Every call centre has a large volume of performance management information produced from all the systems that they use.
The centre will be given business targets that it is expected to reach, and these targets are then broken down into what the teams and individuals have to do in order to meet them.
Depending on the function of the centre the targets may differ. Typically, if it is a sales centre, it will include new customers acquired, sales – volume and value etc; if it is a debt management centre it will include the value of debt that has been paid, number of customers outstanding etc. Both these centres have clearly got financial targets, which are easy to measure, but in a service centre this is more difficult and customer satisfaction measures can be complex and difficult.
Generic measures of Performance Management
There are also a number of generic measures, these include:
- Total calls answered – the overall volume of calls the centre was able to handle
- % of calls abandoned – the number of customers who hang up before being answered as a % of total calls made. (Good centres have a target of less than 3% for this)
- Service level – the % of calls answered within a specified time frame – usually something like 90% within 20 seconds
- Average call duration – the overall talk and wrap time for the calls
- Turnover – % of staff who leave
- Absenteeism – % of staff off sick
All of the above measures are important in how well the centre will perform overall. If there is a high volume of calls but not enough resource (for whatever reason) to answer them, then more customers will abandon and the service levels will not be met. For the Centre Manager it can be a real juggling act to meet both the demands of the customer, the financial restraints they operate under and ensuring that the employees are treated according to their terms and conditions.
Usually on a daily basis your Team Leader will get a report outlining how many calls each member of their team has handled, average call duration and other information relating to the type of call. The Team Leader may provide you with the information on a daily basis or hold it to provide a longer time period view point. The Centre Manager in turn will get reports showing the performance of the centre as a whole and how it performed against the targets. In most centres, there will be a display board to keep everyone up to date with how they performed against target.
What will be expected of you in terms of performance managament? As explained above, the targets and measures will be put in place for the whole centre and a figure of what is required from each Agent will be calculated. There are several measures against which you will usually be monitored. These include:
- Average call duration or handling time
- Average calls handled per hour (this enables part-time and full-time agents to be compared)
- Quality of the call
- Plus any measure related to the function of the centre e.g. a sales target.
The performance management process
The performance management process should be a clearly documented process (it may be part of your staff handbook or terms and conditions) which should be explained to you in the induction process. When you first join, your Team Leader should tell you what targets they expect you to reach and by when (as you are new, this may take a while) and what review process, coaching and feedback you will get. In addition as a new person you may be given a buddy to help you. This is usually a more experienced Agent who can show you the ropes and to help answer any questions if you get stuck!
Throughout the induction process you should get regular feedback on how you are doing. This feedback will include the statistics but also someone will monitor the content of your calls. After this feedback you will normally receive some coaching on how to do things better and this will be given by the Team Leader or someone else with experience.
The Company’s own performance management approach will determine how regularly your Team Leader should provide you with feedback and what support you will be given. Typically, you should expect to get the statistics on their own either daily or weekly, but a more detailed feedback session focusing on the quality of the call may happen once a month or every other month. One of the biggest complaints from agents is that they do not get enough coaching and feedback about their performance. If you do receive this feedback on a regular basis, you will be expected to incorporate any of the feedback into what you do so that you continually develop and improve. All these review sessions will culminate in one formal annual session, where your performance over the whole year will be summarised. Usually this formal review feeds into setting a rating, which feeds into salaries or plans for the coming year.
Consistency in applying the performance management
Though there should be consistency in applying the performance management, coaching and feedback, we find typically that different Team Leaders will do it in different ways and sometimes when the centre is under pressure. One of the easiest things to over look is providing coaching and feedback. If this does happen, then you should talk to your Team Leader. Performance management is not one way, it is very important that you input to it and if you need help or support in any area that you ask for it as well.
You can also identify how well you are doing by reviewing your own statistics against the average performance of the centre. Also, if after a call, you note how well you think the call went, whether the customer was happy with how you dealt with it, this can give you an idea of some of the skills or training needs you may have! One way a Team Leader may give you feedback is to tape some of your calls so you can listen to how the call went. This can be highly informative and will enable you and your Team Leader together to develop an action plan for improvements (it can be very embarrassing listening to your own voice!) The best thing to be is honest with yourself and not defensive!
Many thanks to Paul Weald for providing this information.