Thursday, November 14, 2013

Big Data in the Contact Center

The contact center is often over looked, have their budgets thoroughly reduced and do not get the benefits of adequate physical space.  However, the contact center has more data incoming than any other department within the corporation.  Each call is tracked, analyzed and measured throughout the length of the call.  Data is sorted, combined and totaled by queue, agent, group and the entire contact center. For these reasons the contact center truly has big data. This data does not include customer information.

In today’s contact center, multichannel contact with the customer is the norm and not the future plan.  Phone calls still lead the race regarding contacts with customers, but email, chat and social media are quickly catching up. When data is aggregated across multi-channel contact centers the quantity of data that managers need access to escalates.  Access to this big data and summarizing it properly is the key to further success in the contact center.

Outside of the multichannel contact center, management thinks of the agent’s time is being on the phone.
In reality many agents are multi-tasking, taking calls, emails, live chats, and watching trends in social media.  While the agent is “logged out” they are managing the secondary contact with customer.  It is this secondary contact data that is often missed or ignored when it comes to measuring agent productivity.  Capturing data from all of these secondary sources will provide accurate productivity and performance measurements for the contact center.
Managers and supervisors now review multi-channel data for the group, agents and for themselves.  Corporate goals and targets for the contact center are compared against the actual statistics and analyzed for immediate or future changes.  Having access to the metrics across all channels enables managers to schedule training, set up reassignments, create new groups, or terminate agents within the call center.

Management needs to visualize the contact center today and see that they need agents that are better trained or have more advanced skills to handle the real time calls, and inbound / outbound chats and emails.  Organizations that offer customers chat and email support need to have agents fully trained and capable of taking care of the customer no matter how they appear.  If agents are not able to manage the contacts, customer turnover will increase.

The reports that are available to management must summarize the data for each group yet show how the contacts are being made.  This data must be viewed historically to see the trends related to customer contacts.  Are customers moving to email or chat? How many customers are viewing YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.?

Data is available but if the data is not used, understood or misinterpreted do not capture the data. Do not put the stress on the system if the data is not used.  Do not collect the data if you are unable to summarize it, total the channels together in a valuable format or use it for schedule allocation purposes. ACD reports that run but are not used are taking up valuable ACD processor time.

Customer satisfaction can drop just as easily on poor email and chat conversations as they do with phone conversations. And taking it a step further a dissatisfied customer can go to social media and vent their troubles with others. Managers have the data available to them and should review the email and chat volume, the “talk” times and resolution rates to ensure customer satisfaction continues to grow.

By noting the abandonment rates across the multi channel data managers can determine the training that agents require. Simple reminders also work to remind agents to respond to emails and chats as quickly as they do phone calls will improve customer satisfaction ratings.  Training agents on the proper replies with detailed and accurate information will result in improved FCR ratings.

Big data exists in the contact center and managers that segregate the data by channel and then summarize it are able to see the strengths and weaknesses within the call center.  Prosperous contact centers invest in multichannel customer contact capabilities and build reports combining the data together.  The successful managers have targets and goals for multichannel metrics and provide training to the contact center.

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to discuss building reports for big data.  For more examples of reporting visit our website and the products page.

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Dan Boehm
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Monday, October 7, 2013

Contact Center Report Positioning

There are many challenges running an effective contact center. Justification to keep the center fully operational at low budget numbers can be difficult, at best.  Some of the challenges, solutions and value of these solutions may not fit all contact centers however they are worth reviewing.

Contact Center Challenges:
  • Being aware of agent and supervisor status and performance
  • Multi channel data (Voice, email, chat) within the reports combined and segregated
  • Reporting options from agents up to managers and senior management levels
  • Real time and historical data  within the reports when appropriate
  • Changes can be made to the reports when needed or desired

Not being aware of overall status of the groups and agents within the group can be part of a disappointing day.  Managers that can quickly see how a group is performing for the day and see the agent status are able to justify the changes that are being made to meet the needs of the group.  Managers are mobile and need to see how the contact center is performing while away. Reports on tablets and smart phones provide managers with complete detailed information.

Managers need to be aware of voice, email and chat status and performance by the group and agents. Multi channel data can be difficult to collect and combine together into a summary and detailed report.  However, with considerably more contacts with agents being made through email and chat a manager must know how the agents are doing with all customer interactions.  Reports must combine the data together for an overall view of the group performance.

