I often use call centers as my default example when describing how better objectives and metrics can help improve performance. It’s not that performance in call centers is always poor. It’s just that executive management often regards the call center as nothing more than required overhead that burden the bottom line. Call center sometimes unwittingly support this perception by publicizing activity metrics which reinforce efficiency instead of impact metrics which show tangible business outcomes. We need to change how we review call center performance.
I recently explored this issue in the article “Bridging the Gap Between Executive and Call Center Management” which appeared in Contact Professional (web site no longer active). Here’s an excerpt:
Despite significant investments in time and technology – including performance management – why is it that many executive managers still regard the contact center as a cost center, with little tie to organizational strategy? To a large extent, the culprit lies in how contacts centers report on and review their performance. Organizations must consider fundamental changes to their weekly meetings that discuss performance and replace them with structured operational reviews.
The issue is not just metrics. Weekly status meetings may also increase the disconnect with executive management by reinforcing the tactical – rather than strategic – nature of the call center. Instead of relying on unstructured weekly status meetings that debate past results, call centers should switch to formalized operational reviews that focus attention on desired outcomes and impacts to other departments.
The modern call center is trying to transform itself into a unified contact center which support external customer-oriented objectives, not just internal process-oriented ones. Changing how we review call center performance is one step in that transformation.