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As contact center professionals, we know performance measurement is the first step to resolving issues such as extended wait times and, most importantly, as customers and consumers, we know that waiting for an activity or result from a service provider can be extremely frustrating.

Imagine having a spouse who is always late, so much so that you never seem to arrive anywhere on time. Now imagine taking the time and energy to calculate the wait time for various events associated with your spouse. Calculate the time spent waiting for them to complete their dressing and preparation routine, add up the total time spent in the car waiting to depart while coffee is made, a Danish is eaten, or yet another text message is sent… and at the end of this exhaustive scientific study, you might calculate that over 46 hours in one year was spent simply waiting.

Do you think you will be able to report that your spouse's reaction to the results was equal to your own? And how about when you present a performance improvement plan to them?! Haha, no, I don't think it will be party time at your house that weekend.

Measure everything

As a customer, when you are on a phone call with a call center about a service issue and the call seems to be taking longer than expected, you can't tell but please understand that the service company is calculating this "wait time" metric. Not only this metric, but they are also basically tracking everything that can be measured because measuring operational performance is inherent in Contact Center operations. 

There is a truism that says, "If you don't measure it, you can't change it" and this is truer than anywhere within the Contact Center environment. Not every metric, however detailed it might be measured, carries equal weight in managing performance and this is especially true when a company introduces a new product or service.

When this happens, it typically kicks off a new operational process and focus — possibly a shift in engagement style — so you may need to concurrently shift your approach as that style shift may also trigger changes to how customer and operational details and agent success are measured.

But what do I do now?

There is a good chance that the changes brought on by the new product/service may be missed because you are too close to the action to notice the shift. Simply put, while you are tending to the few trees in front of you — those metrics are still incredibly important to operational excellence — the entire forest may be ablaze.

This is the perfect time to engage with our Contact Center Advisory consultants who can help assure that your operational metrics align with your engagement approach. We have the "fresh eyes' that can see the forest burning and help you put measures in place to first contain the damage and eventually re-grow the acreage that was lost which is a way of saying that we can help retain current customers and help you gain new customers. The way our Contact Center Advisors do this is by employing a demonstrably effective engagement model that has been used time and time again to successfully realign contact centers into an operationally effective and highly proactive mode.

Stepping stones to success

In the maturity model nearby, you will see several different contact center engagement methods that advance, moving from left to right, from the foundational (or traditional) call center services to the genuinely innovative contact center capabilities. As can be seen along the vertical axis, we gauge the importance of the customer experience to the outcomes of any interactions. This model illustrates a maturity curve with the foundational approach (left) placing less emphasis on the customer experience than on the high relationship-focused transformative or innovative contact centers (right).

Contact centers are not a one size fits all type of operation as the approach and customer experience should reflect the overall business strategy and the importance of the customer experience is to the business model. The focus of Contact Center Advisors is to maximize and improve the operational, agent and customer-related data given the confines of the maturity level of the organization as it relates to the engagement model. 

Foundational to evolving

Contact centers operating on the left side of the maturity matrix are high-volume operations with a focus on transactional processing. As these operations take steps to improve performance new initiatives may add screen pop, self-service and multi-channel processing with the intent of these capabilities to drive call avoidance and reduce handle time. Most of the metrics that matter in these approaches are well-known operational and agent-specific metrics.

To maximize performance metrics in any contact center operating model, a solid operational and agent reporting infrastructure is needed to provide required real-time and historical information. Data presented in a consolidated dashboard should be readily available, so front-line leadership can make any necessary adjustments and respond to changes in the calling environment.

Important to note is that customer-focused metrics cannot be ignored while attempting to meet the agent and operational goals described above. An organization should also be able to conduct surveys to calculate measures such as: 

  • Customer Satisfaction 
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Customer Effort Score
  • Customer Churn
  • Employee Engagement
  • First Call or Contact Resolution

The challenge is often getting information quickly enough and at a level of detail that organizations can turn into actionable improvement initiatives

Training and adoption are critical components to ensuring front-line leaders can interpret and effectively use report data. With proper instruction, front-line leaders can use the data provided to make timely decisions to take proactive actions to improve the performance of their contact center. Understanding reports and metrics allows an organization to modify skill group's membership, monitor agent performance and productivity, and analyze overall efficiency. These actions will lead to a more productive and optimized contact center.

Ask how we can help.