Jeremy Booth feels like a broken record. He’s said time and again
that the future success of call centers hinges on taking proactive
performance measurements. Call centers need to stop looking at
historical data that only depicts what’s already happened and instead
they should focus on what is going to happen.
He is Associate Vice President of Cambridge Investment Research, which is an independent broker-dealer with 2,600 advisors around the country who are his clients. His call center has 40 agents, who field about 150,000 calls per year and they’re tracking to make $600 million in revenue this year. In this interview, he explains why call centers need to stop looking over their shoulders and start looking ahead.
Jeremy believes call centers keep looking over their shoulders. Traditionally, they focus on lagging measures – agent availability, average speed to answer, call length – and other metrics that track service when considering agent and call center performance.
While historical measures are great because trending analysis can be gleaned from them, it’s time now to focus on predictable, influence-able outcomes. The time is now to look into the top most important performance metrics looking forward to 2015.
The easiest and most impactful way to do this is by ensuring training is effective, hiring practices are in line with business need and other indicators that will have a direct impact on those lagging measures, Jeremy says.
“We’re of the mindset that if you focus on and are proactive on your upfront service — whether it’s operations or the service that’s built out (for example) … and don’t give our advisors a reason to call us for anything that’s not informational – if we cut out the issues, that our satisfaction scores will follow right along with that,” Jeremy says.
The future of call center performance, therefore, depends on the strength of its proactive measures. Centers need to be able to focus on predictable, influenceable outcomes. He likes to use the example of weight loss since it is a simple concept most people can relate to.
“If I stand on the scale every day, am I going to lose weight? No. It’s going to tell me I’m either going to go up, or I’m going to go down, or I’m going to stay the same. I’m still looking at it every day. It’s something that’s already happened. But if I know that my caloric intake and what I burn in calories are directly related, and those are influence-able things that I have going on in my life. If I can burn more calories that I can take in, I don’t have to check the scale every day. I can do it once a week or once every two weeks, and I will see progress if I stick with the plan,” he says.
Therefore, instead of focusing more on the numbers and the metrics, call centers should take a holistic view and then ask themselves, “Is this strategy aligned with the end business goal seeing?”