Contact Center Solutions:
  • Data collection across channels and external to the ACD
  • Reporting options for office, home, mobile and multiple position levels
  • Summary, group, agent detail reports
  • Secure and accurate data collection – no screen scraping

Capturing data to be utilized within call center reporting is the key to a successful report.  There are short cuts to save costs, screen scraping, but results in accuracy and security issues. Using screen scraping, AKA data emulation will cause the reports to have inaccurate data, missing data and invalid data.  Also to be able to do screen scraping the collection must remain wide open which means security issues.

Agents need status alerts across multiple channels (voice, email, chat, different groups they can log into, etc.)  Supervisors need to see data for their group of agents and themselves.  Managers require summaries, drill downs and historical data. Managers also need data that can go outside the norm of typical ACD data.  This data is available is just needs to be captured and made available to the right people.

To cut costs some data is left out of the solution which diminishes the value of the report information.  Agent status and performance information will not be available if the data is not collected.  Going beyond voice, email and chat is the internal data or other call center application data.  Data from ticketing systems, WFM, CRM, and confidential databases can provide an overall view of the contact center, groups and agents.  Leaving some of the data out might reduce costs but also hide performance gaps.

Proper and complete collections accumulate the data across the key contact center applications and allows for reports that different levels of the organization can utilize.

Business Value:
  • KPI Awareness at all level
  • Improved agent and supervisor productivity
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Reduced agent turnover
  • Agent efficiencies meet goals
  • Provide call center justifications to senior level management

Reports have tremendous business value when the right people receive reports appropriately for them.  Agents, that are aware of the status of customer contacts, are able to respond rapidly.  They can also be aware of their performance and adjust to meet their goals.  Agents with reports that are accurate, real time and complete can improve customer satisfactions and reduce their desires to leave the organization.

Supervisors manage multiple agents and handle customer contacts as well.  The supervisor reports need to consolidate data for the agents in the group as well as their own status/performance. Due to the workload supervisors improve their productivity by having immediate and up-to-date information about agent status/performance. They are able to take calls, handle a chat or an email when they are aware of agent workloads.

Managers require an overview of the entire contact center.  The data must cover multiple sources: Voice, Email, Chat, WFM, CRM, Internal confidential data, ticketing systems, CSat scores, FCR and other sources affecting the contact center.  The managers’ awareness of performance across multiple channels allows for justifications of many aspects of the contact center.

Contact center reports will vary from agent level to manager and senior management levels.  Having accurate data, big data and appropriate data for each level result in reporting that will improve performance and efficiencies and increase contact center awareness.

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to discuss your contact center report positioning.  For more examples of reporting visit our website and the products page.

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Dan Boehm
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Call Center / Contact Reporting Options

There are options to the type of reports call centers use. The content in the reports is always based upon the target audience.  The method to display the reporting is also based upon the audience.  

LCD Screens – These screens are placed within the call center, break room, cafeteria, lobby, and senior management offices. The content of the reporting will depend on the location and audience.
  • Call center content is skill group information;
  • Break Rooms contain skill group information and agent status;
  • Cafeterias might have menu information but also agent status and video content;
  • Lobbies target the customers, vendors, suppliers and incoming workforce. So content is about the business and all positive, video and local news and weather;
  • Senior Management offices have business related content with access to different levels of data.  Contact center data is historical with drill down to real time.

Dashboards – Managers and Supervisors need to see a tremendous amount of data on the business, agents and skill groups both real time and historical information.  Multiple tabs on the dashboard give the user access to the combined and summarized data immediately.
  • Real time and Historical content;
  • Summarized data from multiple data sources;
  • Multilayer reporting from Overall status to group level down to agent level reports

Desktops – Call status awareness is critical to the business.  Desktops provide agents with an alert to KPI’s and Metrics that require an immediate resolution.  However, agents also need to know their overall performance to be aware of what they can work on.
  • Immediate alerts for multi-channel communications: Voice, Email & Chat;
  • Messaging for alerts, information, personal or group content;
  • Multiple tabs of content that automatically appear on desktops;
  • Minimized to the taskbar but still show critical KPI’s
Mobile Reporting – Reporting that appears on smart phones and tablet PC’s which enables mobility to managers.  The mobility goes beyond just walking the call center floor.  It also includes traveling, critical data from remote meetings, and current real time call center performance.  Managers are busier today than they were years ago.  Mobile reporting helps them complete their daily workload.
  • Manager mobility with real time and historical data;
  • Call center performance status;
  • Real time data access.

