In today’s hyper data-driven, KPI obsessed world, contact center managers are often faced with an onslaught of KPIs to monitor—you know, the usual suspects of daily/weekly/monthly sales, average handling time (AHT), first contact resolution (FCR), number of interactions per agent, net promoter scores, customer survey results, agent scheduling adherence… In a nutshell, there’s a hard-number metric for just about any step in customers’ overall experience and journey with a company.
It’s exhausting just listing them all—let alone analyzing them on a regular basis.
And with contact centers’ accelerated movement to omni-channel sales and customer support, the glut of KPIs show no signs of easing up.
Now, as any management guru from the dawn of time will tell you, it’s crucial to set specific KPIs to measure your contact center’s performance levels. After all, how can you improve if you don’t know what or where to improve? And how can your teams know what is expected of them without clear goals.
This is true.
But a two-fold problem arises. Once you’ve hashed out where your team is rockin’ it and where your team is losin’ it, what then? What concrete actions do you put in place to get your lacklustre metrics back on track? Do you:
- Wait for the next few months to see if it was just a blip on the radar or the symptom of something chronic?
- Talk to your contact center agents to get their point of view?
- Scold your team and order them to dive back into their training manuals of yesteryear?
- Down a shot of whiskey and craft a business case for your boss to ask for more agents/additional agent training—and and perhaps (yikes!) lowering expectation levels?
- All of the above?
- None of the above?
The first travesty is that oftentimes, KPIs are simply not acted upon. At all. A daily/weekly/monthly meeting here. Maybe a few words of encouragement there. Perhaps a knee-jerk reaction with the whip or the carrot. But do any of these fleeting actions lead to long-term positive changes in achieving your KPIs?
Just how many of you out there work with your team, on a consistent basis, to hone out a new process, work method or strategy to meet a KPI, based on your agents’ experience?
The second travesty is that many contact centers are actually missing a low-hanging fruit that can make a big impact on nailing their KPIs.
Welcome to the world of soft KPIs
Have you ever considered adding soft KPIs to the mix?
We can envision the deer in headlights look.
We’re not purporting simply piling on more KPIs for you to check. What we are saying is that the secret in clinching your hard KPIs is, in part, by encouraging your agents to adopt or change certain behaviours (aka: soft KPIs).
For example, if your AHT is as bad as the latest news headlines, have you considered 1) Gleaning your high-performance agents to see what they’re doing right to slash each call’s AHT, 2) Determining if your under-performers applying the same approach? If some of your employees are indeed missing the AHT mark, perhaps they simply don’t know what to do.
Another case in point. Let’s say your NPS levels, day in, day out, are…um…subterranean. It’s easy to lay blame on a product or services pricing, how better the competition is, yada yada yada. But have you ever considered encouraging and rewarding stellar customer facing. You know, the human side of it all?
Soft KPIs can include asking your agents to add more friendly phrases when they talk to someone on the phone or going the extra mile to be politer on chat, or sharing a solution to an issue the entire team may face. Needless to say, you’ll need to be specific in your soft KPIs and they’ll need to be measurable. The last think you want is the added pressure of monitoring fluff.
However, soft KPIs can go a long way in improving your hard KPIs. The added bonus? Your employees will feel less like number robots, feel more motivated as they progress in their learning, and perceive themselves as part of a team that is truly leading real performance change in your organization.