ICMI Conference Highlight: ICMI Partners with Five9 on Guide to Contact Center Metrics

Metrics are the lifeblood of every contact center's performance, yet many of them aren't measuring the right performance indicators, the ICMI determined in a recent study. The findings, announced at the ICMI Contact Center Conference earlier this week, revealed that as contact centers evolve to be increasingly multichannel hubs, companies are struggling to maintain consistency across channels and customer touch points.

"The contact center is changing. In the past, if customers had a problem, they would reach out to the contact center and there was only one pathway—the phone. Today, if customers have a problem, there are other routes for them. They may try self-service, they may go online or use mobile. There are a number of different things they can do. Then in the contact center, maintaining those metrics across all those different channels becomes more and more complex," says Justin Robbins, senior analyst at the ICMI.

One of the primary reasons for the inconsistencies and gaps in metrics, Robbins says, is that companies don't necessarily question why certain items are being measured. "There has to be a reason for collecting metrics. Companies have to ask themselves, 'Why are we measuring this? Why is this relevant? What are we learning from this?'" If answers to those questions are better understood throughout the organization, measurement becomes much more effective, he explains.

To help tackle some of the challenges contact centers face, the ICMI partnered with Five9 to issue a guide that outlines the seven key measurement categories that organizations should focus on. The first is forecast accuracy, which urges contact centers to formulate accurate prediction regarding their upcoming workload. Preparing for surges, for example, can help ensure that customer satisfaction isn't in jeopardy during busy times. The second tip involves scheduling fit and adherence. "If you have a good handle on the workload, you can build accurate schedules that ensure the right people are in the right places at the right times," the guide states.

ICMI and Five9 also urge contact centers to pay attention to resource accessibility, meaning how efficiently a customer reaches whatever he or she is seeking. And, relatedly, the fourth recommendation highlights the significance of quality and first-contact resolution. Quality, Robbins explains, is what connects the contact center's activities to the organization's key objectives and determines whether the activities are living up to the goals. "This metric is overlooked too often, but it should be one of the biggest takeaways," he says.

Employee satisfaction is another factor to keep an eye on, and it goes hand-in-hand with customer satisfaction. The former heavily influences the latter because happy employees lead to happy customers, according to Robbins. Customer satisfaction is critical to the success of any contact center, but Robbins says that the insight is more valuable when it is considered together with other measurements. "It provides more meaningful insight when you look at it relative to other metrics," he explains. Finally, contact center leaders should regularly evaluate the strategic value, namely the contributions that the contact center makes to overall company revenue, as well as marketing initiatives, product innovations, and other areas.

"There's no denying that the contact center is changing," he says. "The strategies and measurement strategies that worked several years ago may not cut it anymore, and our aim is to ensure that contact centers don't [get caught in the past]."

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