Excerpted with permission from "The Executive Guide to Call Center Metrics," written by James C. Abbott, Copyright 2004 by Abbott Associates Inc. Published by Robert Houston Smith Publishers, ISBN 1-887355-08-1. To order from the publisher, visit www.effectivecallcenters.com. Also available through Amazon.com.
Call Center Metrics
The two types of call center decisions, strategic and tactical, require fundamentally different types of information. Operations, making tactical decisions, requires one type of metric reporting while the call center manager, making strategic decisions, requires a different type of metric report. The two metric reports (tactical and strategic) also work together as a team.
Call center managers make several kinds of strategic decisions including which resource to use, when to use the resource, and where to use the resource. Strategy, for our context, is planning and providing the correct resources at the correct time and at the correct place. Strategic personnel should be held accountable for developing a plan to meet our needs. They must determine what kind of facility will meet the company's needs and then build it. The strategic personnel should be held accountable for how well the facility they provide meets the company's needs.
Agents and call center supervisors make the tactical decisions for running the provided facility as correctly and consistently as possible. The proper term for their efforts is control. When we say that we are "in control," we are only talking about operational issues. The term in control means that the facility is running consistently. When we understand the concept of control, we realize that the objective of operations is the correct and consistent running of the currently available and existing facility. Operations must keep a focus on the tactical needs by making tactical decisions and conducting tactical analysis.
Clearly then, we must have tools available to us to measure the call center facility's unique metrics both strategically and tactically.
Metrics Must Tell a Story
When you read a short story, article, or book, you are told a story by the author. Effective stories paint a vivid picture of what the author is visualizing. Authors have a style that they use in their writing, and an outline that ties all the points, issues, and story line together. Like any good author, we must develop a style and have a call center outline. Then our call center metrics will tell the story for our decision-makers. The style that we will use is called Statistical Process Control or SPC. This style of "writing" is composed of two reporting methods--control charts and capability studies. This style will give us a common format for preparing all of our metric reports.
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Editor's tip: For more information about call center metrics, check out our tips for benchmarking call center metrics.