Friday, January 04, 2008

Call Center Measurements

Basic Call Center Quality Measures

For a number of years I worked on Process Improvements for Call Centers. I received an Email last week asking me about quality measures in a Call Center -- Below is my response ...

In order to set up basic call center meausre you first begin identifying measurement criteria for call centers that will assist in providing process measures for operational improvements. Due to the lack of/understanding of process measures and insufficient sharing of results between departments, downstream operational problems are not quantified and communicated to adequately drive improvement upstream in our processes.

Measurement criteria if not already established, should evaluate the performance of the call center (provisioning/repair) operations in the following key areas:

- Process Resources (cost effectiveness) - The process resources criterion is
concerned with measuring the cost of the resources consumed by the call center to
produce company established objectives and outputs.

An example would be the direct cost per call.

- Process Efficiency - The process efficiency criterion is concerned with measuring how efficiently calls are answered in the call center.

A typical example would be the number of calls answered within 20 seconds.

- Customer Preference - Customer preference is concerned with measuring those criterion that tell us how well our customers perceive the quality of service they are receiving by the call centers. Operationally excellent organizations focus on delivering service to our customers at competitive prices with minimal disruptions.

For example, a measure would be a representative’s professionalism, listening skills, and tone of voice during the call.

- Process Quality - Process quality criterion is concerned with measuring how well the representative follows the standard installation/repair call flow as well as procedures for billing, credit and adjustments. Process quality measures are more difficult to measure than the others mentioned, but by setting up measures to evaluate the effectiveness of training and new procedures implemented will identify many root causes that otherwise go undetected or produce outcomes that result in many hours of fixes and additional resources being thrown at the problem(s).

An example of this type is the adherence to the company credit policy for establishing new service or setting up a billing/payment arrangement.

- Sales/Marketing Effectiveness - The sales/marketing effectiveness criterion are concerned with measuring the effectiveness of sales/marketing conducted in the call centers. These efforts evaluate the success of a marketing campaign, or rate the effectiveness of the product/services that the company offers the customer.

Process Performance Interrelationships

It should be emphasized that process performance measurements are interrelated. Changes made to affect the performance in one area will normally affect the performance in another area. For example, if improvements are made in process efficiency (ie; average talk time), it is likely that process resources (ie, cost per call) will change. The following diagram further explains process performance interrelationships and the importance of understanding “Systems Thinking.”

Process Resources Measures

Key measures consumed by call centers for process resources include:

- Direct Cost Per Handling Minute - this measures the cost of talk time plus wrap time for service reps and any type of automated voice response unit (if applicable).
- Other (ie; depreciation, training, systems, recruiting, and facilities)

Direct costs refers to the labor costs incurred by the Customer provisioning/repair representatives. Direct cost is concerned with cash outlays for salaries, wages, benefits, supplies, and material, telecommunication costs to run a call center. Total Costs equals direct cost plus other costs.

Process Efficiency Measures

Key measures consumed by call centers for process efficiency include:

- % of calls abandoned
- Average time in Que
- Average speed of answer
- Handling minutes per representative per 8-hour day
- Required Hours as a % of total hours available - total handling time (min) necessary to process all incoming calls (including abandoned calls) during the time period
- % of calls answered in 20 seconds (ie; corporate objective)
- Call minutes per representative in 8-hour day
- Average call processing time
- Average wrap time

Process Quality Measures

Key quality output measures for call centers (provisioning/repair) include:

- Error/defect rate (ie; service orders, billing)
- Number of disconnects
- Number of due date changes
- Number/Percent of misdirected calls
- Number/Percent repeat calls
- Quality of Dispatch In
- Quality of Dispatch Out
- Number/Percent of double dispatch occurrences

The quality of call center output measures can have a significant impact on the performance and cost of upstream and downstream sub processes or processes. Most often the call center is the recipient (internal customer) of other departments errors/defects (internal suppliers) like sales, marketing, training, MIS or methods and procedures. This should be considered when any of the process departments involved make changes and/or improvements to call center operations.

Sales/Marketing Effectiveness Measures

Sales/Marketing effectiveness measures for call centers include:

- Number of sales resulting from a new marketing campaign
- Number of sales resulting from a new product/service

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