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Contact Center Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

Call center metrics (KPIs ‘“ key performance indicators) measure efficiency, not effectiveness. To ensure customers receive personalized service across all channels and media, quality call auditing and telephone mystery shops / cyber shops should be used as workforce management solutions and supplements to internal call center statistics.

Call / Contact Center Monitoring / Auditing Research has shown, the quality of customer service provided by independent contractors reflects directly upon company reputation.

This suggests periodic evaluations of vendor performance
must occur.

Billions of dollars have been spent by businesses in recent years to expand customer call and contact technologies such as websites, email and “live help” text chats, and to improve call center efficiency through customer relationship management (CRM) software and consulting. Overall, the effect of these efforts on the marketplace has been positive. Technology has expanded the range of available customer service channels and call center metrics have become more manageable.

On the other hand, the purchasing public doesn’t always perceive the business value of these improvements and many times these undertakings actually negatively impact customer satisfaction. At best, where properly implemented and maintained, technology increases expectations to the point that customers become less tolerant of inconvenience. Where improperly implemented and maintained, e-services can frustrate current and potential customers to the point of counter-productivity. Poorly managed call center and e-service systems can cost more than they were expected to save and often result in a reputation for bad service.

Customer-to-business contacts should be quality audited, whether by phone recording and grading or through review of transcripts of e-mail and text chat exchanges. Customer Service Representatives should also be periodically mystery shopped – across all communication channels (telephone, e-mail, text chat, etc.). These call center monitoring tools can create great service improvements and ensure that telephone technologies and e-services are functioning effectively.

Customer contact technologies and relationship management initiatives are great tools, but the quality of human interaction is still the key determinative factor for customer satisfaction. Therefore, contact center agents should also be cyber mystery shopped, again across all communication channels, to gauge their competency and effectiveness. Performance metrics alone are insufficient to measure contact center agent aptitude. A good telephone agent might not be a good e-mail or text chat agent with strong writing skills. Further, it is harder for employees to problem solve, project goodwill and exhibit professionalism when the rapport of auditory communication is absent.

Call centers and contact centers can / should utilize an external third party monitoring, auditing or mystery shopping company for training support and also to make sure sales force automation is not causing customers to be treated as an afterthought. This is particularly important for businesses that global-outsource, home-source, or otherwise utilize agents outside of the parent contact center. It is easy to forget, but the lowest-paid and least-trained employees are often those who face the customer every day.

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