Fine Tuning Your Contact Center Through the Use of Innovative Metrics

If you work in the contact center, you are aware of this fact: metrics are everywhere. We’ve established systems and processes for tracking the ebb and flow of contact volume; our agents every action monitored and reported.  Requests for information often result in a fire hose of percentages, dashboards and pie charts.  What do we accomplish with this approach? More “data” than we know what to do with and the mounting desire to throw our hands up in defeat. 

Our quest for knowledge, our need for information, and the ability to obtain it much more easily, quickly, and frequently, has crippled our ability to use it effectively.  We’ve forgotten (assuming we knew in the first place) what metrics deserve our time and attention and how to appropriately implement a system to keep track of them all.  Our contact centers, by and large, exist to serve an internal and external customer base and if we aren’t able to identify which metrics impact that customer’s experience, and in which way they do so, we engage in a destructive cycle of wasting our own time and resources.  This then begs the question; how do we break the cycle and implement or improve our CRM system to ensure that we’re getting to the valuable information and drive improvement?

It begins with simplicity.  If we were to take a look at our reports and processes, the ways in which we communicate information and the goals that we’re targeting, can we identify the waste and excess?   A great starting point is sort out which metrics are the “must measures” for our contact centers.  They are First Contact Resolution, Service Level/Response Time, Schedule Adherence, Forecasting Accuracy, Self-Service Accessibility, Contact Quality, and Customer Satisfaction.  While these are not the “only” things we should measure, these are absolute essentials and if we aren’t measuring these things, it is where we need to start.

Once we’ve set the foundation of “what” to measure, we need to establish the parts in which the real value of metrics lie, “why” they matter and “how” we’ll recognize success.  As I mentioned previously, we have a ton of things that we can measure and I’ve since focused that list to the fundamental starting point of what we should measure and the “why” is all about effective communication.  We need to recognize early on that not everything we measure matters to everyone and certain metrics matter in different ways to different individuals.   In order to see these metrics drive success, we must share relevance with each stakeholder (whether it’s an agent, a supervisor, or your CEO) and explain the impact and role that they play.  I challenge us to consider whether it is worth sharing a statistic or metric with someone when they can’t impact it.   It is our responsibility to hold people accountable for the things in which they can impact and influence, provide the appropriate tools and resources to realistically achieve those objectives, and make the connection between the center’s (and organizations) goals and the way in which the metrics we’re measuring impact those goals.

The last component to seeing real success from any metric is identifying what achievement “looks like”.  Contrary to popular belief, just hitting a percentage or reaching a quota isn’t achievement, just as the ability to mark off a check-box doesn’t indicate a job well done.  Achievement and success through a metric only comes when we have identified the goal or objective that it impacts, identify which behaviors positively contribute to achieving the goal or objective, provide training, tools, and coaching to drive more of the desired behaviors, experience adoption of those behaviors by our staff and, in turn, see improvement in the metric. You absolutely must, for every metric you measure, be able to provide this end to end insight.

By having clarity of focus, aligned objectives, and meaningful measurements, you will position yourself ahead of the competition. It may seem like a lot of effort is required to get to this point, and you’re correct in that assumption. While being the “best of the best” doesn’t come easily, it is worth it.  From improved customer satisfaction to enhanced employee engagement, the leading contact centers have the ability to take the numbers on a page and use them to tell a story.    Are you prepared to take charge of the “what”, “why”, and “how” in your contact center or will you admit defeat?

If you’ve decided that you’re ready to refine your metrics, build actionable programs around them, and share insights across the organization, I applaud you.   This focus and defined sense of purpose will enable you to effectively execute initiatives, identify opportunities for revenue growth, and deliver a quality of service that far exceeds your customer’s expectations and the long-term success of you and your contact center. 

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