Improve Contact Center Performance with Real-Time Metrics

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1 Improve Contact Center Performance with Real-Time Metrics May 10, 2013 Sponsored by: DMG Consulting LLC

2 Table of Contents Introduction... 1 Lack of Real-Time Data and Guidance Impedes Contact Center and Agent Performance... 1 Uses and Benefits of Real-Time Data... 2 Decision Criteria: Deciding if Real-Time Performance Management is Right for your Contact Center... 4 Final Thoughts... 6 About Inova Solutions... 7 About DMG Consulting i - DMG Consulting LLC

3 Introduction Long before big data became a focus for enterprises, contact centers (also known as call centers) were already generating and capturing large amounts of valuable data from every call. Call detail records (CDRs), which refers to the data captured by contact center infrastructure solutions, include transaction-level information about everything that occurs during the customer journey, from the second the call arrives, to the steps taken in the self-service interactive voice response (IVR) system, through the agent experience, including being put on hold or transferred, until the call ends. Once referred to as cradle-to-grave tracking and reporting, CDRs are the essence of big data in contact centers. Most contact center managers want to use call data to analyze and understand customer behavior, as well as agent and department performance. However, given the massive amount of data generated with each transaction calls, s, short message service (SMS) conversations, chat sessions, social media interactions it is hard to filter through the noise to find the information that is useful for overseeing and improving performance. To complicate matters, contact centers often lack visibility into what is happening in real time. Without the ability to measure real-time performance metrics such as service level or agent average handle time, contact center managers will not be able to intervene and alter outcomes. Managers need to know when an agent is having a hard time with a customer, when volume forecasts are not matched to demand, when too many agents are out of schedule adherence, or when the department s average handle time is surging due to an unanticipated system issue or billing error. Real-time data empowers managers to address challenges as they arise, preventing small issues from turning into major problems. This white paper provides use cases and best practices to help contact center managers and supervisors identify and use real-time key performance indicators (KPIs) to improve their operation. It also provides guidance to assist contact center leaders in deciding if real-time performance management is right for their organization. Lack of Real-Time Data and Guidance Impedes Contact Center and Agent Performance Most consumers don t understand why it is hard for companies to deliver a consistently outstanding customer experience. They just know that most of their service interactions are less than satisfying. Despite the millions of dollars of investments in servicing staff, infrastructure and technology, most companies still DMG Consulting LLC

4 struggle to deliver a consistently satisfying service experience. It shouldn t be so difficult to address customer inquiries quickly, politely, professionally and accurately. But it is, as most consumers have learned the hard way. Avoiding complaints has always been a priority for companies, but in the era of social media, a bad experience is likely to be communicated to millions of people, or certainly anyone who wants to know about it, greatly increasing the need for companies to prevent bad customer experiences from snowballing into PR nightmares. If nothing else, this boosts the importance of learning about service issues as soon as they happen so that the company can take action proactively to mitigate the negative impact of the unfortunate event. The challenge is twofold: 1. Figure out how to deliver a consistently outstanding customer experience 2. Put in place processes to allow agents, supervisors and managers to learn immediately when there is a problem. Unfortunately, a large number of contact centers do not have visibility into the real-time performance of their agents or contact centers in general. CDR data is useful when investigating situations after the fact. Real-time data, however, is necessary to provide transparency that is imperative in the era of social media, when consumers do not hesitate to share all of their experiences online. Uses and Benefits of Real-Time Data The best (and increasingly, only) way to avoid having a negative situation get out of hand, or worse, go viral, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Contact center managers, supervisors and agents need to be empowered with real-time information and feedback so that they can see what is happening and prevent bad situations from escalating by taking immediate corrective action. While avoidance of negative publicity is a primary driver behind many contact center investments today, providing managers and supervisors with real-time performance data also delivers other benefits to customers, contact centers, enterprises and agents. See Figure 1. Figure 1: Top Real-Time Information Required by Managers/Supervisors Challenge KPI Corrective Action Benefit Call volume is greater than expected, and wait times exceed service level Queue volume/number of calls waiting Remind agents to adhere to their schedules Postpone Reduces wait times Reduces unhappy DMG Consulting LLC

5 Figure 1: Top Real-Time Information Required by Managers/Supervisors Challenge KPI Corrective Action Benefit training courses customers or QA sessions Abandonment rate exceeds the goal Average handle time (average talk time + after-call wrap time) is higher than goal Call abandonment rate Average handle time Ask agents for overtime Send out messages inviting agents to come in early Determine if high call volume is creating a longer wait time, or if the problem involves the IVR or another contact center solution Fix the underlying problem, whether staffing or technology Determine if this is due to a few agents, systems issues, or an unexpected business problem Notify the operating group that caused the problem so that it can be fixed Issue necessary product/service information to train staff to handle the problem properly Send a broadcast or wallboard message to Avoids bad public relations Reduces the abandonment rate Reduces call backs Reduces operating expenses Avoids bad public relations Enhances call quality and improves customer satisfaction Makes agents more comfortable performing their job and retention is higher Decreases servicing costs Identifies and fixes operational issues on a timely basis, before they can negatively impact more customers DMG Consulting LLC

