Call Center Metrics Hints, Tips & Best Practices
Metrics deliver the data that keep call centers on track. Among the most important call center metrics are first call resolution, call answer time, schedule adherence, transfer rate, abandon rate and average handle time.
With an advanced workforce management solution like Monet’s WFM Live, metrics that were once only attainable with the most costly and advanced solutions are now within the reach of smaller and midsized call centers. Find out more about WFM Live.
Check out the following blogs and articles about call center metrics. Still have questions? Search for answers here.
Efficiency and productivity – that’s what it’s all about at the call center.
The challenge with maintaining these attributes is that they don’t stop working all of a sudden. Productivity rarely drops suddenly – instead it slides, gradually, over a period of weeks and months until, left unchecked, a lower standard becomes the new normal.
If this is happening at your call center, or you just want to be vigilant so it doesn’t occur in the future, here are some tips to keep your business on the right track.
Agent attrition is an ongoing concern at most call centers, and one of its most important components is the training of new agents to replace those that depart. If that training effort falters, a business will exchange qualified agents with less-qualified substitutes, and productivity is certain to suffer. A fresh look at both initial and ongoing training efforts may uncover the source of reduced efficiency.
Does every agent know the numbers he or she is expected to achieve? Benchmarks should be clearly defined and reinforced. Rewards for those who get there consistently also encourage consistent productivity.
Meetings are important – but when they happen too often, or run too long, they can also interfere with a call center’s ability to serve its customers. Hold them only when necessary, keep them on a strict time limit, and make sure they are attended only by those employees that need to be there.
Among other benefits, speech analytics can expedite how customer information is updated, reducing wrap-up time on every call.
Want to be a great baseball player? Study Kris Bryant’s swing.
Want to run a great call center? Study how the best ones are getting things done.
Maybe you don’t have time to travel the country visiting these successful businesses in person. That’s why we’ve collected some of their best advice and tips for better results. Hopefully they will work for you as well.
Start with this: Make things as easy on the customer as possible. Some customers may appreciate exceptionally friendly service, but for most the top priority is getting an answer, placing an order (or whatever prompted the call), and then moving on with their lives. So emphasize speed of answer, technology that rapidly delivers the customer’s information to the agent, and allowing agents to provide what is needed without putting someone on hold or transferring the call.
Are your communication channels fully integrated? That means knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each channel (ordering, conflict resolution etc.) and making sure well-trained and cross-trained agents are handling each interaction.
Next, make sure your agents are engaged. That starts with measuring attrition and absenteeism to weed out those that aren’t cutting it, and perhaps using speech analytics to track performance. But if you demand great performance from agents, you need to give them something in return besides a paycheck – flexible working hours, extra help when they need it, and a path to advancement for those seeking something better.
Is Net Promoter Score one of the KPIs you measure? It is at many top call centers. This gauges the likelihood of an average customer recommending or criticizing a business’s service. And it’s not enough to collect the data – you have to act on it.
Finally, don’t look for answers outside the business when they might be available from your own teams. Companies routinely hire outside consultants to tell them what their customers are thinking, what they want, which products should be introduced and which should be discontinued. Before paying someone else a fee to deliver this data, investigate whether your agents and managers already have this information, and put them in charge of putting it together.
By doing so, the company saves money while getting better answers, and offers an opportunity for agents to take on some executive-level business analysis, which may provide them with a path to career advancement.
Performance Management is something of a catch-all term that incorporates a wide range of management aspects, from planning to developing agent skills, to evaluating performance based on metrics and making adjustments accordingly. Most call centers engage in some form of performance management, whether through ongoing meetings to assess progress or an annual review.
It’s an essential process, and it can be a difficult one without software that tracks and analyzes the performance levels of your call center team.
The analytics provided by Monet Metrics has made performance management faster and more accurate at a wide range of call centers. Data is delivered in a way that makes it easier to identify the skill sets of your agents, as well as any skill gaps that need to be filled by additional training.
What used to require stacks of paperwork and tedious manual operations now gets completed automatically; saving valuable work hours that can now be devoted to other tasks.
Is Monet Metrics your best option?
Obviously we think so. But as you explore the different software selections available you’ll want to select the performance management system that best fits your call center’s needs.
As you investigate, always keep in mind that performance management is only as good as the data it receives. Your workforce management and quality management efforts, as well as those devoted to training and billing and other specialties, must collect accurate numbers for the system to work. With Monet, that’s never an issue.
