Published: July 06, 2016 | Comments
Maximizing efficiency and providing consistently positive customer experiences is the top-level goal of every contact center. In order to be successful, contact centers need to track, measure and act on the right set of metrics across all contact channels.
There’s no shortage of metrics to choose from in a contact center but, to really optimize performance, stakeholders need to identify the metrics that align with their environment and business goals.
To determine which metrics are the most impactful, an organization must first ask, for whom are these metrics important and how will they be used? Each group of personnel has their own priorities and thus their own set of metrics to provide insight. For example, agents need to know if they're where they're supposed to be and whether their particular queue, or queues, are filling up. Supervisors want to know where their agents are, where they should be and whether they are meeting daily objectives. All the while, managers need to keep an eye on overall queuing conditions, longest contacts in queue and whether it's time to adjust their staff to meet current demand.
While audience is the first consideration, there are a few other overarching principles that apply when determining contact center metrics. Specifically:
- Simple is better - Contact centers today can find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data available, and can waste a huge quantity of time while obscuring the important points.
- Know your environment - You'll need to be aware of the type of environment your contact center is currently operating under and your current teams' ability to adopt and use performance metrics. And, if necessary, determine the kind of changes you will need to implement going forward.
- Timing matters - Contact center personnel at every level need real-time metrics to maximize performance. Day-before planning is valuable for setting the stage for success, but agents, managers and supervisors need the ability to monitor and react to situations as they evolve.
- Context required - On its own, a metric will have some meaning, but put into context, it can tell you more. Examples of context are comparing current conditions to historical trends, an action marker or a predetermined goal, or to another team or division.
- Action is necessary - To be impactful, metrics need to be actionable. Processes must be in place to allow agents, supervisors and managers to learn immediately when metrics are out-of-compliance and whether there is a potential customer service issue. Well-structured reaction plans must also be in place so personnel can take action proactively to mitigate the negative impact.
- Looking ahead - The contact center will continue to evolve and become more central to the organization’s goals. The metrics used to manage a contact center will also evolve. Particularly as customers continue to use multiple contact channels and expect a smooth, omni-channel experience. The result will be more data that needs to be managed, consolidated and customized for different audiences.
"Contact center personnel need real-time metrics to maximize performance."
With all that in mind, there are five key real-time metrics that are broadly applicable throughout the contact center, and will remain important in the months and years to come even as the best practice use of these metrics evolve. These metrics, when used effectively, can have the biggest positive impact on contact center performance.
1. Contact Volume
Real-time visibility of queue volume across channels is a must in contact centers. With it, contact volume can be proactively monitored and managed, avoiding long wait times and disgruntled customers.
While real-time call queue visibility is today's standard, many contact centers will soon be monitoring volume across all contact channels and have a reaction plan in place for each. Contact volume metrics can also focus on social volume, broken down by complaints, praise, product/service comments and so on. As social channels become increasingly important in contact centers, this insight will become critical. Additionally, contact centers can use contact volume metrics in a historical context to recognize trends and areas for improvement.
2. Real-time Adherence
Real-time adherence is a logistical metric that indicates whether agents are where they're supposed to be, when they're supposed to be there, according to their scheduled queues and skill groups. This metric needs to be monitored in real-time and is one of the first metrics managers should check when service levels aren't being met. More and more, real-time adherence will not only be monitored in the call queue but also across other near real-time channels such as chat.
3. Service Level
What percentage of calls, chats or emails are answered in a given time? This metric should be monitored in real/or near real-time but, no less than every 15 minute interval. Noticing that service levels have crashed for periods longer than 15 minutes could lead to costly over-staffing or out-sourcing strategies in an attempt to 'catch-up' and meet the daily goal. In the traditional view, this will reveal an accurate measure of how quickly calls are being answered. Looking ahead, though, this metric can be applied to varying objectives among all channels and groups.
4. Transferred Call Percentage
What percentage of calls are being transferred to another agent, skill group or department? This is an under-measured and -reported metric, but it provides insight into both the customer experience and individual agents' skill level. Going forward, it can also shed light on the effectiveness of increasingly complex routing designs, and help managers and supervisors develop agent skilling matrices.
5. Conversion/Close Rates and Revenue
Finally, contact centers should focus on production metrics that determine the percent of contacts that end in a sale or conversion. This offers the straightforward and important benefit of determining whether the contact center is meeting top-line goals, and also provides insight into the agents' effectiveness. Contact centers can go even further, breaking down this information by contractor type, social influence, geography and so on. This can help with long-term strategizing, as well as immediate course corrections to maximize revenue.
Taken together, these five metrics have the potential to provide unparalleled and invaluable insight and guidance for the contact centers of both today and tomorrow.