Published: April 10, 2017 | Comments
There are moments in one’s career that are defining. For me, it was when Capital One announced the closure of our site in late July 2015. The decision to close the site would impact almost a thousand employees as much of the work was being transitioned to a third-party outsourcing company. It was a decision made at the executive level and was strictly business, as the organization reevaluated resources and priorities.
The first few weeks after the announcement were both mentally and emotionally exhausting. I was not only going through my own change curve, but listening and helping to support my team and peers. As with any change of this nature, it impacted a variety of human stories. There were several who had recently relocated from other sites away from family and friends. There were managers who worked for the organization for 20+ years and had no formal education. There were people who had just purchased homes, had illnesses or family members with illnesses, or had family responsibilities.
My operations team consisted of 130 fraud investigators, managers, and support teams. Our business had been working for months with high volume and I could not remember the last time we did not have overtime available for our front-line employees. (The result of some good marketing campaigns and clever fraudsters.) Like many organizations, we had several performance metrics, projects, continuous process improvements initiatives, cultural activities, and more. However, the needs had changed drastically. I had a business to run, and arguably in one of the worst situations a team can experience!
The challenge now was to keep the team engaged for four months. I needed to maintain the business, while being sensitive to the very real, personal stories. It would have been naïve for me to think that people would put everything aside, continue to work full production like nothing had happened. They would be thinking about losing their income, getting another job, the loss of benefits, and more. What do you do in a change this extreme? How do you keep people engaged? What do you focus on for business goals?
With some great guidance from the Director of Change Management, I erased everything! Our Team Performance (GEMBA) Board was bulging with too many metrics — a problem many organizations fall victim to. The latest, critical, flavor-of-the-month, save your business metrics were all erased. It was a blank slate. This was all narrowed down to three business goals and three personal goals. My rationale: this would allow the team to focus on the most important things. It would allow us to be strategic and it taught me an important lesson. Current research on working memory and attention suggests that the average person can hold three or four items in their mind at once. Our business goals were First Contact Resolution, Contacts Per Hour, and Net Promoter Score. For the record, the personal goals included attendance, career development, and resume writing.
Why These Business Metrics and Why Should They be on Every Dashboard?
Each of these goals serves a dual purpose. They can indicate if the operations team is meeting overall operational requirements and organizational objectives. Additionally, these metrics are important to a variety of stakeholders, including front-line colleagues, management, and executives. Let’s take a look at each metric individually.
First Contact Resolution
First Contact Resolution, also known as First Call Resolution for phone channels, or First Touch Resolution, is a metric that measures how well your team solves customer concerns on the first interaction. To provide context, the formula is the number of contacts closed on the first contact divided by the total number of contacts multiplied by 100%. (Generally, First Contact Resolution is presented as a percentage.)
The benefits of measuring First Contact Resolution are important for customer satisfaction, increased productivity, and reduction of costs. Who doesn’t like checking the box on three important aspects of any organization’s bottom line? Customers like their concerns to be addressed ‘right the first time’. It helps to reduce volume because customers don’t have to generate another contact to resolve current or future concerns regarding the same issue — and this obviously means reduced volume of work and reduced costs.
In my case, the benefits of the focus on First Contact Resolution helped to reduce inbound volume, reduced multiple touches by agents, reduced number of reassigned cases, reduced pend time, increased penetration rates and decreased fraud losses, and reduced negative impacts to customer experience. We identified a cost savings of $600,000 by focusing on this one metric!
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Contacts Per Hour
I always think of Contacts Per Hour as the ‘gas pedal’ metric. This metric measures how fast or how much work your team can get through in an hour. It can also be presented as Contacts Per Day, Calls Per Hour or Day, etc. Either way you measure the goal, it measures the volume of work your team accomplishes in each period and is relative to the type of work and trends within your organization. Contacts Per Hour will be very different in an inbound call center where issues are basic customer support versus a team who supports complex account concerns like insurance or healthcare claims. One big call out here: you cannot measure Contacts Per Hour without having a quality metric close by. I have seen some organizations that focus on ‘going fast’ at the exclusion of quality. This is a recipe for a crash! You must have one of these metrics close by: First Contact Resolution, Quality or Customer Feedback (Net Promoter Score, Customer Effort or Satisfaction).
Net Promoter Score
The final metric that needs to be on every dashboard is a customer feedback or customer experience measure. This allows you to have your proverbial ‘ear to the ground’? It is what your customers or users think about you and your product or service. While every organization may have chosen a slightly different route for measuring their customer feedback, some of the more prevalent are Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS). If your organization does not have one of these, there are some clever ways to get this research through Quality or front-line colleague feedback.
The good news here is that with focus you can see the real impacts of these three metrics. It will help your front-line, management, and executive teams align on the most important items. Additionally, this allows everyone on the team to be part of the business mission and objectives, which helps with culture and employee engagement. You will likely see improvements to attrition and attendance.
As to my specific scenario, I am pleased to say that not only did my team make it through the site closure, but they also left a great legacy behind. We saw a marked increase in each of the three metrics: First Contact Resolutions rates rose and produced a cost savings of $600,000, Contacts Per Hour increased by 9%, and Net Promoter Scores increased by 5%.
For the record, the team’s personal goals saw improvements too. 83% of the team had a completed resume and our career development activities and classes drove a BINGO contest that was adopted to help drive engagement for the site. Finally, the team’s unplanned time off stayed well within control limits set for the team.