Web Based Reporting – Granular drill down reporting provides a summarized report from real time to historical data for the entire call center to groups, agents and individual historical agent performance.  This type of reporting gives managers complete information about the contact center and can be used for call center justifications.
  • Collaborated data from multiple data sources;
  • Local and remote access for flexibility and mobility;
  • Summarized  performance reporting

Email – Alerts and reports via email keep managers and IT aware of the status of the call center.  When a manager is traveling an email alert can be sent out when a critical combined threshold is exceeded.  Managers also receive a daily and weekly performance and status email alert.
  • Remote alerts to thresholds being exceeded;
  • Daily / weekly status reports;
  • IT  department awareness of reporting problems;
  • Subject line data and notifications
Contact center reporting is available in multiple formats and can be viewed in different methods. Spectrum can provide reporting that is flexible yet meets the demands a call center manager requires.

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to discuss your management level report.  For more examples of reporting visit our website and the products page.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Which Metrics Matter?

Doesn’t that depend on who you are, what your job function is and what industry your business is in? There are white papers that state which metrics are the top 20 and there are articles referencing the benchmark target for the top 5 – 10 metrics.  Yet many of us still wonder which metrics are relevant to agents and managers and for the different groups within our business.

There is a difference between real time alerts and historical metrics.   A real time alert is a notification to the agents, supervisors and managers that report of a KPI that has exceeded its threshold.  These threshold alerts are typically: Calls InQueue, Longest Wait Time, ASA, Agents Available, Service Level, Abandonment Rate, Tickets Waiting, Chats InQueue, Emails Waiting, etc.  Real time alerts are to increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction.

Historical metrics are reports that managers and agents review to see the overall performance for the group(s), call center, or the agent themselves.  The debate is which metrics are most important to your report and it will depend on the industry and the group you are reviewing. For example, here are two sets of metrics for an insurance company one set is for New Customers the other set is for Policy Cancellation. Both sets are for the group level.

New Customers represent revenue and Policy Cancellation represents lost revenue.  However, improving performance within the Policy Cancellation calls will have limited affects on customers wanting to cancel.

Another example of the difference between groups is in Customer Service managing trouble tickets / support tickets.  One group handles calls, chats and emails from Gold Level customers and the other group handles free support.

Chat and Email metrics can be difficult to obtain, depending on the systems in place.  With the Gold Level CS some of the metrics are compared against goals while the Free CS wants to know how high these metrics will go.  Abandon Rate for the Gold may have a threshold level of 7.5% while the Free CS does not have a threshold setting it is just important to know what the abandonment rate is.  The up / cross sell rate is an important metric for the Free CS reporting.

When looking at metrics the industries the business is in determines the top metrics. The goals for the call center, group and finally agents helps sort out which metrics are most important.  From a senior management view point Revenue and Productivity Cost determine the metrics of the reports.  A senior manager wants to know what revenue has been brought in, what revenue was potentially lost, and what is the staff cost to maintain the highest revenue levels.  A financial report comparing new customers to existing customers:

 A senior level manager from a Fortune 100 Mutual Fund Company “…any wait time over 10 seconds is a historical call…”  what was meant by this comment was a new customer call that has a wait time over 10 seconds will be abandoned and a lost sale. The productive and non productive states are agent level metrics totaled and summarized for the groups to see the productivity by the agents.  Agent labor costs are high for revenue producing financial call centers, however, lost calls is also lost revenue. Therefore tracking the productivity of agents is part of the managers summary level reporting.

There are other metrics that are reported separately when accurate data is available.  Call Backs: Call back accepted, call back made and conversion rate on call back.

Metrics for agent level reporting will slightly vary based upon the industry, department, agent position and seniority level.  To be clear this is a report for the manager that is regarding the agents. Again the industry and the department the business and agent are in should define the metrics that manager needs to review.  An example of data requested from two managers one is an Outsourced provider selling products for its client. The other is a Customer service provider managing support calls, chat and logged in tickets (email interaction could not be reported).

