How Can Performance Management Increase Contact Center Effectiveness?
Posted Aug 4, 2003
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A consensus opinion of contact center managers and supervisors would reveal that their most looming pressures is to increase the level of customer satisfaction, while continually trying to reduce the overhead costs of maintaining an effective contact center operation. Yet most would also say it is difficult to accomplish both. So what choices do managers have of reaching these two goals? If you believe that timely information on the contact center's (and agents') most crucial metrics, available together on the desktop and delivered to the right people, is part of the answer, then you are ready for to look at performance management. How many times have contact center managers heard comments like: "We used to get reports done by 10 a.m. Now they're arriving later and later. "I have no way of easily understanding why products are selling better on the Web than through our contact center." "We have no way to assess the effectiveness of our training and incentive programs." As contact centers grow in strategic importance by enterprises intent on improving their customer interactions to drive revenue, it will become far more critical for contact center managers to understand that multiple factors affect contact center performance. Traditionally companies have looked to production reports as the source for performance information. But because many contact centers rely on data from multiple sources, they have no aggregated view. Planning departments and management are often left with the task of lengthy manual generation and analysis processes. Often, they produce reports that are incomplete or inappropriate, leading frustrated users to turn to other sources for actionable information. Custom Microsoft Access databases and complex Excel spreadsheets come to proliferate as users attempt to answer their own complex questions. High-level contact center performance can only be measured with key performance indicators (KPIs) that directly address corporate goals. Hence, contact center managers need an easy way of consolidating and analyzing all of the relevant sources of data and a way of gaining a single view of the data from different dimensions, such as customer, product, geography, market, time, and delivery perspectives. Performance management applications address this challenge, providing managers and agents with a single version of the truth from multiple sources and perspectives in a form that enables timely business decisions. Performance management applications can help pinpoint a cause-an-effect relationship in near--real time. Managers can analyze campaigns midstream, in real time, watching trends and making changes to the campaign quickly and easily. Say, for example, a select team is making contact calls to cross-sell customers the opportunity to transfer credit card balances at a rate of 1.7 percent APR. Performance management provides the manager with a detailed analysis showing that the trend, just hours into the campaign, is customers with balances of less than $1,000 are far less likely to take advantage of the offer. Management can make a quick decision to reduce the rate, because they can run what-if scenarios based on current and past trends. The manager analyzes the trends after the change is made to the campaign, and the uptake rate for customers with the lower balances dramatically improves. Performance management applications not only serve to reduce costs and optimize productivity, but also to enable more effective interactions. This is the driver to increased revenue, and to customer retention and satisfaction. The most effective solutions are those that not only optimize the agent's productivity, but also, overall, the call center's performance, and can feed corporate performance management systems.
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