I Have This Data – Now What Do I Do with It?

"I Have This Data – Now What Do I Do with It?"

- from Elliot L, Contact Center Manager, Dallas, TX

Hello, Edward, thanks for your question. Let’s start with handle time. And it really is just a starting point. First, the definition:

Handle Time = Talk Time + Wrap Time + Hold Time

I’m a real believer in dividing metrics into thirds. In these metrics, members of your team in the middle third get a green light. High handle time is the bottom (red light), and low handle time is yellow. I know some of you are asking why low handle time is a problem so let’s take that one first.  

Low Handle Time - Divide up this metric in its component parts 

Check low talk time by listening to some calls:

  • Is the agent trying to cheat the system by taking a call and hangingup quickly?
  • Is the agent just very efficient at their job? If yes, try to identify specific techniques.  
  • Are they cutting corners on required disclosures?
  • If you have a customer satisfaction metric, is it affected by the low

How about low wrap time? Does the agent try to do part of their wrap up as they work with the caller? If so, observe their techniques and use them to help others improve. If they are cutting corners on required documentation, you know what to do. Low hold time is almost always good but listen for agents guessing instead of checking and giving out wrong information.

Moderate Handle Time

I hear some of you saying that they are doing well so leave them alone, but these calls can make a real difference in the team’s performance. Listen to some of these calls to identify specific techniques they are using to manage their handle time.

  • Make sure that these agents know that you appreciate these specific techniques.
  • Work with the other groups to incorporate these techniques.

High Handle Time - Divide up this metric in its component parts too

Check high talk time by listening to some calls

  • Is the agent sharing personal information or bringing up new subjects with the caller? Does it go beyond making a connection with the caller?
  • Does the agent ask the next question after each interchange? This is a key element in controlling the conversation.
  • Are they repeating themselves more than necessary?
  • If you have a customer satisfaction metric, is it affected by the high talk time? If it’s a positive impact, is it enough to offset the high talk time?

How about high wrap time? Work with the agent to do part of their wrap up as they work with the caller. If they are sitting in wrap time until time expires or ending wrap up as soon as they’re done with the call, address that with them.High hold time is usually a sign of inadequate knowledge of your products or processes. Listen to enough calls with hold time to identify the agent’s knowledge gap.Of course, it’s important in all metrics to consider the difference in the types of calls the agent handles. For instance, one team should never put a caller on hold while another team needs to do so to verify documents. It might be beneficial to use % of goal to smooth out those differences.

What’s wrong with setting a goal and just letting the agents know how they are doing?

Even with agents who genuinely want to improve, they need specifics. For example, encouraging agents to lower their handle time will more likely cause them to decrease caller satisfaction.

  • cut callers off or leave out important information
  • cut corners on documentation
  • guess instead of taking the time to find the correct answer

If you follow these practices, you will see real movement in improving your metrics! I hope this helps, Edward.

Deb has 30 years of experience in the contact center sphere and was formerly CEO of DKP & Associates, Inc., a contact center consulting firm. Deb is a strategic thinker who relishes identifying opportunities and leading the effort to realize revenue and service improvements for clients. Her experience with clients such as Pfizer, Federal Express, and Reader’s Digest encompasses both sales and service contact centers in various industries including Insurance and Finance, Healthcare , Manufacturing, Publishing, Information Technology and Utilities. Deb has expertise in all aspects of the contact center which spans: Call Center, Software Evaluation and Installation, Program Development, KPI Improvement, Quality Management, Workforce Optimization, Report Development, Performance Assessments, Compliance Audits, Training/Recruiting/Retention, Vendor Evaluation and Selection, Scripting and Lead Generation. Deb’s program proficiency includes Customer Service, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Lead Generation, Inbound & Outbound Sales, Cross-Selling, Membership and Continuity Programs.

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