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Contact Center Metrics Part III - Experience Matters

Customer Effort Score Smaller

Transactional (efficiency) metrics like Service Level (SL), Average Handle Time (AHT) and Average Speed of Answer (ASA) were once the foundation of call centers. But as customer demand for more channels and better service forced many call centers to evolve – into multi-channel contact centers, and now into omni-channel customer experience centers – those transactional metrics tell less of the story. To drive a truly exceptional customer experience, companies must shift their performance metrics to accommodate this change in business priorities.

Anecdotally, to improve any area of performance, contact centers must inspect what they expect – i.e., the KPIs captured in reports and dashboards should align with business priorities. Today’s contact center has more channels than ever, and while most companies have decided that experience in these channels is important, they aren’t identifying or capturing relevant metrics. Oftentimes, agent teams are managed by transactional metrics because their supervisors are incentivized to meet efficiency goals, like a certain AHT and SL, despite the company’s real priority: the customer experience.

Customer service leadership in every organization needs to determine whether their current mix of transactional and experiential KPIs aligns with the priorities of their business. Is the real focus the customer experience, efficiency, or a mix of both? And how does the ratio of transaction to experience metrics align with the focus? The answer might be different across departments or lines of business in the same organization, or it could vary based on the season. For example, a large retailer might prioritize the customer experience the majority of the year, but shift its priority to efficiency during the busy holiday season.

If a contact center is truly experience-focused, then performance monitoring should reflect this. Metrics that measure customer sentiment – like Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), and First Contact Resolution (FCR) – should take center stage in reports and dashboards and should be the springboard for performance incentives. Transaction metrics should be treated more like supplemental information.

These metrics represent customer sentiment based on the last interaction with the contact center (be it with technology or an agent), so they can inform changes that are necessary to improve both the customer and agent experience. For example, contact center reporting should be able to isolate that some dismal FCR scores are coming from a specific agent team and inform changes to performance incentives, precision queues and routing. More and more contact centers are advancing their performance monitoring by using these experiential metrics in this way – to balance occupancy and utilization to avoid overworked or burnt out agents.


As organizations shift their metrics to align more closely with their business priorities, the most advanced contact centers can use metrics like precision queues and attribute-based routing to affect agent turnover by balancing occupancy and utilization. Next month, we’ll cover Workforce Management (WFM) tactics that will allow organizations to balance agent experience with customer experience.

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