How to Monitor a Support Team's Performance
Monitoring the performance of your support team allows you to determine if the team is achieving criteria required to support the business's needs. It allows you track improvements or failures within the team, and provides data that allows you to make business decisions.
It’s important to define the criteria which are to be achieved, and set only achievable criteria. Setting an unachievable goal is unmotivating and can result in lowered staff morale. If bonuses or rewards are based on the un-achievable goals, this can further affect the overall satisfaction of your team. Remember a happy team provides greater results!
To define criteria for your support team, it's recommended that you first determine a high-level goal. It should answer the question, "What is the purpose of the support team?"
My team's high-level goal, for example, is:
"To be able to offer a high level of technical support with superior customer service."
Once a high-level goal has been set, you can further break it down for measurable performance targets.
"Superior customer service" can include the following performance targets:
- Answer times (the time waiting in the queue)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Abandon rates (how often calls in the queue are abandoned)
- Email quality (quality responses)
- First-call resolution
- Response times
"High level of technical support" can include the following:
- Fast resolution times (fault open time)
- First call resolution
- Fault ownership
- Fault resolution volume
Breaking down goals allows for more precise targets to be set, with numerically clear figures to achieve. An example may be:
- Achieve a call abandon rate of 3% per week
- Achieve an NPS of 70% per month
- Pass a Cisco certification every six months
Now that targets are set, the progress can be monitored. The way to monitor targets will differ depending on the type of target which has been set. I include some examples below for some common types of targets.
Call-based targets are normally a numerical figure which can be achieved either weekly or monthly. An example target may be based on inbound call volumes.
For example, "Achieve a minimum of 500 inbound calls per month." (I do not like this goal, as it may limit the individual and is variable depending on the circumstances – but it’s a good example).
Since the target has been set, you will need to monitor the progress; a performance target that can't be monitored shouldn't be set in the first place. Most contact centers use software to monitor call volumes and other useful data points. You can use the collected data to monitor the progress of the individual against the set targets, and with historical data you can monitor progress over a period of time.
It's also useful to develop an average for the team, and compare individual performance to the team average. If the overall average is low for the team, it may point to a team-based factor which will require further investigation rather than individual performance failures.
Finally, you need to provide feedback based on the targets set. If a team member often scores low, further work will be needed with the individual to boost their performance. If you do not provide feedback, there is no chance of improvement!
Email targets, also known as cases or tickets, are similar to call based targets. They should be numerical figures and have set achievable targets monitored either weekly or monthly.
For example: "Resolve 1200 tickets each month."
As with call-based goals, monitoring the goal and providing feedback to individuals is key. It's also useful to use the average volume metric as discussed for email-based targets.
Customer-service-based targets can be based on call statistics, ticket/email quality, call quality (manual checks on calls to review quality interactions with customers) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS).
Customer-service-based goals are extremely useful to determine customer satisfaction and the overall opinion the customers may have of the company and team. The NPS system is designed to collect data based on customers' recommendations of the company to others, and their view of the service received by the individual. Surveys are generated after all interactions with the customer and provide valuable insight to customers satisfaction.
NPS can be measured as a percentage per month, and it's recommended to set a target to work towards. Any score above 0% is good, as it means customers rate the company positively. A score above 50% is great. Any score above 0% is poor and requires investigation into the team's and customers' problems.
You can also obtain valuable information via call-quality and ticket-quality checks. You need to set criteria to rate on, and then check the quality performance of the calls or tickets based on the set criteria. The team should be aware of the criteria, and be managed towards meeting the targets. As previously mentioned, you should collect and store data to show historical trends for analysis.
There are many methods to monitor support performance, and you will need to decide which areas are most important to focus on.
Make the team aware of the targets, and monitor performance at agreed times. Most important, provide feedback and work with staff to achieve the targets set.