Performance management is one of the most effective ways to improve contact center service – as long as the metrics are accurate and implemented in a way that bolsters the associated workflow functionality. This is not a one-time fix but an ongoing program that should become part of a call center’s everyday management procedures.
Find out more about Monet Metrics
Contact center managers have a lot of responsibilities, among them keeping track of various measurements that track efficiency and customer service. These six categories should be on every manager’s list.
Measuring Forecast Accuracy
An accurate forecast model relies on accurate historical data. Workforce optimization (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 – once again, the automated WFO solution will always be better and faster than a spreadsheet.
Measuring Schedule Adherence
Schedule adherence plays a critical role in the success of any contact center. Workforce management (WFM) software makes the goal of optimal schedule adherence easier to achieve. Not only will the WFM-generated schedules provide more accurate information, they will make a dramatic change in the manager’s schedule as well. How long does it take to run all of the necessary numbers with a spreadsheet? With WFM, managers can access better numbers more quickly, so they have more time to address other issues, or leave the office on time for a change.
Several diverse components contribute to the quality management at a call center. Wouldn’t it be great if all of these components could be accurately evaluated from the same place? That’s one of the benefits of Monet Quality, technology that enhances workforce optimization and call recording capabilities, to deliver unprecedented insight into quality monitoring, performance trends and agent training needs.
Measuring First Call Resolution
Few statistics are more important in a call center than First Call Resolution (FCR). When this is achieved a customer issue is solved with maximum efficiency, and the customer is much more likely to be satisfied with the call center encounter, and will remain a customer in the future.
Measuring Employee Engagement
Workforce Management can play a prominent role in improving employee engagement, particularly as it pertains to schedule flexibility. Skill-based scheduling allows managers to better match agents with the types of calls they are most comfortable and experienced in handling. This boosts both employee confidence and customer service. Flexible Schedules are also more easily managed with WFM, so agents can balance obligations in their personal lives with work responsibilities.
Measuring Customer Experience
That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Measuring service 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.
Change for its own sake rarely produces positive results.
In a recent survey on performance management, more than three out of every four responses indicated that the performance management procedure in place at their respective companies could use some changes.
But one-third of these respondents also admitted that they’re not just making the usual tweaks to the system – they’re going to try something bigger.
For many, this involves shifting the focus to company culture and management. Rather than concentrate on ranking employee performance, which can be a prelude to firing those at the bottom of the list, businesses are looking instead at boosting employee feedback, making sure managers are more engaged in day-to-day activities, and instilling greater transparency.
Transparency is particularly important, given that more than 60% of employees do not believe the performance management rating they receive is accurate. If those employees are receiving feedback, coaching and encouragement throughout the year, rather than in one annual assessment, it may help to eliminate some of these conflicts.
And when managers are more involved in the activity on the contact center floor, it creates a nurturing environment for agents at the contact center, which contributes to a more positive culture. Sophisticated software such as workforce optimization can create the temptation to let technology do all the work and deliver data to the manager’s office. But it is not a substitute for face-to-face communication.
The performance management of the future will be based on such communication, as well as annual goals that will be presented not as an ultimatum to employees, but a shared challenge that will be met with everyone working together.
Agent reviews should be a mandatory part of your contact center regimen. Your performance management results depend in part on knowing you have a capable, motivated team of agents working on behalf of your business and your customers.
But what is the best way to handle these essential but sometimes challenging assignments? Most contact centers rely on one of two options: a company-wide review in which every agent receives their feedback at the same time (a focal review), or individual annual review sessions, dated from the day that each agent joined the company.
It’s Your Anniversary! Now, Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong…
Of course, with new hires you probably won’t wait a full year before providing review feedback. But once any probation period has passed, the method of using annual written or verbal reviews has several advantages, starting with the obvious – it’s a logical approach that also makes it easier for managers to prepare, as they may only have 1-2 reviews in a week, as opposed to a focal approach, where the entire team is reviewed at the same time.
This is also a reliable strategy if the crux of your review is a measurement of agent performance against the contact center customer service criteria, rather than against the performance of other agents.
However, scheduling often proves more difficult with this method – nobody really enjoys agent reviews, so managers sometimes procrastinate, resulting in delays or sometimes even neglecting to do them at all. Plus, if performance reviews reveal a flaw in a company process that needs to be changed, doing so may be harder to implement throughout the entire contact center.
