How to Use Phone Metrics to Make Better Business Decisions


Phone metrics inform data-driven decisions.

In the era of Big Data and data-driven decisions, phone metrics can act as an invaluable measure of customer service. Previously, only the top dogs in any industry had access to phone metrics. Only they could afford the collection services and analysts necessary to transform the data into a story and an agenda.

Now, technology like cloud-based business phone systems (a.k.a. Hosted VoIP) has handed that valuable information over to companies of all sizes. This ranges from easy access to the raw data to automated dashboards that deliver immediate insights.

The most helpful phone metrics to track.

This year, the average manager will make between 40 and 50 significant business decisions. Studies have revealed that these decisions will drive 95 percent of business performance. Data-based alternatives and best practices increases the chance of making a good decision and improves manager performance by 20 percent.

When mining phone metrics for those key measures that will improve decision making, start with:

  • Call volume. This very basic metric provides a baseline figure you can use to establish trends and pattern behavior.
  • Response times and wait times. Measure how quickly your staff responds to inbound calls along with wait times.
  • Call duration. How long do your people spend on the phone solving problems?
  • Transfers. This critical measure can expose inefficiencies in your call routing and auto attendant menus. Higher transfers means customer are calling in to the wrong numbers, or not receiving the service they need. Customers usually don’t like getting bounced around and repeating their complaints to different people. That’s why, typically, the higher your transfer rate, the lower your customer satisfaction rating will be.
  • Abandon rate. This is the percentage of callers who hang up before the call is answered by one of your employees. Maybe the customer had to run take care of something, but most often, he or she just gave up, which doesn’t reflect well on your customer care.
  • Day of the week and time of day. Registering when calls occur—both during the work week and during the workday—can verify whether staff levels are handling the call load. If not, then it’s time to make some changes to schedules and staff levels.
  • Satisfaction measurement. Always give customers a chance to register their satisfaction (or lack thereof) at the end of their call.

Tips to making better business decisions using phone metrics.

#1. Establish your targets.

Metrics are only valuable when they serve a goal. So the first step is to identify an area where your company needs to drill down and get some answers. Is customer satisfaction down? Then perhaps see how many customers are abandoning calls before they reach a person. Check how long service calls are lasting, or how many transfers occur. Once you’ve decided what your priority is and established a target, then you can go about gathering data and drawing some conclusions.

#2. Verify data quality and always seek to improve it.

Data-driven decisions rely on accurate data. Stats are easy to skew, so always verify that you’re working with numbers that are accurate. A few ways to test the data is to consult another source. See if it yields the same results. Or run the same report from the same source and see if it spits out a different set of results. If the data can’t be reproduced, it probably isn’t reliable.

#3. Always analyze customer satisfaction.

Whatever goals you settle on, customer satisfaction should be a standard measurement. When asked, every company will claim that they’re “customer-centric.” But if you ask how they measure customer satisfaction, you’ll find very few who measure it precisely or on a consistent basis. The common practice now is, right after an encounter on the phone, you send the caller to an IVR (interactive voice response) survey. The survey asks a series of questions about the customer’s encounter with the agent. You may want to limit these questions to only three or four to avoid tying up customers for long.

#4. Make metrics transparent and available.

Metrics, done right, allow you to deliver real-time updates about how well you’re progressing toward your goals. Of course, you’ll want to avoid overwhelming your rank-and-file with a tsunami of numbers and figures. Prioritize the few that really encapsulates the progress you want to see. If these metrics can also reveal the direct benefit of personnel contributions, so much the better.

#5. Offer rewards for meeting goals.

Attach achievements—like successfully scoring the right kind of metrics—to rewards for your employees. This way, you take those abstract measurements and, in your team’s eyes, give them weight in the real world.

#6. Solicit feedback from your team.

As you publish and share your metrics with your team, it’s also helpful to ask them for feedback. Are the metrics helpful? Are they a focus or a distraction? Ask the people who are on the front lines, taking the calls with customers. Even if the metrics don’t tell that great of a story, that’s all the more reason to touch base and see how you can turn negative trends around.

#7. Revisit and reevaluate goals.

In the end, you may find that you’ve gone down the metrics rabbit hole—that the metrics you used didn’t yield the results you expected (or wanted). That’s fine. That means you’ve eliminated those metrics as factors and you can turn your attention to another set of metrics that will help you achieve your goals. Or perhaps you find another goal along the way that would help you better position yourself.

Cloud-based phone systems deliver easy, comprehensive phone metrics.

With cloud-based, or hosted, phone systems—like Jive’s—you don’t have to wait for someone else to provide you with critical phone metrics. Call reports are available at any time, usually in the provider’s online customer portal. While there, you can also customize what reports and readouts you’d like to see.

Discover what else to look for in a new phone system with our Hosted VoIP Buyer’s Guide.

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