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The key metrics for a multi-channel contact center

multichannel-support

It all used to be so simple – most conversations were on the telephone, and decades of contact center metrics made it easy to evaluate your call center’s performance. Things have, however, changed. Companies are now moving towards interacting with their customers across multiple communication channels – including email, live chat, and SMS – as well as telephone. The purpose of this article is to help you understand the key metrics you should be tracking for your contact center, and what they tell you.

Why is multi-channel customer interaction important now?

The internet and convergence of voice, video and data have provided consumers with new ways to interact. In today’s world, you must meet your customers where they like to communicate. This might be email, via a support center, or SMS, but the preferred channel should be respected as much as possible. At the same time, you have to balance the low cost of self-service against the demand for more expensive real-time help.

This strategy requires you to think about the customer journey across the customer’s platforms. Are your contact forms mobile-first? Is the software you use to route questions to agents configured to support all these channels (forms, emails, and live chat) with a well-defined, single configuration? Do you have a unified history of the interactions that cover email, chat, and form submissions?

Sometimes the companies with the greatest need to support multiple communication channels have the hardest time getting it implemented. They have the largest customer bases, the most complex processes, and the longest history of systems development. Many business-critical systems that support customer interactions are quite old.

Metrics are essential for contact center excellence

Monitoring metrics in a contact center is one of the best ways to understand how well the center and its agents are working. By keeping an eye on the numbers, like how quickly calls are answered or the key issues driving customer needs, managers can make sure their team is doing a good job. Metrics show where things are going right and where there’s room for improvement. Without metrics, it’s hard to maintain high standards of service and make sure customers are happy.

Metrics are critical for making smart decisions about operations. They provide insights into when and where resources are needed most, guiding decisions on staffing, training, and technology investments. This not only helps in offering better service to customers but also in managing costs effectively. In short, monitoring metrics is all about making sure the contact center runs smoothly, efficiently, and keeps customers satisfied.

Some important customer interaction metrics

So, what metrics do you need in your contact center? If you’ve worked in a traditional call center environment, they’ll all look familiar. However, there are some subtle differences between synchronous telephone or chat conversations, and asynchronous messaging where the conversations are comprised of text sent back and forth.

Email Reassignments

One of the most important configurations within your communications systems is the routing and assignment process. If your triage process is placing incoming questions into the wrong queues, your team will waste time getting them to the right people.

    1. Number of Interactions Requeued:

      This metric measures how often interactions are moved from one queue to another.  It helps assess the accuracy of your triage process, with a high rate indicating your questions are not getting assigned to the proper queue. By analyzing this metric, you can make proactive adjustments to ensure inquiries are directed to the correct queue.

    2. Number of Interactions Reassigned:

      When interactions are reassigned from one agent to another, or from the agent’s inbox back to an unassigned queue, you probably have a setup issue or need agent training. For instance, when an agent reassigns a question to another agent but leaves the queue unchanged, it’s probably because the agent does not know how to answer the question. This could be because the agent has been assigned inappropriate skills, or they need additional training so they can answer the questions themselves. Analyzing this metric enables you to identify skill gaps and make informed decisions regarding agent training and skilling for optimal performance and customer satisfaction.

By Total Volume:

Unless you know how many interactions your team is managing, there’s no good way to benchmark performance: of the team or any individual agent.

    1. Number of Interactions by Agent:

      These metrics quantify the number of interactions handled by each agent, which helps identify the most productive agents. Agents that handle the fewest interactions should be evaluated to ensure they are properly scheduled and are familiar with the various productivity tools you provide.

    2. Number of Interactions by Queue:

      This metric provides insight into the most active queues, which helps you identify potential issues and causes for the increase in your support inquiry volume. If you support multiple communication channels, like customer email, customer tickets, agent tickets, live chat, etc., you should measure the types of interactions in each queue.

    3. By Property:

      This metric measures the total number of inquiries categorized by their specific question properties. For example, running a report on inquiries where customers selected “Firefox” as their browser enables us to determine how many tickets were submitted by Firefox users.

By Total Volume:

The perception of the customer is always your reality. Your customers view their journey based on how long it takes them to get their answer.

    1. By Agent:

      This metric illustrates the response time of each agent to inquiries. It can also be customized to evaluate an agent’s performance within specific queues, providing insights into their effectiveness in handling inquiries within those particular queues.

    2. By Queue:

      This metric shows the time it takes for a question to be assigned, receive the first response, and ultimately get resolved. It helps identify queues with slower response times and understand factors contributing to quicker resolutions in efficiently managed queues.

    3. First Contact Resolution:

      This metric offers insight into the percentage of inquiries or tickets resolved with the first response. When you have a low first contact resolution percentage, it means that you are unable to answer the customers question without asking for more details. This could point to problems with your contact forms, or reliance on customer email which often is missing details needed (like an order number).

    4. Service Level Achievement: This metric offers insight into the percentage of inquiries or tickets resolved with the first response. When you have a low first contact resolution percentage, it means that you are unable to answer the customers question without asking for more details. This could point to problems with your contact forms, or reliance on customer email which often is missing details needed (like an order number).

Conclusion:

Monitoring metrics in a contact center is essential for evaluating performance and ensuring customer satisfaction. It also guides operational decisions and helps in managing costs efficiently, contributing to a smoothly running operation. As you move into a multi-channel world with conversations spanning different platforms, make sure you have a solution for gathering the metrics you need.

Stay ahead in delivering exceptional customer service by regularly reviewing your contact center metrics. This proactive approach not only highlights areas for improvement but also ensures your operations align with customer expectations.