Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel
- Samuel Johnson, April 1775
(This article was also published at the Hazy ITSM blog)
Dan, you’re absolutely right.
A telco I worked for had its IVR redesigned.
Senior management chose “reduction of inbound calls” as the only KPI to measure success with, and linked incentives to that.
As a result, the IVR tree was so complicated that it was almost impossible to speak to an operator; the number of inbound calls dramatically dropped; line managers got their bonuses. Only customers were not happy, but who cares?
A few conclusions can be drawn.
First, KPIs suffer from something similar to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the systems.
When KPIs are coupled with bonuses and incentives, they act like options in the stock market, with a strong leverage effect.
Negative side effects in this case can be much greater than the positive ones, as in the case of the IVR.
Second, quality is a complex set of attributes. In my opinion, qualitative KPIs may be (unsurprisingly) better at measuring service quality.
Quantitative KPIs should be carefully designed and artfully blended to obtain a suitable set of measures but, most times, they are more suitable to detect bad quality than to ensure that the required quality has been achieved.
ROI considerations may be very helpful if they lead IT to adopt a perspective centered on business alignment.
Again, all implications must be fully understood in the ROI analysis. The IVR project I mentioned was said to have a positive ROI, since it reduced the number of the operators in the call center …