Susannah Richardson looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the most used contact centre metrics.
Since the beginning of call centre operations, much has been written about the need to focus on efficiency measures such as call duration and effectiveness measures – including conversion rate and first-time fix rate.
Today, performance metrics remains one of the biggest topics for contact centre professionals, who continue to struggle to understand what metrics they should be using to effectively monitor the performance and efficiency of their contact centre.
In a webinar with Call Centre Helper and mplsystems, a poll was taken for the audience to share what metric they thought was best to use in a contact centre.
It found that the majority (39%) said that Customer Satisfaction was the best metric, followed by Net Promoter Score (18%) and First Contact Resolution (16%), whilst only 2% said Average Handling Time.
Net Promoter Score
NPS is a metric originally put forward by Frederick F. Reichheld of Bain & Company, with a simple concept of responses to the ‘likely to recommend’ question being divided into three groups: Promoters (rating of 9-10), Passives (7-8) and Detractors (0-6).
The percentage of detractor responses is then subtracted from the percentage of promoters to give a Net Promoter Score.
The main benefits of this metric is that it is simple and able to gauge a customer’s satisfaction and loyalty by asking one question, meaning it can be used more extensively than more detailed, qualitative customer satisfaction measures.
However, NPS also faces much criticism in the industry as it only provides evidence of whether your customer service was good or bad, but not why. This makes it hard for contact centres to derive an action from the data, prompting the question as to why measure something if you are unable to act on it?
First Call/Contact Resolution (FCR)
FCR measures whether the customer’s enquiry is properly addressed the first time they call, thereby eliminating the need for the customer to follow up with a second call.
When asked what makes customers happy with their experience with the call centre, the majority (72%) said it was having their enquiry answered first time.
The major benefit of measuring FCR is to establish the quality of customer service provided and for managers to be able to identify training needs on agent performance.
However, this metric is difficult to define and measure properly, causing confusion for agents who are trying to hit FCR targets. In today’s multichannel contact centres, it is also difficult to measure other channels such as email and social, as these are not real-time customer service channels.
We have seen how more and more companies are recognising the need to reduce the amount of effort customers must put in when making contact with an organisation. The Customer Effort Score is a customer satisfaction metric which simply asks your customers, on a simple 5-7 point scale, how much effort they had to put in to do business with you.
Some people in the industry say that this metric provides a better predictor of loyalty than others such as NPS.
However, it is said not to take in to consideration external factors that could influence a customer’s response.
Average Handling Time (AHT)
Average Handling Time is a key measure for any contact centre as it tells you how long a new item of work takes to be handled from end to end and not just the talk time.
This metric helps managers to understand how much of an agent’s time is taken on one individual issue and establish how this can be improved.
The advantages of using this metric is that it gives an idea of how much it costs to serve each customer and helps get a good handle on overall efficiency. It also allows managers to easily identify issues such as how long customers are being put on hold, agent performance and conflict situations.
However, this also brings with it negatives. If agents are concentrating too much on AHT it can hinder their quality of calls as they are trying to finish customer calls quickly rather than providing them with a proper resolution.
It is best not to focus on one
While an individual metric does have a value, it is best not to focus on one. Instead, you should select a combination of task-related (e.g. AHT and Sales Volume) and performance-related metrics (e.g. NPS and Customer Effort) that support your overall business objectives. Before deciding on which metrics to use, you should also consider how your departments are interlinked.
This is because metrics in one department can be to the detriment of the end-to-end process. However, the most important factor is to make sure you are doing something with the data that is being collected to help continually improve your contact centre performance.
With thanks to Susannah Richardson at mplsystems