Successful organizations have a clear picture of their overall objectives and goals for their business. In the telecom industry, this generally requires a balance of maximizing profits, maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction, retaining high-performing staff, recruiting new talent, and driving new business.
These same objectives are applicable and should be considered when setting up a measurement framework for any customer engagement department. This planning step will help ensure that the internal workings and productivity of your call center are in-line with business goals. Revisiting the business objectives one by one, the essential KPIs should take into account the following items:
Customer Satisfaction (How well am I serving my customers?)
KPIs to watch: First-call resolution, customer satisfaction scores
Operational Efficiency (How well is my operation performing?)
KPIs to watch: Average handling time, Employee error rates
Business Value (How well am I supporting business sales?)
KPIs to watch: Average revenue per user, Customer retention rate
Employee Management (Am I getting the best out of my employees?)
KPIs to watch: Average revenue per user, Customer retention rate
But knowing which KPIs to track is only the first half of the battle. The other half of challenge lies in how to understand, apply and improve upon the data and insights to move the operation forward in the direction of success. This is where a business concept called “Performance Support” can help. Performance support systems create a quick and lean solution to help your team overcome day-to-day performance challenges and achieve your KPIs faster and more efficiently. Telco’s have turned to performance support to grow telecom ARPU and ROI – and so should you.
Here’s a look at our must-watch KPI’s for the call center and how performance support can make a positive and significant impact:
- First-Call Resolution (FCR)
Being able to resolve all of the customer’s concern on the first call made is a nirvana for most customer service centers. Recent research suggests that no single KPI has a bigger impact on customer satisfaction than FCR. In a study of more than 150 call centers, the Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM) found that for every 1% of improvement in the FCR there is a corresponding 1% improvement in customer satisfaction. SQM also found that call centers that achieved “world class” customer satisfaction ratings had a FCR average of 86%, while centers that were not among the elite in customer satisfaction had a FCR average of only 67%. Call centers with higher FCR rates also typically enjoyed lowered operating costs and happier employees.
How Performance Support can help: Today’s agents are over-tasked and time-pressured to resolve complicated calls quickly and effectively. Rekeying data, updating fields, navigating complex applications and retrieving customer specific information – are just some of the many tasks today’s call center agents perform while contending with often-frustrated customers. The key to improved FCR is providing your agents with the relevant information at the right time in a manner that allows them to focus on the customer.
Performance support provides desktop automation and real-time guidance that constantly monitors the agent’s desktop activities and can be designed to suggest support processes that are relevant to the user’s current open and active application and window or automatically perform the action to complete the desired task.
- Customer Satisfaction Scores
Customer satisfaction scores provide direct feedback from the people who count the most – your customers. While there are various methods to go about measuring customer satisfaction, from old school feedback surveys to complex data capturing, the Net Performer Score (NPS) has been proven as a simple and very effective way for evaluating customer satisfaction and loyalty. It’s calculated from the answers to this simple question: “Would you recommend this product?” The number of people who would, minus the ones who wouldn’t, gives you the Net Promoter Score.
How Performance Support can help: Performance support solutions go a long way to alleviate customer frustration and improve the customer experience. Customers want to be appreciated – they can feel when they have your full attention and when they don’t. The more engaged your customer service rep is with a customer, the more that you are showing them that you truly appreciate and value their business as well as understand their concerns.
Performance support uses in context, in-application guidance that adapts to the actual conversation. This allows customer service agents to offer the best answer/solution quickly and with significantly less errors. Meanwhile, the desktop automation part of performance support enables a seamless business process so your agent can concentrate on the customer and the issue at hand.
- Average Handling Time
Time is a precious commodity for all call centers and average handling time is a classic metric that is used to gauge operational efficiency. Long handling times can reveal inadequately skilled agents, broken processes and tools, and often higher costs at the company’s expense. Longer call times can also mean longer wait times and longer resolution times that negatively impact the satisfaction of the customer.
How Performance Support can help: During most calls, agents consult with their knowledgebase in order to provide answers for the issue that they are investigating. Searching, finding, reading, and understanding the information takes up valuable time and reduces the confidence of the customer, who is often on hold and waiting for an immediate reply.
Instead of storing the information in a separate knowledgebase, performance support makes the information extremely accessible, by displaying overlaid tooltips or relevant information on top of the application itself, at the moment of need.
- Employee Error Rate
Employee errors have an unfavorable effect on customer satisfaction. From keying errors to compliance issues, these errors can sometimes come at a high price, especially if you consistently notice similar errors by multiple users.
