Highlights of the Future Call Center Summit

By Brian Cantor and Shawn Siegel

The more than 400 executives who attended the Future Call Center Summit were treated to the biggest and best event in the Summit’s nine-year history. This year’s new futuristic theme and 95 percent-new speaking faculty ensured that the discussions were forward-looking and at a higher level than ever before.

Over the course of the four-day event at Disney’s Contemporary Convention Center in Orlando, a few major themes jumped out at us. Here are some insights learned about two of these important themes:

Performance Management: Performance management was paramount at this year’s Summit. The idea that businesses need to improve their strategies for driving performance garnered universal support. If the call center truly deserves the label of “profit center” rather than “cost center,” then performance management will help justify the new label.

In the early portion of his workshop presentation, “Driving Contact Center Performance,” Uptivity’s Ryan Prestel revealed the five steps to managing call center performance. Those five steps form an endless cycle. Performance can always get better, which means improvement must be continuous:

  1. Set goals: Before focusing on specific performance measurements, businesses and call center leaders need to come to an aligned understanding of their fundamental objectives.
  2. Define indicators: After developing clarity on the objectives, leaders must establish a handful of integral performance indicators from which to gauge success.
  3. Measure results: Once confident they have selected performance indicators that speak to the business’ fundamental objectives, leaders can rely on those metrics to provide a relevant, accurate snapshot of performance.
  4. Identify opportunities: No business performs perfectly; the measurement process will reveal areas needing improvement. Whether it depicts crippling points of weakness or strengths that can become stronger, effective measurement will uncover opportunities for improvement.
  5. Enable action: Knowing how to improve a call center function is worthless if that knowledge does not drive change. Businesses must ensure that the relevant internal and external resources are positioned to seize opportunities for improvement.

Nuanced Metrics: While macro concepts like improving customer satisfaction, building loyalty, and increasing revenue are fundamental goals for all businesses, they lack the nuance needed to drive day-to-day strategy.

Certain classifications, however, can more precisely capture the nuance of business motivation than stratospheric objectives like revenue and customer satisfaction. They can identify more intermediate goals to achieve when launching new products, investing in new technologies, or adopting different customer service strategies.

In their joint presentation at the Future Call Center Summit, MicroAutomation and Nowanalytics identified three such classifications: product leadership, customer intimacy, and operational excellence. These classifications describe the means of achieving big picture objectives, such as raising customer satisfaction. Distinct in their conceptions of the customer experience, the three classifications naturally require distinct sets of performance metrics:

  • Product Leadership: creating differentiation based on the quality or uniqueness of a product. Businesses demonstrate successful product leadership by creating an appealing product that garners sizable market penetration and favorable reviews from customers. Essential metrics are customer satisfaction score, conversion rate on marketing and sales efforts, adoption rate, and retention rate.
  • Customer Intimacy: creating differentiation based on the level of engagement with the customer. Businesses demonstrate successful customer intimacy by creating valuable experiences throughout the lifecycle. Essential metrics are first call resolution, customer effort score, and service level.
  • Operational Excellence: creating differentiation based on the efficiency of the customer engagement process. Businesses demonstrate operational excellence by delivering expedient, low-cost customer service experiences. Essential metrics are cost per call, average handle time, and self-service completion rate.

Performance management and nuance metrics were the two of the biggest topics discussed by customer champions at the Future Call Center Summit. These topics will be explored in more depth at our flagship event, Call Center Week, taking place this June in Las Vegas.

The fifteenth annual Call Center Week (www.callcenterweek.com) will be held June 9–13, 2014, at the Mandalay Bay Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over 1,500 customer-centric professionals will gather together at Call Center Week, the industry’s number-one event that’s unrivaled in size, scope, breadth, and depth.

Connections Magazine subscribers can save 15 percent when they register with code 15CCW_CONNECTIONSMAG. Email enquiry@iqpc.com or call 800-882-8684 for more information.

[From Connection Magazine Mar/Apr 2014]