Good communication is crucial for building trust among a consumer base. And in today’s economic environment, it’s a Call Center that acts as the lifeblood of a business that requires forward-facing contact with a public audience.
They can make a company stand out, attracting and retaining customers because of positive interactions with clients, or they can destroy crucial relationships and damage a brand that was once considered very promising.
Call center agents are the first contact a customer has when they call into a company. They aren’t simply receiving calls, collecting information, they are a company’s brand representatives.
To best understand how to best utilize a Call Center, you have to go beyond simply developing a business strategy or “vision” for that role.
Representatives must understand how valuable of an asset they are, as well as how they can be successful in their duties, both individually and for the company.
That’s where key performance indicators (KPIs) establish the expected level of success, and determine how to continuously improve the agent and the customer experience
The biggest problems facing call centers
Before we get to that, let’s take a look at three of the biggest problems facing Call Centers today:
Data suggests that the average annual absence rate—personnel out of their chars—in call centers is approximately 11 percent, globally. That means, that given a 1,000 person Call Center, 110 of them aren’t even in their seats to help callers. Obviously this negatively impacts the quality of service because of increased wait times, morale issues among other agents, and eventually the company’s bottom line.
2. Customer Engagement
Call Center work-life can become monotonous. And not only is it repetitive, callers can sometimes be verbally combative and downright hateful, making it even more stressful. These act as triggers that can drive agents to lose enthusiasm, become demoralized, or provide terrible customers service. This is also a factor in absenteeism.
3. First-call Resolution Rates
One of the most important factors in achieving customer satisfaction is first-call resolution (FCR). If an agent has to repeatedly send customers to different people to answer questions, the customer experienced begins to deteriorate and satisfaction wanes. This usually happens because an agent isn’t properly trained or doesn’t fully understand their duties. And once again, this is where KPIs become a factor.
Key Performance Indicators
Now that we’ve discussed three of the challenges facing call centers and their agents, let’s tackle KPIs and how they can be used to help improve individual agents as well as customer service. Additionally, we’re going to show how BSC Designer can help a business track these KPIs and make them more efficient and effective.
Just for simplicities sake, we’ll match our KPIs with our three biggest problems. Let’s start with absenteeism.
KPIs for Absenteeism
As noted earlier, when you’re unable to track those folks that can’t seem to sit still, you’re unable to see who isn’t holding up their end of the workload.
Training each agent on how much their individual performance impacts the queue, the customer experience, and the overall business strategy. Then, establish concrete standards and objectives that each agent is required to uphold.
For example, a KPI would be setting a standard for:
- An agent’s time ‘logged in’ and
- Available time,
which, for most call centers, is approximately 54 minutes out of every hour.
Further define the KPI by developing appropriate priorities for the wide range of tasks your agents perform on the job; priorities that help dictate how they spend their “down” time. With 1,000 employees, it may seem like a difficult task. By utilizing BSC Designer’s easy-to-understand Balanced Scorecard, you can not only monitor and track their performance, you can measure their adherence to your set standards. This also allows you a better understanding of your Call Centers goals and your agents’ ability to reach success.
KPIs for Customer Engagement
As discussed, if people aren’t in their seats or if they’re there and not providing great customer service, they’re just wasting time and negatively impacting your company. That’s because customer satisfaction is one of the most critical metrics for any contact center.
Studies show that there is a direct correlation between customer satisfaction, loyalty, and corporate revenues, and employee morale and performance.
And while there isn’t a standard method for calculating satisfaction, there are plenty of KPIs that can be put in place to help measure communication success. By developing and establishing call protocols that determine greetings, use of titles, and other verbal queues, you can ensure your agents have a standard form of communication.
Furthermore, a manager is able to measure things like:
- Abandoned and answered calls,
- Average wait time, and
- Grade of service (through post-call or email surveys), and
- Even more important KPI measurables such as conversion rates.
First-call Resolution Rates
While it’s one of the biggest factors in overall customer satisfaction, it’s also one that is easily correctable. Establishing KPIs that dictate training and education is pretty straightforward, and using the BSC Designer to help you track these actionable items is even easier. You can track productivity in a variety of different ways, including graphs, percentages, graphics and even Excel data.
KPI here is:
- First-call resolution rate, %
Not only will this improve your communication, it will provide your company with lower operating costs by reducing callbacks, it can reduce the risk of losing customers to competitors, and it will even provide your agents with a higher satisfaction because they’ll better understand their KPIs and their objectives.
It’s not only about KPIs…
Overall, it’s important to understand that establishing KPIs is only half of your strategy. Understanding how to measure and track those routines through use of the BSC Designer will help you take data and make it more effective. Because, let’s face it:
Your KPIs are completely ineffective if you don’t know how to leverage them properly and use them to reinforce your overall business strategies.
Use KPIs. Use BSC Designer. More importantly, let BSC Designer help make you a more effective, more efficient company, today.
- Access templates. Sign-up with a free plan at BSC Designer for immediate access to 30 scorecard templates, including Call Center KPIs discussed in this article.
- Master skills. Check out free video tutorial for the Balanced Scorecard. Master your strategy planning and execution skills with Strategy Execution training.
- Automate. Learn what Balanced Scorecard software is and how it can make your life easier by automating strategy execution, KPIs, and strategy maps.
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More Examples of the Balanced Scorecard
Feel free to share in the comments your favorite Call-Center KPIs.
Levi Newman is a 10-year Army veteran and graduate of the University of Missouri. He is married with three children and currently works in marketing in public relations for international and Fortune 500 companies.