The manager report metrics is affected by many factors as have been mentioned.  There are other factors that change the reporting metrics.  What are the goals for the call center / group / department / agent? What is the agent turnover ratio? What is the product and or service failure ratio?  There are many internal challenges that can change the report metrics.

When going one level deeper to learn the agent level metrics the report needs to be more historical and over a longer period of time.  The reports can be used for performance review, training recommendations, job security, position changes (advancement or reductions) or responsibilities.  Agent level reports should include all groups (queues) the agent works for and not just one group.

The agent level report should also be historical over different lengths of time.  Report times should be the same for all agents to prevent a report that makes someone look very good or very bad. Performance can be: Yesterday, week ago, one month, three months, six months, nine months and one year.  Some may want a report that is monthly because of their cyclical time is different from others.

Outsourcers usually have reports that are monthly so they are able to show the client or corporate how the call center has performed and how specific agents have performed.  The purpose for this report is the justification of the call center being outsourced or in a global location different from headquarters.

There are many articles and white papers that show the metrics that you should have in your manager level reporting. Rather than follow the list in the latest article review your corporate goals, create reports for the different groups/departments, think about your goals and what you are trying to accomplish for the call center. And if you are a remote center the reports can be used for justification of your center. Build the report that will most likely fit your needs and answer your questions about agent, group and overall performance.

The metrics that are shown above all come from customer requests.  There are a number of metrics that are never asked for by many contact center managers.

CSat: Customer Satisfaction ratings.  This is a valuable KPI that should be included yet is not requested or seen in many reports.  Some do not conduct surveys, some surveys are found to be only very negative or very positive neither of which is a true rating of the center and some surveys are not relevant.

Cost/Call: Depending on the contact center Cost/call can be meaningless or extremely important.  Is the center a BPO or outsourced center? Are there specific customers that are tracked and cost justification needed? Are separate groups tracked for line justification?
Shrinkage: Some will track the productive (working) and non productive (non-working) states, while others will not but will track shrinkage.  Shrinkage, vacation, lunch, holidays, time off, training, etc. are all considered shrinkage.  There are some who will not consider certain states as part of shrinkage because of mandatory needs.  Some centers may require high level agents have licenses which has the agent taking tests, attending a class, etc. The agent themselves may argue that this is an extremely important part of their position and therefore should not be considered shrinkage or a non productive state.

Quality: Call quality can quickly define the CSat scores for the agent.  However, quality is subject to interpretation by the reviewer and can be an ineffective/inefficient metric.  Who is reviewing the quality and quality scores can also affect the interpretation of the scores.  A manager who has the same experiences should be the one that is reviewing the quality scores and agent effectiveness and efficiencies.

Tracing: Agent tracing per call and / or for a segment of the day has become important to some supervisors and managers.  True agent state per call or segment of the day is a much better status reporting then agent states numbers for the day or week.  The difficulty with this metric is the availability of it from the PBX.  Also the availability of the data from voice / email /chat can be a challenge.

Some of the metrics mentioned may not fit your needs or goals.  AHT for some is a waste of reporting efforts and time.  Why bother reporting on something that is not accurate, has no value or can easily be changed by the agent if it is used against them?  Your contact center goals are the key to the metrics that are required in your reports.  Do not look at these report lists and assume these are the one you must have.

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to learn more about metrics for your contact center.  If there are terms in this document that you wish to know more about feel free to contact me for more information.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Corporate Communications / Corporate Signage

