Are Your Call Center Metrics Realistic?
September 04, 2012
Service Level, Average Seconds to Answer, Cost Per Contact, Call Quality, Average Handle Time. Every call center manager knows these standard industry metrics by heart. The main question on their minds is: Which of these metrics matter to my agents?
“One of the questions that I get most in regards to metrics in my role as a Customer Success Manager is, ‘What are the industry standards?’” said Stephen Heath, customer experience manager at inContact. “Often times, the response I most want to give them is, ‘Why does that matter?’”
Different contact centers have different needs, different budgets and different customer expectations. Contact centers need to focus on the metrics that help them to meet expectations within the confines of their situations.
An 80/20 SLA, for instance, may be possible for one contact center but not possible for another. If chasing an impossible score creates unhappy customers, poor quality scores and high agent attrition, then why continue the pursuit?
In a TechRepublic blog published last December, consultant Scott Lowe wrote that metrics can ultimately distract agents from their most important goal, which is customer satisfaction.
For instance, if an agent is hyper-focused on getting the customer off of the phone as quickly as possible, then the agent may give incomplete or incorrect information that would require a follow-up call.
“Although the call center employee’s average call times might be stellar, if additional metrics - eventual customer satisfaction, customer need to re-contact - were brought to bear, that employee’s performance may tell a different story,” Lowe argued.
Call centers should balance speed of service metrics with customer satisfaction ratings. For instance, agents could receive a balanced evaluation that equally weighs SLA and first-time resolution with customer satisfaction ratings.
Choosing attainable call center metrics doesn’t mean losing sight of the target. It means bringing up service levels more slowly and at rates that agents can tolerate. Metrics should be measurable and attainable while ultimately furthering the goals of the contact center.
Individual call center metrics may or may not meet industry standards. Choosing realistic metrics, however, will decrease agent attrition and the time spent both hiring and training new employees.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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