Agent Productivity: The Good, The Bad and The Cherry Pickers

This blog post was co-authored by Genesys technology partner, Brightmetrics.

Let’s face it: You have a sense of who are your productive agents. But it’s helpful to have love some clear metrics to confirm your gut instincts  — or maybe to show you something that might be obscured. Sure, your team comes to work every day, clocks in on time, answers some calls, interacts with each other, works some more and then goes home. But you need to know your employees are meeting their goals, creating a fantastic customer experience for every caller and saving your company some cash through their efficiency.

Two metrics are vital to track agent productivity: average handle time and percentage of calls transferred. Average handle time is the average total engagement time with a customer. You can get this number by adding up total talk time, hold time and wrap time. Percentage of calls transferred is exactly what it sounds like: how frequently agents transfer callers elsewhere.

Knowing how long, on average, your agents spend on a call is important. And knowing how often they transfer calls also hold a lot of value. But it’s important to bring both of these metrics together to understand how productive your employees actually are. And, often, what looks “good” varies from organization to organization.

The Tale of Two Teams

Imagine that I’m a call center leader who manages two teams: an operator group and a customer service group. When looking at the percentage of calls transferred, the number I want my team to meet will differ depending on which group I’m looking at.

If the operator group’s percentage of calls transferred was in the high 70s, I wouldn’t bat an eye. Essentially, this team would be expected to transfer most of the calls they answer. Handling about 20% of the calls without involving another department would be a huge accomplishment.

But, for the second group, as a leader of a customer service group who transferred callers 70% of the time, this is a different story. My customer service group — whose primary job is to solve problems and provide service to customers — likely would receive the, “I’m not mad, just disappointed… But, if I’m being honest, I’m mad,” speech.

This would be the moment to dive into Brightmetrics — or your Genesys® PureCloud® analytics package of choice, and pull up the percentage of calls transferred and average queue time for individual agents of the group.

With these metrics, I can identify who’s doing well, who needs more training and who might do better in performing other job functions by categorizing my agents and inserting them into a quadrant in the matrix below.

To understand this a little better, let’s look at a few scenarios.

High handle time and a high percentage of calls transferred: These individuals likely are newbies to the game. They’re spending long periods of time on the phone, but can’t handle requests and transfer calls often. It would be best to invest in some training for these agents and see if there’s anything you can do to help them get up to speed.

A high average handle time and a low percentage of calls transferred: These agents are in a good place. They may spend a little bit longer on the phone, but calls don’t escalate often. So, as long as these agents aren’t spending longer on the phone than necessary for them to do their job well, do your best keep them around.

A low handle time and a high percentage of calls transferred: We identify these agents as “cherry pickers.” They spend a short amount of time with customers and transfer as often as they can — only taking on the calls they want to handle. Try to remediate this problem quickly as its likely that coworkers are picking up the slack for these individuals.

A low average handle time and a low percentage of calls transferred: Keep an eye on these agents; look into their customer satisfaction metrics or sales numbers. Sometimes not spending enough time on the phone can be a negative thing. Callers might become frustrated because they don’t think the agent isn’t showing enough empathy or taking the time to handle their requests effectively. Adversely, if other metrics from these agents look good, hold onto them. They’re the embodiment of a productive contact center agent.

It’s essential to track percentage of calls transferred and average handle time to see how well your agents are performing and to find out if your customers are receiving exceptional service from your team.

Check out our webinar on key metrics to learn how to get a full picture — beyond just how many calls agents have answered — about how your agents are actually doing.

For more information on Genesys AppFoundry partner, Brightmetrics, visit their listing in the AppFoundry Marketplace.