• 12:14:04 pm on August 3, 2009 | 2

    Operational metrics don’t measure outcomes

    Contact centers are notorious for being data and metrics driven. When you walk into a contact center, the first thing you see on all available walls are pie charts, bar graphs, scattergrams, graphs showing daily number of calls completed, and more. Its data, data, and more data. If you are an agent, you worry about your average call handle time, the number of calls/emails/chats you are completing per hour, how you are doing compared to your peers, how satisfied customers are with your answers. If you are a call center manager, you monitor in real time your groups metrics with an eagle eye.

    But what is it that C-level executives care about in the boardroom? They are concerned with the quality, cost and effectiveness of service, and the measurement of the outcome of their strategic decisions – for example measuring the success of a service strategy like outsourcing operations to India. They need data to accurately forecast performance and monitor performance trends over time. They need to make strategic technology decisions that support their key business goals.

    There’s a first order disconnect between customer service agents and supervisors who talk in the language of AHT, SLAs or number of emails handled, and C-level executives who care about company performance, overall customer loyalty and churn. It’s no wonder that customer service initiatives driven by customer service managers are so difficult to find buy-in at higher levels. What is needed is a bridge, a mapping between the language of agents and the language of the boardroom.

    Take for example the need for a service organization to score the quality and completeness of knowledge base solutions. Agents and supervisors get the need for this. But your EVP will not. You need to think through the outcome of this request , and express your needs in that vocabulary. “We need to evolve our knowledge management solution to provide a better quality of knowledge to our agents. This will ultimately lead to a quantitative, measurable increase in our net promoter score, an increased first time fix rate, and lower operating costs.”

    Have you started to link operational metrics to top level business outcomes? What are effective examples that you use? Has this worked for you?



  • Esteban Kolsky 6:13 pm on August 3, 2009 | # | Reply


    You make an interesting point, and I think it is worth making, but you are stopping one step short of the solution.

    I agree that as an interim stage you want the CC people to line up with management-used metrics and speak.

    Ultimately, however, I want management to stop using close-minded, piegon-headed metrics and begin to see the world as it is. NPS is no more of a solution than the current set of operational metrics. The focus should shift to effectiveness, not made up indexes, as a way to run the business. It should not be “how many people like me” but rather “how many of my customers did i serve well today”.

    Change the focus to the customer, not the operations – and then have the CC line up with those metrics. That will make a lot more sense.

    Nice post…

  • Kate Leggett 5:34 pm on August 6, 2009 | # | Reply

    Correct as always, Esteban. Point well presented and well taken.

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