The Top 20 Contact Center Metrics for 2012

Quality measures

In addition to the “how fast” measures outlined above, perhaps a more significant indicator of customer satisfaction is “how well” the contact was handled, indicated by the following measures.

First call resolution rate
The percentage of transactions that are completed within a single contact, often called the “one and done” ratio or first call resolution (FCR) rate, is a crucial measure of quality. It gauges the ability of the center, as well as of an individual, to accomplish an interaction in a single step without requiring a transfer to another person or area, or needing another transaction at a future time to resolve the customer issue.

The FCR rate is a crucial factor in customer perception of quality. The satisfactory resolution of a call is tracked overall in the center, as well as by type of call, and perhaps by time of day, by team, or by individual.

The one-contact resolution rate should likewise be tracked in the contact center for email transactions and Web interactions. The resolution rate will likely be lower for emails, as it generally takes multiple messages between two parties to resolve a matter to completion.

Recent studies have shown that the FCR rate is the single number most closely correlated with customer satisfaction. Nothing impacts customers’ perceptions more than simply getting their question answered or problem resolved on the first try. Therefore, this FCR rate should rank very high on your list of contact center KPIs.

It’s not always easy to figure out and may take some piecing together of information from your ACD and contact management system, but it’s worth the extra effort to track it and do whatever it takes to increase the rate. Remember, the higher your rate, the happier your customers!

Transfer rate
The transfer percentage is an indication of how many contacts have to be transferred to another person or place to be handled. Tracking transfers can help fine-tune the routing strategies as well as identify performance gaps of the staff. Likewise, tracking emails that must be transferred to others or text chat interactions that require outside assistance is useful to identify personnel training issues or holes in on-line support tools.

This transfer rate is an important number to track as it plays an important part in the FCR rate that impacts customer satisfaction so highly.

Communications skills
One of the critical factors that impact the caller’s perception of how well the call was handled is simple etiquette and customer service skills. The degree to which general communications skills and etiquette are displayed is generally measured via observation or some form of quality monitoring as an individual gauge of performance.

Email and web chat etiquette should also be observed. There are standard wordings that should be followed in both types of communications that should be carefully observed, reviewed, and reported as a quality measure of performance. This is particularly true since a written record of the interaction will exist.

One of the keys to measuring the effectiveness of communications skills is to make sure you have specific guidelines and definitions of what content and behaviors look like when done right. Define wording you want to hear (or see) and what processes should be followed and then watch and listen for compliance with the expectation.

Be careful about not clearly defining what a quality transaction contains, such as quality forms that specify “demonstrated professional attitude.” You will want to define the specific content that should be used and what should be avoided in customer conversations so that call reviews and coaching can continually fine-tune skills in the right direction.

Adherence to procedures
Adherence to procedures such as workflow processes or call scripts is another essential element of quality. This is particularly important to perceived quality in terms of the customer receiving a consistent interaction regardless of the contact channel or the individual agent involved in the contact.

In the call center, adherence to processes and procedures is typically measured for individuals through simple observation and through the quality monitoring process.

Adherence to processes and procedures is also important for other channels of contact. Written scripts and pre-approved responses are generally created, and adherence to these is monitored and recorded via observation or screen capture capabilities in a quality monitoring system.

Customer satisfaction surveys
Many of the numbers and metrics discussed so far focus on internal metrics – measuring inside the contact center and judging how well you’re doing based on your own standards of performance. But it’s also important to look outside the center and go straight to the source for measures of customer satisfaction.

Ask your customers regularly how they think your call center is performing. While your company may have regular customer satisfaction surveys to gather feedback on a wide range of questions about products, pricing, etc, it’s important to fine-tune and gather specific feedback related to the service they received in their interaction with the call center.

Most organizations can benefit greatly from some professional help in writing and fine-tuning their survey instrument, administering it in a way that ensures data validity and reliability, and analyzing survey results. A good starting place to help you understand the important elements and design surveys that maximize customer feedback is Fred Van Bennekom’s book, Customer Surveying.

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