My name is Amas and I'm a Metricaholic!



If you have spent a day in corporate America, you know better than to even question the truism, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Apparently, the contact center industry decided to make this mantra a religion and worship at the temple of measuring every single thing. Almost every practitioner I meet feels obligated to tell me about a new metric he or she is measuring. At times I feel like I died and woke up in Metrics Hell! I say it’s about time to end the metrics arms race; it’s been going on for decades, and the impact on customer outcomes are dubious at best.

Full disclosure, I have done my fair share of escalating the metrics madness. I once actually started white-boarding all of the metrics I was responsible for and ran out of space (the board was 4’ X 5’!). I have even come up with my own metrics, one of which I called Cruise Time. Cruise Time essentially measured how much excess personal time was used in any given day. Like everyone else, I wrapped it in the “what’s best for the customer” flag, but this ended up being another unnecessary metric. I happen to believe that in almost every industry, winners and losers will be determined by customer experience. So focusing on how well efforts like these are doing is critical. Having said that, adding more speedometers to a car has never improved its performance. I certainly am not of the opinion that we should eliminate metrics, as advocated by some. I only argue that it doesn't have to be so many.

In the end, customer facing organizations should care about a handful of customer outcomes. How accessible are you to your customers? How much revenue are you generating for the organization? How efficiently are you operating? To that end, here are a few suggested metrics that can help you get back to metrics sanity:

1. To gauge accessibility, I favor service level as measured in percent of calls answered in x seconds. The determination of how many seconds to set your target should be guided by the sweet spot for your customers – set it too low and you overspend; too high and you frustrate your customers.

2. Customer impressions are generally determined from voice of the customer programs. I am biased toward the customer effort score, but whatever you choose just be sure it captures actionable impressions.

3. On the revenue front, I favor revenue per contact, particularly if the contact center is a sales center.

4. For an efficiency metric, I like utilization. Nothing impacts cost per contact more than labor. Make sure you steer clear of average handle time, encourage your staff to talk to customers, and discourage them from avoiding customers.

Whatever metrics you choose, make sure they are few and really measure the outcomes you have set for your business.

Are you tracking any unnecessary metrics?