Measuring your contact center's efficiency
Since the transition to remote working, monitoring agent performance has become much trickier, as supervisors cannot pick up on the performance trends they would in face-to-face environments.
Does the agent appear anxious? Have they got away from their desk since the start of their shift? Are they staying later than they should? These considerations are much more challenging to monitor and intervene to improve agent wellbeing.
Yet, it is not impossible to do so. Measuring each of the following metrics helps supervisors track remote employee trends, support agents, and increase morale.
Contact centers undertake satisfaction research to discover which agent behaviors drive customer happiness. They then build these into a quality scorecard, which analysts fill in while listening to customer calls, tracking how well agents improve satisfaction rates.
Contact centers can monitor how agent performance is improving and faltering by assessing trends in overall scores, alongside trends in individual criteria within the scorecard. As a result, leaders can enhance their reward and recognition processes while offering better feedback.
Schedule adherence is the only fair measure of agent productivity, as when agents adhere to their schedules, service levels stabilize. It is also a measure that agents have complete control over, which is not the case for other traditional productivity measures, including average handling time (AHT) and occupancy rates.
It is crucial that contact centers do NOT use these two metrics as productivity. Why? Because AHT depends on the types of calls that agents handle. Meanwhile, occupancy is a workforce management (WFM) metric and hinges on how well planners complete their forecasting and scheduling tasks.
Now, while agents should not measure AHT for productivity purposes, it is sometimes helpful for identifying skills gaps. For example, if an agent has long handling times across specific contact reasons, that may highlight a skill gap. If handling times are high throughout the team, this may signify a broken process or a missing knowledge article.
Also, it is beneficial to measure AHT in real-time. If agents record a succession of long handle times, this indicates a wellbeing issue. A quick supervisor intervention to offer support to the agent is perhaps critical to safeguard well-being and increase morale.
Highly engaged agents tend to be happy. Yet, engagement is more than satisfaction; it suggests that agents deliver excellent customer experiences. After all, satisfied agents do not consistently achieve the best quality scores; engaged agents do.
So, measuring agent satisfaction alongside a performance-based measure – such as quality scores or customer satisfaction – enables contact centers to create a rounded engagement metric.
For recruits, time to competency also provides an excellent indication of engagement during the early stages of their employee lifecycle.
Absence is more than a KPI for the HR team. Also, it enables contact centers to spot worrying trends and address them to enhance job satisfaction.
For example, consider an agent that seems to be absent on Friday too often. Discuss the reason and consider offering them a schedule with fewer hours on Fridays. Doing so may increase agent satisfaction and allow contact centers to better meet service levels.
The discussion alone will open up a conversation around health and wellbeing, which supervisors can use to better manage and support the agent in the future.
It is upsetting for an agent to receive a query they simply have no idea how to answer, especially when customers are hostile. Low FCR rates indicate that an agent is being put into this situation far too often and needs better support.
Just be careful to measure FCR, as opposed to transfer rates. Why? Because transfer rates will more likely highlight a routing issue instead of a knowledge issue.
Sometimes, when handling transactional contacts, it is best for agents to take charge of the call and direct customers through a simple process using closed questions. Yet, two-way dialogue is crucial for longer, trickier calls.
So, consider how often agents talk during longer calls compared with customers. If the agent seems to be dominating the conversation, coach them to use a little more pull communication to encourage the customer to take the lead. Such a scenario is common in the contact center, where employees are often extravert, sociable people.
Periods of silence – otherwise known as “dead air” – are a real rapport dampener. Understanding this, some contact centers harness speech analytics technologies to measure total periods of silence across various calls.
By tracking this KPI, leaders can coach struggling agents to avoid silence when looking for information or dealing with slow systems. Such coaching will likely involve telling the customer what is happening, asking a polite question, or perhaps even highlighting a special promotion.
Gather customer feedback about agent performance and look for trends. Post-call SMS surveys, third-party reviews, and social listening may all provide valuable sources of customer insight. Through a CRM integration, it is possible to connect the dots back to the customer conversations that led to the positive or negative feedback.
As a result, contact centers can assess various agent feedback trends to seek performance improvement opportunities or – if the feedback is positive – share praise.
Employee sentiment is an excellent KPI for remote agent management. By harnessing speech analytics to measure it in real-time, supervisors can monitor staff wellbeing and offer support at the most significant moments.
If supervisors set triggers when the technology detects long periods where an agent is downbeat, they can proactively offer a break or a video call to protect agent morale.
Discover more KPIs that can increase contact center intelligence within our article: 5 Important Metrics for Customer Satisfaction