Performance Management

Best Practices on using contact center metrics, reports, dashboard and key performance metrics (KPI) to optimize customer service

Performance Management Hints, Tips & Best Practices

Contact Center Performance Webinar: View on Demand now Available

Posted: January 28 2015 by: Chuck Ciarlo

Monet Software recently presented a webinar entitled “How to Gain More Insight into the Performance of your Contact Center.” The event generated a strong turnout and has received positive feedback from many of those in attendance. 

If you missed it, good news – the webinar is now available on our website at http://www.monetsoftware.com/webinars/. You can check it out any time you like. 

Why should you? Because it’s one thing to read about how Monet's cloud-based WFO can help gain more insights and improve the performance of your contact center. It’s quite another to actually see this technology in action. And that is the opportunity this webinar provides. 

Several related topics will be covered as well, from the importance of visibility at the agent level to the benefits of real-time data and alerts of key metrics and activities. 

Don’t miss this second chance to discover what the advantages of cloud-based WFO can mean for your agents, your management team, and your contact center. 



Learn More

Is your Contact Center Ready for 2015?

Posted: January 13 2015 by: Chuck Ciarlo

The start of a new year is a natural time to evaluate the status of your contact center, and decide if any changes would be beneficial moving forward. If you are ready to put together a checklist of important topics, you may wish to start with these. 


1. People 

What is the current state of your agent team(s)? Do you have enough people for each shift? Do they have the skills necessary to fulfill their obligations? How effective are your coaching and training programs? Review the personnel situation and adjust staffing as needed. 


2. Processes

How does your contact center get things done? There are a number of processes in place that are employed to improve customer service and optimize forecasting, scheduling and adherence. Review these processes and look for areas where they may be improved. Take quality monitoring, for example: how are calls being scored, and who is doing the scoring? Is it time for a fresh perspective, or to begin tracking elements of each call that are not being reviewed now?  


3. Technology

Is your hardware and software out of date or obsolete? It might be if you’ve been using an on-premise solution for such vital functions as workforce management. WFM providers supply ongoing enhancements and updated versions on a regular basis, but they also charge users for every one of these upgrades. With the economy still recovering, companies may not have the resources to keep up with the improvements. Perhaps this is the time to consider a cloud delivery system, where upgrades are free and there is no large upfront cost. 


4. Regulations

Contact center managers must be up to date on any new federal and state laws that might impact their business, as well as any changes in company policy. This is the time to not only be aware of any such regulation issues, but to make sure your employees are aware of them as well. 


Learn More

Creating a Performance Optimization Plan for 2015

Posted: December 25 2014 by: Chuck Ciarlo

Whether they are designated as New Year’s Resolutions or corporate objectives and strategies, the end of the year is a time when many of us naturally take stock of where we are at, and where we are going.

For contact center managers, the desire to make every new year better than the one before requires the right performance optimization plan. And if you are in the process of creating a blueprint for success in 2015, here are four areas you’ll wish to explore, and some of the questions that must be asked if your business is ready to boldly confront the ongoing challenge of delivering excellent customer service.

1. Workforce Management: Forecasting, Scheduling, Adherence

Workforce management (WFM) has been defined as “assigning the right employees with the right skills to the right job at the right time.” In a contact center, if a manager schedules the right agents with the appropriate call-handling skills on the shifts where those skills will be most needed, he or she is certainly on the best track to an efficient operation.

Workforce management and workforce optimizations (WFO) software can play a critical role in these functions. Is your contact center equipped with these capabilities? Do you have the right system in place to meet your needs?

The difference between handling the important functions of forecasting, scheduling and adherence with the right technology, vs. with a system that uses spreadsheets, for instance, is significant when it comes to proper utilization of resources, and the level of customer service delivered.

Forecasting
An accurate forecast model relies on accurate historical data. WFO delivers seasonal stats, monthly stats, daily stats, even numbers analyzing one portion of one hour, so variations can be determined and adjustments made accordingly. Special days and special events will also figure into these calculations. 

