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Are your call centre metrics fit for purpose?

Measurement - It’s absolutely crucial to any successful call centre. But traditional metrics don’t provide a clear picture into how their teams are really performing. To make a real difference in the call centre - and to have a positive impact on the customer experience - it’s important to know what to measure, and more importantly how to measure it.

Although the customer experience is becoming more of a point-of-focus for many in the industry, efficiency still remains a priority. This means Average Handling Time (AHT) is often treated as one of the key indicators of a lean, productive and efficient call centre.

The problem is that this focus on AHT as a number tends to push agents to rush through conversations with customers - often with little care or resolve in mind. This is because being scrutinised on AHT drives the wrong kind of behaviour, which in turn affects other metrics such as customer satisfaction.

Although AHT is a necessary evil, treating AHT as a soft skill rather than a hard metric will help agents to think about it in terms they understand, and will consequently promote positive behaviours.

Here are three tips in order to ensure you are using targets that benefit the business, the customer, and your teams.

1. Focus on First Contact Resolution (FCR) - In our experience, FCR is one of the main priorities for any Customer Service Director. With targets geared up to emphasise customer experience, agents will strive to resolve issues quickly and with minimal input from the customer. To achieve your FCR target it’s important to identify the root cause of repeat contacts – try measuring their occurrence at an agent level and address any problems with quality and coaching frameworks.

2. Implement gamification – Adding to the impact FCR has on behaviour, gamification can further encourage your employees to strive towards the outcomes that benefit the business. Through a combination of adopting the right systems and a strong excellence-led culture, swapping the focus from AHT to FCR can develop an environment where agents take ownership of customer issues and their own improvement.

3. Measure metrics individually – Make sure you select a mix of quantitative and qualitative key performance indicators, and measure these at an individual level rather than aggregating them. It’s essential to define clear targets for each metric in order to drive performance across the contact centre and measure it consistently.

It’s all about quality – In almost every case, paying attention to quality interactions means the quantitative, efficiency-driven metrics will take care of themselves.

By setting targets with your agents and then working on them continuously so that agents become responsible for their own improvement you make them feel valued while at the same time making a huge difference to the overall business