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5 Call Center Metrics That Truly Matter to Business Excellence

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Employee productivity is falling. A 2016 Report by the US Bureau of Labor confirmed that employees are now less productive than before.

This data applies to employees in your contact center as well.

But should you worry about their effectiveness? Isn’t it enough to track metrics like Average Handling Time (AHT), Quality Scores, number of calls answered and abandoned, and duration of breaks?

It’s not.

Which Call Center Metrics Truly Matter?

Most contact centers track metrics like AHT, quality score, answered versus abandoned calls, break times, and so on. These indicate how efficient each agent is and, in turn, how efficient the contact center is.

However, there’s a difference between being efficient and effective. While efficient means working in the best possible way with minimum waste of time and resources, it doesn’t always lead to the desired outcome.

Efficient means working in the best possible way with minimum waste of time and resources. Effective means succeeding in producing the desired outcome.
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Here’s a real-life scenario.

A particular call center declared a rule that for each service ticket created by the customer, agents had to respond within 15 Mins.

The operations manager and team leaders devised a step where every new ticket got an instant automated response that read, “Your ticket has been logged. We will get back to you as soon as possible.”

But tickets lay unaddressed, sometimes for as long as two weeks. Many customers turned irate, and CSAT scores dropped.

Thus, while the solution was efficient – the customers got a response within minutes – it was not effective.

For your contact center to function optimally, the best possible way of working should focus on the desired outcome – CSAT, revenue, etc.

But your contact center doesn’t need to compromise on efficiency to achieve. Here are four call center metrics that can help you achieve both.

1. Quality of People Hired

Many organizations ignore this step.

In trying to save costs, call centers hire low salaried agents and deploy them quickly without much training. The result is:

  1.  Low CSAT because the agents cannot deliver high-quality output.
  2. High attrition because staff jumps ship whenever they get slightly higher pay.

Eventually, the call center spends a lot of resources hiring and training new agents. A short-term strategy ends up burning a deeper hole in the organization’s pocket.

When you hire the right people, the above scenarios get reversed – CSAT improves, and attrition falls. True, in the short term, your numbers don’t look great. But you witness amazing benefits in the long term.

Hiring good quality people may seem like an expense in the short run, but it’s a powerful investment in the long term
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2. Tracking the Right Metrics

While working with a call center, we came across a not-so-unique situation.

This call center was an in-house service desk for a large enterprise. It tracked plenty of metrics but forgot one key metric – the number of open tickets. That number turned out to be 5,000!

Imagine the number of frustrated ‘customers’ in the parent organization!

We keep searching for zyada – something more. Most decision-makers in an enterprise are no different. In the desire to get more, they ask the software team to share more daily reports with call center managers, most of which is irrelevant.

The result? Managers feel overwhelmed by the sheer load of information and turn apathetic. They stop taking an interest in reports. Things begin to drift, and the organization turns directionless.

Reports are not just numbers. On the other end, they’re not drivers of a process either. They serve as indicators of performance.

Instead of drowning managers in a sea of reports, align what they see with their job roles and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We often use the 3W’s + H format to identify the right reports for every manager and leader to see.

Align the reports that managers see with their KPI’s and you’ll witness a steady improvement in your call center’s performance
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3. Process Audits

It’s wonderful to sit in a boardroom and ‘brainstorm’ amazing ideas, analyze pie charts, device vague strategies, and end the meeting after three hours by saying, “Now find someone to implement this.”

But this is not leadership. This action is most counterproductive to the growth and sustenance of any enterprise.

When a call center tries to acquire a client, it promises customer-centric deliverables. But when the budget gets slashed in the process, most deliverables get removed. The add-ons, or ‘bells and whistles,’ are the first to go. Customer centricity is forgotten, and cost-cutting becomes the focus.

With time, a wide gap develops between the documented process and the one implemented. Cheap workforce just does the bare minimum. Quality begins to fall and keeps falling. To arrest the slide, senior managers hold additional discussions behind closed doors, but nobody puts in the time and effort to understand the real issue.

A process gets followed only when it gets audited. Such audits are not part of just the Quality Evaluator’s KPIs, but the Operations Manager’s too. Auditing team leaders’ performance and coaching them to improve is necessary. In turn, team leaders should do the same for their respective agents.

Your role as a manager and leader is not just to hold boardroom discussions and command people on what to do. It’s to empower your people to perform what’s expected from them efficiently and effectively. Coaching and feedback, apart from periodic retraining, are important tools in your arsenal for the same.

92 percent of respondents of a LinkedIn-based survey agreed with the assertion, “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.”

When you provide feedback, your staff connects with you and feels motivated to do better. And according to research by McKinsey, employees who feel connected are 20-25 percent more productive.

4. Collect Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is the final point in the effectiveness chain. Ironically, it’s also the most-ignored point.

Call centers focus on metrics to track efficiency like TAT, first response time, issue patterns, call queues, average handling time, and so on. But customer feedback is the most important metric to track effectiveness. And barely anybody tracks it.

Customer feedback is not to be confused with the customers’ experience (CSAT). CSAT is a score that an external auditor arrives at after getting feedback from a sample set of customers. It arrives once a month or once a quarter.

Customer feedback, on the other hand, is a mechanism to collect feedback from existing customers on an ongoing basis.

Some questions could include in Customer Feedback:

  1. Did your issue get resolved? How satisfied are you?
  2. Did we address your query within the specified time?
  3. How was your interaction with the agents?
  4. What can we do to improve our service?
  5. Can we get some referrals from you?

Customer feedback is the most effective way to identify gaps in existing functioning. It highlights the strengths and weaknesses of your call center. You can identify the gap between what you think the center is doing, and what’s really happening. It also gives you a concrete direction to work in. It helps you improve the quality and speed of service. And it makes your customers feel heard and respected.

All this positively impacts its top line and the bottom line of your call center.

Collect feedback from customers each week. Turn it into a game to encourage participation. Like, rewarding agents who collect the maximum relevant Feedback.

The human mind loves to play. According to research, the play offers cognitive benefits and also social benefits like increased cooperation, team participation, and more.

If you want to understand how you can apply and track each of these call center metrics deeply, you can download our free EBook on improving your call center’s efficiency and effectiveness.

A free EBook on improving your call center’s efficiency and effectiveness
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Click here to download a free ebook on improving the call center’s performance.

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