Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are developed so as to produce a Balanced Scorecard from the strategy, comprised of measurements from each of four perspectives; financial, customer, operational and organizational. The measurements, taken together, form a balanced set or Balanced Scorecard.
When considering measurements in each perspective, two distinct types should be considered: efficiency and effectiveness. Basically, effectiveness measures inform the leadership team if the organization is meeting objectives, and the efficiency metrics are focused on meeting the objectives at the lowest cost or with the least amount of resources.
Efficiency measurements are fairly easy to spot as they usually have an associated unit measure, such as per contact, or per hour. Examples are cost per contact and contacts handled per hour.
However, there are other examples of efficiency measurements that are not so obvious, such as handle time. Effectiveness measurements really get to the heart of the strategic question, are we meeting objectives?
Measurements such as a customer survey index, resolved on first call, resolved on call, call deflection rate, and speed of answer fall into this category. So do such measurements as schedule adherence and forecast accuracy. For internal help desks, service desks, or other cost-center operations, cost per call can be both an efficiency and effectiveness measurement.
When one adds up all of the efficiency and effectiveness measurements across the four strategic perspectives, the number of measurements in the support centers can be overwhelming, especially for the larger support contact centers which represent a blend of call center and product or technical support.
For example, I have seen a dashboard for a large support center with 36 measurements. Leadership certainly cannot manage effectively to 36 measurements, supervisors cannot coach to 36 measurements, and specialists cannot react to 36 measurements. Not that you should stop collecting all of the efficiency and effectiveness measurements, but go back to the strategy of the support center organization and choose those Key Success Indicators, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), that present a balanced view of the critical factors that determine whether business objectives, and hence organizational strategy, are being met.
As an aside, a frequent dilemma I encounter is what to measure at the specialist level. Human nature dictates that measurement targets will be met, but often with unintended consequences. Measure specialists on their Average Talk Time, or ATT, or they will the target value every time, by rushing through calls if need be. As will be shown later in this series, it is not necessary to manage measurements such as ATT at the specialist level. It is important to manage expectations, or outliers, the variability in the ATT and ensure continuous improvement keeps the aggregate ATT on a trend toward the goal. After all, the real value in measuring ATT, and in any measurement, is in driving overall support center improvement.
There are three facets to driving support center improvement, driving improvement in the aggregate or average value of KPIs, reducing the number of outliers and reducing the variability of KPI values. For example, the center leadership should be focused on improving the ATT across all specialists, coaching those specialists that are well outside of the average and reducing the difference between those specialists with a low ATT and those specialists with a high ATT. Thus, the focus is on reducing variability in the customer experience while improving the average customer experience over time.
Examine the following chat, which shows Average Talk Time values, and these can be over 10 time intervals or over 10 specialists. The chart shows four different sets of ATT values. Each set has a degree of variability.
Where would you want your values to be? Given that one cannot control that which is not measured, how can you measure the level of variability over time or across your specialist population? These questions will be addressed in our next installment of this series.