Understanding your remote workforce: The most important metrics to look at
You’ve set up at-home agents. What next?
So, you’ve taken the plunge, and, like many other contact centers, you’ve got your agents set up to work from home.
Hopefully, the transition went as smoothly as it could have at such short notice; you got your agents connected securely and have some form of interaction monitoring in place. This will, at least, allow you to continue operating and give you eyes and ears on the performance of your remote employees.
Extra points if you’ve also managed to establish tools and processes that allow you to provide feedback and coaching to your agents when in-person catch-ups aren’t an option. This will be vital as you look to keep your team feeling connected, your agents supported, and your supervisors in control.
If you’re still on that journey, then don’t worry, many contact centers like yours are still in transition. Check out the two articles we just linked for some handy tips to help you along the way.
If you have gotten that far, then, firstly, well done. Take a short breather by all means. However, we’re here to tell you that this is not the time to stand still.
Fully understand how your contact center has been affected
This is a significant change that has taken place in extraordinary circumstances. It’s not going to be immediately apparent how your team’s behavior and performance, not to mention your customers’ needs and expectations, will change.
Monitoring practices, like call and screen recording, call drop-ins etc. are both helpful and essential, but they can only give you a fraction of the big picture. They help you to see and to hear, but not always to understand.
If you’re to develop successful strategies in this new environment, you will need to be able to see not just incidents, but trends.
It’s time to think about performance analytics
This is what will give you a real understanding of how the quality, compliance, and business outcomes of your operation have been affected, from an individual agent up through a team of agents, and ultimately,to a full contact center level.
If you have a tool that allows you to go beyond standard contact center KPIs and overlay data from these different sources, then all the better. Your business is likely to be affected in a myriad of ways, so only if you bring together all the relevant data will you be able to gain a holistic picture of performance.
Also, if you are operating across multiple channels in addition to voice, consider whether your current performance analytics solution is itself omnichannel. Having to manually compile and gather reports from siloed data sources for different channels is not the kind of heavy lifting you need to be doing at this time.
Gain a competitive edge
Putting all these pieces together to gain an understanding of the trends going on in your business is a necessity to ensure its ongoing health, but it is also a big opportunity.
So many contact centers across the country are either down or functioning at a limited capacity right now, and, therefore, unable to provide an excellent customer experience. If you can not only continue to operate but use data-informed strategies to excel for your customers, then you’ll be able to carve out a significant competitive advantage.
Where to start?
This is the obvious question at this point. There’s an infinite number of metrics you could look at and reports you could build. To focus your efforts, first, try to think of what likely impact having your agents work from home may have had on their behavior and performance, and then what metrics will help to uncover these trends.
To help you get started, we’ve consulted the most experienced contact center strategists on our team and come up with the list below.
Check it out, and never hesitate to get in touch if you want to find out more about LiveVox’s products, and how we might work together.
What it is: The percentage of agent(s) overall time working spent on calls with customers
Why it’s useful: This can help indicate how your operation’s core function – actually talking to customers – is being affected. If it’s higher than usual, it could be indicating that agents are finding it more challenging to resolve customer issues. If it’s lower than usual, then is it because agents are taking more time with other areas of their work or spending less time with customers?
Ideally, you will want to compare this percentage from before and after the switch to at home. You can monitor this for specific agents, teams, or for all of your staff.
By itself, it’s limited, but it’s vital to point you in the right direction of what to dig into next.
What it is: The percentage of agent(s) overall time working spent on post-call work
Why it’s useful: The work that takes place after a call is vital and often involves the handling of sensitive data.
If this % is lower than usual, then it could be that, without supervision, agents aren’t following processes securely and adequately. Once you identify a trend like this, you can save time in your quality management processes by being targeted in your review of screen recordings.
If this % is higher than usual, then it could indicate that agents are dragging their feet or distracted at home.
Not Ready %
What it is: The percentage of agent(s) overall time working spent in a status where they are unable to receive calls
Why it’s useful: This is similar to the point above. If this is significantly higher than usual then it could be that at-home agents are struggling due to too many distractions and at-home responsibilities.
What it is: Its means different things for different business, but comes down to a measure of how successfully agents are converting conversations into business outcomes
Why they’re useful: This comes down to your bottom line. It’s going to show you how successfully your agents have been able to adapt to their new circumstances and perform to a level needed to drive your business’ objectives.
Average Handle Time
What it is: The average time it takes an agent to resolve a conversation with a customer
Why it’s useful: Again, this one is about how your agents are adapting. Are they taking longer to deal with issues than they were before the switch?
Like other metrics, this will help to direct further investigation. If the average time is going up, then think about how you’ll find out why? Are agents underperforming, or have customer needs changed because of recent events?
Average Speed of Answer
What it is: The average time it takes agents to answer a call
Why it’s useful: This will help you to gauge whether agents are answering calls promptly when there is no one around to observe them, and there is so much potential for distraction at home. Are they at their desk when they should be?
What are they: The % of times customers give up on their call or interaction before a resolution
Why they’re useful: This metric is one of the most explicit quantitative indications of customer satisfaction, not to mention the effect it will have on your bottom line. If it’s higher than normal, it will require further investigation. Are customers waiting too long on hold? Or are they being bounced between different agents and supervisors because your team doesn’t have the information they need, or calls are routing incorrectly?
What they are: The compliance, quality, and performance scores from your existing quality management process.
Why they’re useful: Obviously, quality management is essential for any contact center that wants to keep their customers happy and avoid the risks associated with breaching compliance regulations. But often, scores and data from this process are not integrated into businesses’ performance analytics tools.
Quality scores don’t exist in a vacuum. Being able to overlay them with operational and business data will allow you to develop a much more well-rounded understanding of how you are performing. This applies regardless of the level of sophistication of your current quality management process – any data you are able to bring in and overlay with other metrics is going to add value.
It’s time to get started
The metrics and reports that you compile will need to be bespoke to your business and customers’ circumstances right now. But, hopefully, this is a useful starting point. What’s critical is that you don’t just keep looking at the same metrics you were three months ago.
It will also be important to consider how often you review these metrics, and the date ranges you use to review trends. Initially, at least, it will probably be sensible to review the most business critical metrics on a day to day basis. This will help with identifying and addressing any immediate risks that have emerged as a result of the switch to at home. Then as time passes you’ll have more data from which you can discern bigger trends.
Using your common sense end experience to try and anticipate what effects this change might have, and then compiling reports that will help you understand that is a great place to start.
However, inevitably, things will change that we won’t be able to anticipate now. That’s why it’s vital to reiterate the importance of taking a holistic approach to business intelligence and performance analytics. Standalone metrics can’t tell the story by themselves.
Real value comes in being able to combine data across operations, agent performance, business outcomes, and more. These are the kind of insights that will inform strategies that allow you not just to get through this but to thrive as you do.
LiveVox is a leading provider of enterprise cloud contact center solutions, managing more than 14+ billion interactions a year across a multichannel environment. With over 15 years of pure cloud expertise, we empower contact center leaders to drive effective engagement strategies on the consumer’s channel of choice. Our leading-edge risk mitigation and security capabilities help clients quickly adapt to a changing business environment. With new features released quarterly, LiveVox remains at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Supported by over 450 employees and rapidly growing, we are headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Atlanta, Denver, Bangalore, and Colombia. To learn more, schedule a demo today.