Are You Managing Metrics or Serving Customers?

One of the constant hurdles we face when working with call centers is getting managers and executives to understand that the metrics/data they get off the phone switch isn’t the story – it’s just the table of contents.

For examply, many call centers monitor their average call time (ACT) or average handle time (AHT). As the numbers ebb and flow, managers place pressure on front-line supervisors to get these numbers down so that they can save costs and look good to upper management. But why is the ACT increasing? What’s driving it? That’s the real story. Systems are bogging down. Marketing sent out a promotion but didn’t inform the call center so CSRs are struggling to deal with an issue for which they are unprepared. There’s a significant product failure that’s driving an increase in lengthy support calls. If you don’t know the real story you can’t fix the real problem.

Another example is looking "call types". Many call centers have their CSRs "code" calls to let management know why customers are calling. The V.P. of operations looks at a report showing that a significant number of customers are calling for simple account information that is available to them on-line or off of the IVR. The V.P. puts pressure on the call center to push customers to use these self-serve options. However, when you actually listen to the calls you find out the real story: customers are calling because they already tried the self-serve options and found that they were too cumbersome – or didn’t work at all. The appropriate answer is to fix the IVR and on-line system – not push customers back to a process that already failed them.

Without an objective, effective QA process telling you what is
happening inside the phone calls, you will be flying blind. The result?
CSRs will be driving your customers away, taking shortcuts and pushing
customers off the phone before their issues are resolved just to meet
managements ACT requirements. More customers will call back. More
customers will be escalated. You’re driving one metric in an effort to
save money  only to drive call volumes and costly, on-going customer
issues.

Are you making strategic decisions based on the table of contents or the real story?

  1 comment for “Are You Managing Metrics or Serving Customers?

  1. March 31, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Weekend Reading – March 31st

    Sutori: The voice of todays customer
    I got an email about this site which allows people to share their customer experiences and have others add their own thoughts. It seems Sutoris goal is to aggregate the opinions of many and th…

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