Contact Center Terminology, Part III

Contact Center Terminology, Part III

This the final part in the initial installment of what could very well turn out to be the definitive guide to common contact center terminology. (Part I, is here and Part II is here) If we missed anything or you have any thoughts on the definitions that we’ve provided, please feel free to weigh in by commenting below.

9. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
KPI or key performance indicator is a measurable data point that represents how effectively a company or individual is achieving or contributing to the success of key business objectives. A KPI goal for a call center might be might be to decrease AHT (from Part I) by 30 seconds on a particular campaign. A KPI goal for a customer service agent might be to decrease their personal AHT by 60 seconds to contribute to the larger company goal.

10. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score or NPS, measures customer loyalty and is considered a good predictor of business revenue and growth. In a nutshell, it measures how likely a customer is to recommend a product or service to someone else. It is roughly calculated by subtracting the dissatisfied (a detractor) from the satisfied (a promoter) and scored -100 to +100.

If we were to do a quick NPS checkup right now, it would look like this:

Respondents who score 0-6 are considered “detractors”, 7-8 are “passives” and 9-10 are “promoters”.

11. Occupancy
Occupancy is the percentage of time that contact center agents spend handling incoming requests against the total amount of time their are in “ready” status.

12. Outlier Management
Outlier management is a nice way of saying, “what the heck are we going to do with the under-performers?”  Typically the bottom 20 percent fall into a “outlier” category on any given metric and there are a variety of approaches management can take to address the issues. These range from mentoring to training to disciplinary action and everything in between.

13. Queue (Q)
Customers who call a contact center are placed in a queue while they wait to speak with a live agent. It is similar to waiting in line at an amusement park, a call queue is a “waiting line” of customers, organized by campaign and prioritized by the order the calls were received.

14. Service Levels/Service Level Agreement (SL/SLA)
A service level agreement (SLA) is a contractual agreement between a client and contact center that defines the level of service required by an inbound campaign. A typical SLA with a call center states that x percentage of calls will be handled in x number of seconds. (ie: 80%/60 seconds)

Service levels (SL) are one of the primary metrics that contact center managers monitor throughout the day. A 90 percent SL means that 90 percent of the inbound calls are being handled within the agreed to SLA.

15. Shrinkage (Shrink)
There are two types of shrink: internal and external. For the layman, internal shrink is when staff spend too much time goofing around; external shrink happens when people call in sick or late.  There are numerous other reasons for both but the point is that shrinkage can seriously hurt a business unless it is planned for and managed.

For example, let’s say a pizza joint determines it needs ten people to work ten hours each to provide adequate service for the number of orders forecast. If history shows that 2 will call in sick (external shrink) and 2 still need to be trained how to use the cash register for half their shift (internal shrink), then the pizza place is looking at an anticipated 30 percent shrink for that day.

It can therefore be concluded that the manager should schedule 13 people to cover the ten, ten hour shifts.

16. Workforce Management (WFM)
Workforce Management, as it applies to a BPO contact center, encompasses all the activities needed to maintain a productive workforce capable of providing the service levels promised to the client. These include scheduling, forecasting, performance management, real-time management, time-keeping and attendance.

And that concludes our three-part examination of some of the most common terms floating around contact centers these days. However, contact center terminology is an ever-evolving area and if the comments and feedback we receive warrant it, we will certainly revisit it again in the future.

Back to:
Part II
Part I