4 Tips for Designing and Optimizing Contact Center Dashboards

4 Tips for Designing and Optimizing Contact Center Dashboards

In a complex environment such as a contact center, it is easy to become so inundated with data that the big picture gets lost. A dashboard can help you stay on track, providing important metrics on all key aspects of your contact center in a single place.

Below are some guidelines and tips for building (or improving) your contact center dashboards.

Focus on the Big Picture.

A dashboard is a tool that provides a complete overview of performance on one screen. Just like your car dashboard keeps you well-informed about how your vehicle is running, an effective contact center dashboard will keep you informed about key areas that require your attention while allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

When you are responsible for making key operational decisions, you don’t have time to sift through myriad spreadsheets to get the information you need. Everything you need should be available in a single place. In this spirit, your dashboard should present a summary of the entire enterprise on a single display. Splitting your information up among tabs or pages blocks you from viewing the big picture for your contact center.

If you’re not sure if your dashboard is complete or properly focused, consider this: do you monitor multiple dashboards to keep tabs on operations? If so, it might be time to refocus your efforts and create a single dashboard that lets you see everything at once.

Focus on the Right Things.

Choosing the correct measures is vital to the success of a dashboard. The goal of this tool is to reliably assess the health of your contact center without slogging through mountains of data to do it, which is why it is critical to focus your dashboard on key measures of performance.

The metrics that you decide to track will vary based on your organization and performance goals, but they should represent a cross-section of all of the major areas of performance in your contact center. If you are starting from scratch, some metrics to consider tracking include service-level agreements (SLAs), calls answered, calls offered, abandon rate, average speed to answer, calls dropping out of interactive voice response menus, time in queue, customer satisfaction, quality assurance, and average handle time.

Limit yourself to no more than a dozen measures. This might sound very conservative, but there are good reasons for not throwing everything into your dashboard:

  • Emphasis – Providing a key set of metrics is a clear signal of what is important. When everything is important, nothing is important.
  • Multi-tasking – Contact center managers balance many responsibilities at once. A dashboard should be simple enough that even a distracted user can understand it.
  • Readability – The more metrics you add, the smaller everything has to be to fit on one screen.

Since your dashboard will evolve over time, it’s a good idea to begin dashboard development by rank-ordering metrics by importance to your contact center. That way, you ensure you are including the most important items and can easily add/remove measures when needed.

Optimize for Quick Viewing.

Dashboards are meant to allow interpretation within seconds. For example, if it took even 10 seconds to read your car’s dashboard, you’d likely end up in a ditch. This is why providing a quick, at-a-glance view is so critical to a successful dashboard.

The key to quick viewing is that every metric has a target. Without targets, there is no indication of whether a given level of performance is problematic. Is a customer satisfaction rate of 94 percent something to celebrate or something to improve? Metrics that have no targets are not good candidates for a dashboard; consider setting meaningful targets for each metric prior to building your dashboard.

Color is a great aid for quick viewing, as it communicates the status of each metric (red-yellow-green) in a manner that’s easy to understand. However, it is also good practice to supplement color-coding with symbols to avoid issues with accessibility—the most common form of color blindness is red/green.

At-a-glance trendlines can also be used to illuminate behavior over time. While individual metrics might show as red, yellow, or green, managers can look more globally for trends to gain insight into operations. For example, a KPI that is red, but improving, might require less attention than one that is red and still falling.

Don’t Include Too Much.

The ideal dashboard should have just enough information to answer the question “Is there a problem?” However, there is often pressure to include extra data to help further diagnose the problem. This is a common pitfall in building a dashboard: the attempt to cram in more information than is needed. These additions add clutter, not clarity.

For example, when your check engine light turns on, you don’t try to diagnose it while you are driving. You have a specialist with the right tools diagnose the problem. Dashboards provide that “check engine light” functionality; they quickly alert you that a problem might exist. From there, you can get a contact center analyst involved to pinpoint the source of the problem and give you the specific information needed to fix things.

Keeping metrics simple encourages clear decision-making. You might find, for example, that you need to look into your caller queue because it is unacceptably high right now. Ironically, having more data can often lead to indecision.

Dashboards have become ubiquitous in our lives, and for good reason: they communicate important information quickly. The best dashboards are thoughtfully designed and carefully curated to provide the most important information at a glance. Contact centers that create and use well-designed dashboards will be able to recognize problems earlier and ensure consistency for the customers they serve.


This article was originally published in Smart Customer Service by Jack McMahon, a Senior Business Insights Analyst at HighPoint. Learn more about our work in data services.