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What criteria should we use to determine if our call center is successful? Please provide specific quantitative and qualitative measures for evaluating success.

What criteria should we use to determine if our call center is successful? Please provide specific quantitative and qualitative measures for evaluating success.

11/15/2004

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Question
What criteria should we use to determine if our call center is successful? Please provide specific quantitative and qualitative measures for evaluating success.

Answer
There has been a great deal of innovation in this area in the past few two years. The leading contact centers use both quantitative and qualitative key performance indicators (KPIs) on an ongoing basis to measure their performance. Contact centers have also started to use scorecards and performance management. Scorecards are often a component of a performance management application (and/or program). Scorecards are used to measure performance at all levels: Agent, team/group, contact center site and entire contact center organization. They are also used to measure how well a contact center delivers on specific goals. So, you may have different scorecards to measure the number of new sales closed, revenue or number of accounts saved, for example.

Performance management is a concept that has been used successfully in business for more than 20 years. During the past few years, performance management has been introduced into contact centers and is intended to make it easier (and more accurate) for contact center management to measure their performance. The concept is simple – a performance management application takes feeds from all of the different systems that it interacts with and then creates scorecards. Here is a link to two articles and two white papers that I have written on the topic of contact center performance management.

Many contact centers now claim to have performance management programs, the vast majority of which are homegrown. This is an area where we are going to see a great deal of innovation during the next few years, as a well implemented performance management application will improve service quality and reduce operating expenses and/or increase revenue. It’s also important to note that an effective performance management application will also help align contact center goals with corporate initiatives.

Here is a chart that will provide you with both quantitative and qualitative KPIs, which are also known as metrics:

It is critical to measure both quantity – call volume, performance levels, average talk time, average handle time — and quality – percent of calls resolved during first contact (some consider this quantitative), quality management, customer satisfaction (from customer surveys), number of sales completed. Here is an example that illustrates this issue. In many contact centers, particularly in the area of telecom, agents are strongly encouraged to move onto the next call as quickly as possibly. Productivity is an important goal, but must be balanced with customer satisfaction, retention and sales. While you need to do the math for your own contact center, it’s likely that the financial benefit of either saving a customer or selling him/her a new service will far exceed the cost of the two to four additional minutes in talk time required to make the sale.

One last comment – it’s a best practice to involve all levels of staff in the development of KPIs and scorecards. This includes agents, supervisors and managers. If your contact center delivers on sales and marketing goals, then it makes sense to involve these departments in the development of the scorecards, as well.

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