Top 5 Contact Center Performance Priorities

Posted: 06/07/2016

The following is an excerpt from Call Center IQ’s 2016 Executive Report on Performance: Metrics, Agents and Operations.  To download your free copy, click here.  We’ll also be discussing the findings during our free Call Center Week Online, June 14-16.  Register here.

To truly understand the strategies, initiatives, and technologies businesses will implement in their effort to improve contact center performance, we need an explicit understanding of their priorities.  We need to know how much better today’s contact centers want to become in achieving a myriad of business-centric and customer-centric outcomes

Over the next year, businesses are most committed to improving contact center efficiency.  They rate their desire to improve overall operational efficiency at a 3.77/5.

With a score of 3.74/5, increasing revenue represents the year’s #2 performance priority.  Improving first contact resolution (#3, 3.70), improving agent retention (#4, 3.54) and reducing cost per call (#5, 3.53) also represent comparatively high-ranking priorities.

Comparatively low-ranking priorities include improving system uptime and reliability (2.87), improving Net Promoter Score (2.94), and more frequently honoring the customer’s channel preference (3.05).

This may be labeled the age of customer centricity, but it is clear business outcomes still matter.  In labeling efficiency, revenue, and cost reduction key performance priorities, respondents are declaring a desire to improve performance against conventional, business-centric metrics.  They want to improve performance on both sides of the income statement, thus resulting in a stronger overall bottom line.

This is not tantamount to suggesting the customer no longer matters.  Efficiency improves a business’ profitability, but it also leads to better customer experiences.  If contact centers can engage customers faster and more productively, they will drive greater levels of satisfaction.

First contact resolution explicitly speaks to this duality:  when issues are resolved on the first contact, the business reduces support costs, and the customer receives a better experience.  Everyone wins!

Cost per call reduction can be a reflection of stronger, more robust multi-channel and self-service options.  It can also speak to a more knowledgeable, higher-quality agent experience.  Yes, it means more profit for the business, but that profit is not necessarily coming at the expense of the customer experience.  It may actually reflect a better experience.

Revenue increases are often directly linked to improvements in the customer experience.  Great experiences lead to better acquisition and retention rates, which both drive more revenue.  More customer-centric interactions also lead to more upsell and cross-sell opportunities, which also contribute favorably to revenue.

Agent retention is directly connected to the “happy agents = happy customers” adage.  A business that can successfully retain its agents is likely doing something to keep those agents happy; those happy, more experienced (and thus more knowledgeable) agents will be able to deliver a stronger customer experience.

While they may not be tantamount to saying the customer no longer matters, the priority objectives are very much confirming that improving business outcomes matters most.

In recent years, Call Center IQ survey data has suggested that improving customer satisfaction is an end in and of itself.  A contact center that boosted satisfaction would be considered successful even if it did drive corresponding increases in revenue or decreases in cost.

This survey does not as vociferously support that conclusion.  It argues that contact centers need to start making a positive impact on the actual business.

Posted: 06/07/2016

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