Top 5 Key Performance Indicators to Improve the Voice Call Experience

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Tech issues, even small ones, can have an enormous impact on customer experience. An increasing number of organizations are taking advantage of the benefits of VoIP networks, but are unaware that voice must share the network with data, decreasing bandwidth and in many cases, the quality of the call.

Voice quality has become an incredibly important part of the success of an organization’s contact center. Ironically, however, in a Customer Experience Foundation study (commissioned by Empirix) in late 2010, an alarmingly large percentage of respondents reported experiencing poor voice quality.

  • 79 percent of consumers around the world that have experienced poor voice quality
  • 68 percent of consumers confirmed they’d hang up
  • only 26 percent said they’d call back in order to complete a transaction.

People today have no problem taking their business elsewhere. A complaint that years ago would have been aired to a small circle of family and friends can now easily reach thousands (maybe millions) via social media outlets, such as Twitter, significantly impacting an organization’s bottom line.

Let’s look at a financial services company that had a voice quality issue as our primary example. Approximately 50 percent of the calls this organization received were handled by agents and one-third of those customers needed to be transferred to a second agent. When the second transfer occurred, call voice quality deteriorated so much that those customers had to hang up and call back.

When they tried again, they had the same experience. This caused significant frustration among customers. Looking at the numbers, 33,000 calls in one day resulted in a poor customer experience. That is a lot of frustrated customers.

Today’s contact centers are extremely complex, featuring multiple communication channels, self-service applications, routing schemes, agent groups and vendor equipment. Often times, companies may not even know there is an issue until it is reported by a customer.

Key Performance Indicators

To better understand customer experience, it is important to track certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). By closely monitoring these KPIs in real-time, companies can spot service degradations and possibly preempt their impact on customers. The top five KPIs to watch include:

  1. Call Blockage Rate: Used by most contact centers today, the call blockage rate measures how well customers can access services. When solutions are not working properly or the contact center cannot handle the sheer volume of customer inquiries, calls are not answered. A high blockage rate has an immediate and negative effect on customer satisfaction.
  2. Call Abandonment Rate: High abandonment rates indicate application problems, incorrect routing latencies in back-end communications or inefficient management of customer service resources. These conditions result in frustrated customers who are unable to get their problems fixed in an efficient and timely manner.
  3. Voice Quality of Service: Poor voice quality reflects badly on any company. It also leads to an increase in call length when customers and agents cannot understand each other and are forced to continuously repeat themselves. In extreme cases, customers will hang up and try again. Either way, these delays can be extremely expensive to both customer loyalty and overall cost per call.
  4. Repeat Calls: This is a measurement of how many times a customer contacts the company before his or her issue is corrected. A variety of technical issues can lead to higher repeat call rates, improper routing, long queue lines, dropped calls and more. This KPI also reflects how successfully agents are able to satisfy customers the first time.
  5. Mean Time to Diagnose: Pinpointing the cause of problems in today’s complex environments can be difficult. Decreasing the Mean Time to Diagnose is essential for limiting the negative impact on customers. Additionally, it drives considerable cost savings for the organization since support man-hours can add up quickly.

No one wants to lose a customer because of a technical glitch. But unfortunately, the technology supporting customer service has become extremely complicated, requiring components from many vendors to work together seamlessly at all times. “Seeing” problems across these complex environments and understanding their impact on customer experience can be difficult. Many companies do not have this level of visibility and must wait for customers to complain. If they even bother.

In the end, customers do not care how hard it is to manage contact center environments. They just want great service whenever—and however—they contact you.

Tim Moynihan
Tim Moynihan serves as vice president of marketing at Empirix. In this role, Tim is responsible for strategic business planning and product revenue growth strategies as well as expanding Empirix's position as the market leader in service quality assurance solutions for enterprises and service providers. These responsibilities include providing executive leadership, managing their individual business units on both an internal and external basis as well as overseeing marketing objectives worldwide.

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