Growing Through a Recovering Economy…Are Traditional Call Center Metrics Enough?

Vivian Blade

As any Process Excellence leader would know, leveraging customer satisfaction feedback is crucial for initiating effective process improvements within an organization. To ensure successful process improvements, organizations must put in place metrics that accurately measure what their customers value. This article, first published on Customer Management IQ, reveals how call centers may need to re-evaluate whether their traditional call center metrics truly measure the customer experience, and if they are making an impact on business growth during this time of economic recovery.

"Hello, my name is Jane. How may I help you today? Yes, Mrs. Smith, how are you today? I am happy to help you with your order!... Thank you for your order, Mrs. Smith. I’d like to go over the details with you again to make sure I have everything correct. Now, Mrs. Smith, may I verify the delivery address?... Thank you, Mrs. Smith, and have a nice day!"

As a Call Center Manager, how would you measure this type of call? How do you measure your call center’s success?

Traditional Call Center Metrics

Typical call center metrics can be summarized into three categories: quality, productivity and financial. These metrics usually cover such things as:

  • Call Center Quality: did the rep greet the customer, follow the script, verify the order, verify the address, close properly, etc.
  • Call Center Productivity: speed of answer, average talk time, calls per hour, hold times, calls in queue, dropped calls, etc.
  • Call Center Financial: revenue per call, cost per call, cost per sale, conversion rates, etc.

If your call center performance meets your criteria in these three traditional categories, would you consider the center to be a quality operation that is fully capable of delivering growth through a recovering economy?

Call center technology helps you to efficiently and effectively collect and calculate these measurements. Through side-by-sides, monitoring calls and reviewing tons of data, call center technology provides valuable information at your fingertips to help you run your call center business.

What Do Your Call Center Metrics Tell You?

But, how do you know that these metrics positively impact sales, customer retention and long-term profitability?

Does your call center technology help you connect your call center performance to the overall financial and service delivery performance of the company?

Is customer experience and customer loyalty measured in your company? Are the company’s vision, values, and goals focused on delivering a promoter-worthy customer experience with each interaction? Does your company strive for excellence in these areas? Does the company care about long-term profitable customer relationships, which increase share of wallet and overall market share?

Do you know what role your call center plays in meeting these results? How does each customer interaction with your call center increase or hinder customer loyalty and growth?

What call center metrics are used that give you a view of the customer experience? If you do a good job achieving traditional call center metrics, do you feel you’re providing a good customer experience?


Let Me Challenge Your Call Center Thinking…

Call center performance is more than just numbers and metrics that spit out in all of these reports. The call center is often the first point of customer influence, the genesis of a company’s ability to serve customers with a promoter-worthy end-to-end customer experience throughout their entire operation or value stream. Traditional call center metrics play an important role in customer experience, as many of these CTQs are requirements and fundamentals that customers expect. But traditional call center metrics don’t provide the full picture.

Growth: A Dual Business Strategy for Call Center Success

Your business strategy must encompass a two-fold approach for your call center to be an integral part of the company’s trajectory out of the recession.

Step 1: Culture–Build a service culture, on which core values are defined and exemplified daily

  • Hire employees with an innate sense of service
  • Be zealous in assimilating employees into a service culture
  • Understand the customer impact of your operation’s full value stream. How do call center outcomes affect your business outcomes downstream? Ensure your operations support a promoter-worthy value stream.
  • Empower your front-line call center representatives to take care of customer needs.
  • Define a successful (defect-free) call outcome in terms of what’s important to the customer. Model the success behavior and use it for training, coaching and rewards.
  • Reinforce the service values. Build an employee Recognition & Reward system based on how these service values are embodied in daily performance.

Step 2: Performance–Include customer-facing call center performance metrics that measure a promoter-worthy customer experience.

  • Do call center representatives understand customer problems and help to ensure customer success? Or, are reps just order takers on your own company’s terms?
  • Are customer problems, orders or inquiries handled on the first call? Without being transferred and long hold times?
  • Are call center representatives able to provide the level of technical support the customer needed in order to complete a successful (end-to-end) transaction?
  • Are call center representatives responsive to customers in a timely and respectful manner?
  • Use a customer loyalty metric such as likelihood to recommend, the Net Promoter Score, which will begin to build the connection of call center performance, to customer loyalty, to growth. Share direct customer feedback to inspire call center teams to excellence.

Build in the right call center metrics that measure the customer experience for your business. Ensure your traditional call center metrics support your customer experience goals. Use technology to automate the customer experience metrics and use them to evaluate, coach, recognize and reward employees, just like you do with traditional metrics.

Ready for the recovery?

Vivian Blade shows that it pays to assess the effectiveness of your organization's customer-focused metrics. The next time you develop or re-evaluate your metrics, think about whether they accurately measure the customer experience.