Scheduling
With WFO, managers can automatically manage start times, end times and break times, so that agent needs are acknowledged, while call center performance capabilities are always met.  An automated system provides more flexibility than a spreadsheet, while also contributing data that can help managers put the right agents in the right positions to maximize customer service.

Adherence
In a contact center where workforce management software is capable of real-time adherence, a manager always knows if his team members are adhering to the schedule. The reporting generated by WFM can analyze adherence by team or by time period, making it easier to pinpoint issues that result in lower service levels.

The best WFM solution will include accurate call volume forecasting from historical data and ACD integration, flexible schedule creation that incorporates foreseen and unforeseen variables, agent exceptions, intra-day changes to both forecasting and scheduling, and performance management reports.


2. Quality Assurance: Call Recording and Scoring

Quality assurance refers to a proven process of establishing quality goals and verifying and checking the quality of a service, as well as the activities implemented so that quality requirements will be fulfilled.

Assurance of quality requires a series of preventive actions, all focused on process and based on a set of standards defined by the company. There are challenges to getting it right, particularly if a contact center lacks a reliable means to measure and track quality, either via management action or software that provides automated data on policies and systemic activities.

Do you have the right technology and personnel in place to determine quality standards, and then to achieve them? Perhaps 2015 will be the year to take this important step. Here is one way to get started:
  • Define Quality Goals and Objectives – What constitutes a quality customer engagement? Quality assurance can only be attained if “quality” is specifically defined. Start by establishing thresholds, such as the number of calls per agent and time allotted for each call. Determine the call center’s current status in these and other areas, and document all goals and objectives.
  • Focus on Communication – Open communication between agents and managers and agents and coaching/training personnel expedites the quality assurance process. 
  • Automate QA Processes – QA is easier when you can turn over many of its processes to the tools, templates, triggers and programs available for that function. An automated solution is not only more efficient, it also frees up personnel to spend time on other issues. 
  • Unification and Integration – Call center goals should be consistent, with personnel and technology working together to arrive at the desired place. Make sure that all teams are putting the QA plan into action based on the same goals, and measure progress based on the same reports. 
  • Real-Time Monitoring – Quality assurance is extremely difficult, if not impossible, without reliable, real-time quality monitoring that incorporates alerts, dashboards and key performance indicators (KPI). 
  • Use Scoring to Rank Agents – Call scoring requires a cooperative effort among managers, agents and even customers (through feedback and survey results) to determine what elements are important in each customer engagement. Scoring can also be invaluable in ranking agents for training purposes, as well as for assigning schedules and creating rosters. 
  • Think Long Term – While QA helps to fix short-term issues, it should also be established and utilized to track and report on long-term trends and improvement.

3. Performance Management: Real-Time Alerts, Dashboards, KPIs

Performance management is something of a catch-all term that incorporates all of the management aspects at a call center, from planning to developing agent skills, to evaluating performance based on metrics and making adjustments accordingly.

As with every other part of the management process, it becomes easier if you first develop a plan of action. If you don’t have one, start by measuring your current status, then set realistic goals for where improvement is possible. Diagnose the causes of any issues, and then implement changes accordingly. Check the results, refine your system and then set new goals.

All of this takes accurate, reliable, up-to-date data.

It is critical for call center management to keep track of key metrics throughout the course of the day. This is also a practice made considerably easier through workforce management software. Dashboards deliver visual displays that provide insight into forecasts, schedules and adherence, so managers always have an instant snapshot of what is happening at every moment throughout the day.

It’s also important to know which metrics are the most crucial to track. That list is likely to include:

•    Average Handle Time
•    Calls per Hour
•    First Call Resolution
•    Abandoned Calls
•    Average Wait Time
•    Completion Rate
•    Forecasted Call Load vs. Actual
•    Scheduled Staff vs. Actual
•    Waiting Calls
•    Average Call Value

The more information you receive from your WFM software – KPIs, scorecards, alerts, dashboards, reports – the better equipped you will be to take effective action to better meet the customer service goals of the contact center.


