Jun 6, 2005

Performance Management Technology is NOT for Call Centers

I don’t pretend to be a call center industry expert by any stretch of the imagination. I do try to read up on the industry and follow the latest trends, especially when it comes to IT Operations surrounding the industry. Having been a call center agent for 4+ years I am amazed at the technology that has emerged, especially in the last 5 years, that claims to bring more productivity and profitability to call centers by providing agent incentives based on complex performance measures and analytics.

Shrouded in terms like “Performance Management”, these technologies are complex and extremely expensive. Not only are initial startup costs a heavy burden for call centers, but ongoing maintenance and administration costs can be smothering. Although the companies providing these technologies boast ROI, I personally don’t see how throwing technology providing rich analytics at a call center can increase the performance of an agent.

It is my opinion that if call centers want to increase the productivity of their agents, they should start with their agent’s supervisors. Training should be provided to ensure that supervisors know how to properly motivate their agents and inspire them to do the work that they were hired to do. As an agent, I was rarely (if ever) motivated by a supervisor pointing out to me how profitable I was or how many calls I can take in an hour. I already knew that. What I needed was a supervisor that could instill in me the motivation to improve and help me identify ways to perform better. In this regard, technology budgets are better spent on agent monitoring (or recording) and coaching tools.

Call centers are notorious for having small margins. That is why I don’t understand how expensive Performance Management tools can bring profitability. Call centers will get a lot further by developing cultures of growth and development based on simple and inexpensive agent incentives. With this model, call centers do NOT need to invest (if you could call it that) in advanced Performance Management technologies.


Aaron Marvel said...

I don't agree completely with this.

Although I believe that to much is expected from those reports, and they do need to have the team leads learn and motivate their agents. I believe that if you don't measure it, it will never improve.

So my suggestion is a balance between knowing your agents and how to motivate them, and use the productivity reports to help them achieve the goals they want to achieve.

allison said...

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