The success of a contact center in meeting callers' expectations is not always easy to measure, especially when selling is thrown into the mix. There are several measures currently used, mainly focusing on speed of service, a very quantifiable metric related to call handling. Along with the changing function of the contact center, these measures need to change, emphasize experts.
"For call centers, as a rule of thumb, there are certain metrics spread across all industries -- average speed to answer a call, success rate, the number of calls answered in 'n' seconds," explains Sovereign's Bourassa. "These numbers are still useful, but there are other metrics that focus more on the customer experience."
"The difference we see is in the importance given these metrics," relates Cheryl Yaeger, president of Atlanta-based Benchmark Consulting International. "Each measure gets weighted differently in different organizations. If you measure based on an average for the month, you miss out on daily variations. If on Monday mornings you have a 25 percent abandon rate, you need to know that. If you measure things over the course of a month, that gets washed out. Measuring performance in a dynamic way is important."
Getting a more precise measure of success in today's contact center is a matter of zeroing in on the individual agents and individual calls as opposed to simply lumping the numbers together. "If you're trying to transform your contact center into a selling channel, why would you measure an agent by time spent on the phone if that agent has high revenue?" asks BearingPoint's Howton. "A selling agent usually has longer call times. If your business objective is greater revenue per call, then you're going to want to balance that [with other measures]."