Since childhood we’ve been taught that knowledge is power, and the contact center is no exception to this rule. The more you know about the details of what’s happening in your operation, the better you can be at deciding whom to hire, whom to coach, what training to require, when to request voluntary OT, how many people to staff for chat and 1,000 other issues. However, Albert Einstein had an important corollary to this rule when he said, “Information is not knowledge”.
The contact center is drowning in information but starving for knowledge. There is information everywhere: in your ACD, WFM, CRM, quality management, recording, surveys, speech analytics and self-service systems. As new customer engagement channels become popular and better speech and text analytics tools come into use, we are faced with an inexorable rising tide of available information.
The big challenge is to distill the most important elements of this disaggregated, unmanageable information into a form that can be easily understood by the agent, supervisor and manager, so it ultimately becomes personal knowledge that results in positive action. That’s exactly what Performance Management (PM) does in the contact center, but it’s a long road from information to knowledge. An effective PM solution sources data from all contact center systems through standardized integrations and merges the data (so handle times for Agent 1 from the ACD can be tied to interaction quality for Agent 1 from Quality Management, for example). Powerful data analysis and visualization tools help analysts traverse this massive body of information to extract the most important insights. And ultimately, information should be displayed in an easily understandable graphical form so agents, supervisors and managers can quickly understand the situation and determine what actions they need to take.
Every organization has strategic business objectives for which C-level executives are accountable. Performance Management is uniquely powerful in that it can effectively cascade these objectives all the way down to the level of the supervisor and agent. By clearly displaying employee target vs. actual achievement on the agent/supervisor dashboard, which they see often, their actual performance vs. expectation is inescapable, and they will self-correct. In this way the organization can get perfect alignment between employee goals and strategic business objectives.
Many contact centers don’t use a formal Performance Management tool, and many are not using the tool they do have in an effective way. As contact center Big Data continues to grow with new sources such as desktop analytics and higher expectations of results such as Customer Journey Mapping, the argument for a top notch Performance Management tool becomes increasingly compelling.
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