Corporate respect for the role, purpose and contribution of contact centres is increasing as senior executives recognise the positive impact they have on the bottom line and the tremendous value of customer data flowing through the contact centre. The race is now on to align the contact centre with corporate goals, after spending decades keeping service organisations as far away from senior decision makers as possible. But this wont happen unless contact centre managers get new tools to capture and share departmental and customer data and insights with their constituents in operations, sales, marketing, product development and the executive suite and to meet their own reporting needs.
Aligning Contact Centre and Corporate Goals
Welcome to the promising new world of contact centre performance management. The value of performance management has already been proven outside the contact centre. It emerged as a way to align corporate objectives with the goals of all business operating areas, including sales, marketing and customer service.
When applied in a contact centre, performance management makes the centre less department-centric and more enterprise oriented, freeing managers from time-consuming data collection and reporting responsibilities. It harmonizes executive objectives with contact centre goals and provides tools, processes and a framework for sharing time-sensitive and critical customer data company-wide. Best of all, it achieves all of this while simultaneously improving agent productivity and satisfaction.
What is Contact Centre Performance Management?
Because the contact centre serves as a funnel for customer communications in the enterprise, it is key to identifying the core causes of problems and opportunities for all parts of the company. Contact centre performance management is a series of applications, tools and practices that begins by collecting data from customer interactions (e.g., inquiries, complaints, product suggestions and service recommendations). It then analyses them to understand customer intents and insights. Finally, it converts them into actionable recommendations that can improve the performance of all departments and ultimately boost the bottom line.
At a tactical level, contact centre performance management represents a series of measures and benchmarks that must be captured, tracked and reported to ensure the contact centre meets its departmental objectives. This includes delivering world-class customer service, increasing sales and improving customer loyalty while enhancing productivity. From a strategic perspective, it is a means of translating corporate objectives into contact centre key performance indicators (KPIs) that correlate with corporate goals.
To stay aligned with corporate objectives, contact centres must develop KPIs for every staff group agents, supervisors and management and for its external constituents. Agent-level KPIs should include:
· Productivity measures, such as average talk time and first contact resolution rates
· Quality measures from agent monitoring and customer satisfaction surveys
· Sales and revenue goals
· Customer retention goals
When combined and acted upon quickly, these performance measures yield improvements in agent behaviour that help the service organisation meet its own performance objectives as well as the overall goals of the corporation.
Benefits of Performance Management
Performance management systems allow contact centres the focal points of customer interactions to capture and analyse both structured and unstructured transactions, evaluate them and take actions that immediately benefit a corporation, its customers and employees.
Contact centres can use performance management systems to improve performance, but the value of the captured data soars when shared with stakeholders throughout the enterprise. Successful contact centres understand customer behaviors and needs, competitive threats and operational challenges, but performance management takes the strengths of contact centres to the next level. By codifying and sharing invaluable, time-sensitive customer data, it quickly delivers actionable insights to corporate decision makers.
Trends Driving Growth of Performance Management
Performance management is rapidly moving from contact centre manager wish lists to being crucial to the service organisation. In fact, it can be the managers new best friend, automating manual reporting tasks that previously monopolised their time, enabling the contact centre manager to focus on corporate objectives. The five major trends driving the adoption of performance management in contact centres are the need to:
· Reduce expenses
· Align contact centre goals with corporate objectives
· Share customer behavior, insights and needs
· Improve communications between sales, marketing and service
· Streamline contact centre management reporting
Ultimately, performance management must be embraced by the corporate culture to be successful. In next weeks column, well look at the nuts and bolts of implementing a contact centre performance management solution to cut costs, boost revenue, strengthen customer loyalty and satisfaction and improve operations.
Donna Fluss is the Principal of DMG Consulting LLC, delivering customer-focused business strategy, operations and technology for Global 2000 and emerging companies. Ms. Fluss is a recognized leader and visionary in customer relationship management and a highly sought-after writer and speaker. She is the author of the new, industry-leading 2004 Quality Management/Liability Recording Product and Market report. Contact Ms. Fluss at [email protected].