Critical Thinking On Call Center Managerial Controls
Several quality measures can be applied to evaluate the performance of individuals at the call center. These measures could be applied to the entire call center and to the entire team.
Call handling process
Among the most important areas that should be controlled is the call handling process. The important measures in this regard are the following: telephone etiquette, knowledge and competency, error/rework rate, and adherence to protocol. All of these relate to the persons individual. They can be corrected mainly by training and stricter adherence to procedures.
There are two measures used in this regard: first call resolution rate and transfer rate. The first call resolution is the rate at which customer problems are resolved within the first call. Meanwhile, transfer rate refers to the rate that a call had to be transferred to another person to be handled.
Service measures are quality performance measures that can be applied to the call center, the team, or the individual. At the call center level, the measures applied are: blockage (percentage of callers not able to access the call center at any given time), hours of operation, abandons (number and rate of abandoned calls), and self-service availability.
The measures applied to the individual can also apply to the call center as a whole and to the team. These measures are concerned with: service level, average speed of answer, and longest delay in queue.
Measuring performance of call center as a whole
There are various ways of monitoring a call center’s performance. These may be grouped into three: customer perceptions, efficiency measures, and profitability measures.
Customer perceptions can be monitored in three ways: customer surveys, customer praise and complaints, and customer observation . Customer surveys may be the most convenient to do. An independent research agency can do the survey and submit an analysis and report. One good thing about surveys is that the call center can compare itself with competitors. However, surveys can be very expensive. A survey once a year may be adequate.
Management should also observe the praises and complaints submitted by customers. The praises can be a source of ideas that other staff could follow, especially if there are exemplary performance. Complaints can be signal possible problems especially if patterns emerge.
Observing the interaction between customer and agent is a fairly standard practice in call centers.
Efficiency measures are averages showing where call center may be strong or weak. Surveys can provide the industry benchmarks. Company targets can set the goals that the call center as a whole could aim for. Most measures are standard and common among call centers. Among the more important indicators of quality may be: agent occupancy, schedule efficiency, and schedule adherence.
Profitability and cost measures
Profitability and cost measures provide deeper insight when compared to those of competitors’ or industry standards. On their own, they could be misleading. Nonetheless, they are indicators of quality relative to competitors. Quality performance after all has a direct correspondence to cost and profitability. The measures that can be used are: conversion (“the percentage of transactions in which a sales opportunity is translated into an actual sale”), up-sell/cross-sell rates (“success rate at generating revenue over and above the original order or intention of the call”), and cost per call.
Aksin, Z., Armony, M., & Mehrotra, V. (2007, Nov-Dec). The Modern Call Center: A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective on Operations Management Research. Production and Operations Management, 16(6), 665-688. doi:10.3401/poms
NAQC. (2010). Call Center Metrics: Best Practices in Performance Measurement and Management to Maximize Quitline Efficiency and Quality. North American Quitline Consortium. Phoenix: NAQC Issue Paper. Retrieved Mar 4, 2015, from http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.naquitline.org/resource/resmgr/issue_papers/callcentermetricspaperbestpr.pdf
Reynolds, P. (2003, Nov 15). The Top 20 Call Center Performance Measures. TechTarget. Retrieved Mar 4, 2015, from http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/news/936366/The-top-20-call-center-performance-measures
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