in quality of service.

Consider the (multiple and varied) metrics many brands use to evaluate their customer service. Those metrics are important, because they show what’s going right (and what’s going wrong) in terms of customer satisfaction. But those customer service metrics, while helpful, are similar to fuel efficiency ratings. They don’t tell the whole story. Sure, a brand can track and monitor how many calls were answered on a given day, service levels, average handle time, first call resolution and many other data points. But what do those metrics really tell those who pay attention? Part of the story, sure, but there are so many ways to evaluate these metrics that something may be lost in translation.

What if you took a different view of metrics? I’m not saying that you should stop monitoring metrics or throw out the most recent report—far from it. Contact centers are data driven enterprises and without metrics, it would be difficult to know what’s working. I recommend adding some new metrics and “slicing and dicing” current numbers differently for a fresh perspective.

Measure Customer Experience and Customer Efforts

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and take a critical look at KPIs related to customer experience and customer efforts. For example, it may make sense to create a CX dashboard consisting of KPIs related to customer experience and effort required to achieve a positive outcome. Consolidate KPIs such as Response Time, Wait Time, FCR, CSAT and CES (Customer Effort Score) and correlate them with strategic business KPIs such as Up-sell/Cross-sell Rates, eCommerce Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate, Churn Rate and Average Revenue per User to measure the true impact of the customer experience on customer acquisition, retention and loyalty. Better yet, identify key strategic “breakage points” in the customer experience to enable your organization to focus on high priority areas such as VIP customer acquisition and subscription renewal.

Regular Call Volume versus Spikes

Compare your overall metrics during a period of normal call volume with your metrics during a call spike (a recent holiday, new product release, promotion or whatever can cause your call volume to spike). Where are the similarities—and more importantly, the differences? Does your average call handle time change? Does your first call resolution drop? What about your service level? And what about the overall difference in customer satisfaction scores during those two time periods?

Evaluating your performance by comparing average volume versus call spikes can clue you in to how scalable your contact center is. That may lead you to make some changes…or let you pat yourself (and your agents) on the back for maintaining quality and service even in busy periods.

Twitter, Facebook, email, SMS, phone…

What about your customers’ channel preference? This can be a tough one to evaluate. A customer’s preference can change depending on time of day, their location or the type of issue they are experiencing. Try looking at the number of contacts made via each channel at different times of day, on different days of the week and whether the customer contacted your brand via a mobile device or landline (if you can determine that). Are the inquiries on one channel predominantly about a certain topic or issue? Do new customers use one channel more than established customers?

Though you won’t likely be able to pinpoint with certainty which customer types prefer which channels, drilling down into channels and customers should lead to a better understanding of each of the different channels. It should also show which channel has the best scores (resolution, response time, etc.) and where changes may need to be made.

Channel Hopping

I saved the most interesting one for last: multichannel pivoting metrics. Is your brand evaluating this yet? Tracking how customer interactions migrate from channel to channel—say, from Twitter to a phone call to an email—and how and on which channel the interaction was resolved? Can you tell if customers are first emailing, then calling if they don’t receive a response within 24 hours? Or if a customer who regularly tweets about their love of your brand also spreads that love via Facebook? How many channels does your brand engage on with customers? And can you tell how many times a customer contacts your brand about the same issue—on the same channel or different channels? If an issue isn’t resolved the first time, a customer averages three attempts to resolve the same issue—not very efficient or likely to allow your brand to maintain a positive customer relationship.

Looking at the multichannel angle can be very interesting and may inform much of your channel-specific strategy. For example, do you need to post additional FAQs to eliminate some repetitive questions? Or provide different tools or training to ensure quick resolution? Or add the ability to track multichannel pivot metrics? And are you tracking the number of attempts customers make to resolve an issue? Giving agents a 360-degree view of multichannel interactions can allow them to increase efficiency by closing all related inquiries—no matter the channel—in one fell swoop.

Metrics, metrics everywhere. You could stick with what you’re already doing—or you could spice things up and see what happens. Your brand is likely capturing real-time data that is relevant to each of the metric twists I mentioned— but, it’s all in how you look at it. Who knows? You could make a tweak, learn something new and ultimately improve your customer satisfaction scores and user experiences.

More Resources

Topics: Metrics


More from Ann Ruckstuhl


Leave a comment

Please sign in to leave a comment. If you don't have an account you can register for free here.

Forgot username or password?



Does your contact center have a policy regarding allowing agents who wish to apply for internal company positions outside the contact center?

No, we don’t have a formal policy
Yes, agents must work in the contact center for at least 1 year before applying for other positions
Yes, agents must work in the contact center for at least 6 months before applying for other positions
More Polls