Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Call center metrics: Abandon Rates

In follow up to our post about call center metrics goals, we are now starting to talk about specific metrics; the first one is Abandon Rates. Abandon rate is the percentage of calls that hang up before an agent could take the call (and did not get a busy signal).

What it measures:
  • It can be considered a measure of customer satisfaction. If customers hang up a lot, they might not like the speed of service.
Potential causes and implications:
  • The longer it takes to answer a call, the higher are abandon rates
  • People who might have called wrong number hang up when they notice it (typically in first 10 seconds)
  • High abandon rates can inflate future call volumes (2nd, 3rd try of same caller), resulting in even higher rates

Friday, December 17, 2010

How to forecast and schedule for multiple channels - calls, emails, chat

With more electronic media such as email, chat, twitter, etc. being used in customer communication in addition to calls, the question of forecasting and scheduling resources for those channel becomes more important. Here are 3 suggestions that might help you better manage multiple channels in your service center:

1. Forecast and schedule based on response time and "urgency” of the various channels:

2. Two models for forecasting workload for non-call channels:
  • Use transaction history for each channel: If you have historical numbers, you can forecast based on those:
    =># of emails, average work time for email, efficiency
    => 100 emails/day, 5 min per email, 8.3 hours
    => Apply efficiency factor: 90% => 9.25 hours

  • If you don't have exact numbers, you can use a shrinkage factor: e.g. 10% for email work

3. Potential approaches for scheduling
  • Fully blended: Agents work all channels as work arrives. The danger of this is that agents burn out and is therefore not recommended.
  • Banded work: Schedule time blocks based on agent availability throughout the day. Find time "pockets" in the core schedule where agents are available

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Call Center Scheduling Tip #6: Keep top talent on your team

How to keep your talent? Make sure you accommodate scheduling needs and provide schedule visibility to your call center team members. Top agents will be more likely to stay loyal and productive because of their understanding of how their needs and your schedule can match up. Here are some ideas and suggestions:
  • Involve your agents: Survey about preferences and personal needs and work with them to match those with the needs of the business.
  • Rank your agents: Creating a schedule by agent rank can be very effective in achieving certain goals of you business (e.g. cost or revenue goals). You can rank agents according to call completion time, call per hour or other performance measures including sales and order size.
  • Match personality and team: Studies have shown that a good relationship with colleagues drives motivation and performance in call centers. Your schedule should leverage this by teaming up the “right people”.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Call Center Scheduling Tip #5: Include all activities into the schedule

A schedule driven by forecast and basic agent requirements might work, but won’t boost performance and productivity. When trying to determine agent requirements to meet a desired service level, if not all agent activities are being factored in, it will lead to under-staffing and lower service levels including abandoned calls. When developing your forecast and schedule make sure to include breaks, multiple skills of agents, training, time-off and a realistic buffer for shrinkage.

It might help if you categorize all activities based on your unique situation. Here is an example:

1. Work related to incoming “call” load
  • Call time and after work related to calls
  • Outbound if triggered by inbound calls
  • Chat (if important to your business)
2. Other activities that are related to calls
  • Breaks, lunch
  • Training
  • Absenteeism
3. Measurable activities, not part of core staffing
  • Meetings
  • Admin or research work
  • Correspondence
  • Emails
  • Outbound calls
4. Unproductive time
  • Smoking, etc.
  • Getting supplies
  • Other