There are many applications and benefits of using Corporate Signage (Digital Signage) for Corporate Communications.  Communicating to customers, employees, vendors and suppliers is a vital part of improving business relationships and employee morale.
The corporate signage can and should be used in multiple locations throughout the business. All of us are familiar with the signage in the lobby but the communications need to go further than that.  Hallways, break rooms, cafeteria, conference rooms, senior management areas and segregated departments can all utilize signage with area specific content.
·       Lobby: Greeting important customers and visitors, event information, corporate news, local news, brand alerts and awareness, industry information and timely information for employees.
·       Hallways: General non confidential content for those that have access to the area.
·       Break Rooms: Advertisements that are or will be running on TV, product or brand content, department information and other non confidential news.
·       Cafeterias / Lunch Rooms: Menu’s, Announcements about future parties, News, weather, sports, event information, CEO webcasts, RSS Feeds, Visitor greetings, vendor advertisements, stock prices, employee of the month photos, industry news, call center agent status alerts and much more content.
·       Senior Management Areas: Confidential business related news and data, revenue information, business performance information and other news.
·       Segregated Departments: There are many different departments within a business.  Content can differ by department. Call Centers, IT, Support, Sales, Customer Service, Accounting, HR, Production, Shipping, Warehouse, and so many more areas.  The content can be specific for the department but still remain non confidential.
Corporate communications content should be defined by the location and audience visibility.  The outcome and feedback of the content displayed is used to determine the content that is displayed on the digital signage. 
With smart phones being available and used in the work place keeping content non-confidential, public and positive works to the organizations benefit. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Corporate Communications

Effective communications throughout the corporate offices are an important part of daily operations. Employees, customers and vendors all need information about your business and the industry but it can be difficult to relay the proper messages to these different audiences. Corporate communications through digital signage resolves these challenges.

Digital corporate communications from the lobby to the hallways and break rooms are effective methods of sharing general information as well as urgent corporate news.

Corporate Communication applications:
  • Corporate news, greetings and event information is shared in the Lobby.
  • Internal general non confidential content is displayed in the Hallways.
  • Break Rooms can be used for product news, call center agent status, advertisements, messages, alerts, news and weather.
  • Cafeteria / lunch rooms use corporate communications in a multitude of functions. News, weather, sports, event information, CEO webcasts, call center agent status, visitor greetings, vendor advertisement, stock prices, RSS feeds, menu’s, employee photos, and so much more!
  • Rooms and areas used by senior management utilize corporate communications to stay alert on messages, RSS feeds, news, stock information, competition, industry and market trends, etc.

Lobby Corporate Communications
Welcome customers to your business with an appropriate and inspiring message.  Share your business information with the customer as well as local news and weather.  Industry news can be worthwhile information for the lobby audience as they wait for their meeting with you to begin.

Too often we miss the opportunity to give information about our organizations to our customers or vendors.  You can provide industry news, event information and invites, and you can tailor the lobby content so it meets your needs and requirements.

Certain information can be denied access to the lobby so confidential customer or business news is not provided to the wrong group.

Hallway Corporate Communications
Employees are overloaded with email, text message and corporate documents that have vital information for the employee and business.  Too often this information is not read by many within the business and they miss out on opportunities to learn.  Sharing this information or alerting employees about information is a critical way to improve employee knowledge.

Content on the screens in the hallway can and should vary based upon the audience that shares that hallway.  Industry news, contact center status information, business performance information, private company events, public company events, advertising, etc.  Share content that meets the level of the audience.

Break Room Corporate Communications
Again the audience that will see the content on an LCD Screen in the break room will determine what information is provided. A private, company only, break room can share vital business information such as business status, call center agent status, revenue information, customer details, business / industry alerts, customer service ticket status, etc.  

The time of day can also affect the content that is displayed on the screen.  Morning content can share business information, news, weather, departmental status and performance. While afternoon content might show similar information but also add traffic, weather, or sports

Many companies have high employee sick days the day of or after a major sporting event such as the Super Bowl or the World Cup.  By adding the sporting event to the LCD screens in the office employee sick days can be reduced.  Within a Call Center the Manager had the World Cup running on the LCD screen.  If the Service Level for the call center dropped below 60% the World Cup would no longer be running on the LCD Screen.  This manager was able to have employees show up for work, improve customer support and have increase overall morale within the call center.

Cafeteria Corporate Communications
We usually think of digital signs in the cafeteria as a menu board or a TV.  Corporate communications is showing up much more often on the LCD Screen showing a variety of content.  Certainly menus and employee’s of the week are up on the screen, but other content is shown and requested to be shown as well.  Greeting visitors, alerts, building changes, important dates, vendor advertizing, traffic alerts, news, industry information, company events, photos from an event, call center status for critical agents, CEO video, RSS feed, stock prices, etc.

These two images show the agent status and the Group status for the day. Agent Status so the agents make it back to their desks on time.

