Call Center Performance Management

Below is the continuation of a transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of "Performance Management in Government." The presenter is Christopher Wren, Principal Consultant at GPM.

Christopher Wren (CR): Next letís talk about another real life example. This one is from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, and I think everyone is familiar with their mission of course which is guaranteeing pensions around the country. In their call center performance management project, they wanted to evaluate three customer touch points. Those were the phone system, the customer care staff, and written communications.

Now what's interesting is if you look at where they were, the phone system was poorly rated. The other areas rated about average, and so in most organizations I think the obvious choice if you are going to invest a little bit of money, would be to invest in the phone system. Well in this case the phone system to upgrade the phone system was going to be a very expensive investment, and they really wanted to think carefully was it worth it, just because something is not rated well, or something is not performing up to the level that you would like it to, does that really have an impact on the bottom-line or on customer satisfaction.

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Evaluation of Real Investment

In this case it turned out they did not have to invest in the phones. So you know by doing an evaluation you can see what the real investment should be. You donít want to spend too much money in areas that do not give you the outcomes you are looking for.

Let me show you another example. This is from the Department of Health and Human Services. And again the question is where can they get the most bang for their buck, where should they be investing, and really how high should the targets be? Again here what they have found was that trainee and technical guides gave them the most value on the investments. So these are the areas you want to think about.

The next one is called ďMaking Benchmarks Matter to the Citizen,Ē and really what you are talking about is, that industry averages are not always your best guide for setting targets because after all an average is just an average. It's your own results that are important, not someone elseís results. So just because your call center is maybe not getting 95 out of 100 you may not need 95 out of 100. Thatís why we urge people to think carefully about using external benchmarks because they may be incompatible with their internal goals. You may not have the same needs or the same operating environment as the people that you are benchmarking.

What Are External Benchmarks?

External benchmarks refer to standardized metrics and performance indicators used by organizations to compare their performance and practices with those of similar entities in the same industry or sector. These benchmarks are derived from data collected externally, often from industry reports, surveys, or publicly available sources, providing a means to gauge a company's performance in relation to industry peers.

By analyzing external benchmarks, organizations can gain valuable insights into best practices, competitive positioning, and areas for improvement. This allows them to set realistic performance targets and make informed strategic decisions to enhance their competitive edge and overall operational efficiency.

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What Performance Management Metrics Are Tracked in a Call Center?

In a call center environment, performance management metrics are essential for evaluating the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of customer service delivery. These metrics help call center managers and supervisors monitor agent performance, identify areas for improvement, and ensure that service levels meet or exceed customer expectations. Here are some key performance management metrics commonly tracked in a call center:

  1. Service Level:
    • Service Level (SL): Percentage of calls answered within a specified time threshold, typically measured as the percentage of calls answered within a certain number of seconds (e.g., 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds).
    • Average Speed of Answer (ASA): Average time it takes for calls to be answered by agents.
  2. Call Volume and Distribution:
    • Total Calls Handled: Number of incoming calls received by the call center.
    • Call Volume Distribution: Analysis of call distribution patterns by time of day, day of week, or specific periods.
    • Peak Hour Traffic: Identification of the busiest hours or periods with the highest call volume.
  3. Agent Productivity:
    • Average Handling Time (AHT): Average duration of each customer interaction, including talk time, hold time, and after-call work.
    • Occupancy Rate: Percentage of time that agents spend actively handling calls or performing call-related tasks.
    • Idle Time: Percentage of time that agents are available but not actively handling calls.
    • Utilization Rate: Measure of how efficiently agents are being utilized, calculated as the ratio of occupied time to total available time.
  4. Quality of Service:
    • First Call Resolution (FCR): Percentage of calls resolved without the need for follow-up contacts or escalations.
    • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score: Measurement of customer satisfaction with the service provided during the call.
    • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Indicator of customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend the call center's services to others.
    • Call Monitoring and Quality Assurance: Evaluation of call recordings or live interactions to assess adherence to scripting, compliance with policies and procedures, and quality of customer interactions.
  5. Agent Performance:
    • Call Monitoring Scores: Ratings assigned to agents based on evaluations of their performance during customer interactions.
    • Average Handling Time Variance: Comparison of individual agents' AHT against the team or department average.
    • Schedule Adherence: Measure of how closely agents adhere to their assigned schedules and breaks.
  6. Employee Satisfaction and Engagement:
    • Agent Turnover Rate: Percentage of agents who leave the call center within a specified period.
    • Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Gathering feedback from agents to assess job satisfaction, morale, and areas for improvement.
    • Training and Development Participation: Measure of agent participation in training programs and professional development activities.
  7. Cost Management:
    • Cost per Call: Average cost incurred by the call center to handle each incoming call, including agent salaries, technology costs, and overhead expenses.
    • Revenue Generation: Tracking of sales or upsell opportunities generated through inbound or outbound calls.
    • Cost Savings Initiatives: Identification and implementation of strategies to reduce operational costs without compromising service quality.
  8. Forecasting and Planning Accuracy:
    • Forecast Accuracy: Measure of how closely actual call volumes align with forecasted call volumes.
    • Staffing Forecast Accuracy: Assessment of the accuracy of staffing levels required to meet forecasted call volumes.
    • Schedule Efficiency: Evaluation of schedule adherence and optimization to ensure adequate coverage during peak demand periods.
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