6 Figure 1: Top Real-Time Information Required by Managers/Supervisors Challenge KPI Corrective Action Benefit agents An unplanned number of agents are out for the hour or day Agents are not adhering to their schedules Contact center is not meeting revenue goals Agent shrinkage/ interval FTE requirements Current agent state and realtime adherence status Sales/collection revenue Close rate Conversion rate Promise-to-pay rate Retrain agents Postpone training and QA sessions Ask agents for overtime Send out messages inviting agents to come in early Send agents a reminder alert when scheduled activities are about to change Remind agents to return to their scheduled activities Change the script Retrain agents Change the dialer to improve contact rates Mitigates and shortens the negative impact on service level Improves customer satisfaction Reduces overstressing for agents Improves service levels and customer satisfaction Improves department productivity Increases revenue Improves enterprise profitability Decision Criteria: Deciding if Real-Time Performance Management is Right for your Contact Center Contact center managers often have dozens of KPIs but few that provide truly actionable data. Figure 1 above shows the ways that real-time metrics can and should be used in contact centers to enhance the customer experience and reduce operating expenses while also improving agent satisfaction and protecting the company from negative publicity. Figure 2 should be used by contact center managers to determine if real-time performance management will improve their operating environment and the quality of service for their customers DMG Consulting LLC

7 Figure 2: Determining if Real-Time Performance Management is Right for your Contact Center Use this checklist to determine if real-time KPIs will enhance your operating environment. Do you need: Yes No Real-time KPIs that tell you how your contact center is performing throughout the day (instead of waiting until the next day to assess the prior s day performance)? To know when the department average handle time for an hour or day is greater than the goal? To know when the abandonment rate is higher than planned? To have visibility into how each agent is performing before the next day? To know when the call volume is greater than was planned in order to take corrective action? To know when the self-service application is malfunctioning and not properly delivering calls to agents? To know when too many agents are unexpectedly out and there are not enough agents to address transaction volumes within the service level? To know when a new business, procedural, system or support issue comes up that agents do not know how to address? To know customer satisfaction survey results in near-real-time? To have the ability to consolidate metrics from multiple systems and sites in real-time? To have an early warning system that notifies management of potential customer service issues? Managers who indicate yes to seven or more of these criteria should invest in real-time performance management, as it will likely deliver quantitative benefits and qualitative improvements for their operating environment DMG Consulting LLC

8 Final Thoughts A majority of contact centers, whether they have 10 agents or thousands, will benefit from an early warning mechanism that enables managers and supervisors to identify what is broken and how to fix it in real time. Contact centers already have the data the service organization is one of the largest repositories of big data in most companies. The challenge for contact center leaders is to convert the data into KPIs and metrics that can be used to identify and address performance issues in the moment. Real-time data provides actionable insights that allow managers to identify and remedy the underlying issues, effect change, and drive satisfying and profitable customer interactions that are worth tweeting about DMG Consulting LLC

9 About Inova Solutions Inova Solutions is a global provider of real-time performance management solutions that help contact centers improve their operations through the use of actionable, real-time metrics and consolidated reporting. Inova performance management solutions extend the value of existing reporting and workforce management systems by providing real-time insight into current performance levels across platforms. Large and small contact centers across industries use our solutions to quickly identify and proactively address in-moment performance issues and emerging daily trends before they lead to damaging customer service issues or missed objectives in service level. For more information, contact Inova at or visit us at About DMG Consulting DMG Consulting LLC is an independent research, advisory and consulting firm that provides strategic and tactical advice to enterprise and contact center managers, vendors and the financial community. Our mission is to help clients build world-class contact center and back-office environments by leveraging technology, processes and people. We provide insight and guidance to assist management in optimizing performance by increasing operational efficiency, providing an outstanding customer experience, enhancing loyalty, and increasing sales and profits. DMG devotes more than 10,000 hours annually to researching various segments of the contact center, analytics and back-office markets, including vendors, technologies, best practices, solutions and their benefits and ROI. More information about DMG Consulting can be found at DMG Consulting LLC

10 2013 DMG Consulting LLC. All rights reserved. This Report is protected by United States copyright law. The reproduction, transmission or distribution of this Report in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of DMG Consulting LLC is strictly prohibited. You may not alter or remove any copyright, trademark or other notice from this Report. This Report contains data, materials, information and analysis that is proprietary to and the confidential information of DMG Consulting LLC and is provided for solely to purchasers of this Report for their internal use. THIS REPORT AND ANY DATA, MATERIALS, INFORMATION AND ANALYSIS CONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE DISCLOSED TO OR USED BY ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT OF DMG CONSULTING LLC. Substantial effort went into verifying and validating the accuracy of the information contained within this Report, however, DMG Consulting LLC disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. DMG Consulting LLC shall not be liable for any errors or omissions in the information contained herein or for any losses or damages arising from use hereof.

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