call times

How call centre metrics impact customer service

We all know the frustration of badly recorded IVR messages, a muffled at the other end of the line presenting a baffling array of department options then being placed on hold and listening to terrible music. Do we ever think about the people at the other end of the line? There’s pressure behind these calls for measuring and judging staff on several different factors that we often overlook.

Call centre staff usually have their work measured and assessed on their average call times with a customer, the amount of calls they make or take in a day and of course customer feedback. Are all these factors really contributing towards good customer service? Or are they merely ensuring the numbers at the end of the month are on target? What impact do these metrics actually have on a customer’s call?

In any work environment being assessed can leave you with a sense of self-doubt, even when you know you do a good job. Whilst it may be better for a company making or taking calls to have their staff abide by a strict max call time, this won’t necessarily benefit the customer or resolve their issue if an agent is rushing to get them off the phone. A three minute call doesn’t quite justify half an hour on hold.

Many large companies choose to outsource their calls to a call handling company, which can mean agents need to know the ins and outs of several businesses and be familiar with different call handling styles and queries. For example I had three calls in the same day last week from a telephone provider, from the same agent each time in an outbound call centre, demonstrating the desperation some agents face just trying to hit targets.

There are several areas call centre staff are rated by:

  • Call handling times
  • Sales tactics
  • Feedback and surveys   

The issue is that, to really get to the bottom of where improvements need to be made in a company, calls need to be monitored by senior members of staff, yet their time is precious (they don’t have the time to wait on hold, unlike the rest of us, clearly) thus instead of listening in to their staffs’ calls they merely take the averages and turn this into statistics, which are often unreliable.

Call Centre Helper note the importance of realising what your customer wants and then using this information to make changes to the products and services you offer. This is where you see the real indication of what improvements are needed, rather than being focused directly on how staff handle a call and pressuring them to shave seconds off their call times. They note that “Monitoring from the caller’s perspective will give you an overall impression of what it is like to call your centre. It will demonstrate how frustrating it can be to wait in a queue and how friendly or annoying your voice messages really are.”

Perhaps it’s time to call your own company and experience a call from the customer’s point of view? If you think you could do with an update and improve your company’s image then contact us today for a quote for our professional IVR message solution. Maybe next time you’re put through to a call centre agent spare a thought for the real reasons they’re rushing and pushing!