Contact centers have changed dramatically over the last decade. Messengers have taken up a huge part of requests. Now an increasing number of employees prefers working from home rather than in a large open space. The changes have affected employee efficiency measurement methods. This Article describes KPIs to be used for measuring the activities of remote contact center operators.
Classic KPIs of a Contact Center
Let us clarify it right away that we are going to discuss indicators used for employee work measurements. We are not going to consider KPIs which reflect the general efficiency of a contact center but do not say anything about its employees.
The below metrics are suitable for assessing the work of a Sales Department, a Marketing Department, and a Support Department.
1. Average Response Time (ART)
An average period between the moment when a contact center receives a customer’s request and the moment when an operator answers. The lower this indicator is, the more questions can be processed and the happier customers are with the service quality. A standard waiting time is usually 3 minutes. A response speed which is too low may indicate that employees do not work fast enough. It may be required to optimize scripts or conduct additional trainings.
The aggregated statistics of Chat2Desk uses three response speed indicators:
- reaction_time meaning the time between the first customer’s request and the operator’s answer;
- working_reaction_time meaning the time between the moment when a chat is transferred to an operator and the moment when the operator answers;
- average_replies_time meaning the average response time of a certain operator.
2. First Contact Resolution (FCR)
A percentage of requests handled by operators at once. In other words, a dialogue has not been transferred to another employee, an operator has not promised to call back, and a customer has not had to contact the contact center again. The FCR level depends on the competence and confidence of contact center agents. Note that 78% of issues are usually settled by one operator during the first contact. The second and third operators connect in 18% and 3% of cases accordingly. As few as 1% of requests has to be handled by four operators.
The aggregated statistics of Chat2Desk uses the respective indicator operators_in_request.
3. Abandonment Rate (AR) or Lost Call Rate
This is when customers have not waited until answers. Messengers hardly have such a problem. A customer will receive an answer in any case. But the indicator is quite relevant for calls and online chats.
The parameter may indicate that it is required to optimize and fasten operators’ work. Nevertheless, you should always consider the situation’s context. It is possible that customers simply cannot figure it out how to use a complicated self-service menu.
4. Customer Satisfaction Rate (CSAT)
Customers can provide important information on how a contact center works in general and how its operators work in particular. A small survey upon request closure (“Has your problem been solved? Are you satisfied with the operator’s work?”) helps reveal communication weaknesses and find employee vulnerabilities.
This indicator is also available in the aggregated statistics if you have connected the Operator and Company Quality Survey option.
5. Average Handle Time (AHT)
An average time required by operators to handle a request. It includes waiting for an answer, conversation between a customer and an operator, any delays, and even the need to call the customer back upon information clarification. The metric shows how efficient and united your team is.
The aggregated statistics uses two respective indicators:
- request_time meaning the time between the start and the end of a request;
- working_request_time meaning the time between the chat assignment to an operator and the request closure.
Remote Work Advantages
1. Less Expenses
Remote work saves funds. Office rent is quite a significant expense item. Remote employees work from home. This feature gives yet another advantage to a contact center. You can hire a multi-language team in various countries without extra room rent expenses.
2. Insured Future
A climate crisis, a pandemic, or a societal collapse can make remote work mandatory. Prepare yourself in advance. Even some employees working remotely will give you a head start and you will be able to quickly recover under new conditions. Moreover, you will spare funds required to promptly rearrange your work at a critical scenario.
However, despite positive factors, remote work has its issues, especially those connected with the discipline and emotional state of employees. It is these factors which come to the fore when establishing KPIs for a remote contact center.
What Complications Do Remote Contact Center Operators Encounter?
1. You cannot see your employees. They cannot see you and their colleagues. No personal contact means that it is more difficult to fit in and interact within the team. In addition, there is a risk that an employee hesitates to share an issue with the administration, while the administration, in its turn, cannot timely trace the issue.
2. You cannot directly influence employee discipline. The office requires being at the workplace during a specific period of time. The way from home to work helps set up for efficiency. As for working from home, the time required for this switch is not always available. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on personnel motivation.
3. Remote employees burn out more often than office ones. First, it is difficult to separate personal and working time at home so people tend to overwork. Second, superiors themselves sometimes overload their employees because they cannot see the workflow and they are worried that employees shirk work. Therefore, remote employees often give it their all until they are absolutely exhausted.
So incredible as it may seem, a remote contact center should be more humane but more structured at the same time. Remote specialist KPIs help a leader determine temperature in their department, enhance motivation, and plan reasonable load.
What KPIs Are Used to Measure Remote Contact Center Employees’ Activities?
First of all, it is not necessary to abandon your usual KPIs if they lead to good results. But you’d better check whether employees properly understand the objectives of the metrics and how to achieve them. Do the indicators really influence process improvement, or do you calculate them out of habit?
If the assessment system is not clear, clarify it. If some KPIs do not have any actual result, put aside measurements connected with these parameters and focus on new ones.
1. Agent Schedule Adherence (ASA)
This indicator determines whether agents use their working time efficiently. On the one hand, the metric helps employees to be disciplined and to timely engage in work. On the other hand, it helps operators remember to take breaks required for recovery.
In order to calculate ASA, divide the productivity period by the total time of employee’s work as per the schedule, and multiply it by 100. It is important that the metric does not take into account overworking and helps see how efficient an operator is and whether they follow the schedule.
Some employees may think that they can simply work five minutes after hours if they are five minutes late for work. But such a change can be drastic for contact centers. Just a few operators absent within five minutes may significantly affect the average respond time and customer loyalty.
It should be also remembered that the indicator is never 100%. For example, an employee needs some time to authorize in the program. Sometimes an operator does not have enough time to handle a new call right before a break. 80% to 90% is a good result depending on the field and features of the activity.
2. Escalation Rate (ER)
This metric is directly connected with the FCR already mentioned but it shows a workflow from a different perspective. It is calculated as a percentage of escalated requests. The indicator helps see how often agents transfer requests to the administration and superiors. A high ER indicates that operators are not confident.
For example, an employee who regularly transfers requests to others may doubt whether he or she has enough knowledge to settle complicated issues. An employee may also lack administration’s support.
Poor confidence reduces work efficiency and quality. Therefore, if this indicator is off the scale, contact the employee and ask them how you can help them feel more comfortable at independent work.
3. Agent Engagement or Employee Engagement
This indicator determines whether operators are engaged in team work. The higher the value is, the more efficient employees are and the less their stress is. In accordance with a report issued by the marketing company Aberdeen Group, companies which work on personnel engagement have 223% more loyal customers than companies which do not trace this indicator.
The simplest way of engagement measurement is to ask your employees such direct questions as “How valuable is your work?”, “How important is your opinion for your superior?”, “Are you proud to be a part of our team?” The best approaches are anonymous surveys via special services, and tête-à-tête. They make answer manipulation more difficult.
So, what KPIs does a remote contact center require? Simple and clear, first of all. Employees should understand what their superiors want them to do. Then it will be easier for them to optimize their workflow.
Second, metrics shall make it possible to assess contact center work from the perspective of both efficiency, and team environment. The level of trust employees have in the company, their motivation, and, consequently, customer satisfaction depend on how humane the approach is.
Therefore, when arranging a remote contact center, we recommend to trace whether employees follow the schedule efficiently, the percentage of requests they escalate, and whether they are engaged in the company’s life. But it is up to you to decide what indicator values you need. The only way they can be established is on an individual basis depending on the special features of your business.
Chat2Desk will help you trace the required data. Aggregated statistics and remote work will ensure that operators are well-coordinated and efficient.