You’re All Slackers. OK, Back to Work
The advantage of a focal review is getting all the reviews out of the way quickly. This always makes a difficult task more palatable. And because you’ll have performance review data on all of your agents at the same time, it’s easier to compare and contrast their performances, and provide updated guidance on new company policies to the entire team. On the down site, focal reviews take longer to prepare, especially at larger contact centers.
Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is to make sure the reviews get done. When management neglects the review aspect of performance management, it makes it easier for agents to neglect the responsibilities of their position.
Is there such a thing as a quick fix when it comes to more effective performance management? Can one little change in attitude or procedure make a big difference in quality monitoring?
The answer is yes – and no.
Both performance management and quality monitoring require coordinated planning and execution throughout the contact center.
Performance management is something of a catch-all term that incorporates a wide range of management aspects, from planning to developing agent skills, to evaluating performance based on metrics and making adjustments accordingly. Doing so will be more successful with a detailed plan of action.
Likewise, creating an integrated quality monitoring program will take time and preparation, with particular focus on call recording, PCI compliance, quality scorecards and screen capturing.
No quick fixes there. However, once the foundation for both programs is established, small changes can indeed pay significant dividends toward the ultimate goal of ensuring consistent, high quality service that meets or surpasses expectations. Here are a few that may help your performance management and quality monitoring endeavors.
Praise from the top
How often does your upper management team review calls? Have them listen to a few every week, and then contact the agents that did a great job and let them know their work is appreciated.
Training doesn’t have to be boring
If training consists of the same procedures every week or month, agents will tune it out. Have trainers use varied methods to maintain a higher level of engagement.
Quality monitoring starts (before) day one
While agents are still in the induction phase, introduce the QM system and expectations in place, and make sure they are aware of the criteria.
Praise and reward systems can be beneficial (more on some of these later) but there is no substitute for immediate positive feedback following a customer’s praise. If an email or a phone call contains that praise, don’t wait to share it with the group.
This is obvious, but bears repeating. These programs require consistency, not just in how they are carried out by agents but how they are presented and maintained by supervisors.
Who watches the watchers?
Your coaches are entrusted with maximizing agent performance – but who is making sure that the coaches are doing their best? Their work must be regularly monitored as well.
Individual call monitoring is important, but occasional group meetings to review calls may also be beneficial.
Feedback won’t work unless it is clear and actionable. You can find out if this is the case by providing agents with feedback forms about coaches (they’ll love that anyway). Offer them a chance to confirm that they understand the assessment they received, and if the coach took their thoughts and opinions into consideration.
Encourage a general climate of professionalism, not only in how agents communicate with customers but how they communicate with managers, coaches and their fellow agents. Once this becomes second-nature, performance will inevitably improve.
Involve the QM team in agent recruitment
Your quality monitoring teams knows what to look for in outstanding agents. So why not involve them in the recruitment process?
Coaching and training sessions should not be dreaded by agents. If they are, something is wrong. Try starting each session with positive coaching – what the agent is doing well and how the call center is lucky to have them. Remind agents of the improvements they have already made. Then review areas where further improvement is possible and discuss ways to work together to get there.
Include customers in performance management
Agents play a role in performance management, but customers do as well. Take their feedback into account.
A lot of contact centers give out prizes to agents for consistent performance or specific moments of excellence. A free meal, a spa day, or a cash bonus works better than a trophy or a “job well done” certificate.
Encourage peer discussion
You know your agents already talk about their jobs and customers (and probably you as well) with each other. Set some time aside to allow them to get together and also talk about improving quality. Some very smart ideas may emerge from these sessions.
The big picture
When discussing performance management with agents, tell them about the center’s greater goals and over-arching customer service strategy. The more they understand the big picture, the more they might buy into the program.
Public or private coaching?
Some contact centers conduct coaching sessions in a closed office; others have these discussions out on the floor within earshot of other agents. There is no sure formula for which will be more effective at your contact center – so why not try both and see what happens?
Watch your language
Does anyone still use words like “demerits” or terms like “marked down” in coaching sessions? Use positive, supportive language instead.
Grade calls in sections
Break each call into different sections for review purposes, such as: call open, courtesy, technical skills and compliance, efficiency, and closing.
Don’t ignore the longer calls
Short calls are always desirable but not always possible. Sometimes you can learn more about agent performance, contact center issues and your QM strategy by reviewing longer calls.
It’s ok to ask for help
If an agent is having difficulty answering a customer’s questions, he or she might be hesitant to forward that call to a supervisor if it reflects badly on their performance. But if that is the best way to keep that customer relationship, make sure the agent knows that doing so is the right step.
