Customer operations (including contact centres, store fronts, ecommerce web sites and back office administration areas) are some of the most measured parts of any organisation today. Of all the customer operations areas, contact centres with masses of data and countless measurement techniques in place to time, classify, measure, record and report on everything people do, should be one of the easiest and most effective places to manage performance and drive improvement. And yet, even contact centres struggle – by examining the issues there, we can gain more insight into issues that apply across all customer operations.
Despite significant investments in technologies designed to drive performance improvement – technologies like quality and contact recording systems, CTI to drive skill based routing, and knowledge management to support people – the potential performance improvements are still not being realised in many customer operations today. Many customer operations continue to face:
- huge variations in performance between the best and worst people;
- high turnover levels (the average in Australian customer operations is typically 22-25%, however the best are achieving just a fraction of that number even in highly competitive labour markets); and
- waste (repeat contacts average 15% in a series of recent LimeBridge client studies).
As well, the results of a recent benchmark survey from Dimension Data Global (Benchmark 2006) indicate a level of frustration amongst contact centre managers with the lack of progress in performance improvement. The top issues identified as priority were:
- improving service quality;
- improving resolution rates; and
- improving sales performance.
Why is progress so slow? Working globally on issues of improving the customer experience and performance of customer operations, LimeBridge has identified five myths that have unfortunately become ‘norms’. The belief in these myths is preventing the improvements in performance that many organisations are striving for. It’s a mystery as to why these five myths dominate so much thought and opinion in the area of customer operations performance management. These myths are:
- Average handle time or real contacts per hour is an effective measure of productivity.
- Supervisors know how to use the statistics to improve performance.
- Sampling 5-10 contacts per person, per month is a valid way to improve the service quality people deliver.
- Managers agree on who their best performing person is and understand the characteristics that make them the best.
- Team leaders and coaches are coaching effectively.
In this White Paper, customer operations performance management experts consider the five myths in more detail, to help you understand the impact they have on not just managing performance, but on rapidly gaining the 20-30% improvements in performance that you are striving for.
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