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Expert's Angle: Optimize the Experience: 5 Key performance Indicators to Watch

Tech issues, even small ones, can have an enormous impact on the customer experience. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at a global retailer that deployed a corporate CRM system and integrated it into the agent desktop to provide call control and screen pop within the CRM interface. Though a good idea, this retailer experienced issues with the agent’s CRM and CTI toolbar integration.

To try to find the problem, the company ran network tests, measuring response time compared to the volume of calls. They found that with 250 concurrent calls, screen pop response time was measured at less than two seconds. However, when the concurrent call volume increased to 310, the response time for the screen pop rose to an astounding 38 seconds. Additionally, while the agent waited for the screen pop, the entire custom CRM application froze, which made it impossible for the agent to assist the customer at all. This resulted in hundreds of frustrated customers on a daily basis. What’s worse, this all could have been avoided if performance metrics were taken into consideration.

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To better understand the customer experience, it is important to track certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). By closely monitoring these KPIs in real-time, companies can spot service degradations and possibly preempt their impact on customers. The top five KPIs to watch are:

1. Mean Time to Diagnose: Pinpointing the cause of problems in today’s complex environments can be difficult. Decreasing the Mean Time to Diagnose is essential for limiting the negative impact on customers. Additionally, it drives considerable cost savings for the organization since support man-hours can add up quickly.

2. Call Blockage Rate: Used by most contact centers today, the call blockage rate measures how well customers can access services. When solutions are not working properly or the contact center cannot handle the sheer volume of customer inquiries, calls are not answered. A high blockage rate has an immediate and negative effect on customer satisfaction.

3. Repeat Calls: This is a measurement of how many times a customer has to contact the company before his or her issue is corrected. A variety of technical issues can lead to higher repeat call rates, improper routing, long queue lines, dropped calls and more. This KPI also reflects how successfully agents are able to satisfy customers the first time.

4. Call Abandonment Rate: High abandonment rates indicate application problems, incorrect routing latencies in back-end communications or inefficient management of customer service resources. These conditions result in frustrated customers who are unable to get their problems fixed in an efficient and timely manner.

5. Voice Quality of Service: Poor voice quality reflects badly on any company. It also leads to an increase in call length when customers and agents cannot understand each other and are forced to continuously repeat themselves. In extreme cases, customers will hang up and try again. Either way, these delays can be extremely expensive to both customer loyalty and overall cost per call.

No one wants to lose a customer because of a technical glitch. Fortunately, a new breed of performance monitoring solutions has emerged that can provide an end-to-end view of KPI performance across the entire contact center. More than just tracking how well the bits and bytes are floating through the network, they assess application performance, service quality, system delays and related factors to provide a true picture of customer experience. End-to-end performance monitoring simplifies KPI reporting and enables companies to more efficiently isolate, drill into and diagnose issues, thereby reducing their negative impact.

In the end, customers do not care how hard it is to manage complex contact center environments. They just want great service whenever – and however – they contact you.

Tim Moynihan is Vice President of Marketing at Empirix.