How to Gain Greater Insight into Call Center Agent Efficiency

call center agent efficiency

Apr 15, 2016

Posted In: Call Center Solutions, Call Centers Author: Charlie Jergins

No one really argues the benefits of big data anymore, particularly as it relates to workplace analytics. With advanced insights in hand, you can effectively manage call center agents and ensure they’re aligned with your organizational mission and strategy, all of which deliver improved business value and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

But what doesn’t always receive enough attention is how, exactly, to go about gaining insight into agent analytics. While industry-leading cloud-based call center technology comes with built-in reporting and common dashboard metrics, every organization should customize these tools for its specific needs and goals. Better yet, seeking out a call center solution with built-in business intelligence (BI) can help managers further take the guesswork out of gathering data, creating reports and analyzing findings.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you think through what to measure, which will, in turn, lead to actionable insights – aka, data-driven decision-making. Here are a few things to consider when setting out to improve agent efficiency in your call center.

1. Set Objectives

You can’t measure what you don’t know. You have to determine which objectives are important to your call center, then establish quantifiable metrics for them. Each and every objective must have a data point associated with it to monitor efforts and report findings.

Take your time to think through each metric and why it matters. The primary reason organizations and departments give up on measuring big data is that they never make it small. They don’t establish the data that’s important to them and their situation and end up completely overwhelmed.

Objectives keep you anchored when big data threatens to sink the ship. Decide on what matters and ignore the rest – at least for the time being. You can always add other metrics as you become comfortable with measuring, testing and refining.

2. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are the performance metrics that ensure objectives will be met. In the call center economy, key KPIs include first call resolution (FCR) rates, abandoned calls and customer satisfaction scores, among others.

However, you should also establish metrics that apply to individual agents’ productivity and efficiency goals. Metrics are not one-size-fits-all; they should be used according to need and context in order to correctly analyze and improve the call center. If, for instance, you want to measure the work performance of an inbound call center agent, you would likely use different metrics than you would for an outbound agent.

3. Augment Call Center Data

To gain the greatest insight into agent efficiency, you’ll want to augment call center data with other information streams. One source could be human resources. You can use reports about turnover rates and absences combined with reported and projected call volume to better identify trends and potential issues.

Such analysis can be difficult on your own, but help is available in the form of business intelligence (BI). With it, you can make more strategic decisions about not only individual agents but also the call center as a whole. If you notice a spike in absenteeism and turnover rates, for example, it might be a good time to examine employee engagement, as well as take a closer look at training to ensure that agents feel empowered to perform their best.

4. Monitor Data in Real Time

Data visited semi-regularly doesn’t provide actionable insights for your call center. With today’s BI solutions, there’s little excuse NOT to regularly monitor data, particularly via the technology’s real-time access to information and insights.

Because of that, you should institute a rhythm for monitoring metrics. If it helps, think of it as business forecasting. The more you stay in tune with changing conditions in the call center and even with individual agents, the more prepared you will be to respond to early warning indicators that something is amiss and needs to be remedied.

5. Connect the Dots

Finally, you should reconnect agent efficiency to call center objectives. It’s easy to measure once you become familiar with the practice; it can be harder to connect the dots and ensure that efficiency metrics are delivering a return on investment.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) report on workplace analytics, while focused on HR, has applicability here. They say that BI creates a “cohesion between the workforce and business strategy. […] Those companies that tap into analytics can unlock their investment in HR data—and find the hidden value in their workforce. These intangibles can be made tangible on the P&L and on the balance sheet.”

Applying PwC’s findings to call centers can help impact bottom lines. For example, BI can help call centers properly route inbound callers to the best agents, effectively reducing wait times, helping eliminate caller frustration and reducing the lost productivity that costs businesses around $130 billion annually. With better insights that help call centers operate more efficiently from the agent level all the way up to the operational level, BI can make a dramatic impact on the bottom line.

Greater Insight for Greater Results

Improving agent efficiency is a good goal to have. However, it becomes a better goal when it’s connected with business objectives and KPIs. And to make it the best goal, call center managers should augment it with business intelligence tools that enable you to connect your call center a whole new way to gain greater insight into agent efficiency, as well as improved results on the next P&L statement.

Ready to discover actionable insights at your call center? Check out our Top 10 List When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution whitepaper.

About the Author: Charlie Jergins

Charlie Jergins started with TCN in 2012. Since then, he has held many positions including: Implementation Engineer, Consult & Retention, and most recently, our Business Analytics team. He now enjoys consulting with and developing value propositions such as revenue and expense projections as it relates to Business Intelligence.