This article was originally posted by Chris Theriault for ICMI on March 8, 2017.
Contact Centres, as an industry, have been around since the advent of telephony technology. That technological era has also enabled us to measure and track contact centre activity quite accurately. For too many years, contact centres were focused on operating contact centres as efficiently as possible, not providing outstanding customer experience. Our early ability to track and measure activity resulted in a series of metrics being adopted to monitor the overall contact centre performance. These traditional metrics include average handle time, average wait time, occupancy, idle time, and service level among others. These metrics largely have a philosophical basis in Fredrick Taylor’s “The Principles of Scientific Management”, which still have a certain degree of operational relevance. Even though managing to those metrics resulted in running contact centres efficiently (and thus became the new norm to benchmark against), it also resulted in contact centres blindly managing to those metrics alone, without any analysis of how they are servicing and satisfying their customers’ expectations today. In true Fredrick Taylor style, we still will find those same metrics present in most dashboards and reports used today.
The issue with traditional metrics is that they are largely inward facing to a company. Customer service has evolved since those early days and the relevance of traditional metrics have waned in the current age of customer engagement. It is a fair question to now ask if these traditional metrics still make sense as the benchmark?
Today, contact centres increasingly understand the importance of providing excellent service to their customers, and as a result, they are adopting a customer-centric engagement approach. All aspects of customer contact need to be weighed for effectiveness and striking the perfect balance to maintain a continuous relationship. For organisations to compete and differentiate themselves, departments such as marketing, sales and customer service must coordinate their varying points of contact across all channels – not to inundate the recipient, but to strategically keep the relationship alive.