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Defining Operational Excellence In Contact Center Reporting: Part 2

By Chris Recio


Operational excellence is something every organization strives to achieve and involves a lot of steps in making that goal come to fruition. Previously I went over the metrics, reporting and some of my experiences on how to improve the overall operation of a contact center. By getting those pieces correct, you now have confidence in how you can consistently provide an amazing customer experience. Equally important in having this knowledge is that you are prepared to properly staff your contact center.

The Metrics That Impact Staffing In The Contact Center World

Regardless of the size of any contact center, staffing is the number one issue that comes up time and time again. Understanding the impact of Average Ring Time, Average Talk Time, Average Wrap Time, and how they all translate to the number of seats you need is why we focus on these metrics right? Let’s take a look at a recent example from one of our clients:

A Recent Client Example

In a recent client visit, a cursory look at some key metrics revealed the following:
Average Ring Time: 3-4 minutes
Average Talk Time: 3 minutes 47 seconds
Average Wrap Time: 4 minutes 12 seconds

In reviewing the above, my immediate concern was the amount of Wrap Time. Ultimately, after reviewing the desktop workflow process, application management, and resource availability, I learned that Agents were regularly “riding out their Wrap Time” which was set to 60 seconds. In doing so, it was a common practice in the contact center to extend Wrap Time, and by extending wrap time it was obvious that this was far beyond the industry average of 30 seconds.

By reducing Wrap Time by 60 seconds, down to 3 minutes and 12 seconds, the need for Agents on the floor went from 16 Agents down to 12-14 Agents, depending on the time of day and shift. In our discussions with our client, we also went over ways they could reduce the Wrap Time down to a more stated Industry Guideline of 30 seconds.

If they were able to do this through contact center training, efficiencies in their software or by implementing a number of best practices the number of agents needed would be reduced to 6-9 agents depending on the time of day.

Additional Costs Hindering Maximum Performance In The Contact Center

While finding a way to reduce the number of agents from 16 to even 9 is a significant reduction, there were other costs associated with Average Wrap Time. The contact center also used a third party overflow group to handle customer inquiries when Agents in the Corporate contact center were not available. Being able to reduce their dependence on that third party, or even eliminate that need is a significant reduction in contact center costs.

The psychological message was “well, someone else will get the call”. That mentality can be a costly one when considering staffing an additional 10 people for 40 hours a week and having a third party on retainer. Not to mention you always want your employees who you have trained on your culture, your brand to be your ambassadors and interacting with your customers.

What we were able to distill from the information on this one metric resulted in significant contact center savings for our client. Average Talk Time can vary greatly by industry, and even within different departments within your contact center. However, focusing on Average Wrap Time and reducing the amount of time spent after the call should be a priority in your quest for Operational Excellence in your contact center.

Best Practices You Can Implement Now In Your Contact Center

Every reportable metric within the contact center gives us valuable insight into most aspects of the contact center operation. However, if we are not taking the time to further analyze what is underneath those metrics, we are losing a valuable opportunity to better understand our operations. This, of course, has a direct correlation to staffing, and ultimately, the customer experience.

While we have addressed three very common metrics here, along with the deeper view of how one might delve deeper into the underlying root cause of the metrics. My hope is this prompts you to take a more consistent and active role in your Quality Assurance processes and Live-Monitoring process.

Finding the real opportunity underneath your contact center metrics will require dedication to:

  • Some best practices and tips for finding the real opportunity that your focus on contact center metrics reveal would be:
  • Developing and Engaging in the QA Process & Live-Monitoring
  • Incorporate QA & Live-Monitoring into Your Daily Routine – 30 minutes is a start
  • Routinely Re-Evaluate the Interactions, Desktop Processes, and Customer Needs
  • Review the evolution of customer interaction
  • During monitoring are you noticing ways to answer frequently asked questions more effectively? Every second counts, especially when it is repeatable at scale.

In our next blog, we will discuss developing a QA process and outline that allows us to look at the contact center operation from more than simply the Agent’s personal performance.

At Inflow Communications, our strategic mission is to become an all-inclusive provider of Contact Center technologies, emerging technologies, and enhanced contact center services, often part of a strategic maintenance and support plan. It’s our belief that our customers should benefit from our 20+ years in experience, knowledge, and expertise in Unified Communications. We look to become a side-by-side business partner in becoming the best Contact Center operation.

With new enhanced services and products, we look to extend our customers’ operations with strategic solutions and thoughtful processes with your operation in mind.

We spend a great deal of time working with clients at deeper levels in their contact center operation through our CCSM (Contact Center Success Manager) program – included in select maintenance and support plans.

Our goal is to maximize our client investment in technology through ongoing operational consulting, education, and product knowledge. We gain great value through our business partnership with our clients, while simultaneously assisting our clients in constantly improving their contact center expertise and efficiencies leveraging products they already own.