Getting Back to the Basics of Customer Support: Certain KPIs Work Better Together

Con­tact cen­ters have evolved over the years, and are still evolv­ing to meet chang­ing cus­tomer demands and expec­ta­tions. It wasn’t too long ago when cus­tomers were required to call into a con­tact cen­ter for the most basic of rea­sons, whether it was to update their address, pay a bill, or get gen­eral infor­ma­tion regard­ing a prod­uct. Nowa­days, many cus­tomers pre­fer to self-serve for not only basic tasks, but for increas­ingly more com­pli­cated tasks as well. What this means for con­tact cen­ter man­age­ment is that the KPIs that were once effec­tive in mea­sur­ing per­for­mance are no longer suf­fi­cient or relevant.

With so much empha­sis on cre­at­ing qual­ity cus­tomer expe­ri­ences as a way to dif­fer­en­ti­ate your orga­ni­za­tion from the com­pe­ti­tion, you’ll want to ensure that the KPIs you’re mon­i­tor­ing and using to make pol­icy changes actu­ally effect cus­tomer expe­ri­ence out­comes. Many con­tact cen­ters are rely­ing on KPIs that were effec­tive 5–10 years ago, but do lit­tle to reflect the real­ity of today’s customer.

In a study con­ducted by ICMI, it was found that many con­tact cen­ters haven’t yet real­ized the need to devi­ate from tra­di­tional stats to deliver cus­tomer expe­ri­ences that set them apart from the com­pe­ti­tion. Nearly 68% of con­tact cen­ters stud­ied are still rely­ing on “aban­don­ment from queue” as the most com­monly used KPI, even though it is arguably the least effec­tive in help­ing eval­u­ate the qual­ity of cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. After prob­ing the respon­dents for which KPIs they felt most impor­tant for man­ag­ing cus­tomer expe­ri­ences through the con­tact cen­ter, the response was Qual­ity Mon­i­tor­ing, fol­lowed by Aver­age Wait Time, Cus­tomer Sat­is­fac­tion (CSAT) sur­veys and FCR scores. While all these KPIs are impor­tant, they are not indica­tive of deliv­er­ing the types of expe­ri­ences that cus­tomers want.

At first blush, it seems to defy logic. Why wouldn’t Qual­ity Mon­i­tor­ing pro­vide valu­able data about call inter­ac­tions that help shape cus­tomer expe­ri­ences? The prob­lem is, all too often, qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing pro­grams focus on pol­icy com­pli­ance and process with­out offer­ing much insight for actual cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. Addi­tion­ally, research done by SQM on call qual­ity monitoring’s impact on FCR and CSAT shows that there is lit­tle cor­re­la­tion between call Qual­ity Mon­i­tor­ing rat­ings and FCR and Csat rat­ings. This isn’t to say that valu­able insights can’t be gleaned through Qual­ity Mon­i­tor­ing. In fact, effec­tive Qual­ity Mon­i­tor­ing pro­grams pro­vide com­pa­nies a plat­form for iden­ti­fy­ing obsta­cles to the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence in addi­tion to pro­vid­ing train­ers some­thing tan­gi­ble to work with in devel­op­ing train­ing programs.

So which KPIs should con­tact cen­ters pay atten­tion to? The quick answer is many of them together. If cre­at­ing cus­tomer expe­ri­ences that set your orga­ni­za­tion apart from your com­pe­ti­tion is the goal then your KPI track­ing needs to be ana­lyzed in con­text and in tan­dem with a num­ber of met­rics. Here are the KPIs that should be con­sid­ered together to help iden­tify cus­tomer sen­ti­ments so that efforts can be directed to where they’ll have the great­est impact:

•Cus­tomer Satisfaction
•Net Pro­moter Score
•First Call Res­o­lu­tion (FCR)
•Qual­ity Mon­i­tor­ing paired directly with cus­tomer insights
When these KPIs are con­sid­ered together, your orga­ni­za­tion will have a more holis­tic view of the customer’s per­spec­tive and the ser­vices they receive through your con­tact cen­ter. Only when these are looked at jointly can the appro­pri­ate train­ing pro­grams, pol­icy changes, mar­ket­ing strate­gies, and cus­tomer jour­ney maps be created.

Keep in mind that if you’re con­tact cen­ter is focus­ing on the ris­ing cost per con­tact, don’t be alarmed by this met­ric. As self-service options become more avail­able and fre­quently used by cus­tomers it is only nat­ural that the nature of the calls com­ing into your cen­ter are more com­plex, require a greater level of ser­vice, and thus cost more. This isn’t a fail­ure on your con­tact center’s part, it is sim­ply the real­ity of the chang­ing envi­ron­ment and another rea­son why focus­ing on KPIs of yes­ter­day may not be serv­ing your best inter­ests. Of course, keep­ing costs in line mat­ter, but they must be con­sid­ered in a broader context.

Bet­ter together is the new stan­dard for KPI mon­i­tor­ing and ana­lyz­ing. A 360 degree view is much bet­ter than a 90 view, so keep track­ing your KPIs, but don’t silo them. You’ll have a much bet­ter view of your cus­tomer and con­tact cen­ter and can react appro­pri­ately to stay ahead in your field.

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