The old adage “You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure” is very relevant in the Contact Centre environment. Typically each area has their own set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), from a corporate level right down to individual agents.
At a corporate level, contact centre KPIs will be structured around achieving overarching objectives such as market share, customer churn, compliance requirements, customer satisfaction levels, grades of service etc.
At an agent level KPIs are usually set to measure a range of agent activities, and their performance monitored and under achievement flagged for appropriate action.
The process of tracking KPIs
Traditionally, tracking and monitoring all the KPIs has been a very time consuming administrative process, particularly in medium to large sized contact centres with multiple shifts.
However today’s sophisticated contact centre technology and reporting has made it possible to measure an infinite amount of things and analyse them in countless ways to aid decision making.
This in itself can present another issue though – the problem of too much information. Management and Team Leaders now have a myriad of things which can be easily tracked, monitored and measured, which can mean that even more KPIs are created.
There comes a point when you need to assess which KPIs are really the most important when it comes to maintaining effectiveness and managing efficiency, and focus attention on these and avoid distracting data.
What are the key contact centre KPIs?
The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) in Britain conducted a survey among top contact centres and industry stakeholders to identify Seven Key Metrics to Watch for Call Centre Success.
- First Call Resolution (FCR). The study found that Centres with the highest FCR (86%)had a correlating high customer satisfaction rating. Benefits include lower costs, less customer churn, higher employee job satisfaction.
- Service Level / Response Time. Service level is defined as: “X percent of contacts answered in Y seconds,” eg: 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds. Response time (transactions that don’t have to be handled the moment they arrive) is defined as: “100% of contacts handled within N days/hours/minutes,” eg: all customer email inquiries will be handled within four hours.
- Adherence to Schedule. This measures how much time during a shift that an agent is logged in and handling contacts, or at least available to do so.
- Forecasting Accuracy. Relates to the inbound forecasted contact load versus the actual contact load
- Self Service Accessibility. How many customers begin and complete self service transactions
- Contact Quality. Assessed via the monitoring and recording of agent interactions with customers and rated against evaluation criteria.
- Customer Satisfaction. Measured through IVR, email, text or chat surveys
These metrics provide a balance of quantitative measures around service levels and efficiency, with qualitative measures around customer experience.
How to get agents involved in tracking KPIs
One of the best ways to improve agent performance is to empower them by getting them involved with the why, what and how of your contact centre KPIs.
- Explain the why – the corporate goals and KPIs, and the flow-on consequences of under-achievement
- Explain the what – exactly what is measured at every level
- Explain the how – show the technology and reports – both real-time and historical
- Give them the ability to monitor their own KPIs so they can track their progress
Our tip with this is to keep agent level KPI tracking and reporting simple (two or three important KPIs), so it’s easy for them to monitor. The simpler it is, the more likely it is they will achieve their KPIs, which in turn helps your organisation achieve your goals.
Inbound agent KPIs
Whilst the most common measure we’ve seen in contact centres is calls handled per hour, consider using the first three mentioned above – first call resolution, service level / response time, adherence to schedule. These provide agents with a balance of qualitative/quantitative metrics which encourage them to not only work productively and efficiently, but to do their jobs well and focus on customer experience.
Outbound agent KPIs
Sales (or collections) is the most common and important KPI for outbound. A highly motivational practice is to have a wallboard on display which tracks results and highlights achievers.
Tips for managing KPIs
Setting KPIs is a balancing act. They need to be realistic and achievable, otherwise regular under-performance will affect morale, motivation and result in high staff turnover which can be become very expensive.
Managing KPIs is a continuous process of review and fine tuning.
If some KPIs are regularly under-achieved, investigate the reasons why.
- Is the technology too old or insufficient to cope with demand?
- Is there a high self-service abandonment rate which is increasing the load on inbound agents?
- Is the reduction in FCR and/or Customer Satisfaction ratings caused by a knowledge gap?
- Is the forecasting wrong and the Centre is understaffed?
- Are outbound agents wasting too much time dialling and not connecting?
You will need to either adjust your KPIs to be more realistic, or invest in a solution which has the features you need to manage your operations effectively.
Conversely – if most agents consistently over-achieve, it might be time to set new agent KPIs or review your operational efficiency and other influencing factors.
- Are there too many agents rostered on?
- Have you lost market share resulting in a decrease in inbound calls?
- Has there been an increase in communications through other channels or self-service transactions which has seen a drop in calls?
- Were your outbound KPIs set with previous technology and haven’t been updated to reflect the increased productivity which Automatic Dialling technology brings?
It might be time to adjust your forecasts and operations to reflect the changes, and reset your KPIs accordingly.