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Will Performance Management Liberate Contact Center Managers? 

Will Performance Management Liberate Contact Center Managers?

Will Performance Management Liberate Contact Center Managers?

10/23/2003
By Donna Fluss
ICCM Weekly

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Corporate respect for the role, purpose and contribution of contact centers is increasing as senior executives recognize the positive impact they have on the bottom line and the tremendous value of customer data flowing through the contact center. The race is now on to align the contact center with corporate goals, after spending decades keeping service organizations as far away from senior decision makers as possible. But this won’t happen unless contact center managers get new tools to capture and share departmental and customer data and insights with their constituents in operations, sales, marketing, product development and the executive suite and to meet their own reporting needs.

Aligning Contact Center and Corporate Goals

Welcome to the promising new world of contact center performance management. The value of performance management has already been proven outside the contact center. It emerged as a way to align corporate objectives with the goals of all business operating areas, including sales, marketing and customer service.

When applied in a contact center, performance management makes the center less department-centric and more enterprise oriented, freeing managers from time-consuming data collection and reporting responsibilities. It harmonizes executive objectives with contact center goals and provides tools, processes and a framework for sharing time-sensitive and critical customer data company-wide. Best of all, it achieves all of this while simultaneously improving agent productivity and satisfaction.

What is Contact Center Performance Management?

Because the contact center serves as a funnel for customer communications in the enterprise, it is key to identifying the core causes of problems and opportunities for all parts of the company. Contact center performance management is a series of applications, tools and practices that begins by collecting data from customer interactions (e.g., inquiries, complaints, product suggestions and service recommendations). It then analyzes them to understand customer intents and insights. Finally, it converts them into actionable recommendations that can improve the performance of all departments and ultimately boost the bottom line.

At a tactical level, contact center performance management represents a series of measures and benchmarks that must be captured, tracked and reported to ensure the contact center meets its departmental objectives. This includes delivering world-class customer service, increasing sales and improving customer loyalty while enhancing productivity. From a strategic perspective, it is a means of translating corporate objectives into contact center key performance indicators (KPIs) that correlate with corporate goals.

To stay aligned with corporate objectives, contact centers must develop KPIs for every staff group – agents, supervisors and management – and for its external constituents. Agent-level KPIs should include:

  • Productivity measures, such as average talk time and first contact resolution rates
  • Quality measures from agent monitoring and customer satisfaction surveys
  • Sales and revenue goals
  • Customer retention goals

When combined and acted upon quickly, these performance measures yield improvements in agent behavior that help the service organization meet its own performance objectives as well as the overall goals of the corporation.

Benefits of Performance Management

Performance management systems allow contact centers – the focal points of customer interactions – to capture and analyze both structured and unstructured transactions, evaluate them and take actions that immediately benefit a corporation, its customers and employees.

Contact centers can use performance management systems to improve performance, but the value of the captured data soars when shared with stakeholders throughout the enterprise. Successful contact centers understand customer behaviors and needs, competitive threats and operational challenges, but performance management takes the strengths of contact centers to the next level. By codifying and sharing invaluable, time-sensitive customer data, it quickly delivers actionable insights to corporate decision makers.

Trends Driving Growth of Performance Management

Performance management is rapidly moving from contact center manager wish lists to being crucial to the service organization. In fact, it can be the manager’s new best friend, automating manual reporting tasks that previously monopolized their time, enabling the contact center manager to focus on corporate objectives. The five major trends driving the adoption of performance management in contact centers are the need to:

  • Reduce expenses
  • Align contact center goals with corporate objectives
  • Share customer behavior, insights and needs
  • Improve communications between sales, marketing and service
  • Streamline contact center management reporting

Ultimately, performance management must be embraced by the corporate culture to be successful. In next week’s column, we’ll look at the nuts and bolts of implementing a contact center performance management solution to cut costs, boost revenue, strengthen customer loyalty and satisfaction and improve operations.

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