Identify metrics that support accurate forecasting so that you may better predict customer needs. Explore metrics that help answer the question, "Are you getting the right resources in place at the right times?" Discuss the challenges of efficiency in an environment that is driven heavily by the random arrival of customer workload.
- Let's take a closer look at the matrix that support the first two of the seven key aspects of service. Anticipate workload and resource management. An important part of delivering an effective service is anticipating customer demand or put it another way, forecasting the workload. So an important metric is forecast accuracy and yes, that's true whether you're a one person interior design company or a regional accounting firm or a government agency that reaches much of the population.
The beautiful thing about forecasting customer workload, is that it encourages you, really requires you to know your business, whether formally or informally, you're already forecasting your business. You're at least thinking about productions as you make a multitude of decisions with a higher staff, how much space you need, how much inventory to carry and so forth. But you worry that these decisions are actually just best guesses. Make this a focus, analyzing forecast accuracy helps you understand where your predictions are off and enables you to make much better decisions in the future.
It also indicates the level of contingency planning you should be considering to the degree, the forecast is off the mark, should you have employees that are on call for example. The basic formula for calculating forecast accuracy, is forecasted activity minus actual activity, divided by actual activity. For example, if you forecast 100 customers and end up serving 90, the forecast will be high, in this case, 11%. A positive number, as in this example, indicates that you probably planned for enough resources to handle the workload, but too large of a positive number, means that you may have overstaffed, which would be inefficient.
And negative numbers worry some because it indicates that customers' expectations about accessing service, may not have been met. Watch for traits and you'll be able to see where forecasting needs work. They are different spans of time over which you'll probably want to measure forecast accuracy. For example, was it accurate enough to predict annual budget, did you hire the right number of people last quarter? Did you staff for the Monday morning demand is needed and watch out forecasting can be fun and addictive.
When you get so good at it that you'll know how many customers will be quote shopping your insurance company's contact center, on a Saturday morning. Or celebrating special occasions in your restaurant this weekend. It's transformative to your ability to deliver effective service. A common supporting method to forecasting is known as propensity to contact. This is the average number of times a customer contacts the organization, typically on an annual basis. It's a recommending metric for organizations focused on ensuring that customer service is either, not necessary or is automated to the extent possible.
Your forecasts are off the mark, that's okay, you'll know where to dig in and remember that contingency planning is more important. Resource management is the other side of this equation. You have customer demand and ideally the resources to match it, you can see how these two aspects of service delivery are interrelated. In most customer service environments, work arrives randomly from moment to moment based on the of variables and impact when a customer needs help.
That's true in a retail store, a contact center, an emergency department and so many other settings. Customer service is almost always part of a time driven environment, doesn't matter if you have the most incredible team, if they're not there when customers need them. So a common supporting metric here is schedule adherence, it's sometimes called, schedule fed or availability. The basic formula for calculating the adherence is the time employees are helping customers or are available to help customers, they might be waiting for them to arrive.
Divided by the time they're scheduled. Generally speaking, the higher the percentage, the better. But, planning for 100% adherence is unrealistic. Let's look at an example, the technical support representative, who takes a break at 10:15 instead of 10, due to a customer support call, it's out of adherence, 30 minutes. She missed 15 minutes of her break between 10 and 10:15 and 15 minutes of support between 10:!5 and 10:30.
So the numerator must reflect the time that she is away from the planned schedule. Time scheduled in minutes is 480 or eight hours x 60 minutes. So if the rest of her eight hours schedule has worked as planned, adherence will be 94%. In this example, time was impacted by your rep helping a customer. Her adherence isn't 100% and she made the right call. For this reason, you don't want to ask for 100% adherence. Many find that 85% or 90% is more realistic.
Ideally, you'll have a metric that reflects overall schedule adherence for customer service and you'll probably also want metrics for scheduled adherence for specific teams, if you're a large organization. I once worked with a group of doctors and nurses who were part of a new contact center that provides quick access to medical advice through phone, email and now even video. Initially, they were hesitant to establish an adherence major, but they realized, time in something they're very aware of in physical settings such as triage, you realize this concept of adherence, isn't so different after all.
We now have some of the most effective customer service I've seen. There are many ways to measure adherence or availability. My encouragement is to settle on a simple and effective way to measure it in your environment and bring your team into this process so they feel good about why it's important and have input in the expectations that make sense.
This course covers, in a step-by-step fashion, why metrics are important, which metrics matter the most, how to interpret results, and examples of how successful organizations leverage metrics to improve decisions and performance. Whether your service operation includes face-to-face services, contact centers, social media, self-service, or any combination, this course provides practical know-how, real-life examples, and guidance for implementing and using the right metrics and establishing meaningful goals.
- Identifying customer expectations
- Avoiding pitfalls
- Essential metrics for the service operation
- Identifying alternatives for measuring engagement
- Engaging support that drives the right behaviors
- Key areas of focus for individuals
- Assessing service interactions
- Calibration and coaching
- Clarifying responsibilities