Never stop improving
Did you achieve your quality goals? Great! Now, set new ones. Complacence is the enemy of every contact center.
Performance management provides a clear direction and a shared understanding of what is to be achieved, the leadership approach required and support for the continual development of the individuals to ensure it is delivered.
It is both a process and an application. And for contact centers it’s a way to approach data-driven management and apply it to correct adherence issues. However, even as other technology solutions and best practices habits have been embraced by the contact center industry, performance management continues to lag behind.
The question is, “Why?” While there are unique qualities to running a contact center as opposed to some other type of business, measuring the performance of quantifiable business activities is no less important here than in any corporate operation. Or to put it simply, find out what’s not working right, and correct it.
A company called DMG Consulting did a survey of contact center managers to find out why so many are still reluctant to invest in a performance management solution.
These are five of the most frequent responses:
• “I'm not sure what it is or what it will do for my contact center.”
• “I already have too much reporting; I don't need another reporting package.”
• “It's not worth the effort.”
• “It requires too many integrations.”
• “My management won't approve the investment.”
What these answers suggest is not any deficiency in a performance management solution, but a disconnect when it comes to understanding how it works and the benefits it provides.
Let’s look at these objections one by one.
“I’m not sure what it is or what it will do for my contact center”
A vendor should always have a ready answer for this question. At Monet, we tell our customers than performance management is a critical part of managing call centers and is essential to help you align your people, processes and systems to your goals and objectives, such as customer satisfaction and cost control.
Monet Metrics, our PM solution, offers a number of significant benefits, including:
• Managers can make better and faster decisions through actionable intelligence
• Contact centers can move from reactive to proactive management to better meet service and efficiency goals
• Agents can improve productivity and team motivation
• Supervisors can refocus their time from data collection to coaching, training and planning
“I already have too much reporting”
Performance management is more than just reporting. As stated earlier, it is both a process and an application. Contact center managers that truly understand the mission of their business recognize that delivering an outstanding customer experience is critical, but it’s not the only consideration. The goal should also be to optimize the performance of every aspect of the business.
The overwhelming majority of ongoing call center expenses are related to staffing – as much as 70% of the budget. Even slight improvements in agent productivity and motivation can have a big impact on performance and cost management of your contact center. Performance management provides powerful tools to identify trends and potential issues that might have gone undetected, and delivers business insights to improve overall performance.
“It’s not worth the effort”
This is the same objection that contact centers used to have to workforce management (WFM). Some still do, but their continued reliance on spreadsheets has these centers lagging behind their competition, and wasting countless hours on forecasts and schedules that are not as accurate as those generated more quickly via WFM.
Performance management has a strong value proposition for managers who are quantitatively oriented and appreciate the importance of managing by numbers. Is it worth the effort? Only if real time and historical performance data at the agent, group and center level is important. Only if optimizing all aspects of the workforce with one solution is important. Only if better utilization of resources, better cost management, and improve service levels are important.
We think they are – how about you?
“It requires too many integrations”
This objection is easily overcome with a system like Monet Metrics that is already incorporated into our larger workforce optimization solution. Standalone performance management can make a positive difference, but it’s even better when purchased with a full WFO suite, where the functionality arrives fully integrated. Now you not only enjoy the benefits of performance management, but also workforce management, call recording, quality management, screen capture, and archiving and reporting capabilities.
“My management won’t approve the investment”
Fortunately, PM solutions can be delivered via the cloud, which eliminates the large upfront investment that used to be required for such sophisticated analysis.
Cloud services and software are provided for a low monthly subscription fee, usually pay as you go, without an upfront investment required. Any upgrades or customizations are handled by the vendor at no additional cost – over the long haul (given how often software upgrades are unveiled) this results in considerable savings. In addition, contact centers can also avoid the cost of a full-time employee devoted to maintaining software; with the cloud, these tasks are handled more efficiently at the source by the cloud application vendor.
The cloud offers other advantages as well. Specific customer configuration can take less than two hours; with an on-premise system, that same task can take up to two months.
Actual installation is also faster, and the site acceptance testing required with a traditional solution is not necessary with a cloud delivery system, as compatibility is already achieved with multiple modern web browsers.
Finally, user training can be completed in as little as two weeks. With traditional software systems, it can take several more weeks before agents and managers are comfortable with the new technology.
The verdict? A cloud delivery system can not only be implemented for less money, it can also be set up with fewer headaches as well.