How Performance Support can help: Performance support adds a safety net around possible pitfalls. Using these systems, call centers can easily add custom validations to the problematic processes and forms. By using the Leo solution from Kryon Systems, this can all be done without the need for special programming or integration. These validations can work on any application, including web applications, desktop applications, and even legacy applications.
Leo can also make calculations and check the validity of the entered information. With these types of process precautions in place the system will not allow the agent to save a billing error in a client’s account. Instead it will alert the agent that there is an issue and suggest corrections. As a result, even novice agents can feel confident that they are doing the job right, every time, and with significantly less errors.
Here is a real-world example of how a leading cable provider used performance support to reduce (in some cases eliminate completely) keying errors resulting in significant savings for the company.
- Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
At the end of the day, the primary objective of every outbound call center agent is to generate revenue. This is easier said than done and is a major challenge for all operators, especially in today’s competitive environment. Organizations are going to great lengths to offer products/services that are both compelling and deliver value.
How Performance Support can help: To optimize the value of each customer, service providers need to re-evaluate their business processes and introduce additional systems and resources that will enable them to understand the preferences and behaviors of customers contextually, and adapt to them in real time. Performance support systems fit the bill.
Performance support system identifies sales opportunities by analyzing the data on the customer and the customer’s eligibility for possible promotions or sales campaigns while the call takes place, driving cross-sells and up-sells. Making this information available at the time of the call produces results in more focused pitches which helps increase close rates and average deal size.
- Customer Retention Rate
According to statistics by The Chartered Institute of Marketing, acquiring new customers is five to ten times of the cost of retaining an existing customer. The average spend of a repeat customer is a whopping 67 percent more than a new one. Another study by the Harvard Business School revealed that increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent, increases profits by 25 to 95 percent. So, while every business needs new customers, make sure your agents know that retaining current customers is just as important.
How Performance Support can help: Make sure your agents are up-to-date and aware of what’s selling well, who it’s selling to, and what’s not working. The more they understand everything about the product/service, the better they will be able to sell it. A high performing outbound sales agent will spend extra time prepping each lead to learn as much as possible before making the call, however, not all agents are as diligent or have the time if they want to meet their call volume. Performance support solutions provide next-best-action sales recommendations in real-time, so that the sales person can rest assured knowing he is ready for the call and can concentrate on the conversation.
- Employee Attrition Rate
Contact centers around the world experience exceptionally high attrition rates. A study from 2011 showed attrition rates of 21% and noted that these rates are expected to rise. High attrition means high recruitment and training costs, lower average skills and a more costly operation. According to Chron, the typical call center spends $4,000 hiring each new employee and another $4,800 in training. These figures do not factor in the addition indirect costs of employee turnover such as no productivity during training, paying overtime to current employees when there is a shortage of workers or additional on-the-job training that is needed after the official training period is over.
How Performance Support can help: Performance support solutions shortens the training duration without compromising on performance by providing context-based information and guiding the agents on the steps required to complete tasks and processes. Leo customers were able to reduce up to 50% of their on-board training programs by replacing infrequent topics with on-the-job, real-time Leo support. Leo not only shortens the onboarding process, it improves key performance indicators, such as AHT, FCR, and customer satisfaction levels. This means that the contact center not only saves costs, it actually improves its performance, while relaying on its inexperienced staff.
- Time to Proficiency
Once employees leave the classroom training environment, they have to put all their newly gainied knowledge to work which is often not as simple as it appears. Even with the best training programs, knowledge retention is always an issue as employees do not retain 100% of what they learn during the training sessions. Take into account that today’s new hires are expected to learn technical systems that require detailed step-by-step processes such as ERP solutions, accounting software, CRMs and this can lead to frustrated employees who can’t complete the task.
How Performance Support can help: Performance supports systems help fix that frustration by providing assistance directly within the business application and guiding the employee through the steps of the process without the need to look for the information, learn how to do it and then return to the task to apply this knowledge. Higher tech solutions even automate this process so employees simply click a button to accomplish what they want without having to learn it.
In a recent article on icmi, it was reported that by using Leo, Pelephone communications, Israel’s largest mobile operator, was able to reduce its onboarding costs by 50% while substantially reducing the time to proficiency of new CSRs. In other words, the new agents received less hours of training and less assistance during the nesting period, while at the same time they performed better as they entered their job.