Call Center Management - Problems with KPI Measurement
A burning issue with measuring call center performance is the validity of the underlying data - what are KPI's really telling us and how can we trust these metrics?
Using KPI's for performance measurement is a well documented, tried and tested management tool. Issues arise however, with what the metrics are actually telling us and the validity of the underlying raw data. You can see what we mean when you consider some of the top metrics commonly used to measure call center performance; call quality, service level, customer satisfaction, average speed of answer, first call resolution, employee satisfaction and so on. The fact is that many of these metrics are subjective and not qualitative.
Achieving consistency across the metrics being gathered becomes even more problematic when you consider the number of different sources from which the raw data is collected. Call time is easily and accurately measured, however customer satisfaction comes from the customer themselves and one customers perception will differ from another and the same applies to employee satisfaction. Other KPI metrics, such as adherence to call center telephone policies will fall to be reported by a supervisor or other observer adding yet another source of metric data and broadening the problem of consistency with the raw data.
It becomes important therefore that rather than simple isolated metrics being used, that they are weighted and collated to give an holistic picture of what is actually happening with the call center. This is where balanced scorecards that provide weightings to appropriate KPI's play an important role within call center performance measurement. Applying appropriate weightings to the importance of a given metric will and combining the isolated weighted metric with the other KPI measures will assist in smoothing anomalies in data collation from inconsistency and the variety of data sources.
Ensuring that the metrics that are used with a balanced scorecard are valid we must consider what makes a valid call center performance measurement metric. Metrics selected as performance measures must be relevant, they must be accurate, collected on a timely basis, provide a complete or unconditional value and be clear. What appears to be a relevant metric may in fact not be so, call center managers themselves may be influenced by their own working practices and not in touch with the broad mission of the organization. An accurate metric measure will also lend confidence in the measure if it is unambiguous and the closer to the raw data this can be, the greater the degree of accuracy expected.
Unfortunately, call center managers are blissfully unaware of the real power of balanced scorecard and KPI metrics believing that they are useful for performance measurement and not anything more. The real power of KPI metrics lies in their diagnostic ability when used holistically, as the balanced scorecard attempts to do, not only for performance measurement but also for benchmark performance against industry competitors, identifying performance gaps and proscribing remedies as well as providing team members with individual responsibility for their part in over call center performance.
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