Key Hole View or Key Performance Measurement?

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Metrics Based Performance Management Drives Call Center Success

Are your contact center operations a success?  Are your agents delivering the outcomes that make the center a strategic resource for the organization?  How do you quantify such success – let alone achieve it?  Begin with the end in mind, and use analytics driven metrics-based performance management to help you get there.

Start by focusing your energy on measuring what matters to your organization. Call centers typically produce a lot of data, but not all of it is meaningful in answering your burning questions.  What’s more, using only samples will nullify your findings; you must employ all of the meaningful data that applies to the specific business answers you’re seeking.  Just as you can’t get a good look at what’s beyond a door by peering through a tiny key hole, looking at only a sample of your call center data can’t give you a complete picture of how to improve operations.

Focus on Key Objectives

Perhaps your top objective is reducing your customer churn rate. Using post-call speech analytics will allow you to discover specific reasons for customer dissatisfaction, as well as the actions your agents take in response to these difficult situations. Armed with these insights, you can define appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs) to address your retention challenge, and then put metrics in place to ensure your agents are taking the right steps to achieve your goals.

To address retention, useful metrics might include the number of customers eligible for a save offer, the number of save offers made to the eligible customers and their acceptance rates.  Arbitrary data such as appropriate greetings, transfer rates or hold times yield little in actionable information.  In order to be valid, these KPIs must be measurements of all interactions.  Measuring only a sample – that “key hole view” – results in statistically meaningless data.

Model Behavior

Once you’ve established your KPIs, you must ensure your agents are constantly and consistently modeling appropriate behaviors.  You cannot determine this from the typical random sample of 5 – 10 agent calls per month.  You cannot hone in on the types of calls you need to assess, or locate multiple instances of a specific type of call to identify trends by randomly sampling a few calls per agent, per month.    You may find examples of behaviors to be corrected one month, but will never find them the next month.  You will miss the critical trends correlating agent actions to ultimate call outcomes.

Similarly, targeted listening will not deliver valid insight into the big picture, for the same reasons.  Sure, you can use speech analytics to pinpoint the types of calls you listen to, but you’re still only sampling a small portion of your interactions.  No matter how the quality team selects the calls, manually listening to 5 – 10 calls per agent, per month cannot generate enough data to statistically measure results against the metrics that mean something to your business. If you really want to measure performance and improve KPI scoring, you can’t rely on call samples – random or targeted.

Listening and analyzing one hundred percent of your audio – every single call – is the only way to deliver unambiguous evidence showing where the organization is in relation to your goals.  Only through establishing what’s actually occurring during every customer interaction can you effectively guide and manage your team.

Evidence Based Coaching

In addition to deep analytics to uncover What Matters, metrics based performance management employs broad analytics to discover Who Matters.   Which call center agents are taking the actions that lead to desired call outcomes?  Who is struggling with putting into practice those factors that are critical to success?  Once the metrics are in place to compare agent performance against acceptable ranges of behavior for specific KPIs, supervisors have an easy time identifying those agents who need coaching, or those who are top performers.

Armed with data collected across every contact interaction, supervisors have the power to deliver targeted coaching to correct the specific behaviors that matter the most for the agents with the greatest opportunity for improvement.

Such coaching enables supervisors to concentrate on the outliers in the group, focusing their attention in a statistically meaningful way where their efforts can have the greatest impact.  Low performers can get support to correct bad habits, while top agents’ techniques can be shared as “best practices” among the team.   This approach raises the collective average of the group in a more efficient manner than delivering blanket coaching everyone, regardless of performance.

Metrics based performance management has proven to be much more efficient and cost effective in improving overall team scores and outcomes than random, sample-based management approaches.  By focusing  on the desired outcome and the KPIs required to achieve it, metrics based performance management can give your organization a framework to accurately quantify your performance and take meaningful steps toward achieving  your unique definition of  success.

{Photo Credit: Kat Ter Haar}

Categories: Performance Management