Once you have defined call center productivity, and developed the metric for measurement in your operation, everyone must then understands how it is to be calculated.
Without an agreed upon calculation you can never truly trust the numbers. (It’s like the old joke – “What’s one plus one equal?” Answer: “What do you want it to be?”) Without a defined and agreed upon calculation, we can make the numbers be and mean anything.
Some ways of thinking are:
• There are many ways to measure productivity. One way is: Number of customers serviced in a reporting period divided by (the number of hours signed on to the phone system minus the number of hours spent in available.)
• Inbound calls, outbound calls, transferred calls, e-mails, and so on can represent the number of customers serviced. Each contact center has to determine what to count for each agent group.
• The number of hours in “available” are those hours where the agent was logged on to the phone system sitting in the available work state ready to take the next call.
• The above definition subtracts “available hours” for several reasons. First, it is predominantly out of the control of the agent. Also, it is one of the factors that when subtracted, allows you to compare “apples to apples.”
This means you do not have to set a different performance standard for agents with comparable job functions. This allows each agent to work toward the same standard of excellence.
Also, by subtracting available we are constructing a win for all. The employee wins because if he chooses to go into available more, his productivity number will be higher. This means the customers have greater access and the company can handle more call volume with fewer people.
• The above definition is a very rough calculation that must be tailored to each specific contact center. There are plenty of other metrics to consider as well (e.g., in the sales environment – conversion rate, dollars per sale, etc.).
This tailoring involves work state definition from the phone equipment, analysis of the type of work being performed by the agent (inbound, outbound, sales, service, transfers, etc.) and determining how activities are logged that don’t contribute to productivity, such as training and special projects.
Kathryn E. Jackson, Ph.D, is president of Ocean City, NJ-based contact center consultancy Response Design Corp