 The location of the LCD screen will assist in the value of the screen.  Having the screen near the lines in the cafeteria will help get the content across to the audience.  Cafeterias vary and there are other locations for the screens.  Exits, tray return, coffee machines, and other locations that are used outside of the normal lunch hour are good places for the LCD screen.

Companies are expanding their communications by displaying relevant and important information to employees, vendors, customers and senior level management.  The content can vary based on the location of the LCD screens, who sees the screens, and the content that is available.

There are many options regarding content.  Internal company data that shares the stability and growth of the organization improves employee morale.  Industry content shows vendors and employees what is occurring in the marketplace. Local information for customers and employees reduces the boredom at appropriate times.  The idea behind sharing information is to improve relationships between the company and all those that see the information.

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to discuss corporate communications.  For more examples of reporting visit our website and the products page.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Contact Center Reporting for Managers

Today agents are working with customers through voice, email and chat.  As a manager you need to track the status and performance across these channels to ensure the agents continue to meet their goals and objectives.  Furthermore, as a manager, you are watching performance for your multiple groups (divisions / departments).  Creating these reports may not be an option for the manager based on the total costs, compatibilities or capabilities.

Multi-channel data on a report needs to be defined by what it is trying to accomplish.  Managers want to know the agents status across all channels, voice, email and chat. The report needs to show the group status, then the option to select the group to see the agent status for that group, and then select the agent to see the agent status and performance both in real time as well as a historical report.

The immediate reaction to this report is this is a report I have today in my system if I just take the time to organize it and run the report.  Remember this is a multiple group report combining data from separate skills or queues and across multiple ACD’s.  Global call contact centers have combined data for the groups that have agents in multiple global contact centers.

The historical reporting shows three key KPI’s:
  • Occupancy – combines the talk time with the wrap up time (ACW Time)
  • Working State Time – combines talk time; wrap up time and Aux states that are considered to be productive. These codes will vary by contact center.
  • Non working State Time – combines all non working states time to show how unproductive the agent has been.  Lunch, break, idle, logged out, etc. are all examples of non productive.

Because your agents are working with customers via voice, email and chat you need to see their performance at each level.  What is their status for each of these? What is the work time for each of these? Are they logged into these channel options?  

This status report contains data collected from Email, Chat and Voice that is combined across multiple ACD’s and groups.  The purpose is to see how the agent is performing through three channels and to ensure they are not using one channel to justify lack of performance in another channel. Combining Group totals for the channels (voice, email and chat) also shows the manager how well the international call centers are performing. 

These reports are different from the standard reports that are available from the ACD provider.  These combine data across channels: Voice, Email and Chat; from multiple ACDs; and creates group level reporting.  These collaborated reports give managers the tools they need to see real time and historical status for agents that work on numerous tasks as part of their job. 

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to discuss your management level report.  For more examples of reporting visit our website and the products page.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Contact Center Managers Dashboards

There are many types of contact center dashboards that managers are using today.  Obviously the most important dashboard is one that will work for you.  From a managers point of view the dashboard should contain real time and historical data, it should include critical KPI’s and metrics, and it should have layers of content and it should be available regardless where the manager is when they need it.

Real time data will focus on group / split skill KPI’s with overall agent status added in.  The target is to see how the call center is performing and if agents that are available are handling calls, emails and chats.

Managers that want more real time information can scan through the second layer of this dashboard. In this example the manager clicked on the PVY Fund to see why 23 staffed agents were all unavailable.

In this agent states layer of the dashboard the manager focuses on three items: State, Reason Code and total Abandoned calls. If an agent is in an unproductive state then the manager reviews the time the agent has been in that state.  If the time is short it is forgotten, if the time is long then it is mentioned to the agent’s supervisor.  This contact center is in the financial industry managing mutual fund customers both existing and new.  Agents that are unproductive are noticed quickly by the manager and the agent’s supervisor. 

The total abandoned calls for the PVY fund is watched closely by this manager.  Abandoned calls, according to the manager, are lost revenue.  This manager calculates the daily, weekly and monthly “lost” revenue on a separate spreadsheet and shares that with the supervisors.  The supervisors per fund then discuss this with the agents with the most abandoned calls.

