Be careful what you measure: five points to consider when developing KPIs for your call centre

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Customer experience is viewed as the key to success. And in today’s online world of multi and omni-channel, call/contact centres play an important role in delivering a consistent branded service across all customer touch points.

Yet despite call/contact centres being at the very heart of providing an outstanding service, all too often, businesses stick to using standard performance indicators, which monitor operational effectiveness, rather than looking at the bigger picture. Whilst these productivity measures, such as abandoned calls, the number of calls answered and average call length are important, taking a more holistic approach is essential when developing a set of tailored KPIs that measure a call centre’s real contribution to the organisation. Looking at the mind-set of a customer, think about what do they expect when contacting a business? Also keep at the centre of your measurement the Customer Effort Score. This looks at the ‘effort’ a customer has to make to be served by a business and is calculated in a similar way to Net Promoter Score.

1. Organisation’s business objectives
The starting point is to be clear about the organisation’s long-term business strategy and the role the call/contact centre will play in achieving these goals. Then, once the centres objectives have been established, a set of KPIs consistent with the required performance of the call centre can be developed. Naturally, these will differ dependent on the centres’ function - order taking, business development or customer retention units would use different sets of KPIs to measure their effectiveness.

2. Understand customer lifetime value (CLV)
Customer lifetime value (CLV) measures the monetary value of a customer for the duration of its relationship with the company. Understanding the lifetime value for different customer segments is essential when considering how much to spend on both acquiring and retaining clients.  For example, customers, that are expensive to recruit and initially look unprofitable, can prove to be extremely profitable when all future sales are taken into account.

3. Call centre effectiveness
Once the objectives of the call/contact centre have been established and the CLV by segment are clearly understood, the KPIs for operational efficiency can be developed. Tailored KPIs will generally fall under three headings: customer satisfaction (e.g. abandoned calls, first time resolution etc.,) operational efficiency (average call time, cost per call etc.) and contribution to business (total sales, cross-sell, customer retention etc.).

4. Reward & recognition structure
A well thought out incentive scheme is also key to a call/contact centre performing successfully.  Poorly conceived reward structures can skew performance with unintended consequences. For example, in the financial services sector, it might be better to incentivise the number of sales rather than the value of new business – so that agents are encouraged to sell the most appropriate product rather than the one with the highest value. Recognising individuals contributions is essential to embedding the correct behaviours into habits; a simple ‘thank you, well done, I liked the way…’ can often be more motivational than monetary rewards.

5. Turnover and absenteeism
Providing an engaging and positive working environment for agents is important, if a call/contact centre is to perform at the required level.  The initial recruitment process and induction programme sets the tone. Then, regular training - be it self-led or formalised - and workplace coaching provides on-going support to help retain and develop the team.  Monitoring turnover, particularly in the first year, and absenteeism is important to evaluate the effectiveness of your call/contact centre. Think about the cost to the business to replace those who leave due to bad management.

If you would like to discuss the effectiveness of your call centre, please do get in touch – we would love to hear from you.


This post was written by

Mark BW McDermott

Account Director