Rethinking Call Center Reporting

Call cen­ter report­ing boils down to two key types of met­rics: efficiency-based met­rics and cus­tomer satisfaction-based met­rics. It’s impor­tant to state this upfront to avoid con­fus­ing oper­a­tions goals with cus­tomer reten­tion goals.

velaro logo Rethinking Call Center Reporting

Typ­i­cally, orga­ni­za­tions insti­tute sys­tem­atized report­ing prac­tices for one (or more) of three rea­sons: 1) to pro­vide account­abil­ity to investors, lead­er­ship and other stake­hold­ers 2) to uti­lize data to improve per­for­mance 3) to pro­mote their orga­ni­za­tion by shar­ing their excep­tional per­for­mance. I’m sure oth­ers will dis­agree, but I’m con­fi­dent most rea­sons can be reduced to one of these three. To rephrase them:

As you con­sider how call cen­ter report­ing should be struc­tured in your orga­ni­za­tion, con­sider which of those three ques­tions might be most valu­able to answer and how those answers will help with your broader orga­ni­za­tion goals (from both the oper­a­tions and marketing/sales perspectives).

In some ways, these goals will be sim­i­lar to best prac­tice goals for live chat report­ing (which you can read more about here), but they are not a per­fect 1:1 parallel

The Con­text of Call Cen­ter Reporting

There are a few ways to talk about call cen­ter report­ing, depend­ing on how you con­cep­tu­al­ize a call cen­ter. Is it han­dling inbound or out­bound calls? Are they marketing/sales related or tech­ni­cal support/customer ser­vice related calls?

From an oper­a­tions stand­point, the types of goals will likely be the same across call cen­ters. You’re going to care about vol­ume of calls, how the work­load is man­aged (both in terms of the calls them­selves and in terms of the admin­is­tra­tive and follow-up work each call cre­ates), and indi­vid­ual agent per­for­mance. You can rea­son­ably expect out­bound agents to ini­ti­ate more calls but have fewer (and likely shorter) con­ver­sa­tions than inbound agents—and so the actual tar­get num­bers you man­age towards should be adjusted to reflect that—but oth­er­wise effi­ciency can be mea­sured by sim­i­lar types of goals in any call center.

Customer sat­is­fac­tion stand­point, this is a lot trick­ier. Even the types of goals will vary depend­ing on the types of ser­vices your com­pany pro­vides, how famil­iar your tar­get audi­ence is with your offer­ings, and whether the ulti­mate goal of the call cen­ter orga­ni­za­tion is to book appoint­ments, close deals, resolve issues on the first call, or some­thing else entirely.

Call Cen­ter Report­ing for Cus­tomer Satisfaction

If you had to sim­plify the cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion side of call cen­ter report­ing as much as pos­si­ble, it would prob­a­bly come down to two fac­tors: call aban­don­ment rate and cus­tomer feed­back. Aban­don­ment rate reflects the per­cent­age of calls that don’t ever reach a rep­re­sen­ta­tive or agent because the cus­tomer got frus­trated wait­ing and hung up. For obvi­ous rea­sons, a high aban­don­ment rate likely reflects a low level of cus­tomer satisfaction.

Cus­tomer feed­back usu­ally comes in the form of a brief opt-in sur­vey at the end of a call. Many orga­ni­za­tions use the Net Pro­moter Score (NPS) frame­work to eval­u­ate a customer’s sat­is­fac­tion, both with the inter­ac­tion they just had and with the brand as a whole. This kind of infor­ma­tion is extremely use­ful as it can inform you about indi­vid­ual agent per­for­mance, what cus­tomers are likely can­di­dates for case study (or reten­tion) pro­grams, and how you might go about mak­ing process improve­ments to your call center.

Call Cen­ter Report­ing: Beyond the Phone?

Free­lance tech writer Aaron Lester has dis­cussed inte­grat­ing Key Per­for­mance Indi­ca­tors (KPIs) for new cus­tomer ser­vice chan­nels, such as social media and self-service, into exist­ing call cen­ter report­ing. In the linked arti­cle, he pre­sented the idea that efficiency/operations-based met­rics should per­haps be de-prioritized in these new chan­nels because ulti­mately it is about cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, not quan­ti­ta­tive data. For social media, etc. qual­ity inter­ac­tions and empa­thy may be more impor­tant than aver­age speed to answer (ASA), han­dling time or agent idle time (espe­cially if the agent is not idle but rather respond­ing to requests via a dif­fer­ent channel).

That said, what the cus­tomer likely cares about most is get­ting their issue resolved quickly, eas­ily, and pro­fes­sion­ally, the first time they reach out to your orga­ni­za­tion for assis­tance. Res­o­lu­tion does not equal sat­is­fac­tion but it can have a major impact on it. As such, even for these new chan­nels first time res­o­lu­tion rate is prob­a­bly still an impor­tant met­ric, both from an oper­a­tions per­spec­tive and from a cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion perspective.

Author Bio

Chris Childers is Senior Vice Pres­i­dent at Velaro Live Chat. He is a results-oriented soft­ware exec­u­tive with 18 years of expe­ri­ence in prod­uct man­age­ment, soft­ware sales and team man­age­ment. Before join­ing Velaro, he worked as a Senior Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Man­ager at Microsoft and held roles at AVI­code in prod­uct man­age­ment and busi­ness devel­op­ment. Prior to work­ing with AVI­code, Chris co-founded Arti­fact Soft­ware, where he led prod­uct man­age­ment and was instru­men­tal in build­ing its first gen­er­a­tion product.

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