To develop a productivity measurement program tailored to your contact center, you’ll want to form a small task team to work through the several ideas. The first topic the team should tackle is performance measurement values.
Values help your team stay on track and are critical when communicating to the agents why you have a productivity metric. Some ways of thinking are:
• Agents must believe in the measurement system.
• Agents are adults and should be given the opportunity and freedom to choose what’s right for them.
Performance measures and standards should be constructed to help them choose.
• Agents should retain control of their performance.
• Agents need to know what is expected of them, how they are doing in relation to those expectations, and how they can learn and grow.
• The focus of a performance management system should be on making good business decisions by balancing the needs of the customer, company, and employee.
• Indicator metrics (or macro-level metrics) are used as a signpost to tell a coach if a person is struggling with his or her skill and knowledge. Once the coach knows about the struggle, the diagnostic (or micro/detailed) metrics help the coach diagnose with which specific skill and knowledge the agent is struggling.
Using metrics in this way—divided into indicator and diagnostic—allows the coach to spend the majority of his time investing in an agent’s improved performance through coaching. The coach does not have to waste his time looking at all the micro-data every day on every agent.
• Micro management (i.e., living in the details) is a luxury contact center managers cannot afford.
• Agents should be partners in designing their performance management infrastructure.
• Agents should be partners in making decisions impacting their job whenever possible.
• Every management decision or action sends a message. It is the responsibility of the management team to consider the messages about the performance measurement and their impact before implementing.
You will also want to cover the purpose of measuring productivity. Your team needs to define why you want to measure productivity. If it doesn’t have a purpose, don’t measure it.
The productivity of the contact center must be balanced with quality. Without productivity measures, we could be overspending in our delivery of quality.
Productivity is also one of several performance indicators that tell a coach if a person is struggling with the skill or knowledge required to be an expert. Productivity reflects the agent’s ability to achieve excellence by contributing to the company’s bottom line objectives.
Kathryn E. Jackson, Ph.D, is president of Ocean City, NJ-based contact center consultancy Response Design Corp.