“Metric Managing” ≠ “Goal Setting”: Why “Metric Managing” is Costing Your Call Center Millions in Lost Revenue

How many times have you heard a call center leader discuss goal setting in terms of numbers? Perhaps you’ve even passed down goals as numbers. Let’s say the center objective is to sell “X” number of widgets. Most call center managers will divide “X” by the number of agents. The “Goal Setting” for the month is done. The call center manager types it neatly on a Goal Sheet and may even design a contest to motivate the agents to achieve “the Goal”.

Sometimes, you will find call center leaders who really like to take “Goal Setting” to the next level. They will ask the agent something along these lines “How much money would you like to make next month?” Based upon the answer, this call center manager then helps the agent set a goal for X widgets to be sold which will allow the agent to earn the commissions to reach their goal.

Honestly, how many times have you seen this exercise be accepted as “Goal Setting?” Maybe you have even used this type of “Metric Managing” in the past. You might even be wondering, why all the fuss about the difference between “Metric Managing” and “Goal Setting?”

The difference between “Metric Managing” and “Goal Setting” is akin to the difference between telling someone to catch you an 8 pound fish and teaching them the technique to successful fishing. “Metric Managing” takes no real skill or extraordinary effort. The “Metric Manager” does need to possess rudimentary math skills, but we can find a 3rd grader to help with the math. True “Goal Setting” requires call center leaders to focus on the behaviors which result in real sales success. It requires a management team which understands WHY customers purchase their products or services, HOW their agents should best communicate with their customers, and WHAT the agent should say to motivate the customer to make a buying decision during the contact. Good luck finding a 3rd grader to help with behavior focused “Goal Setting.”

When call center managers rely upon “Metric Managing”, the cost to the call center could be millions of dollars in lost revenue, higher attrition levels with agents and managers, and customer dissatisfaction.

You might argue that “Metric Managing” works for some people. You’d be correct, of course. The reason “Metric Managing” sometimes works is some people are able to self-identify what behaviors they must demonstrate to reach the objectives. These people are identified in the Bell Curve as the left-siders.

The left-siders have the ability to see things most others can’t see. The Bell Curve theory suggests only about 5 to 7 percent of agents will be left-siders. That’s why “Metric Managing” will work with some people, but not the vast majority. The Bell Curve also includes groups of people we’ll call the early majority, the majority, the late majority, and the right-siders. The behaviorally focused “Goal Setting” manager will impact the left-siders, the early majority, the majority, and the late majority. The right-siders are rarely reached by anyone and they are the 5 to 7 percent of agents who need to exit your business.

Behavior focused “Goal Setting” allows positive behavior change when agents have the opportunity to recognize their natural talents and use their natural talents to achieve their goals. Interestingly, Jay Niblick, owner of InnerMetrix, Inc. and renowned author of What’s Your Genius?, identified two common traits of successful people during a seven-year scientific study conducted with 197,000 participants in 23 countries. Successful people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other differentiator, are the people who understand their natural talents and consistently use their talents in pursuit of their goals. Otherwise known as self-awareness and authenticity, these traits separate success from failure.

Effective managers must have the ability to help their agents become more self-aware and authentic. When mastered, this ability creates astounding results. Agents become more focused on positive behavior change. This positive behavior change results in revenue increases, improved retention, and higher customer service scores.

Inspired Performance Solutions, Inc. can help you determine if you are “Metric Managing” or “Goal Setting”. Using the diagnostic tool from InnerMetrix, Inc., the ADVanced Insight Profile, you will be able to determine WHAT natural talents you have, WHY are you motivated to use them, and HOW do you prefer to use them. You will become self-aware allowing you to achieve more authenticity. For a FREE copy of your ADVanced Insights profile use the link below:


Or contact IPS at info@inspiredperformancesolutions.com for more information.


About davegregory

Dave Gregory, Chief Learning Officer for Inspired Performance Solutions, Inc., believes in the power of the strengths movement. During the past 15 years, Dave managed the Learning Solutions activities of Qwest’s Mass Markets Group, including call centers, retail stores, indirect retail, e-business, collections, alternative markets and the small business teams. Mr. Gregory graduated from Creighton University’s School of Law in 1993 earning a Juris Doctor. He completed his undergraduate education receiving a BSBA with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1990. Mr. Gregory has more than 25 years experience in business development and consulting.

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