This isn’t another blog that lists the different metrics you can calculate in your customer support or call center organization. We want to go a bit further & talk about how you can use these metrics for agent coaching.
Metrics like average speed to answer (ASA), average handle time (AHT), first-call resolutions (FCR) are primarily focused around controlling costs.
That isn’t a bad thing to be focusing on, but is it a relevant metric for a customer-first organization? AHT doesn’t account for agent performance or customer experience, the main aspects for most KPIs to help an organization deliver on.
We had the pleasure of talking to Patrick Ebrahimian from UnitedLex who will be speaking at Customer Contact Week (CCW) about this & here is an excerpt of our discussion:
Summatti: What will you be speaking about at the conference?
Patrick: I’ll be talking about my experiences implementing process improvements in the call center space, and how you can use Lean / Six Sigma tools to align, standardize, and implement real-time management. It’s important for teams to be proactive & not reactive when they are looking to improve the quality of their interactions.
Summatti: As a leader, how do you go about supporting agents to improve their performance?
Patrick: When measuring your agents with a metric like AHT, and coaching them, you tell them to bring your AHT down; Do you think they’re going to know what to do and how to do it? Probably not, they don’t even realize why it’s high. You need to help them understand the structure of the metric and what it entails. Help them understand the components that make up their AHT, show them how much time they are spending in those components and where they need to focus to help drive the metric in the right direction.
Summatti: I like the approach of helping them understand the why. How do you go about doing that?
Patrick: For example, an agent can have a high AHT for various reasons – they may be having trouble finding a solution quickly, or they do too much small talk at the beginning of the call, or just get off track easily. We need to know what components the agent is spending too much time in and help them improve it. I have worked with many departments to have them start coaching to the components of the metrics not the overall metric itself. Once you identify where they need to improve and understand why, then the agent knows exactly what to focus on and with driving the components in the right direction they actually improve the overall Metric as well.
Summatti: How have you seen this work as part of the call center processes that you have implemented?
Patrick: We have seen tremendous reductions in AHT and improvements in their Service Levels. The concept is simple, if you are coaching to the components that make up AHT or your main Metric, you are focusing on what is causing the increase, improving it and also improving your overall Metric as well.
About Patrick: Patrick is the Director of Transformation at UnitedLex driving transformation throughout the entire legal ecosystem. He was most recently the Director of Business Improvement and Quality at Wyndham Destinations. Prior to Wyndham, Patrick has implemented process improvements for Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson. He is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and a LEAN Master, with over 18 years of experience in Process Engineering for Legal, Hospitality, Financial and Manufacturing Industries.