Metrics deliver the data that keeps your contact center on track. And with an advanced workforce management solution like Monet’s WFM Live, metrics that were once only attainable with the most costly and advanced solutions are now within the reach of smaller and midsized contact centers.
Of course, it’s not enough to compile data; that material must be reviewed and analyzed to measure performance and inspire beneficial changes. Looking for a place to start? Try these seven top performance measurements.
1. Schedule Adherence and Efficiency
Are your agents working when they should? When that doesn’t happen, the center may be understaffed, leading to missed calls or delayed responses. Improving adherence will have an immediate impact on productivity and customer service. With WFM it’s easier to always have the right number of agents in place for each day and each shift.
2. Call Answer Time
What is the average speed of answer (ASA) at the call center? Most centers have a defined wait threshold that should be met consistently.
3. Agent Occupancy
Finding the balance between keeping agents busy but not overworking them is the challenge of agent occupancy. It’s a key element in schedule efficiency where the goal is to avoid having too many agents sitting at their desks doing nothing, while also having enough available personnel so that each call is promptly answered.
4. First Call Resolution
Customers want to resolve issues with one call, which makes a call center’s first call resolution rate critical to customer satisfaction. Sometimes it’s not possible, but if an agent consistently lags behind established goals, he or she should be scheduled for additional training.
5. Transfer Rate
Few situations are more frustrating for a customer than explaining an issue to one agent, and then being transferred to a supervisor and having to do so a second time. While this may still qualify as a first-call resolution if questions are ultimately answered and the problem is solved, it should still be kept to a minimum whenever possible.
6. Abandon Rate
When a customer hangs up, it will not always be the fault of the contact center or the agent. Some people just have shorter fuses than others. However, abandon rates can be reduced by shorter wait times and courteous agents.
7. Blocked Calls
Blocked calls never even make it to a call center agent, because of insufficient network capabilities. Obviously, the only possible result becomes a frustrated customer. Are some blocked calls inevitable at peak times? Or can these calls be taken with better scheduling, expanded trunks or other corrective measures?
We won’t bury the lead ¬– the common thread in all of the tips presented below is how much easier they are to achieve with forecasting and scheduling software. An automated workforce management (WFM) solution provides insight into contact center operations and will play an integral role in establishing policies that boost customer service.
1. Setting Specific Goals
“We want to improve customer service and experience.” “We want to improve our training.” Great – now how are you going to do it? The more specific you can get with your objectives, the more likely you will be to accomplish them. When you set more precise goals (“We want to lower our average handle time”), WFM will provide the data that can be used to make it happen.
2. Targeted Training
Once basic training has been completed, agents should be regularly guided toward and tested on their abilities to meet the contact center’s service goals. With the Performance Analysis component of WFM, managers have access to reports, statistics and analysis of all agent activities, including their schedule adherence and key performance indicators (KPIs). That will help to further target training sessions.
3. Set Quarterly Goals
Don’t make a list of goals for 2015 and wait until December to review them. With quarterly targets, you’ll know sooner if your efforts are working, and can make beneficial changes – which is certainly better than going another 6-7 months with a less than optimal system in place. The real-time monitoring and work history data delivered by WFM allows managers to track progress toward quarterly goals.
4. Avoid Agent Burnout
Agents are employees but they are people first, with families and outside interests and holiday plans they would like to keep. Flexible scheduling makes it easier for agents to work shifts that are more convenient, and when they have that option they are likely to be more productive and provide better service. With WFM, shift-bidding and shift-swapping (with a manager’s approval) is streamlined, while holidays and other special events can be factored more efficiently into overall scheduling.
Watch our video
In the contact center, a change made to one aspect of performance or technology can impact several other areas, which will either enhance or undermine the original attempt to improve quality or service.
That is why a unified/integrated system is so important. Performance management encompasses a number of moving parts, and it’s necessary to have one system that connects all aspects of scheduling, skills, quality, metrics and compliance, with both qualitative and quantitative data.
The advantages of unified and aggregated reporting over less sophisticated systems or siloed strategies are obvious:
• Metrics are displayed in one place, making it easier to monitor and adjust them as needed
• “Connecting the dots” becomes simpler when real time and historical performance data is available to agents and managers
• Insight is gained through the monitoring of key metrics that are critical to contact center performance, from adherence and service levels to average handle time, forecast accuracy and shrinkage
• Real time data makes it possible to react immediately to situations, or even proactively to avoid issues before they can occur
Now that this data is more conveniently accessible, managers can clearly define what metrics drive the performance of the center. Use these metrics to set goals – is the average handle time too long? Are customers waiting too long for an agent? Are product upsells below expectations? Once that to-do list is in place, make sure all personnel are on board and working toward the same standard.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Example Report: Adherence by Time of Day|
Do you have the right performance reports and metrics in your contact center?
more information you receive from your performance management solution –
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.
