For years, many contact centers measured their success simply from a financial point of view. Was the call center operating on budget? Were costs being kept down? How short could you keep phone calls? How many calls could you answer in a day?
While this may have made sense from an operations point of view, it didn’t make much sense from a customer point of view. “Getting the customer off the phone as quick as possible” was the one overriding goal, and it seldom led to true customer satisfaction.
Companies are slowly figuring out that quality is even more important than quantity, and call centers are beginning to evolve on how they measure success, transforming themselves from a cost-centric approach to a more customer-centric one. As a result, the methods they use to measure operations in the call center are gradually changing. Metrics such as average handle time are giving way in favor of more customer-focused metrics such as first-call resolution.
There is a new metric showing up in U.S. call centers, and that is “task completion rate” or TCR. It’s a metric that relates to call center application performance, measuring how well these applications promote caller success.
“TCR is defined as a percentage of specified tasks that are completed in a customer care interaction without live agent intervention, before sending the customer to an agent (CSR (News - Alert)), and at the best possible time for the remaining tasks that are most effectively handled with a personal touch,” wrote West Interactive’s Adrienne Flahive in a blog last month.
The goal is to find the perfect balance between automated and live-agent customer service, maximizing the value of that interaction for both the customer and the enterprise. (If you’re looking for insight into the math of the matter, this Measuring Usability blog provides good background for crunching the numbers of task completion rates.)
Companies can use this metric to find the right balance between self-service and live agent support that will please customers the most. This is not a static figure: customer needs are constantly changing, as is the nature of a business, so it’s more of an ongoing goal than a destination to arrive at once. By mastering it, companies can better understand how to provide their customers with exactly what they want in their preferred channels, writes Flahive.
While you may not be in a hurry to add another complex metric to your call center’s repertoire, this one is critical. It allows you to ensure that you are using call center technology that often annoys customers – think interactive voice response (IVR) solutions – in a way that actually benefits them, maximizing their usefulness and their benefits.
It’s a good metric for call centers that have finally realized that they exist not to serve themselves or the company they represent, but the customers who rely on them.
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Edited by Rich Steeves