This decade has seen what many people are describing as the ‘big data boom’. As individuals, we’re creating more data than ever, with an estimated 17 million selfies being uploaded to social media feeds every week. Businesses are also generating more data than they know what to do with. It prompts us to ask the question - with all this data, what can we learn from call centre metrics?
Data has always been valuable for the call centre. It has the potential to reveal information about how customers are behaving, how employees are performing, and which elements of a business might need the most attention. The problem is that call centre metrics become information, shared through reports, but this information scarcely becomes genuine insight.
This is often because we recognise a wealth of data, but tend to focus on a single call centre metric at a time. Let’s take AHT for example - in many cases, call centres will take a look at their data, and decide that AHT is too high. This metric then becomes a focus, and an initiative to reduce it in order to increase efficiency is put in place.
The assumption is that if a business focuses on AHT, agents will too - and cost-efficiency will improve. But it doesn’t, because AHT is being focussed on without context. Agents who are under pressure to reduce AHT will simply do whatever they can to reduce the amount of time they spend on a call, even if this means missing out on an opportunity to resolve a customer’s issue.
The key here is to create a balance between metrics that focus on different elements of the business. For example, a balanced focus on both AHT and First Contact Resolution means agents do whatever they can to resolve the customer's issue properly, but in a timely manner. This increases efficiency by driving down repeat contacts, delights the customer, and allows the agent to feel proud.
The real value of call centre metrics
Call centre metrics hold the opportunity to reveal valuable insight about how to improve service and efficiency, but without context we just end up going round in circles. The key is looking at data and metrics beyond their face value.
Cost effectiveness doesn’t come from driving down simple, single metrics typically associated with efficiency. It comes from a holistic approach to call centre metrics that considers the bigger picture. When it comes to trying to turn data into valuable insight, we need to consider what’s important for the cost of the business, and the experience of the customer - and find a way to balance those metrics.
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