Published: March 29, 2013 | Comments
Service Level / Response Time
If you’ve spent any time in the contact center, you probably understand that service level and response time are classic metrics, and they’re fundamental to effective management of the contact center and the customer experience. These metrics tell you how accessible the center is to customers, how many agents are needed to provide efficient service or how your center's service compares to others in your industry. In essence, service level and response time objectives tie the resources you need to the results you aim to achieve.
Service level is defined as: "X percent of contacts answered in Y seconds," e.g., 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds. Response time, the equivalent of service level for transactions that don't have to be handled the moment they arrive, is defined as: "100% of contacts handled within N days/hours/minutes," e.g., all customer email inquiries will be handled within four hours.
When establishing and assessing service level and response time objectives, what’s important isn't merely how high your overall stated objectives are, but how consistently your center hits those objectives throughout the day.
Advances in contact center technology have enabled most contact centers to deflect from the agent queue as many basic transaction types as possible. By utilizing self-service systems such as IVR and interactive Web applications, centers can help enhance service efficiencies and cut costs; it also frees up agents to use their valuable skills to assist customers with more complex issues, thus keeping staff engaged and motivated.
If centers are not careful, however, they can get so caught up trying to lure customers off the phones and into self-service that they forget to track something essential: how well does the self-service experience “treat” their customers?
Self-service accessibility has emerged as a critical metric in this age of automation and customer-centricity. Leading contact centers gauge not only how many customers begin self-service transactions via IVR and the Web, but also how many complete those transactions without live-agent assistance. Many contact centers also survey customers following a self-service transaction to gather direct feedback on their experiences. While not the most proactive or definitive method for gauging self-service accessibility, surveys are beneficial in determining how your valued customers feel about your automated service options.
You can learn more about forecasting accuracy and other imperative contact center metrics by watching our recent complimentary webinar - Critical Metrics for Standardizing your Contact Center.