The historical portion of the manager’s dashboard shows how the agents have performed over certain time frames.

Agents are looking for raises, new positions within the call center and have their own justifications for asking for these changes.  Managers with historical data can immediately respond with facts. The two key points in this layer of the dashboard are the working state time and the nonworking state time.  Working State is being productive while NonWorking is unproductive.

Breaks, lunch, training, coaching and other logged off status are considered to be unproductive.  This type of dashboard is not a default or standard option with ACD reports. Some contact centers are adding in email and chat work to the productive numbers.  It is important for contact centers to accurately set up logged out status options.

This historical layer of the dashboard goes back to one year.  The time frames on the report were fairly standard requests that managers ask for starting with yesterday and including quarterly status reports. It is also easy to see that this agent was on vacation during the 3 month time frame when compared to one month and 6 months.

There are other key metrics on this dashboard: Occupancy, Avg Talk time and Avg ACW time.  These metrics confirm with the manager the agents idle time and productivity time.

One of the most interesting differences between actual call center dashboards and the examples that you find when you Google Call Center Dashboard is the lack of charts and graphs.  Spectrum has the ability to include graphs, charts, gauges and other attractive features to a dashboard, but contact center managers quickly find that not enough data is available to them when they view a graphical dashboard.  They move over to a spreadsheet view of the data and eliminate or reduce the request for charts and gauges on their report.

Mobility has always been an important functionality for contact center managers.  The job requires the manager to be at corporate meetings, to assist the staff at their desks, travel to industry events and contact center training and work from home.  A managers dashboard should be available on a desktop, tablet PC, web based report or even a smart phone.

 A manager’s dashboard requires multiple layers of content from real-time to historical on the group level down to the agent level. The dashboard also needs to available to the mobile manager via remote connectivity so the manager is able to be aware of the contact center status at all times.  A dashboard that does not meet these requirements loses value rapidly.

The real time and historical report shown at the top of this article is based upon mutual fund contact center manager’s requirements.  The names of the funds and agent names have been altered to protect confidentiality. All numeric values seen in the images are actual values.

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to learn more about dashboards for your contact center.

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Dan Boehm
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Highest Ranked Call Center Articles

Over the last three plus years I have written over 50 articles regarding contact centers.  These articles have been delivered to over 500,000 people and read over 100,000 times. Five of these articles have been read and saved most often.  The difference these articles have over the others is the content.  These five articles share information about metrics, and performance.  Click on the title for a link directly to the article.

KPI’s and Metrics for Agents, Team Leaders, Managers and Senior Management
The KPI’s and Metrics for Call Center agents up to senior management are explained in this article.  There is a significant difference between the agents, team leader, manager and senior management metrics.  Agents require real time data to help them meet their goals. Team leaders want group level statistics as well as their own stats.  Managers needs summary data for the call center, group level and drill down to agent status information.  Senior management is typically reviewing the historical data for the call center to see how performance has improved over time.

Call Center Scorecards
Call Center Scorecards, Balanced Scorecard or simply scorecard exist to enable call center managers to review overall call center performance.  The scorecards also assist top management in their quest to understand the value and performance of the call center.  Too often top management views the call center as a cost center and does not understand the value that the call center brings to the organization.  In addition, when a call center manager has to explain how well the call center is performing numerous statistics, charts, graphs and reports are provided which end up confusing top managers.

Call Center Statistics and Performance Metrics

There is a difference between call center statistics and call center performance metrics.  Both are very helpful to the call center but are used in two different ways.  Statistics are used to show what the current status of the agent or group and performance metrics show how well the agent or group is performing.
Statistics can provide a view of what is happening in the call center right now, for the interval or for the day.  These statistics are helpful when the agents, team leaders and managers want to know the current status of the call center.

Using Metrics to Change Agent Behavior
The statistics and metrics you provide (display) to your call center and agents should be changing their performance.  If you are not seeing a change in performance this could mean:
  1. You are not reporting the proper metrics;
  2. Your goals are not set properly;
  3. You are not showing (displaying) the correct metrics and statistics;
  4. You do not show the appropriate amount of concern to your agents.

Performance Management in the call center
The primary objective of Performance Management is to improve overall efficiency in the business and call center.  Utilizing dynamic performance management reports business leaders may effectively monitor the performance and decision making of the stakeholders. Leaders then may make adjustments to their strategies to assist the business in achieving their stated goals.

