Thursday, January 26, 2012

Agent Metrics

About six months ago I had a meeting with a call center customer. The meeting was with the Customer Services Director and a consultant from a benchmarking company. The purpose of the meeting was to understand what metrics Spectrum should capture and display on the agents desktop wallboard.

The benchmarking consultant stated that the desktop wallboard should contain customer satisfaction ratings, AHT, service level, abandon calls as a percent, ASA and Calls Waiting (inqueue). The consultant said the agent will perform and meet the SLA's if they see these metrics on the desktop. First Call Resolution information is not available and could not be displayed.

From my point of view it did not matter to me what the customer wanted to capture and display, I just wanted a happy customer that is using our product. However, I was concerned about the amount of data to be displayed (because of desktop real estate) and the agent training that would be needed to explain the meaning of the metrics.

The customer decided to do a test. We had two types of desktop wallboards designed with different content and with agents of various skill levels. Later we found that more desktop designs were needed. The customer took a baseline measurement and then again four weeks later. The testing, set up and results are too much to cover in this blog but the final results are important to mention.

  • New agents did best with a minimum amount of data: Calls in queue and oldest call waiting.
  • Mid level agents performed best with four metrics: Calls in queue, ASA, Oldest call waiting and Service Level. Only a few of these agents wanted to see more and different metrics.
  • Highly skilled agents improved most when they had performance metrics on their desktops. These metrics included: AHT, Occupancy, Abandon Rate, Service Level, and Calls Waiting. Some of these agents were actively asking for more data that would help them do a better job.

This customer is continuing to test the desktop content to find out what works best for their call center and agents. My takeaways from this test were:

1. Not all agents should see the same content - duh!

2. Give your agents the information that will allow them to perform best for their skill level.

3. As your agents improve, change the desktop content to match their skills.

4. Some agents want the tools to work for them. Listen to these agents and accommodate the changes when it makes sense.

This test was by no means perfect. There were flaws in the way things were set up, measured, and tested. But you cannot argue with the successes that this call center experienced.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Agent Metrics

Call centers consist of agents with varying degrees of skills and experience. There are senior agents that have years of training and experience and newer agents that are just now learning the ropes of the contact center.  This article will focus on metrics for new versus senior level agents within the same industry.

New agents face challenges that can affect their ability to perform at a high level.  Everything from a new position to the company procedures will affect how the agent performs. Therefore, metrics for the new agent should differ from the metrics for a senior level agent.

The goal of the desktop wallboard is to help the agent optimize their performance.  If the desktop reporting is not helping the agent perform then it is a distraction and will hurt the agents performance and affect their attitude.

New agents should be seeing desktop wallboards that display the Status of the skill or group that they are logged into.  This Status Reporting provides the new agent the opportunity to become more efficient and effective by alerting them to a change in the status of the skill they are monitoring.

This desktop wallboard for the agent quickly shows the status of the skill group, alerts the agent to wrap up the work from the previous call and take the next call.  New agents are often distracted by the new environment and do not meet the SLA's that the call center has set. A status reporting desktop wallboard with messaging is an effective tool for the agents. 

    New Agent Metrics:  
        Calls in Queue - Alerts the agent to work that is waiting for them.
        Oldest Call in Queue - Provides an sense of urgency for the agent.
These two metrics when improved upon will result in better SLA's, higher customer satisfaction and reduced agent stress.  Displaying more information on a new agents desktop will result in confusion and the agent will disregard the desktop wallboard.
As the agent becomes acclimated to the new position, company or role additional metrics can be added to the agents desktop wallboard.  ASA, Calls Abandoned and Service Level provide additional information about the status of the skill the agent is logged into.

The number of metrics that are shown above should be the maximum number that a new agent would see on their desktop.
    1. The real estate the desktop report takes up can interfere with the agents work space;
    2. The data can distract the agent from their work tasks as the content updates and changes;
    3. Some of the metrics can have a negative effect on the agent if they are interpreted wrong;

Alert messages to the desktop can be very effective.  However, messages should be properly worded and sent at an appropriate time.

Benchmarking firms and internet articles point out that there are metrics that agents should be seeing on their desktops.  What those articles fail to point out and take into consideration is the experience level, skill sets of the agent and availability of that data.  Certainly a more experienced agent should see the FCR or Customer Satisfaction rating. But a new agent can be become frustrated and develop a negative attitude when they see those metrics. 

The metrics - of Calls in Queue and Oldest Call Waiting help the new agent optimize their performance as quickly as possible without overloading them with too much detail.

Next month will be an article about the metrics for a more senior and experience agent.

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to learn more about New Agent Metrics.

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Dan Boehm
VP Sales and Marketing
+1 713 986 8839

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Call Center New Year Resolutions

With the new year comes new year's resolutions. Every year some of us resolve to stop smoking, lose weight or be a better person. Sorry I cannot help you with the first two. If you manage a call center one way you can be a better person is to review and change your metrics, thresholds and reports.
Reviewing and changing your metrics, thresholds and reports will make you a better person because your agents and supervisors will love you for it! Call Centers are dynamic. Every year there is something new from the company that the call center must deal with. Everyone in the call center needs to adapt to these changes. Yet the agents and supervisors are still looking at the same metrics, responding to the same thresholds and seeing the same reports from last year.
If the call center has experienced any changes at all the reports, thresholds and metrics should change as well. In addition, agents that have finished another successful year probably have been promoted or at least are doing something more advanced. These agents should not be looking at the same old tired metrics and have the same threshold levels as last year.
Now is the time to review the status of your call center and make some changes that will make you boss of the year. Agents and supervisors will love you for updating their metrics and threshold settings because you have shown you are aware of what they are doing.