Consistent Performance

If your organization is seeing call center workload patterns that are somewhat different than in similar historical months and years, you’re not alone. And the reasons – the economy, changes in customer behavior, etc. – are certainly no mystery.

Unfortunately, many managers rely on metrics that are summarized over overly-large blocks of time and lose visibility of problem areas. That can be especially problematic when underlying workload patterns are changing. Take, for example, service level… reporting and interpreting this enabling objective by day (let alone, by week or month) not only conceals problems, it can lead to bad management practices (e.g., if you have a tough morning, you will be inclined to keep more agents plugged in than necessary this afternoon in order to improve the “daily” number). Of course, that doesn’t do a thing for customers who called this morning, and it will keep your team from getting other things done this afternoon.

The good news is, you don’t have to get buried in data to report service level, forecast accuracy or other important operational metrics by interval. A simple alternative is to create a table with five or six rows and then input the number or percent of increments that were within, say, 2.5 percent of your target (first row), 5 percent (second row) and so on. You determine the thresholds—and you can tighten them down the road as performance becomes more precise.

Consistent performance, interval by interval, is one of the standout characteristics of a well-run call center. Teach your team to think, plan, report and manage in terms of what’s happening interval by interval—that’s the key to consistent performance. And it’s especially important in this season of change.

Originally published in the ICMI Membership Blog.