4. Analytics: Speech and desktop

Speech analytics boosts the effectiveness of a call recording solution. It’s still a fairly new technology that has not been widely adopted within the industry. Is this the year your contact center moves ahead of the curve?

What do you get with speech analytics? It starts with automated alerts triggered by voice data that deliver critical business and marketing intelligence to improve agent performance and the customer experience. This is the type of information that would take weeks to ascertain with spreadsheets; with speech analytics, you’ll have it in minutes.

Desktop Analytics gathers application data at the desktop level across users, processes and technology, to help improve productivity and service delivery, while reducing compliance issues and lowering business costs. The more managers understand how agents interact with their desktop environment to perform daily tasks, the easier it will be to improve productivity, prioritize issues that need to be addressed, and fine-tune best practices that can then be replicated across the call center.



Learn More

The “New” Service Level Metric: Customer Experience

Posted: December 19 2014 by: Chuck Ciarlo

Measuring service level is an obvious and necessary exercise for every call center manager. But service level should not be confused with the more comprehensive examination of customer experience. Once you’ve developed a strategy to track, measure and improve customer experience, you’ll have a road map to identify any systems and programs that need to be revised for optimal customer satisfaction.

The challenge comes from the reality that customer experience encompasses a wide range of touch-points within the company that a customer may encounter – email, website, store, chat, reps.

While telephone engagements are just one piece of the puzzle, they are a particularly important piece. They provide an opportunity to find out about the other channels and aspects of customer experience, and to fix any problems. It’s also the time and place when most customers expect to be queried about the company, and may be more open to providing honest, direct and detailed feedback. 

If your call center has not yet expanded its data collection to cover customer experience, it is time to do so. 

The first step is to create a strategy – determine you customer experience goals, and how to analyze where you are in achieving them. Then make sure your agents have the training, the tools and the motivation to meet your call center’s customer service and customer experience initiatives.

Learn More

Call Center Makeover for a Better Customer Experience

Posted: December 19 2014 by: Chuck Ciarlo

Does your call center need a makeover?

Sometimes, bad habits or lax business practices can slowly and gradually infiltrate even the best of call centers, and the customer experience can suffer as a result. 

When this happens, it’s time to consider a business-wide transformation that will get the contact center back on an efficient track. Such an effort should focus on three specific areas. 

1. Culture
Successful call centers are customer-centric call centers. Is that the mission that informs how agents perform their job, how forecasting and scheduling is achieved, and how priorities are listed when it comes to staffing, budgeting and other business essentials? Putting the customer first can only lead to better performance. 

2. Processes
When was the last time your call center processes were reviewed? Would a few updates or changes to agent scripts result in a faster and better customer experience? Taking a fresh look at how you’re doing business now, and bringing agents, managers, trainers and even customers into this process, may inspire new ideas that can make a positive difference.

3. Technology
Technology should be a primary source for delivering customer interaction insights. Workforce optimization solutions are big part of this. Do you have the right tools and are you utilizing those you have available to their full potential? These include workforce management, call recording, screen recording, quality assurance, desktop analytics and speech analytics. Is it time to upgrade current solutions or add new ones? The better a call center can utilize workforce optimization systems and other processes, the more optimized its service levels. Result? Once again, more satisfied customers.

Want to learn more? Take a moment and watch any of these demos to see if you need to improve your call center technology.


Learn More

Fast Contact Center Training with Consistent Performance – Is it Possible?

Posted: December 19 2014 by: Chuck Ciarlo

How long does it usually take to train a new agent at your contact center? Two weeks? Four weeks? We’ve even heard of some call centers that require six weeks or more. There must be a better way.

