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Better Together: Which KPIs Should Be Considered in Tandem

Contact centers are in a continual state of flux. As customer demands and expectations shift, the role of the contact center needs to co-evolve. In the not-too-distant past there was no other way for customers to get information or make changes to their account without phoning into a contact center. As more customers prefer to self-serve for such basic tasks as updating an address, paying a bill, or gathering product information, they now have the technological savvy to want to do ever-more on their own. The impact this has on contact centers is the KPIs that were once effective to help manage efficiency, profitability, and staffing are no longer sufficient, especially if not looked at holistically.

As customers demand better experiences, faster service, less hassle, and competitive prices, it’s crucial that the KPIs that you’re keeping an eye on actually effect experience outcomes. A number of contact centers rely on KPIs that made sense 5-10 years ago, but serve little use in today’s center for reflecting the reality of customer expectations.

ICMI conducted a study that looked at which KPIs contact centers were still relying on and how they stacked up to the realities of current expectations. The study found that a number of contact centers have yet to realize the need to deviate from traditional KPIs, with 68% of contact centers reporting that they’re monitoring “abandonment from queue” as a way to measure quality customer experiences, yet it is arguably the least effective for actually determining  such. Upon further probing as to which KPIs executives felt most important for managing customer experience within the contact center, the response was, in descending order, Quality Monitoring, Average Wait Time, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys, and FCR scores. It’s not that these KPIS are no longer relevant, but they aren’t indicative of actually delivering the types of experiences customers are seeking. Given the reliance on these KPIs for determining the success of customer service, it is no wonder why there is such a large gap in how customers perceive their experiences and how companies do.

It seems to defy logic that Quality Monitoring isn’t an important KPI to shed light on call interactions. Why this isn’t as strong a KPI for measuring satisfactory customer experiences is that quality monitoring programs often focus on policy compliance and protocols without really indicating how the customer rated the experience. Additional research performed by SQM regarding call quality monitoring’s impact on CSAT and FCR shows there is little correlation between call Quality Monitoring ratings and CSAT and FCR ratings. It’s not that valuable insights won’t be gleaned through Quality Monitoring, rather effective quality monitoring programs give companies a platform for noticing obstacles to customer experiences while also providing trainers tangible insights for developing training programs.

This begs the question, which KPIs do contact centers need to pay attention to? The short answer is many of them together. If your organization seeks to create customer experiences that set your organization apart from your competition then your KPI tracking should be analyzed in tandem and in context with a number of metrics. Here are some KPIs to consider together so that customer sentiments can be identified and efforts can be directed to where they’ll have the most impact:

  • Net Promoter Score
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Quality Monitoring paired directly with customer insights
  • First Call Resolution (FCR)

Considering the above KPIs together gives your organization a more holistic view of the customer’s perspective and how they receive services through your contact center. When these KPIs are looked at jointly then appropriate training programs, policy changes, marketing strategies, and customer journey maps can be created.

The knee-jerk reaction when monitoring contact center profitability is to look at the cost per contact. For many contact centers the cost per call is going up, causing alarm. With more self-service options available to customers, the calls that agents are handling in the contact center are more complex, require a greater level of expertise and service, and thus cost more. So focusing on the cost-per-call, while important, needs to be considered in context. The reality of the changing nature of calls is another reason why focusing on KPIs of yesterday may not be providing an accurate picture.

The new standard for KPI monitoring and analyzing is “better together”.  A full view is much better than a partial view, so keep tracking your KPIs, but don’t silo them. Having a 360 degree view gives your organization a more realistic and holistic view of your customer and contact center.