Obsessed with the Metrics or the Customer Experience?


By Melissa Kovacevic, Principal Consultant

Customer Experience & Contact Center Consulting

Several years ago, I walked into the office of a Contact Center Manager to review some information with him.  We moved my chair around to his monitor view side of the desk so he could show me some information on his desktop.  As I sat down, I noticed stack upon stack of white pieces of paper piled up under his desk.  They were so large in number that the Manager had only enough room to pull his chair into the space directly in front of him.  He saw me looking at them and apologized for the mess saying, “Those are metrics and data reports I haven’t had time to file”.

I asked him if he actually had reviewed any of them.  He gave me a sheepish look and said, “Well…some of them”.  I questioned where they came from.  He told me that one of his Supervisors had the job of pulling the reports from the previous day’s calls, printing the reports and delivering them to him each morning.

As we discussed further, I discovered that the person he reported to had started this “system” two years earlier around the time the Manager (with no previous Contact Center experience) started.  The  Manager thought this was just the way things were done and never questioned the process.  He wasn’t so much “obsessed” with the Metrics as obsessed with the pieces of paper he thought he needed to collect each day.

When I questioned him further about the previous day’s metrics results, asked which were the key focus, what they said about the quality of Customer Service, etc. he had no immediate response but instead began shuffling through the latest edition of the printed Metrics for answers.  From the volume of daily pages, it was clear that they were measuring every and any number possible. Worse was the fact that he had no idea what was happening in his Center in relationship to those numbers or how they affected his Customers.

While this is a strange and hopefully unique situation, I find that many Managers become obsessed with Metrics to the point of losing the concept of what the numbers actually mean.  Some continually ask what other Contact Centers set as Metrics, What are the benchmarks, and then constantly shift the metrics and goals to match other Centers that don’t have anything remotely like their own Center in terms of products, service, mission and perhaps Customer expectations.  Needless to say this is also confusing and frustrating for the Center staff who see this constant change as chaos or as some have told me, “The Metrics Special of the Day”.

The big question we need to ask ourselves…

Are we obsessed with collecting numbers to impress the C-Suite or focused on understanding which metrics help to create the best Customer Experience our customers want?

Originally posted By Melissa Kovacevic in May 2012.