Customer disservice

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Planning & Performance Manager

Thames Water

Customer disservice
Why is the industry plagued by an over emphasis on statistical performance metrics regarding agents ACD time, ACW time, volume of calls, AVHT, and service levels?

Where did this come from and why is allowed to continue in this day an age?

A service level is the biggest misnomer. Why are we happy to let 20% of our customer wait longer than they would be happy to do so (or at least the length of time we think they should wait)?

Is it now time that agents started to group together and start the revolution, demanding that the main thing that determines a contact centres success or failure is how many people go away having their problem solved and feeling better about the company than they did before (and that goes for those people who were happy in the first place).

Let's have some examples of where companies have got it absolutely spot on, herald them and get everyone else to follow.

WFM & Business Telephony Manager

Healthcare Insurance

Whilst I agree that there can be an over reliance on performance KPI's etc
There must exist some form of performance measure that CAN grade the performance of a center / contract / team / agent etc....

The time we 'think' a person should wait AWT, amount abandoned ABA and the other measures used are as you say approximations. The qualifier being that they are researched to say that a customer who's call fitted that criteria was
happy. To a certain extent the call content is another matter that falls into the quality bracket rather than the performance metrics.

It is however impractical to measure the satisfaction of a customer calling in.
Off the top of my head I can't think of an easy way of doing it. All we can do is say "Did that call fall into our definition of a 'good' call.

Personally I think the two issues are seperate and unfortunatly whilst I see your point and to a certain extent agree, I can't think of a quick fix.

Cynical of me Eh?



Planning & Performance Manager

Thames Water

a little bit extra
following on from my original point (and note my old job title so there is some irony in my thoughts), in the UK there is currently a "fly on the wall" tv programme about a call centre running called The Secret Life of the Office.

For those who have never worked in the industry it must almost be funny. Picture the scene, a group of Snr Managers brainstorming about what the company means to people, what are it's values. They come up with all the right words, fun, energised, respect, fairness - cut to a scene of agent failing their probation because they didn't take enough calls (main and appeared to be the only reason) and the HR Manager telling a supervisor that they must clamp down on agents eating at desks and ensure they swill out their cans of drink before putting them in bins, oh but don't make it sound like we are treating them as children. Cut back to the board room, and we continue with the buzz words - note that no member of staff was invited to this meeting (yes isn't it strange that people on the phones and the like are called staff, what are the Managers of companies then?).

Just trying to provoke a bit of a debate, as John was keen for us to do.

MI Capability Manager

Vertex DataScience Ltd

Customer Disservice
There are companies out there who value the quality of a call over speed.

One of our clients has invested in a major positioning campaign based around the quality of what is delivered. As a result agents taking calls are no longer targeted on call length but on the output, culturally the agents now feel empowered to invest time in the customer.

Service levels are still a key driver because answering a call quickly is still a key driver for delivering a quality service, but once answered the agent takes as long as they need. Average Handling times are still monitored because there will be poor performers and those who will abuse the system, but it is sensitive and not in your face monitoring.

Elsewhere we improve handling times not through pressuring the agents but through encouragement to identify process improvements which increase our efficiency whilst delivering better quality services.

WFM & Business Telephony Manager

Healthcare Insurance

I must admit having changed jobs in the last 4 months it's been a breath of fresh air.

Although my job is Resource analyst it also involves callflow planning and reporting.

My first job in the industry was with an outsource company and I couldn't believe the change here!.

People actually want to know what I'm THINKING I'm not just a numbers monkey anymore. Where I am now staff interaction is very important. Staff on the phones get
>ALL availably information and are encouraged to feedback issues make suggestions etc.

My point in my original reply was you have to measure something especially when an outsourcer but I wouldn't go back to that way of life!


WFM & Business Telephony Manager

Healthcare Insurance

The real life of......................
I've just watched a tape someone did for me...

Well that's one company I'll never use!

A text book example of "Managing someone out" of the buisiness.

It's a shame we're all trying to change the image of the trade then
>THAT comes along and destroys any good work.

Makes ya want to cry...........

WFM & Business Telephony Manager

Healthcare Insurance

Can we merge this thread into the 'Changing the perception one?'

I think the two are fairly closely linked.




On Focus Group

Measures - of quantity and quality
DaveA said: "It is ... impractical to measure the satisfaction of a customer calling in. Off the top of my head I can't think of an easy way of doing it ... I can't think of a quick fix."

Easy ways and quick fixes are not what are needed if Call Centres are to solve their huge customer retention problems.

The process of coming up with practical ways to measure customer satisfaction may itself be 'difficult' and 'slow' rather than 'easy' and 'quick'.

I like 'difficult' and 'slow'.

Alan ............

Unintended Consequences
I have 35 years work in call centers as an agent both in technical support and sales, as well as Department Manager and Manager of Business Operations. My observations have been that too many KPI's can be no more than a wack-a-mole contest of measurements. Set average handle time (AHT) too low and face increased hang-ups or transfers. Tighten down transfers and limit customer requested transfers or increased hang-ups both impacting Customer satisfaction. My current center is sales that have eleven KPI measurements. These are too many. From my experience and observations, people can only recite and juggle four or five measures at any given time. Reprimand an employee for one measurement, next month it is much improved but, two others are lower.

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