Time and time again I have worked in contact centres where operating measures are being met but customer satisfaction is falling. In other words there is no correlation between call centre KPIs and the resulting customer experience. According to experts the only metric that almost never fails to deliver increased contact centre satisfaction is First Call Resolution (View our FCR data sheet). Take a look at the graph below which is a typical distribution of FCR across a 300 head operation. As you can see there is a significant variance – 21% between the highest and lowest performers. In an operational environment where all agents are subject to the same process and system constraints, some agents have developed behaviours that avoid repeat calls.
FCR versus repeat calls – distribution across an entire operation
Interestingly there is not a marked difference in Average Handling Time (AHT) between the high and low performers – 14 extra seconds (less than 5%) per call on average in fact. In other words, in this real-life example, it doesn’t take that much longer to resolve a customer enquiry first time; a closer analysis reveals that it’s a combination of the agent’s ability, experience, motivation and empathy that makes the real difference. I also have a hunch that the most experienced agents tend to be a little bit more ‘free style’; in other words they have the confidence and the judgement to bend the rules on occasions if it means they can help to resolve the customer’s query. If you want to improve overall levels of customer satisfaction, then it makes sense to measure customer-focused metrics like first contact resolution and to your coach call centre agents, to emulate the top performers rather than reward and punish agents on the basis of pure efficiency-based operational metrics. In the next blog, I examine how contact centre managers can empower agents without unleashing anarchy in the call centre.