January 8, 2014

Beyond Benchmarking


CallTalk Caramels - Call Center AdviceCallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore. “Caramels” distills “Aha!” moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.

While benchmarking your metrics is essential for good call center management, executives must embed benchmarking into a larger process focused on three “D’s”: data, diagnostics, and decisions:
  1. Data – Don’t get lost in the weeds. Determine what three metrics are the most critical to measure and guide my business currently - - and improve my competitive position.
  2. Diagnostics – What initiatives will have a real impact on my critical metrics? Which of those initiatives will give me a positive return on my investment (ROI)?
  3. Decision – What is the best opportunity for positive change? What gives me the most movement in my metrics for the investment? What do we need to do in order to get immediate results?
Research conducted by BenchmarkPortal and its experts suggest the following:
  • Do spring cleaning of your reports for validity in terms of useful information and assisting in making decisions. Useless reports clutter and confuse things.
  • Use Dashboards. These save time, money, and resources while providing managers valuable information at their fingertips, especially for agent utilization issues.
  • Set business rules that are meaningful and realistic for your business. Why do 80/20, if an 80/35 Service Level is acceptable to your customers and allows you to use fewer agents? You need to continuously sample caller satisfaction to implement this properly.
  • When looking at Quality metrics and surveys, use the ASK system:
    • Do they measure the Attitude of the agent?
    • Do they measure the Skills of the Agent?; and,
    • Do they measure agent Knowledge and the ability to drive first call resolution?
  • Hire agents that have the competencies to do the work expected.
Using benchmarked data to drive a focused analysis of your operations, then making decisions that will optimize your efficiency and your effectiveness, are the essence of good management . Save money and improve quality by looking beyond the metrics to optimal solutions.

Tip of the Month: When reviewing benchmarking results, if you find a value that is out of the norm, don’t be hasty in your decisions on how to correct it; i.e. if Talk Time is too long, don’t tell the Supervisor to have Agents simply talk less. Do some research; look at all of the processes that have an impact on the metric. A broken process (for example inadequate training in call closure) may be the cause for a sub-optimal value.

This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kam├íl Webb. It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with Dru Phelps, entitled “Beyond Benchmarking”. To listen to the archived episode click on the following link: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/news-articles/2013/12/beyond-benchmarking-calltalk-caramels-sweet-snippets

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