Five Strategies For Creating Meaningful Performance Metrics

There is no shortage of performance metrics surrounding most contact centers. Telephony, quality systems, CRM and other tools provide a multitude of metrics - almost too many!

So how does a contact center professional sort through the data to select metrics that will allow management to drive true performance improvement? What are the roadblocks that need to be eliminated?

1. Focus on internal rather than external customer metrics

With all the available data - it's easy to just pick some indices that seem like good metrics - based on traditional efficiency measurements or what's easy for the organization to internally define. But few companies take the time to really find out what is important to their customers - and use that data as the basis for performance metrics.

For example, let's take average talk time. Traditional wisdom says to monitor average "talk time" down. However, some customers want the appropriate "talk time" - with the agent's ability to efficiently and thoroughly resolving the issue as the main driver of satisfaction. Average talk time should be monitored - but the aspect of customer quality of the time used should be factored in - not just the call length.

SUGGESTION: Take the time to evaluate metrics that are meaningful to your customers through comprehensive customer satisfaction surveys, customer insight assessment and call interaction monitoring.

2. Connect business objectives and individual metrics

Performance metrics should have one goal - to help an organization contribute to overall company success. But too often at the working level, metrics are random and disconnected from strategic imperatives.

SUGGESTION: Conduct a Performance Metrics Strategy session. Start with the company's strategic goals. Brainstorm how the contact center has the ability to contribute to these goals - which is the basis for the tactical or organizational goals. Develop metrics that support these goals. Then look at the individual level - what metrics support the organization and should be classified as "team" goals vs. which goals are specific enough for individual accountability. For example - your service levels are organizational goals - as the individual has no ability to influence the goals. However, the occupancy metric starts as an individual goal - which contributes to the organizational goal of meeting service levels.

3. Monitor a select number of key metrics

The availability of contact center metrics can create an environment where management is looking at so many metrics, they lose their meaning. Contact center managers end up in an "analysis paralysis" mode - rather than proactively using metrics to drive performance.

SUGGESTION: Select a handful of key metrics that are important to monitor in real time and make necessary adjustments to make sure your operation is providing great service every day. If real time management is in place - glance at your daily reports and evaluate your monthly reports. Perform monthly analysis to understand trends and issues that require longer term adjustments and planning.

4. Integrate your measurement tools

Too many times, contact center management is resolved to asking their agents to manually record activity - because their systems just don't capture the right information to run the business. The manual tally method is cumbersome to the agents, inaccurate for the business and expensive to maintain.

SUGGESTION: Create a Metrics Roadmap - Identify the metrics you need to truly run your operation and define how to collect those measurements. Determine which metrics are available now and which require system modification or implementing new tools, then lay out a metrics implementation timeline for achieving metric excellence.

5. Implement discipline and a meaningful quality program

The last important step is to use the new metrics to develop a quality program that promotes organizational and individual accountability to drive improvements in the contact center. Reliable metrics will take out the guesswork and allow for management based on facts - not assumptions. Use the program to establish reward systems and corrective actions to proactively address issues, fine tune training and ensure that the customer remains number one.

SUGGESTION: Implement these five strategies - and manage a contact center that runs like a top and contributes to your company's success.

Provided by Darci Moore - Partner, Adroit Consulting.