Contact Centre Intelligence and KPIs: Aspect Software

Author: Aspect Software

Date: 4th March 2012

Leveraging Performance Optimisation to Help Achieve Corporate Objectives

During the past decade or so, companies have had to shift the way they do business, which is largely being driven by consumers’ widespread use of the Internet. Having access to vast amounts of information is enabling these consumers to make better, more educated choices about the companies with which they do business. There is a significant increase in global competition that is occurring as consumers gain the ability to access, compare, and purchase products and services online from a never-ending number of companies. As a result, contact centres are being seen as competitive differentiators, rather than as compulsory cost centres.

This shift in perception, coupled with increasingly demanding consumers, is putting a sizeable amount of pressure on contact centre managers to maximise their agents’ performance and to improve their operations. To meet these elevated expectations, contact centre managers must begin to optimise their contact centre resources and enhance the quality of the experiences their centres are providing.

But how is this accomplished? By synchronising people, applications, and processes, contact centre managers can reduce labor costs, enhance service levels, and build customer loyalty; but, most importantly, they can align operations with their company’s overall strategic objectives. Contact centres that are successful in these efforts will be able to meet executive and consumer mandates, and drastically increase the overall value they contribute to the corporation.

Cascading Objectives

All too frequently, companies implement call routing solutions, outbound diallers and siloed performance optimisation products, such as campaign management or quality monitoring, in their contact centres with no real coordinated strategy for making the most of the wealth of information that these products yield. Understanding, and most importantly, aligning the contact centre with corporate objectives is the key to driving its overall performance. But, deploying the right tools is only part of the equation. Businesses need to use these tools to analyse and evaluate the right metrics, properly train agents, improve business processes, and enhance customer interactions all with a keen eye on how the contact centre can help the organisation meet or exceed its strategic goals.

Developing successful customer service, collections or sales and telemarketing strategies requires that managers truly understand their contact centre metrics in the context of overall business and financial goals. These same managers must then determine what information will best help them identify whether or not the contact centre is successfully contributing to corporate objectives. And the metrics may not be the same ones that contact centres have traditionally used in the past to measure their performance.

For example, an organisation that wants to increase profitability by 20 percent, decrease operating costs by 10 percent, and improve customer retention rates by 8 percent should translate these high-level objectives into operational metrics, such as Revenue per Call, Schedule Compliance, and Service Level or Agent Quality Scores in order to drive strategic success across sales, collections, and customer service processes.
They can then use operational metrics to develop long-term benchmarks and identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will enable them to align with the business strategy and provide evidence they are accountable to those goals. In addition, it offers agents a comprehensive view of their overall performance so they can make adjustments to ensure they meet their individual objectives.
Most importantly, the contact centre will have the business metrics that enable every member of the team to see how they are contributing to the business.

KPIs, which could include Talk Time, Average Handle Time, Contacts Handled, Shrinkage and Schedule Adherence, for example, are essential to measuring and optimising the intraday and day-to-day performance of the contact centre. Because every organisation has different business objectives, KPIs will vary by company. It’s important that long-term benchmarks and KPIs be clearly communicated to frontline employees – such as agents, supervisors and business analysts – so they understand how their individual contributions are impacting the greater whole. And, if possible, KPIs should be linked directly to compensation to ensure a higher likelihood of achieving contact centre and corporate goals.

Preparing for the Customer Experience

Once the overarching and cascading objectives, strategies and tactics have been determined and they align with the business’s goals, it is time to define and execute a well thought-out workflow. Business rules define specific workflows and govern how contacts are handled, priorities are followed, agents are assigned, and key actions are managed. Establishing logical and productive business rules takes time, and once they are active, they must be regularly monitored and adjusted as business conditions and customer demands change.

Business rules should be consistently maintained across all channels in order to optimise performance in a contact centre that offers customers multiple interaction channels. For example, when an airline customer moves from gold to platinum status, the change should be reflected in how that customer is treated when they call, email or engage in a Web chat with an agent. Similarly, when an agent develops new skills and is
capable of handling an additional set of customer issues, that agent’s new skills should be propagated across all applications and business rules that impact which customers are routed to that agent.

Performing Up to Par

After a customer has been connected to the right agent with the skills to help address their specific needs, the remainder of that customer’s experience is completely dependent on the agent’s ability to resolve the issue in a professional and articulate manner. This can impact how much future business a customer will conduct with a company. In fact, a recent survey said that a consumer who is satisfied with a representative is two-and a-half times more likely to conduct future business with a company1. But, how can managers be sure that their agents are delivering the best possible service?

In order to provide exceptional service, agents must have a thorough knowledge of company goals, policies, and products, in addition to understanding the role their performance plays in corporate success. The information gathered by contact centre intelligence applications can be used to train agents, measure their performance, and then provide that information back to the agent in a prompt and effective manner. If the centre missed its performance targets, managers must figure out why. Are the right agents scheduled to work at the right times? Do agents require more training and coaching? Was schedule compliance too low?

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