If you’re a business owner looking to motivate your call center employees to respond to calls faster and deliver better overall performance, look no further; ACCE 2012 conference and expo speaker Tim Montgomery is going to tell you why he thinks companies should limit their use of what he calls “behavior-centric metrics,” insisting companies instead focus on measurements, which he says will really lead to customer satisfaction.
Montgomery begins by placing an emphasis on employers’ motivation techniques when mentoring workers. By focusing on these types of simple strategies – like encouraging workers about what they do right –internal gratification results. Conversely, placing too much emphasis on metrics and rules will overburden call center employees, encouraging them in the wrong way to, as he explains, “game the system and shortchange the customer.” Montgomery further illustrates this point with a detailed example from one of his own clients.
In Montgomery’s anecdote, a client company manager overreacts to an extended bathroom break taken by one of the call center agents, which only makes things worse. When sifted out, it just so happened that the agent was ill, and felt even more ill after the embarrassing fiasco she was forced to endure by this confrontational manager (who, mind you, had been knocking repeatedly on the bathroom door while she was inside). The agent was then prompted to obtain a doctor’s note insisting on unlimited bathroom breaks. Before you know it, 30 other agents soon had their hands on doctor’s notes, resulting in full permission of unlimited bathroom breaks and an increased number of missed calls.
Montgomery’s strategy is instead centered on a “people-centric approach,” which delivers better results as opposed to the traditional, heavy-handed metrics strategy. How does it deliver better results? Montgomery can tell you himself, having converted to his “people-centric approach” years ago after constantly sacrificing customer satisfaction for the chance to exceed his metric goals and please his managers. Montgomery now urges managers to choose measures that meet customer needs.
Finding a proper balance between quantitative statistics and qualitative measures should be first priority. Stephen J. Willis and Michael Bendixen, authors of “A Review of Call Center Measurements” believe so, and furthermore agree that it would be wise for organizations to focus first and foremost on meeting customer needs.
So when it comes down to it, metrics are really not the answer to motivating call center employees, nor are they the answer to high-quality customer service. What’s most important? For organizations to simply identify their real goals instead of implementing metrics just “because everyone else does.” First, think about whether these widely practiced methods even make sense or seem logical, then conduct a thoughtful approach to focusing on what really matters to build and maintain both customers’ and employees’ satisfaction.
Edited by Rich Steeves