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Blended and Outbound Call Centers Series: Measuring Success in an Outbound/Blended Center

This series will explore various aspects of Outbound and Blended Call Centers. While every attempt to give general terms and general examples is being made, the reader should be aware that specifics may be different for every type of call center, business operation or strategic purpose of the center. The articles in this series are meant to be a guideline for those seeking to learn more about Outbound and Blended Call Centers.

Related ICMI Resources:
Blending in the Call Center: Benefits, Barriers and Breakthroughs
ICMI's 2011 Call Center Practices for Pairing and Blending Inbound, Outbound, and Service and Sales Report
Finding Call Center Efficiencies in the Pooling Principle

Measuring Success in an Outbound/Blended Center

As discussed throughout this series, there are several different measurements that should be employed to ensure that the dialer is being operated in an efficient and effective manner. We have covered how Service Level Control (SLC) can be used to ensure that caller experience and dialer efficiency are balanced. In Outbound Campaign Management and Execution, we discussed the importance of comparing the number of available accounts to the number of dialed attempts, the number of contacts and ultimately to the number of right party contacts. The comparison is to measure the effectiveness of the campaign and how it is being executed in the dialer. These are some examples of typical KPI that can be used in an outbound environment.

Dialer Efficiency

Here we will explore some of the other metrics that can be used to measure the effective use of a dialer. As we all know, "what gets measured gets done," and the operation of a dialer is no exception.
  • Service Level Control (SLC) - Using an upper and lower threshold of answering in a blended call center, SLC allows Operations to better understand its success in maintaining caller experience metrics while balancing outbound productivity. A typical target for SLC is 60% of intervals within the upper and lower thresholds.
  • Calls Abandoned - The number of calls abandoned prior to being offered to an agent. This metric in many jurisdictions has a regulatory and legislative connection. It is strongly recommended that each outbound and blended call center research this required to ensure compliance.
  • Campaign Comparison Metrics – Using comparative metrics within a campaign is a very effective way of managing and executing a campaign while maintaining the efficiency of the dialer and your agent pools. Some of these metrics include:
      • Number of Available Records - The available records to dial when the campaign is placed in the dialer. This number will go down each time the campaign is placed in the dialer, as records will receive some sort of treatment. (Wrong number, RPC, left message, etc.)
      • Number of Dialed Attempts – This number is relevant to the number of records as it measures the number of attempts per record.
      • Contacts – The number of calls passed to an agent, regardless of right party or wrong party, and those records that have received an automated treatment. Automated treatments can include number disconnected messages or other automated telephony messages, messages left on answering machines if that has been chosen as a strategy, etc.
      • Right Party Contacts – The number of times a targeted caller was reached.
      • Penetration Rate – The number of records contacted, which is portrayed as a percent of the total number of records at the start of the campaign.
      • Hours Allocated Per Campaign – It is important for operations to determine the number of hours allocated per campaign based on average penetration rates so that they can predict the time required per campaign.
      • RPCs Per Hour Per Agent – This measure will help with determining the Right Time of Day Dialing (RTDD).
      • RTDD – This is the analytical measure that gives the operations insight into when is the best time to place a campaign in the dialer to increase RPC rates.
      • Percent of Staff on Outbound – In a blended center, the daily tracking of this number will provide key information for staff allocation.
      • Virtual Messaging – All virtual message types should be tracked by volume. Text messages, Virtual Agents available, etc. This can then be compared to the number of inbound calls so as to fully understand the impact and return rates of these contact channels.

      Dialer Effectiveness

      The metrics mentioned above share some similarities with their inbound cousins in that they measure the efficiency of the outbound or blended center. Unlike inbound centers, blended and outbound centers must also measure their effectiveness of their contact attempts as well as the outcome of those calls. Regardless of the type of outbound contact that is being made, the outcome of that contact must be tracked and measured in comparison to the effort. In this way, Operations is able to portray to their leadership and Strategy and other internal stakeholders can assert their relevance and influence over outcomes. The benefits of the outbound effort should also be reviewed daily/weekly/monthly by the operation so they can make the appropriate adjustments to dialer management strategy. Typical effectiveness metrics are:

      • Converted Right Party Contacts (CRPC) – It is important to track the number of RPCs that have been successful converted to sales, payments, saves or whatever the strategic intent of the call center is, regardless of the strategic intent of the outbound center.
      • Revenue per RPC – For sales and collection centers, it is important to track the amount of revenue each RPC generates.
      • Saves per RPC – This is an important metric for loyalty based outbound calls.
      • Promises per RPC – This is a high level number that is most appropriate to collection centers.
      • Payment Channel per RPC – This can be helpful in a sales environment so as to show a lead indicator for costs. In a collections environment payment channel per RPC is a lead indicator for “urgency” payments. Both are good lead indicators to track the effectiveness of both the success of the strategic intent of the campaign as well as the success of the agents in executing that intent.
      None of these metrics are an exhaustive list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can or should be used by Outbound and Blended Call Centers; rather it should be a discussion starter between Operations, Strategy and other stakeholders within the organization. Any metric should be revisited each planning session to ensure its relevance to the upcoming execution cycle and to ensure that there are no conflicting KPI.