Actually, there are several techniques that can expedite the training process, without compromising the quality of the sessions or of the agent’s subsequent on-the-job performance. This article published by ICMI offers some good ideas, which we have summarized here, while adding a couple of our own. 

Keep a Log
Rookie agents will all struggle with different aspects of the job. By keeping a written log of performance observations, it makes it easier to pinpoint issues and focus training on making those corrections. Call scoring and quality software is also helpful in tracking this and helping agents improve performance quickly.

First Call Groups
The sooner a new agent takes his or her first live customer call, the faster the acclimation process. Some contact centers create a group of new hires, and have them each take a call as a trainer observes. This way they will get immediate feedback, and also have the opportunity to watch other new agents work and learn from their performance. 

Take the Tour
Familiarity with a company and its products and operations will help a new agent’s job performance. Incorporate a tour into the training process that includes not just the contact center but visits to the returns department, fulfillment center and other components in the supply chain. If some of these facilities are remotely located or out of state, conduct a virtual tour through online video. 

Self-Coaching
It’s never too early to encourage agents in assessing their own job performance. Have them score their first call efforts and offer suggestions on how they could have handled each situation better.Call recording software can help agents review their calls and use as a self-coaching tool. 

Agent-to-Agent Assistance
If a manager or trainer isn’t always available, an agent should be able to get the answer to a question from another agent. Adding chat or wiki access to a contact center provides a system for these knowledge-sharing discussions. 

FAQs
Have the answers to the most common agent questions already prepared through a FAQ document that outlines best practices. 

Mentors
In larger contact centers, with teams of managers and coaches and trainers, it is beneficial to set up a mentor relationship for each new hire, so he or she will always know where to go for answers or additional help. A mentor could be a coach, or it could be an experienced agent.


Learn More

Contact Center Performance Webinar: You’re Invited!

Posted: December 15 2014 by: Chuck Ciarlo

You've probably heard how Monet's cloud-based WFO can help gain more insights and improve the performance of your contact center. But have you taken the time to see Monet’s Performance Management in action?

Now is your chance: you are cordially invited to a free webinar on Thursday December 18, at 11am PST (2pm EST) entitled “How to gain more insights into the performance of your contact center.

Topics will include how visibility at the agent level can make a critical difference at your contact center, how it helps managers learn what is happening at any moment in real time, and how it helps agents to improve their performance. 

We’ll also cover the benefits of real-time data and alerts of key metrics and activities. These provide the insight to act quickly and make certain that adequate performance and service levels are always maintained. Automated data aggregation from different systems lets you view all of the key data on the same dashboard to make faster and better decisions.

We look forward to seeing you at this event.

Register for the webinar now!

Learn More

What are your Contact Center Resolutions for 2015?

Posted: December 15 2014 by: Chuck Ciarlo

Even if New Year’s Resolutions aren’t always kept, they should be attempted. At the very least, they focus our attention on the areas of our lives that require the most improvement.

That same philosophy can be applied to your contact center as well. As 2015 approaches, where could your business get better? And what will be required to bring about a positive change?

If we were to survey a number of contact centers of all sizes and types, these are the resolutions we’d be most likely to hear.

1. Improve the accuracy of forecasts and schedules
Is it time for a change from spreadsheets to an automated workforce management (WFM) solution?

2. Improve adherence tracking
Tracking adherence at the end of a shift or a day is a missed opportunity to correct any issues more quickly. Such improved tracking is practically impossible with just a spreadsheet.

3. Improve quality monitoring
A call recording system is invaluable. But call recording software without integrated quality monitoring is not helping contact centers make the most of the technology.

4. Getting data in real-time
Spot-checking schedule adherence can be beneficial, but without the real-time tracking provided by WFM there is a much higher risk of over/under staffing, shrinkage and missed service levels.

5. Key metric alerts

Through real-time alerts of call center metrics such as average handle time, abandoned calls and first call resolution, agents and managers gain the data necessary to address the most important customer service issues.



Learn More