But it’s helpful to know where to start, especially for those contact centers still acclimating to an
automated solution that delivers an abundance of actionable
These are some of the key reports to measure the most important performance metrics: Agent Adherence
is the report that lets you know if your forecast and schedule is on
track, or is no longer being met. Even a minor fall out of adherence can
impact service levels. Find out more about agent adherence
in our previous blog post. Agent Status
the agent's total times in each status, compared with what was planned
in advance. Is the agent providing what is expected, or is there an
issue with longer lunches, unscheduled breaks, too much time on non-call
activities, etc.? Hours Worked
This report provides
additional insight into assigned activities. Any hour when an agent is
on duty is considered time worked. Here you’ll find whether that time is
being used for optimum productivity. Coverage
gaps in staffing to avoid abandonment spikes. This report can also help
identify the underlying reasons why these coverage gaps occurred, from
inaccurate forecasts to adherence issues to schedule/shift patterns that
are not matched to the demands of the workload.
If you would like to learn more, please watch a recording of our recent webinar
about workforce optimization and performance management.
Call centers that use WFM software generate an abundance of data, all of it important.
But which metrics are most important? As a recent ICMI article
observes, some contact centers prioritize data based on cost
reductions. But it might be more advantageous to focus instead on those
metrics that impact the customer experience, customer satisfaction and
This might take some extra effort, through such initiatives as customer
surveys following each interaction. But the data that is generated from
this feedback is invaluable, and will impact every facet of the contact
center. Quality management and call scoring will also be a primary source of customer service measurement. More...
It’s an old adage that still has value – show, not tell. While we’ve often described the benefits of Monet solutions in blogs and throughout this website, it may be more effective to illustrate how they work through videos and demonstrations. If you’ve always wanted to see these products in action, now you can.
The links below will take you to our video archives, which include demos of the following products.
Call Recording and Monitoring
How does call recording improve customer service? What does it mean for your training programs? And how easy is it to incorporate call recording into your current call center technology? This video will show you why call recording has evolved from a luxury to a necessity. You’ll also discover how Monet Recording’s tagging system is the best way for agents and managers to find recordings quickly and easily among hundreds of thousands of logged interactions.
Performance Management and Agent Analytic
This short video on performance management challenges shows how Monet Metrics can help you meet your call center goals more quickly. Discover how key performance indicators (KPIs) are tracked and analyzed, providing valuable data that can be utilized in forecasting and scheduling. Plus, find out how real-time alerts make it easier to adjust schedules as needed to meet changing call patterns or unforeseen circumstances.
Workforce management metrics track a number of issues vital to the
success of a contact center. Some attention should be paid to tracking
all of them as they relate to performance efficiency and customer
satisfaction. But if that is not always possible, these are the metrics
that should receive the most scrutiny. More...
Call center metrics drive and manage call center performance. Whatever your business goals, key metrics will tell you where you are now, how far away you are from where you want to be, and where you’ll find the shortest path to get there. Here’s how to get started:
1. Identify Key Metrics
Which metrics are most important to measure, and which will have the greatest impact on the success of your business? In most cases these will include average handle time, average speed of answer and average talk time, as well as metrics on abandoned calls, labor costs and forecast accuracy.
2. Tools and Technologies
An automated workforce management (WFM) solution can access, record and display dozens of different metrics to help manage performance. Choose a solution that will get the metrics you need, and make sure that data is efficiently reviewed and processed.
Once you have the WFM solution you need, expedite implementation and employee training so you’ll start collecting the necessary data more quickly.
4. Dashboards and Alerts
When your key metrics have been selected, make sure they are prominently displayed through dashboards and alerts. This will help agents and managers be aware of issues as they arise. Having your key metrics at your fingertips will tremendously help you in step 5 - review, revise and retrain. If you would like to see metrics in action, please take a moment to watch this call center dashboard demo.
5. Review, Revise and Retrain
Establish regular review sessions with teams and executives to find out what is working and what is not. Then, based on what has been learned from the metrics, take any necessary steps for improvement. This may require agent coaching or re-training, or changes in established procedures. Consider both short- and long-term goals.