A customer services organisation was on target for all of the following measures:

  • time to answer the phone
  • availability of service agents
  • time taken on each call
  • time taken to ‘wrap up’ calls (do work to ensure the transaction was completed).

The measures were being used to manage service agents and to produce reports to send up the hierarchy. The only use of the reports was for resource planning and scheduling.

But none of these measures can be used for improvement. Worse, these measures acted against improvement, but managers had to study their system to find out how.