Seven Costly Deadly Sins of Performance Measures


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“The CEO collects as much in performance bonuses as he can before he goes to jail”

This unfortunate joke was circulating at the 2006 International Contact Center Management Conference held at Chicago’s Navy Pier. And the people telling it to each other were the speakers!

Abuse of performance measures in Contact Centers has resulted in low customer satisfaction and low employee morale – which leads, as day follows night, to high customer churn and high employee churn.

The Business Process Re-Engineering guru, Michael Hammer, MIT Sloan Mgt. Rev., Vol. 48, Spring 2007 – click on post title to read for individual use – , has written a devastating critique on the seven deadly sins of performance measurement. These are not just SINs – they are costing profits, losing opportunities, wasting human creativity and passion.

What are they? And how do they cost us? I’ve listed them here – let me know if you have examples in your experience to share.

1. Vanity: “to use measures that will inevitably make the [contact center], its people and especially its [management] look good.”

2. Provincialism: “letting organizational boundaries and concerns dictate performance metrics.”

3. Narcissism: “measuring from one’s own point of view, rather than from the customer’s perspective.”

4. Laziness: “assuming one knows what is important to measure without giving it adequate thought or effort.”

5. Pettiness: when you “measure only a small component of what matters.”

6. Inanity: “to implement metrics without giving any thought to the consequences of these metrics on human behavior and ultimately on enterprise performance.

7. Frivolity: “the sin of not being serious about measurement in the first place.”

Contact Centers who focus on being efficient and effective but do not seriously measure customer perception, customer experience are not taking contact center performance measurement seriously.

Are you committing even ONE of the seven deadly sins of Performance Measures?

Because if you are, you are wasting money at a minimum, and in the worse case, you are threatening the survival of your organization.

Today’s customers find out about who is earning and keeping their customer’s trust.

And given a choice, wouldn’t you rather buy from a business who is tracking how they perform on keeping your trust?

Mei Lin Fung
Institute of Service Organization Excellence, Inc.
Mei Lin Fung, blogs on ebCEM – evidence-based Customer Experience Management. The Service Leadership Transformation Program developed in an innovative public private partnership with Avaya and Oklahoma State University received the Phillip Crosby Golden Medallion in 27. Her curriculum has been implemented by Microsoft Telesales in China, and Johnson and Johnson in Asia. She designed the first US Department of Labor approved Contact Center Apprenticeship Program in Oklahoma. Blog: Learning to Earn Customer Trust by Mei Lin Fung


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