Why We Love KPI's (And You Should, Too!)

measure success in contact centerDo you have the data you need to measure success in your virtual call center?

I was once told by a contact center operations manager that “If you can't measure it … it never happened.” On the surface, this feels like a drastic overstatement. But in the contact center environment, customer care and efficiency are of the utmost priority. So how do you know what level of service you are providing, how consistent it is, how well your representatives are performing and ultimately how well you are caring for the end user (the callers)? Do you have the reporting tools you need to answer these questions? How are you measuring success in your call center and how are you tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) to make adjustments as a result of the data you gather?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

Indicators can be different from environment to environment but the basic measurements are always applicable in some way. We can generally talk to these KPIs as they relate to two primary categories; Customer Care and Efficiency.

Efficiency measurements are important for the purposes of controlling contact center costs.  The more efficient the contact center personnel the less resources (people) you require to deliver a quality service. Thus, the primary measurements that are interesting for efficiency are:

  • Agent utilization or “agent productivity”
  • Average call handling time
  • First call resolution (or some indication or what the overall time is to complete the request)

Customer Care Measurements are more caller/contact experience related. In short, what was the caller's experience. The basic measurements here generally include:

  • Average Speed of Answer
  • Abandoned Rates
  • Adherence to Service Level Agreements

We know we need measurements to track customer care and efficiency. But getting these measurements for yesterday doesn't help to manage our efforts today. To effectively manage what we do today we need these measurements in real-time. Insight to KPIs in real time allows for intra day adjustments to staffing ensuring that customer care is positively impacted. In order to make necessary intra-day adjustments, insight into the number of calls handled, the number of agents logged in to service those calls and the current state of those agents is needed.

So what's required at a minimum? Some depiction of the following data is absolutely required to ensure that the contact center performance can be “measured”.

Real Time and Historic reporting of the following:

  • Average call handling time
  • Average Speed of Answer
  • Abandoned Rates
  • How many calls are in inbound queues
  • How many agents are logged in with the right skills to service the calls in the queues

The exact state of agents/representatives and historic reporting including:

  • Agent utilization or “productivity”
  • Average call handling time
  • First call resolution (or some indication or what the overall time is to complete the request)
  • Average Speed of Answer
  • Abandoned Rates
  • Adherence to Service Level Agreements

Who Needs the KPI Data?

Assuming a product can deliver all of this data, the question now becomes “at what level am I interested in that data?” The answer to this question depends on how the contact center is setup and for what purpose you are looking for the measurement. Different job roles will require different data sets and require KPI's and will dictate the specific report you choose to run.

KPI's for Team Leaders

Let’s say that you are a team lead in the contact center and are responsible for managing a group of 15 agents. Clearly you would want to see measurements at the agent or agent group level. In other words, you want to be able to answer questions like:

  • How many calls did Joe take today?
  • How quickly did he answer those calls?
  • How long did it take him to service those calls?
  • Did he reject calls?
  • How busy was he?
  • Did he spend too much time in the release state (not available for calls)?

These types of questions need to be answered through Agent Reports where you see the data from an agent or agent group perspective.

KPI's for Account Managers

Account managers who take care of some of the company’s key customers, may not be too concerned about how ‘Joe’ performed, but rather, how the calls that came from your customer(s) were cared for. Let’s take an example where you have 10 key “external” customers that are calling into your contact center for support. In this case you would want similar data but you would want a view of the data that answers questions like:

  • How many calls did ABC Inc send today?
  • Of the calls that ABC Inc sent in, how many were answered?
  • How long did it take to service ABC Inc calls?
  • Did I meet my service level agreement with ABC Inc?

You can see that some of the same measurements apply, such as average speed of answer, average call handling time, etc. However, this data needs to be provided based on the caller/customer. For this sort of view of the data you need Queue, Client or Line (dialed number) types of reports. In short, reports that provide a view of customer interactions.

KPI's for System Administrators

If you are the administrator of the system that is responsible for ensuring that the contact center technology is functioning correctly, you would need data that answers questions like:

  • What is the maximum number of calls per hour coming to the system?
  • Why were so many calls abandoned today?
  • What happened to that specific call placed by a specific caller that opened up a trouble ticket?

These types of questions need similar data in a lot of cases but they also need additional data including call detail reports.

The list goes on in terms of what data is needed by which sets of users and exactly HOW they would like to see the data. It’s pretty obvious that a long list of reports could be derived if you consider all of the combinations of users running the report, what data they need and at what “level” (e.g. agent, queue, line, etc) they would like that data. The ability to create custom reports for different environments quickly becomes a requirement.

Learn more about standard contact center reports by clicking  5 Reports Every Contact Center Needs.

To see the new set of Standard Reports available in the Reachme affordable contact center solution click here.

Written by Jerry Browne

Jerry Browne

Current solutions architect and Reachme product manager with eZuce. 25 years in the telephony and contact center space with significant design, technology planning, integration and market research background.

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