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Use Data to Lead

Learning objectives:

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  1. Establish the right KPIs for the contact center.
  2. Explain the value of a customer effort index.
  3. Implement new ways to use contact center data.

No matter what your role is in the contact center, you’re expected to deliver a positive customer experience. As you move up in the organization, the way you ensure the delivery of that experience changes. In this unit, you’ll:

  • Learn about operational excellence and how that helps you effectively communicate customer challenges
  • Establish KPIs that define incredible customer experiences
  • Get fresh perspectives on challenging cases

Establish the right KPIs

Operational excellence is largely about handling variation, and being able to manage continuous improvement. When determining the best mix of KPIs to evaluate contact center performance, remember that productivity and quality are not mutually exclusive. What you measure, or don't measure, says more about the organization than your mission statement or company tagline. 

Make sure that your measures reflect the outcomes you want to deliver. If you say you’re all about the customer experience, but 80% of your performance evaluation is based on average handle time, there’s probably a disconnect between your desired outcome and the KPIs you’re using to get there. You want KPIs that will help you determine what’s working and what isn’t — and use that to inform your strategy moving forward. 

When you're establishing KPIs, allow wiggle room for experimentation in the contact center. Use KPIs that are forgiving; you don’t want your metrics to compromise your ability to try something new. Having some segmented KPIs allows you to account for variation from the norm whenever you have big changes. Companies that want continuous improvement have to consider the variation that may occur in KPIs when new processes are implemented. 

Get an External Perspective

An organizationally excellent company always has a great external perspective. You can talk to other C-Suite executives about their perceptions of your team, and you can talk you your agents about their opinions but their views will be biased. Without the perspective of people outside the organization, you can’t really know how you're impacting your customers and you’ll have a harder time achieving operational excellence. 

To find out how your initiatives are working in the real world, use focus groups and talk to people in customer-facing positions. Test your call center during peak and non-standard hours to test the customer experience. See how they handle the stress during busy times of day but also make sure they’re responsive at 2 a.m. Think about the entire value chain and the third parties who are plugged into different service components. Ensure the value chain is delivering for your company by getting good visibility into what they do.

Use data to improve the customer experience

There’s no need to rely solely on your smarts and intuition to impress C-Suite executives. Tap into your data analytics from the contact center. Use those insights to help make smart, actionable decisions that will enhance the customer experience. The contact center is chock full of rich data, including purchasing habits, demographics, and geographic location — all of which your customer service agents should use to improve contact center operations. 

Here are some ways to use contact center data:

• Establish targets for incentives, raises and performance assessments 

• Provide unbiased coaching to employees 

• Anticipate customer needs by analyzing buying patterns using of predictive analytics

You can also create a customer effort index. As part of your customer survey, ask customers how many times they had to interact with your business to accomplish their goal. How many channels did they interact with and how many times did they have to talk to someone in the contact center? Put that into an index to generate a score. Connect it to the agent so you can measure performance. You can correlate the customer effort index to other indicators and get more insights from your data. 

Operational excellence is all about getting a clear understanding of the ways people experience your organization and ensuring KPIs are aligned to the goals of the organization. In the next unit, you’ll learn how to take those goals and build a future-focused contact center around them.