By A.J. Windle, Sr. Operations Manager
Managing Inbound Telemarketing Services can be extremely fun and extremely difficult at the same time. Sure the concept is easy, just answer calls and service the customer. Well the fact of the matter is while it can sometimes sound simple it definitely isn’t always that easy. By isn’t always, I actually mean never is it that simple.
From managing spikes in calls to staffing the correct amount of people, inbound call handling can put some definite stress on your team. In this environment there are a ton of metrics to watch, but how do you know which ones to watch and which of those will need to be adjusted to move the needle the most. The reality is all the metrics are important but there are several that I would put at the very top of my list. Here is a list of the top 5 metrics I feel are important when managing Inbound telemarketing services in an outsourced telemarketing environment.
Forecasting and Staffing
Before you can effectively manage any of the other metrics that we are all so glued to viewing once a campaign has begun you first will need to make sure you have equipped yourself to handle the calls to the best of your ability. If you are conducting primarily outbound calling and you are just worried about how to handle the callbacks then this can be done with a simple formula. On average .5% of your outbound calls will result in an inbound call. That being said let’s say your team makes 500,000 calls in a month. 0.5% of 500K is 2500 Inbound calls. Now as long as you have the average handle time you can back into the total minutes, staffing hours and FTE’s needed to handle your blended environment throughout the month. But let’s say for a minute that this isn’t a blended effort. Let’s say that this is a dedicated inbound program with no outbound to help push the calls. What do you do then. The first thing you need to do is look at historical. Historical data is the best fortune teller for any company providing Inbound Telemarketing Services. The old saying “history is destined to repeat itself” is true in many cases. Get as much historical call data as you can and look at when people are calling in. You need to look at each month, each day of the week, each hour of the day and how many calls are coming in during these times. While this will never be 100% accurate it will help you make the most informed decision on how you should appropriate your staff.
Now, once you have the staff in place and calls start rolling in you will want to watch service levels closely so you can make more definitive adjustments. Service Level is the percent of calls answered in a certain time frame. Most inbound call centers use 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds or less. Hitting or not hitting your service level goal can tell you a lot about your staffing and whether you need to ramp up or ramp down. While Service Levels are usually measured over the course of an entire day, I would encourage you to dive into the details and watch this metric during specific time intervals. Just because you hit service levels for the day doesn’t mean there are not opportunities to tweak your staffing during certain times of the day. If you are hitting your service levels with ease you may need to take a look at your occupancy rates because you could have agents sitting idle for lengthy times between calls, costing your company extra money you don’t need to spend.
ASA (Average Speed of Answer)
ASA is the average amount of time it takes for a call to be answered during a specific time frame. People do not want to wait on hold and frankly we don’t want our customers to wait for good reason. Long hold times create an elevated amount of calls in queue (stresser), unnecessarily frustrated customers (agent stresser), and unhappy agents who are forced to deal with these situations that could be reasonably avoided. If you are finding that the average speed of answer is much higher than you or your customers prefer you will need to increase your staff during those elevated periods to give your team a break and offset this issue. Not only that but having a poor ASA impacts so many other goals you have set for your team.
Average Speed to Abandon
Keep a close eye on this baby. Lost calls in an inbound telemarketing services environment are possibly the worst thing that could happen, especially if you are working an inbound sales campaign. These leads are the hottest of the hot and every person that drops off because they couldn’t talk to someone fast enough is lost revenue. By knowing what your customers will tolerate before they hang up you can properly adjust your Service Level, ASA and Handle Time goals. Also, if you find that customers are abandoning after a very low wait time, possibly you need to adjust the in queue message to be more interesting or more informative. It is also helpful to let the customer know the estimated wait time. It is usually less than what they might imagine.
Average Handle Time
Last but certainly not least is Average Handle Time. AHT is comprised of the hold time, talk time and wrap time divided by the total number of calls handled. This metric is great for giving you a quick view of how fast your team is working their way through the calls. While it is important to look at the overall number here, I would encourage you to get a little more granular in your review of this metric by breaking down the total handle time into each one of its respective components. This process can be a bit tedious; however, it will allow you to understand what is taking the most time from your team and help you to evaluate processes and procedures that will keep you servicing the customers to the best of your ability.
There you have it. These are my Top 5 metrics for managing your inbound telemarketing services in an outsourced telemarketing environment. There are many more metrics you can be looking at and several that can help you move the needle; however, over the years I have found these specifically to be the most beneficial to me. Quality Contact Solutions has extensive experience in managing inbound telemarketing services so if you are looking for an outsourced telemarketing partner to help you reach your goals please give us a call! 1-866-963-2889. Or email me at [email protected]. We would love to help!
A.J. Windle is Sr. Operations Manager for Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing organization. With responsibility for overseeing the daily operations of client programs, A.J. is relentless in his pursuit for ensuring every client program is reaching the desired goals – every day. With over 14 years of experience in Telemarketing, A.J. has built his career on creating win-win relationships between his team, his clients and his telemarketing vendors that drives unparalleled success. A.J can be reached at [email protected] or 516-656-5106.