Manage call-center performance with business metrics

By: sammiller

Today's call center is not something about phone calls, it's a separate business that can... no it MUST generate revenue. It must provide company with fresh ideas, must help company to get new customers and archive business goals, it must work 24 hours a day, live response must be accessible within few seconds. Finally, the operator's response must solve customer problems immediately, must save customers that wished to cancel service and must generate revenue.


There are various viewpoints on call center - operator view point, customer view point and management viewpoint. Customer wishes the problem to be solved. Operators' job is to solve the problem, actually operators' job is to find correct information quickly and provide it with customer in an easy to follow way. What about management? These people always make things working properly. So what is the best thing that call center manager can do? How to manage call center efficiently? The Balanced Scorecard approach is the best answer to these questions. Balanced Scorecard is nothing, but the concept. It's not a software tool, it is not a database, it is not an ERP system. Think about


Balanced Scorecard as a combination of metrics and the rules of metrics management. The key rule for managing metrics is to put them in proper order. Metrics must represent actual business (calls, operators, expenses and revenues), metrics must be grouped. It's bad idea to create too many metrics and there must be some golden number of metrics suitable for your business. Let's think about call center in terms of Balanced Scorecard and in terms of metrics. The Balanced Scorecard concept suggests to use four perspectives to describe any business. Let's discuss the most important perspectives and metrics associated with these perspectives. Financial perspective. The key idea here is "call center must generate revenue". It's a good idea to measure revenue per successful call and the cost of call. Financial perspective will give you an idea about conversion rate.


Making more and more calls is not a good goal. Good goal is: "Make 20% more calls, keeping conversion rate about 4% and keeping our costs flat". Balanced Scorecard concept is about measuring. So when you have some metrics, describe the way you will measure them, specify the target values you wish to achieve. The next perspective is Internal process perspective. How the phone call is handled inside the call center? Do you segment in some way your incoming customers? What is the average call-handling time? Is your call center service available 24 hours a day? Learning and growth perspective. Coaching is what makes call center working efficiently. Team leader must spend time on coaching, manage must measure and control this time. Team leader must use different coaching methods, such as remote listening, sharing practices with agents, role-playing exercises. It's good idea to measure these activities.


Today call center management systems provides efficient technical background for a call center, coaching is what makes all this software systems work. Finally, don't forget about customer. From customer perspective consider measuring response time quality, customer loose rate and first-call resolution rate. It sounds simple, but these key indicators will help to re-think call center and make it performing better. Call-center MUST generate sales, it must save customers and must return investments. The key concept is to measure and control call center performance with call center metrics and Balanced Scorecard concept. What tool to use to manage your metrics? Anything you like,  in this case any spreadsheet software will work better than thousand-dollars business systems.

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