Service Level: Realistic Targets, Taken Seriously

shutterstock_128094632 targetIf your operation is chronically missing your service level target, it may be an indication of a fundamental misconception about the importance of service level. You’ll need to focus on a service level objective that your center can realistically achieve. Once you know your center’s true capabilities, you must be able to back up your objectives with the right amount of resources. Service level should not be a “goal,” something that is nice to strive for. An airline doesn’t have the “goal” of reaching Toronto when the plane takes off from Denver. It’s a concrete objective, supported by adequate resources (fuel, pilots, navigation equipment, etc.).

Why is it that some contact centers don’t get the resources they need? Sometimes it’s because the money isn’t available. Or maybe management at the top believes that it’s possible to achieve the service level target with the current level of resources, thinking all that is needed is a little improvement in efficiency. Or maybe the contact center manager has failed to educate senior management on the link between service level and budget.

Service levels that are impossible to hit are particularly difficult for managers whose job success and salary are tied to meeting the objectives. When senior management hands down an objective without backing it up with adequate resources, these managers are set up for failure.

Part of taking a service level objective seriously means getting the buy-in of everyone who is involved in achieving it. To reach your target, agents, supervisors, managers and those with supporting roles should know what the service level objective is, why it was set where it is, and whether or not it is being met. A value system that people do not understand will have little or no impact. A contact center that is serious about service level objectives will ensure that hitting them is a priority.

From Call Center Management on Fast Forward by Brad Cleveland