Two key contact center metrics to measure

Every merchant wants his contact center to be better than average. So how do you get yours to break away from the middle of the pack? Two areas of measurement are pivotal, says Jay Minucci, vice president of consulting services for International Customer Management Institute (ICMI): quality and balance.

In his session, “Breaking Through To Great In The Contact Center,” at the NCOF show in April, Minucci repeatedly used horse racing analogies, showing pictures of horses bunched together midway through a race, only to see two or three of them break away from the pack down the homestretch.

By using survey results, Minucci posed the question to attendees: “When we think we are advancing, are we just keeping pace?” He said the good news, statistically, is that two-thirds of all call centers are in the top one-third based on overall performance.

In surveys his company conducted, Minucci identified three areas of potential differentiation: leadership, funding, and metrics. While he said the first two aren’t “short-term fixes,” metrics can be controlled.

“It’s the one we do control to determine how well we’re performing,” he said. “It’s the one that can give you the quickest hit, the biggest impact.”

But a major obstacle to breaking away from the pack, Minucci said, is the availability of funds, which many companies often cite when they “throw up a white flag.”

What metrics are measured? Those areas are customer satisfaction, quality, outcome, speed of the call, cost, and productivity. The first three areas fall under the heading of “quality,” he said, while the last three deal with “quantity.”

Achieving a balance between the two umbrella categories — quality and quantity — is a key to pulling ahead in the race, he said. Three years ago, the surveys showed more of an emphasis on quantity, and now there is “much more of a balance, with a slight edge to quality,” he said.

When companies encounter funding issues, they must define and resolve those obstacles, Minucci said. Leaders can set the course, he added, and success is not a coincidence.

But focusing on metrics is crucial. “Metrics matter,” he said. “Call centers are numbers. That is how we speak.”

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