The Power of Performance Management
An interview with Donna Fluss
In an exclusive interview with BM, Donna Fluss explains why contact center performance management can help achieve organizational goals and increase revenue.
If you don’t retrain your staff, you’re going to fail.“
Performance management has been infiltrating the contact center market for a couple of years now, by the end of 2007 penetration stood at 7.8%, which was a substantial jump from the prior year’s rate of 1.47%. Donna Fluss, Founder and President of DMG Consulting, explains that the penetration of contact center performance management (CCPM) has been relatively small due to a misunderstanding of the application within the market. “One of the deliverables of CCPM is sophisticated reports, however, managers believe that they already have reports for each of the 25 to 40 applications they have, so why do they need CCPM? And the answer is that CCPM provides one version of the truth, “ says Fluss.
As the complexity of contact centers go up, management adds on additional responsibilities, explains Fluss, and organizations will gradually turn to CCPM in order to verify their performance through a single report. “Much of the success with CCPM is when you have a manager coming in from a different operating area who has previously used CCPM,” says Fluss. “Familiarity with the benefits of performance management is one of the most important drivers.”
Fluss claims that in order to implement CCPM into an organization it is important to relate it to quantifiable benefits, namely cost reduction, sales increase and customer retention. “You need to dig deep to find out the classifiable benefits for an individual organization, and if you see benefits as higher than other systems, you will win in terms of which investments get made,” explains Fluss.
Fluss goes on to explain that performance management has two different objectives. The first works at a strategic level and helps align the goals of the contact center with the goals of the enterprise. “While this may sound simple, in my experience only around 30% of senior call center people will know their enterprise goals, so how can the contact center be viewed as an enterprise distributor if it doesn’t know the enterprise goals?” asks Fluss. Second, from a tactical perspective the key performance indicators help capture and report how well contact centers deliver their objectives.
Without doubt CCPM is a way of increasing visibility into operations and allows an increase in productivity and therefore profitability. With the economy in the state it is, surely such solution can benefit the bottom line for companies in this difficult market? While Fluss agrees that it can, she also suggests that when organizations are under siege IT investment is frozen, with the exception for anything that will fail without repair.
Fluss believes that successfully implementing a CCPM approach can be extremely simple. However, it is important to understand that there are two things that generally get missed in implementation, she says. “First, when you have put in a new application, you have an opportunity to modify procedures and process, and second, if you don’t retrain your staff you’re going to fail.”
The real responsibility is on management to bring every individual onboard, and get them to buy in, review and enhance the key performance indicators and goals, and then train employees to use the information. “CCPM is critical because it provides management, and all levels of staff, from agents to senior executives, with the information to be able to evaluate the performance. You can’t manage what you can’t measure and that is why CCPM is a powerful tool, because it gives you the ability to measure and track it.”
There are two categories in performance management for the contact center:
Real time: This is where the operating area receives information as it is happening
Historical/classical: This is where information is received on a next-day basis
In both cases the solutions are intended to be action orientated, it is simply a question of which actions can be taken based on the information that you are receiving.