What is Call Center Performance ManagementMichael Curran
What is Performance Management?
Call Center Performance Management is a program, generally led by a contact center operations manager, dedicated to calculating and improving the performance of contact center agents. Performance Management generally requires a number of tools like call recording, quality monitoring, coaching and gamification.
How Call Center Performance Management Improves Customer Experience
When a customer reaches out to your contact center for help with an issue, what do they expect? Do they want personal, friendly customer interactions, or do they want an effective call center agent who can provide fast resolution of their issue? The answer is both. In a recent customer experience survey by Customer Contact Week, consumers reported the following priorities:
- Easy handling of their problem
- Fast issue resolution
- Friendly, personalized service
While contact center managers can rely on key performance indicators (KPIs) to track metrics like average handle time, after-call work time, customer satisfaction scores and service level, using a quantitative number to evaluate overall agent performance between customer interactions and meeting business goals is key for maintaining high levels of customer experience. That’s where leveraging contact center performance management software can help.
Challenges of Performance Management
Traditionally, call center managers have used a combination of quality monitoring, team trainings, and one-on-one coaching to address employee engagement and improve agent performance. However, gathering enough data to decide where to direct resources to improve performance requires a huge amount of time and managerial energy. What’s more, scaling up your team requires more workforce management resources directed toward even more performance and quality management personnel.
Contact center agents may also take issue with the performance metrics being used to assess them. Quality assurance reviewers may give feedback based on only one or two recorded calls, which the agent may not see as representative of their overall performance. Inherent bias can become an issue, as one call may be seen in different ways by different reviewers.
Performance Management and Customer Experience
Call center agents, like retail workers, are on the front line of customer interactions, and often face frustrated or angry consumers who are upset about a situation and place the blame firmly on the person in front of them. Team leaders report high levels of call center attrition and agent burnout after certain periods of time. Ensuring a quality customer experience in the face of this can be a huge challenge for managers and agents themselves.
Also, the caller simply does not care about whatever internal call center metrics you are using for performance management. All they care about is results, and different callers will have different opinions about their interactions. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) can help inform you about customer opinion trends in your particular customer base.
How to Measure Contact Center Performance
The best way to assess agent performance in your call center is through a mix of quantitative and qualitative KPIs. Determining whether or not you are meeting your business goals is simple enough, and modern contact center technology is well equipped to give you all the data you need about conversions, average handle time, customer wait time, schedule adherence and more. These kinds of call center metrics can help you to make informed decisions about workforce management and service level.
However, measuring customer satisfaction and overall quality of the customer experience is more difficult, as CSAT and NPS scores can only tell you so much. A high CSAT score might come from someone who felt that their customer interaction was hurried and would have preferred more friendly service. A low NPS score could come from a caller who experienced wonderful agent engagement but didn’t get their issue resolved.
Fortunately, call center AI technologies such as real-time speech and desktop analytics are available for today’s omnichannel contact center. Along with personal observations by the agent, these tools make it far easier to collect data on subjective factors such as a caller’s emotional state.
Knowing where to direct performance management resources is one of the biggest challenges for the modern call center. Agent performance must be assessed between objective measurements like call handling time and more subjective ones such as the quality of customer interactions and customer satisfaction with the results of their call. Call center management must rely on a more holistic assessment for shaping their performance management solutions beyond just numerical KPIs, CSAT and NPS scores.
This article was first published by Mitel.