Hey Boss! Look at all the stuff I’m measuring!


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Calls offered by half hour
Calls answered by half hour
Abandons by half hour
Busies by half hour
Calls blocked by half hour
Average talk time by half hour
Average not-ready time by half hour
Average handle time by half hour
Service level by half hour
% of calls answered in 10-second increments by half hour
Average speed to answer or delay time by half hour
Call volumes to DNIS


Hey, I got jokes. At least I think I do. But this isn’t one of them. This is an actual list of measures I saw recently on a contact center management dashboard. Oh, and this was not the complete list. There was more. But guess what wasn’t there? Look at the list again. Not a single indicator of how the customer viewed the experience or how well customer service was doing actually reducing demand for service through the elimination of broken upstream process that drive unnecessary service contact volume.

The indexes above do have have value for workload and resource planning. You need to insure you have enough people in the seats to handle contacts or that, in turn, will impact the customer experience as well. But beyond that, they have no place on a customer service scorecard. Now in fairness, this company does survey its customers. It is attempting to measure first call resolution. And, it’s even trying to understand how to extract value from New Promoter queries. But, none of these indicators appear on the contact center management dashboard. Nor, are they metrics to which management compensation is directly tied.

The other issue I have with this list? Its just too darn long. One of the first tenants of a performance management system is to develop a set of KPIs that you can actively manage and work towards improving. Too many numbers leads to diluted effort which usually means nothing (or very little) actually improves in the operation.

A better approach?

First, focus your management effort on the things customers actually care about. I’ve yet to see a statistical study that correlates a customer’s willingness to recommend with AHT.

Second, for any organization, contact center or otherwise, there is opportunity to improve understanding of and implementation of a high functioning performance management system. The first step is to understand the difference between a Measure and a Metric

As you think through the design of a performance management scorecard, spend enough time considering whether each number is a metric that you can proactively manage to or simply an interesting fact.

Richard Snow from Ventana Research, in his recent blog post “Have Service Level Stats Outlived their Sell-By Date?” conducted a study of the most common metrics use in contact centers. This survey highlights the same issue.

Why are most of common metrics least relevant to the customer experience? As Richard accurately concludes: because they’re easy.

Don’t do easy. Do what makes a difference.

Barry Dalton
Telerx Marketing
Consumed by the pursuit of delightful service. Into all things customer loyalty and technology. My current mission is developing new service channels and the vision of the contact center of the future.


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