When evaluating your contact center, what metrics do you use? Average handle time? Service level? First Contact Resolution? Those are the old standbys but they don’t tell the whole story in today’s multichannel contact centers. Agents now have to deal with well-informed customers and increasingly complex queries. Metrics that served us well in the past are being revisited. There are three key multichannel contact center metrics that matter and should be evaluated: agent productivity, avoidable contact and customer experience.
There is a new spin on this with multichannel. In voice-only call centers, the agent is limited to one interaction at a time. With multichannel interactions, a productive agent can participate in multiple chats and emails at the same time, significantly reducing the cost per contact and utilizing available time more effectively. A good way to measure this is to take the hourly rate of an agent and divide it by the number of transactions completed in that hour, which gives the cost per contact. Compare this with a voice-only agent and there should be significant savings.
Another thing to consider is that these types of text-based engagements can easily be performed by home-based agents. The customer won’t know or care where the agent is located, as long as their question or issue can be resolved. And utilizing home-based agents can further reduce costs and improve productivity—which makes multichannel even more cost-effective.
This may seem like an odd metric, but the savings achieved through agents completing multiple interactions at once could be lost if contacts increase significantly due to email “ping pong” between agent and customer. All savings are lost—and customer satisfaction plummets—if multiple email interactions are required to answer one question or resolve a single issue, since one of the benefits of multichannel is to make things easier for customers.
To evaluate avoidable contact, look at what percentage of customers had to re-engage because the initial response did not resolve their query. Measuring the levels of avoidable contact will help brands identify skills gaps, training needs, poor product information and other potential stumbling points. Those are prime opportunities for brands to implement changes to improve the customer experience.
The customer experience is generally considered the ultimate measure of contact center success. This can be trickier for brands to get a pulse on, as many brands are moving in the direction of providing more self-service than customer-agent interaction. It is often more important to customers to be able to engage with brands at a time that suits them.
Customers taking advantage of self-service customer service, such as email and web forms, still need to know what comes next. They overwhelmingly want to know that their inquiry has been received, that a particular person is handling it and will get back to them, and when they can expect that response. These are simple messages to automate—auto replies thanking them for their email or web submission, noting a response time frame and that Mary will be contacting them. Then the customer feels they can check one more thing off their “to do” list and have a level of assurance their issue or question is being handled.
And then brands must measure the customer experience to learn if their self-service systems are meeting customer needs. Measurement can take many forms: a post-chat survey, a pop-up box on a website, Net Promoter Scores, Feefo (which powers feedback engines for many global brands and posts feedback verbatim for response, if needed), SMS/email surveys, star ratings or any number of measurement tools.
Offering multichannel customer service and support can bring big benefits for both brands and customers. There are, obviously, other metrics than can help brands in their evaluations…but these three are the most productive and illuminating place to start. Visit my article for ICMI for some additional details and information on multichannel customer service and support. Happy multi-channeling!
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