Monday, August 20, 2012

The Missing Element in Performance Measurement

Can you imagine having your work performance measured and analyzed every minute of every day?  Today, most call center agents know exactly how that feels.  Today’s modern call center is designed to capture performance measures about every aspect of every interaction an agent has with a customer.  In fact, outside of the computer chip plants, I suggest that customer service interactions are the most instrumented parts of most companies.

All this measuring and all this evaluating in order to deliver the highest level of service possible and yet there is a big hole in the entire process.  While there are daily measures of agent performance, when was the last time you heard of an agent’s current knowledge levels being measured?  In fact, in a great many companies, once an agent has attended training and passed the exams accompanying the training, the assumption is that “knowledge gained is knowledge retained.”  I beg to differ.

Studies have shown that information learned but not utilized is quickly forgotten.  A recent study of physicians attending an eLearning course found that the doctors had forgotten 50% of the material in 8 days and 90% of the material in just 8 weeks.  I cannot imagine that the retention rate of the contact center agent is any better.

It is time for companies to regularly measure knowledge just as they regularly measure performance.  Agent knowledge levels have a direct effect on agent performance.  Where knowledge gaps are identified, gap-filling training courses needs to be delivered. 

Agent performance measurement is an ongoing and continuous process in all contact centers.  It is time to incorporate knowledge measurement into the equation and fill a vital yet mostly ignored characteristic of all high performers; they know the material they need to know. 

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