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All aboard the Metric-train!

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All aboard the Metric-train!

Measuring performance is the thing contact center managers are obsessed with. But if you use the wrong metrics, or use them it a wrong way, then the results will be skewed and quite different of what you would expect.

1. Don’t be naive.

Showing a lack of experience, understanding or at times idealism on the contact center floor is the equivalent of prancing around with a “Kick Me!” sign.

As a manager or supervisor you need to understand human nature. Don’t be naive.

Each time you implement a new metric, signal how important this is. Furthermore, attaching a target or an incentive to the metric will encourage the employees, and they will strive to improve their performance when it comes to that particular measure.

Just remember, in order to reap in the benefits your contact center  agents will try to “bend the rules” in order to reap in the benefits – the ends will justify the means. This has a tremendous impact on team morale.

It’s your job to pinpoint any problems these actions can cause and deal with them accordingly.

2.  Can you measure greed?

It’s quite common for contact and call center managers to implement more metrics then it’s actually needed. Going overboard with multiple measuring scales is what we at OpsTalent call Greed-metrics.

Why settle for a simple abandonment rate figure when you could also have:

  • quality of service scale
  • average answer speed
  • and finally average time to abandon

And yes, you guessed it, each of these metrics comes with its own separate target.

This only shows the confusion among the management team, a complete lack of the ability to see the wood from the trees – one might say.

There always needs to be a clear reason for creating and using a specific metric. The agent team needs to know why metrics are implemented and how are they used to evaluate their work.

3. People will try to cheat.

During the presidential election, we are bound to hear the common phrase “The polls were rigged”. The contact center industry suffers from its own “outcome rigging” shenanigans.

In order to hit the desired targets and receive bonuses, contact center agents and managers alike will provide falsified data.

Supervisors and managers will be more sophisticated about their “rigging” methods. Pay attention if one of the following occurs:

  • Altering the calculation methods used in order to show a “more accurate” result
  • Being particularly picky about “how” and “what” metrics are used
  • Simple stuff like removing outliers or changing graph scales in order to conceal upward or downward trends
  • Questioning the validity of the data

Rigging crucial metric data is an attempt to hide performance issues – keeping a “good score” should never takes precedence over facts.

4. Measure, adjust and act.

Contact center performance isn’t something easily predictable. Sometimes your agent teams can perform as if the sky is their limit, and other times it will get much worse, even dreadful.

But it’s your duty as a manager to quickly catch on to those rapid changes in performance and distinguish, if they are really important issues that should be deal with (through coaching, training sessions, knowledge base implementation etc.) or are they simply noise.

Measure, adjust and act, but never over-react. Over-reaction causes problems, that didn’t exist first place.