Get the Most Out of Your Contact Center Reporting – Part 1

Welcome guest contributor Jeremy Markey! Jeremy has a few decades-long background in contact centers and shares from his experience working with agents at Hunter Douglas as the leader of CS Ops and Workforce Experience. Hunter Douglas is the leading manufacturer and marketer of custom window treatments in North America.

This article is the first in a 4-part series on the right way to do customer experience reporting.

Reading Between the Lines of Your Analytics to Actually Understand What’s Going On

Do you remember the first time you had spicy food? For me I was in kindergarten; my mom had prepared my dad a burrito before his night out bowling. Our kitchen was quite 70’s chic, a split level where we could see through to the den. Bench seats in 70’s brown fake leather, large 70’s orange glass ashtray on the dining room table. Seeing from the den my dad had food I rushed up the stairs, covered in thick 70’s green shag carpeting. At his side I asked for a bite. My dad said, “you don’t want any of this Jeremy, its hot.” Without hesitation I flopped my hand down right on top of his burrito, seeing it wasn’t that hot at all I demanded a bite, and my dad gave me one… And I learned spicy…

Many organizations learn about reporting like how I first learned about spicy food. We see someone else has something we want, and we demand to have it. And much like me chewing with tears and a look of betrayal on my face at a ripe old age of 6, it’s more than we can handle. Maybe we can’t even operate properly while under the influences of bad reporting.

What do we do?

Zero-Based Reporting

When our insights—much like our senses with spicy food—are overwhelmed, we need something like milk or peanut butter to cut the heat. Zero-based reporting is just what we need to start cutting the pain.

Zero-based reporting is a method where all reports must be justified and accounted for, starting from a “zero base.” Unlike traditional reporting where insights are built on existing reporting and just expanded on continually, in zero-based reporting, each report and insight must be specifically justified and approved, regardless of previous needs. This approach helps organizations focus on their priorities, eliminate waste, and make data-driven decisions by re-evaluating all insights and determining the true cost of activities and programs. Additionally, zero-based reporting can also help organizations allocate resources more efficiently, improve decision-making, and increase accountability for outcomes.

Steps to implement zero-based reporting:

  1. Assess organizational needs and goals: Identify the objectives and priorities of the organization and align them with the reporting process.
  2. Involve all applicable departments: Encourage participation from all departments in the reporting process to ensure that everyone’s perspectives and needs are considered.
  3. Gather data and information: Collect and analyze data on current reporting and processes to identify areas for improvement.
  4. Define roles and responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in the reporting process.
  5. Evaluate each report: Determine the purpose and value of each report.

    Pro tip: Set an expiration date for each report, if the report feeds senior executives review the needs with them near the expiration date. If not, postpone publishing the report on the expiration date and if no one reaches out then decommission the report.
  6. Set reporting targets: Set targets for reports based on the organization’s priorities and objectives
  7. Develop a reporting plan: Based on the data collected and the organizations targets set, including a clear justification for each report.
  8. Implement and monitor: Implement zero-based reporting and monitor progress regularly to ensure that the organization is on track and make necessary adjustments.
  9. Continuously evaluate and refine: Continuously evaluate and refine the zero-based reporting process to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.

Once zero-based reporting is up and running, when we make a change, we wait. Give it time and see what the results are. Here at Hunter Douglas, we rolled out our Scorecard 2.0 at the beginning of 2022. Since then, we’ve made a few optimizations to make it run better or fix things that weren’t working correctly, but no changes. In fact, we ran a whole year with Scorecard 2.0 without any material changes to it. And we did not because we couldn’t think of something better—we’ve thought of a lot of things that we wanted to improve. No, before we make changes, we’ve got to see if it works or not first. And for us at Hunter Douglas, the answer was yes. Our productivity went up 37%. We’re now refining our scorecard for 2023. But then we’ll do the same thing again; we’ll let it go for a whole year before we make any big changes to it again.

Most people are quick to try to fix the metrics they use in their reporting. Remember that the only thing worse than a bad metric is a new metric. When we change metrics, we often lose historical behavior, trends, and levers. Without this data to help provide direction, we are inadvertently creating an environment that might have a default output that’s opposite to what we’re trying to achieve. We must be very careful when it comes to standing up new metrics. We must be sure that this will get us the results that we need… and then watch those behaviors closely as we go down the path!

Optimize Our Workflow

In Contact Centers, our reporting workflow should follow a simple cadence. Whether we are a supervisor, manager, or even a director, it doesn’t change.

One: How did we do?Everyone
Two: How are we doing?Agents to Directors
Three: How will we do?Managers to Executives

How did we do?

The first thing we do each morning is answer the question, “How did the day end?” We’re watching through the day, we pretty much know what the answer is, and we look anyway. We set the stage for what we’re going to do today, what we need to focus on, and what actions are needed.

How are we doing?

Use spot checks, live dashboards, and color coding/statuses sent by our workforce management team. Unfortunately, though, this is typically where the wheels come off the wagon. Most organizations tend to fail here because we’re typically not paying as much attention to what’s happening on the frontlines as we should. This comes in a couple of different flavors, depending on what our role is.

How will do we do?

Forecasting, capacity planning, and postmortem analysis provide our answers. We do these both as a top down and bottom-up exercise depending on the focus. Each view will have a different audience, see below:

Daily: 7 to 14 days outSupervisor and Manager
Weekly: 6 to 8 weeks outManager and Director
Monthly: 3 to 6 monthsManager, Director, and Executives
Quarterly: 4 to 6 quarters outDirector and Executives

What’s Next?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look more specifically at what exactly the scorecards should look like at each level in your organization. We’ll dig into what the agent and supervisor scorecards look like and review what needs to be included on the scorecards for managers and executives as well. Finally, we’ll look at what you need to know before you start diving in to the complicated world of custom reporting.

Need a hand building the right reporting for your business?

Vertical can help! That’s because we don’t just sell products; we work in partnership with every customer to find the best technologies and implement the right processes that help them see real customer experience improvement and ultimately increased revenue.

  • Our expert design team can work with you to determine exactly which reporting features you need… and which ones you don’t.
  • Vertical’s white-glove installation process ensures that your team has the training to get the most out of your reports.
  • And if something goes wrong or you need to makes some tweaks? Our award-winning service team is always here to help.

From design, to install, to support, we’re always by your side—that’s the Vertical difference.