As humans we measure how far we walk, how much gas our cars use, how much electricity it takes to light our homes, how much of our budget we spend and don’t. Our lives are governed by measurements from instant to instant. We measure, measure, and measure! Without measurements we don't know whether we spent too much, got any value back or even moved a single inch ahead in the race to win the gold that is life!
We all know this and we see it every day when we punch a time card to see how many hours we worked, or when we pay a bill that measures how much usage we had and how much we owe. The same goes for each aspect of business that affects our lives. Because we deal with vast amounts of simple measuring and metrics so often in our personal lives, we all tend to think that we are quite familiar with what metrics are necessary to measure when it comes to our business processes as well; how to extract them, how to read them, which measurements are important, etc.
But do we really understand the process of professional metric measurement as it relates to our actual business processes? Certainly most of us think we do. When it comes to contact centers, there are the traditional measurements of average talk time (ATT), average handle time (AHT), and even average speed of answer (ASA), as well as some of the more specific metrics like hold time, abandon percentage, occupancy, etc. But do these tell the whole story about our success? Certainly these factors are extremely important, but do they tell us truly whether we are optimized, productive, and successful in our chosen theatre of operation?
In setting up contact centers around the world under widely different conditions, many different metrics have come forward into importance that most traditional environments attach only small significance to. A few of these might include customer loyalty, agent loyalty, agent attrition, agent proficiency, supervisor proficiency, supervisor loyalty, agent knowledge, tool uptime, agent satisfaction and many, many more.
Not only can it be difficult to understand the need for measurement of these metrics, but it is additionally quite hard to find accurate methods of gathering the accurate data on these metrics. The return on investment in figuring out how to gather and measure this type of data along with all of the traditional reporting metrics, however, can be quite astonishing. It is easy to see, for instance, that if we have high percentages of agent satisfaction with their tools, their working environment, and their compensation in general, we will have less attrition (and therefore more experienced agents working with the customers) and greater customer service given by each employee. This will translate immediately into more profits feeding our bottom line.
In addition, we can see that if customers are not just happy and not just satisfied but are actually truly “loyal”, they will bring more customers to us on a regular basis. This methodology of brining in business costs us nearly nothing and is therefore extremely profitable. In addition, if we ever make a mistake in our customer service or delivery, loyal customers are likely to be more forgiving and forgetful, continuing to use and purchase our services or goods in spite of difficulties that might occur. With such factors in mind, it is incumbent upon us to always seek out and apply newer cutting edge methods of measuring for even newer, non-traditional values of what productivity and performance is.
Once we do this, and we know where we stand, then an accurate, ongoing measurement can tell us instantly when any new productivity program we use either boosts or detracts from overall performance. Knowing when new procedures actually enhance or detract very soon after you try them gives you the ability to move forward in your professionalism at the speed of light!
Remember, anything you can accurately measure, you can change. In summary, we need to understand that there are even more metrics that define what success is than are usually talked about or used in the average contact center. We also have to understand that it can be difficult to find ways of measuring these metrics, but we need to keep trying and keep refining our methods of gathering the proper data surrounding these metrics. Finally, we have to realize that whether or not we decided to measure and affect these metrics positively, they will always be affecting our ability to increase profitability, as well as our ability to beat out the competition.