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to learn more about real time reporting for your contact center.

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Dan Boehm
VP Sales and Marketing
+1713 986 8839

Monday, February 11, 2013

Performance Reviews

A performance review/evaluation (Measurement / Appraisal) is a process of assessing an individual based upon their job performance, productivity and non job related activities occurring in the office. Performance and productivity reviews may include standard metric reviews, call quality including recorded call performance and quality scores, product and service knowledge, sales/sales upgrades/ subscriber extensions, achievements, customer service, training and training results, attendance, non work related activity and attitude. Depending on the industry and the organization goals more topics can be added to the overall list of performance review items.

Performance reviews are timely and require a significant predetermined process to create an outcome that is relevant, accurate and worthy of personal discussions with agents and supervisors.  Because of the workload to do a full and complete review many are not given or some that are provide a lack of relevant data.

Reviews are often delayed because of overload and stress the manager is under. Agent level feedback also delays the reviews because the review of the past were poorly conducted too lengthy and not relevant to the goals the agent was targeted to achieve.  Also if agent turnover is high what is the incentive to the manager to review agents that will be leaving the company?

While this sounds negative it is an example of what is going on at many contact centers. What some contact centers have begun to do is to narrow down the reviews and make them more relevant to longer term agents. New agents are not getting full reviews until they meet and exceed predetermined goals that have been discussed in training.

Targets and goals for the top key metrics: The organization will have goals and targets for the agents to achieve regarding key metrics. These metrics will vary by industry, they will vary by the groups within the contact center as a simple example the metrics will vary by the agent experience and skill sets and they will vary by month, week, day and time of day.

To determine how the agent has actually performed the manager sets the goal for a metric, then divides that by actual performance for that metric in question.  For example, the agent has a goal of 90% for adherence.  The agent’s actual performance was 65% or 25% below the goal.  Therefore, the agent has performed well below the goal. Yet the agent argues that he was under pressure for other goals.

This same agent claims that he is unable to meet his schedule because he puts at risk FCR and Customer Satisfaction goals.  He is under pressure to resolve all customer issues with the first call.  He is also trained to satisfy the customer regardless of the time it takes to resolve the problem.  These two additional goals make it difficult at time to stay on schedule for training, breaks, coaching and logging out and into outbound calls.

Metrics levels change through the year:
Throughout the year metrics change based on the industry the contact center is involved in.  December to some agents is a very busy time while January is slow for those same agents.  So looking at agent performance should be done on a monthly basis and not just an annual basis because of the annual averaging of the performance outcome.  Monthly reporting is done through analytics similar to figure .

Figure  shows this group of agents has performed for the day.

Taking the monthly analytics and summarizing the data for the year explains how the agent has underperformed in certain key metric areas.  Creating an annual review of key metrics and showing the actual annual time spent in or out of those metrics can be a key towards successful performance reviews.

This annual agent status review (agent name and state / level changed to protect confidentiality) shows that Jacobs spends a lot of time on the call wrap up. Training for the year was 5 days. Is it possible to improve after call wrap up by additional training?

By adding a scorecard for the agent for the annual review the manager can discuss the importance of certain key metrics and how the agent has performed.

Scorecards will depend on the industry and the group the agent is participating within.  The scorecard will also be affected by the agents experience and skill sets.  Scorecards, like analytics are affected by the risk factors.  While these are not always 100% accurate they are very helpful in the general discussions with the agent and supervisor.

There are many factors to consider prior to annual performance reviews.  Some factors are not even mentioned in this article.  In one HR situation the Contact Center manager had a good relationship with an agent that had a positive attitude and was always fun to be around. However, this same agent did not meet most of her key metrics and adherence and occupancy goals were rarely met. Her response was she was helping other agents personally.

What is your turnover in the contact center? How much does that cost you? Is having agents that do not perform and do not meet goals a cause of concern or are you more concerned about the replacement process?  Annual performance reviews are challenging work but should be done.

Spectrum is a leading provider of Unified Contact Center Reporting.  Contact Spectrum today to learn more about Analytics and Scorecards.

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Dan Boehm
VP Sales and Marketing
+1 713 986 8839