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Interpreting A Call Center Scorecard

Dec 13, 2007
An effective performance management system ensures that a balanced call center scorecard is used to measure the efficiency and productivity of call center agents.

Call centers are used or hired by businesses as a means of interaction with customers. Some of the businesses are utility companies, banks, mail order catalog firms and computer hardware manufacturers. A call center may be an inbound or outbound company. Inbound call centers receive calls from customers who may need assistance or information about a certain product or service. Outbound call centers, on the other hand, make outgoing calls to potential customers.

Most management of call centers are faced with the dilemma of balancing cost effectiveness and service levels. Generally, callers do not want to wait for a long time for somebody to answer their calls so, it is important for call center management to hire an adequate number of agents. In the same way, management also recognizes the need to minimize the number of hired agents since their salaries make up seventy percent of all call center costs. Given this dilemma, it is vital for call centers to optimize the productivity of their agents and other resources.

Traditionally, call centers use various telecommunication forecasting techniques to determine the number of agents that are required in a certain period of time. These methods are used to predict call traffic intensity in any given hour. For forecasting purposes, historical data and trends may be analyzed. They also take into account typical customer behavior especially when their calls get queued. Most performance management systems employed in call centers used to exclusively focus on performance measures such as average talk time, average handling time, the number of calls handled per hour and the time of delay while a caller waits for somebody to receive his call.

Today, there is a shift of priorities where call center managers are concerned. In the past, much weight is given on talk times and handling times and were considered the ultimate measure of agent performance. More and more call centers now recognize the need to monitor overall call center performance based on key performance indicators (KPI). These indicators are generally based on corporate goals. Effective utilization of KPIs will allow management to track and predict agent performance. Likewise, these will also be useful in the identification, diagnosis and resolution of performance problems.

In aggregate, a call center scorecard measures and determines its overall performance. In the call center industry, a single measure of call center performance is the Balanced Score. It is critical in determining this score, metrics such as cost per call, customer satisfaction, first contact resolution (FCR) rate, agent utilization and aggregate call center performance should be taken into account. By regularly monitoring the Balanced Score, it becomes easier for stakeholders to determine whether or not the performance of a call center is declining or improving over time. Should there be a need to prescribe actions to improve performance; this score would help management identify which areas to improve on. Finally, used scorecard will help to improve and control call-center performance.
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