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Remember when customer service was about opening the yellow pages, picking up the rotary phone and dialing the gas company to schedule a delivery or calling the milkman to add cheese and eggs to your milk order? Well, that may seem ancient. 

Today, we all expect companies we do business with to answer the call, chat or text immediately and resolve our issue the first time around.

What metrics matter?

Regardless of your position, you probably serve others as a parent, mentor or volunteer. You receive service from others as a customer. As customers, we don't care how companies get it done. Just keep your promises and — if things go haywire — admit to the mistake and make it right.

Sounds simple if you are the customer. If you work in a contact center as a customer service agent or the agent's manager, it's a little more complicated than that.

Agents need to know how you prefer to communicate and your current attitude, what you buy or have bought and what your open issues are. Though it is the customer service leader's job to properly equip agents, there is a gap in truly understanding where customers are coming from: 33 percent of contact center leaders report they don't have enough customer context or understanding of customer needs to properly enable agents, according to a March 2020 Customer Contact Week Study.

Agents are also responsible for:

  • Quality – How a supervisor measures the quality of the agent's service to a customer during a call, chat, SMS, etc. Supervisors also measure how well agents follow standards of interaction – appropriate greeting and closing, adhering to policies and procedures of the company.
  • Customer Satisfaction – You know, when you answer a survey and provide your feedback.
  • Call Handling Efficiency – How long you are on the phone for example, taking into account quality of experience.
  • Availability - Keeping to their schedules: be open to answer calls and be on calls as scheduled.

Supervisors are responsible for:

  • Agent Quality of Service – Using both qualitative and quantitative metrics to ensure an agent is doing the job well.
  • Customer Satisfaction and Experience – Are customers happy, according to customer surveys?
  • Agent Efficiency – Are agents doing their jobs in a timely fashion and comparing their effectiveness and efficiencies with other agents doing similar work?
  • Service Levels – Response times for different channels – e.g. how quick you answer the phones, emails, chats, etc.
  • First Contact Resolution – Number of contacts resolved on the first try (no need to call back the customer or for them to call back to solve an issue).

Managers and directors are responsible for:

  • Service Levels – Picking up and answering those calls and emails in a timely manner.
  • Cost and Profitability
  • Customer Sentiment, Satisfaction and Retention – Tying back customer perception of their experience with how long they continue to business with you.

Mashing the data together: The reporting challenge

In a nutshell, everyone in a contact center is responsible for overall customer experience. The trouble is, these metrics are not typically available in one happy view or report. In most cases, reports are cobbled together with rubber bands, bubble gum, Excel and SQL exports.

Some organizations have to a dedicated team to just create, administer and deliver reports to their users and leaders. This misses the mark because the true aim of metrics is to get organizations acting on the data, optimizing the experience for both agents and customers, to meet and exceed customers' ever-rising expectations. Unified reporting isn't unattainable. How can we eliminate the manual work and deliver the data staff and leaders need? 

Examples of how call centers use the data

Once reporting is easily accessible with real time views and standard reporting, leaders can take action and flush out the whys of the results and the how: how to act on the data.

If quality scores are suffering in the area of customer resolution, supervisors will go back and listen to calls and compare what people are offering vs. the response of the customers and what cases are still open. They will identify trends around the appropriate offers and help training create a custom customer resolution training. 

Typically, supervisors are required to review anywhere from 3-5 interactions (calls, chats, emails) per month. They will listen or read through these exchanges, and use a quality form to score them. These scores will be combined with their productivity and customer satisfaction results and are coached back to the agent to drive improvements.

If customer satisfaction scores are low, supervisors would compare customer satisfaction scores with quality scores and first contact resolution to identify trends of what drives satisfaction and perhaps re-write quality expectations to mirror customer expectations. Typically, customers will have a chance after a call, email or chat to complete a short survey about their experience with the agent, identifying how happy they are and if they're satisfied with the outcome of the interaction. This is then combined with the quality scoring of those interactions to provide a 360-degree view of that customer's experience.

If there is a trend with agents struggling with handling calls efficiently, supervisors will evaluate the type of call/service request with extended talk times and provide recommended coaching around those specific use cases to improve call control while solving customer issues.

All these actions are not possible without a unified report view which allows customers to consume, analyze and act/coach up on the data, not spending countless hours creating reports.

Let's take a look at a specific use case. 

The challenge

A U.S. based transportation company was challenged with delivering these kinds of reports and could no longer assign multiple team members to generate their reports for their VPs, directors, managers and agents. The organization was challenged to create and deliver an innovative approach without purchasing additional tools on a limited budget. 

The reporting/analyst team surveyed the operations leadership for feedback on what metrics/reports the teams needed and how often. The goal was to eliminate manual work and automatically deliver reports in a usable actionable format to the directors, managers and coaching agents for defining process improvement opportunities.

The goal: Actionable insights for both staff and leadership

  • The customer partnered with WWT's Contact Center Consulting, Global Engineering and Adoption Services teams to create a customized reporting solution to meet the needs of the business team. This was accomplished through analysis of current reports, operational surveys and discovery sessions.
  • WWT hosted a customer workshop that uncovered information, opportunities for reporting improvements and a detailed proposed solution. Standard reports were to be leveraged out of the box and the teams determined a training plan needed to create, administer and deliver these reports to the right audiences. Custom reports were needed to dig deeper into the customer experience (CX). WWT defined additional reports with auto-delivery capability to leverage the Cisco reporting tools the organization already had in house.
  • WWT also worked with the IT team to create an architectural design for the future, taking into account growth and future upgrades to their solution. The company plans to make these changes once the busy season is complete.
  • The WWT Adoption Services team provided a customized training engagement to demonstrate how the end users (supervisors, managers and administrators) would utilize the tool and leverage the outputs. Teams were provided training tailored to the needs of the users, so the majority of reports no longer required daily administration and manual delivery. Operations team members now had the data to act upon with their teams while administrative work was eliminated.
  • The project eliminated manual creation and delivery of reports, saved administrative time and provided actionable and timely metrics and information for operational action and coaching of team members.

The combined resources that improve CX

Most organizations don't have the resources to deliver comprehensive views of the operational and customer experiences. WWT brings three of its groups together to design, deliver and implement unified reporting. Our Contact Center Consulting, Engineering and Adoption Services teams come together to provide a Contact Center Reporting and Training Engagement tailored to meet your operational needs including:

  • Consulting: Direction on metrics that matter and actionable reporting best practices.
  • Training: An interactive lab-based training that is customized based on your personas and use cases.
  • Design: Our contact center engineering group ensures that your architecture and technical design support your short and long-term reporting needs.

If you are looking to dive into your entire customer journey and drive actionable and fundamental improvements in your contact center, a Contact Center Strategic Platform Assessment is a highly recommended long-term approach. 

Looking to take a deeper dive? Explore and follow along with our Contact Center topic to see how we can deliver great customer experiences and impactful business outcomes.