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10 Contact Center Operations Management questions – how well do you do?

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

In this post, I share 10 Contact Center Operations Management questions for Contact Center leaders who want to gauge their mastery of specific Contact Center know how required for successful operations management.

Because while passion and experience are helpful, Contact Center know how matters too.

A bit of background on the Contact Center Operations Management questions

Managing a Contact Center is a business discipline.  It requires very specific know-how. And when I teach Contact Center operations management I cover four modules:

  1. Managing Wait Time
  2. Creating Efficiency
  3. Forecasting the Workload
  4. Contact Center University

The questions presented below are in multiple choice format and are drawn from the Contact Center management workshop I’ve run around the world for over 20 years.

Read through each question and choose the answer that you think is correct – that’s either a, b, c or d.  There is only one correct answer for each question.



The 10 Contact Center Management Questions

1.  Which accessibility metric gives management the clearest indication of the wait time a typical caller experiences?

a) Average Speed of Answer

b) Service Level

c) Percent Abandoned

d) Percent Answered


2.  Which of the following is the industry standard Service Level?

a) 80% answered in 20 seconds

b) 90% answered in 30 seconds

c) Industry standards only exist by industry (finance, hospitality, healthcare, etc.)

d) There is no industry standard


3.  When managing the queue in real-time, which of the following real-time reports should you look at first?

a) Agent status

b) Longest current wait

c) Number of calls in queue

d) Average time to abandonment


4.  Which of the following statements is/are TRUE?

I. Occupancy is the percentage of time agents spend talking to customers or completing After Call Work.

II. Occupancy is a result of random call arrival.

III. When Service Level increases, Occupancy increases.

IV. When Occupancy is extremely high for extended periods of time, Agents tend to work harder to clear out the queue.


a) II only

b) I and II only

c) II and IV only

d) I, III and IV only


5.  Which one of the following statements is true about Adherence to Schedule?

a) Adherence to Schedule measures the actual login time of an Agent compared with the scheduled login time.

b) The percentage of time Agents spend waiting for calls to arrive is the inverse of Adherence to Schedule.

c) When Adherence to Schedule increases, Utilization increases as well.

d) Within the context of Adherence to Schedule, login time does not include time Agents spend in After Call Work.


6.  If an Agent arrives 30 minutes late to work at a Contact Center, which of the following actions would benefit the Center the most? Assume the Agent is unable to consult with his/her Team Leader on the most appropriate action.

a)Stay 30 minutes extra at the end of his/her shift.

b) Skip his/her morning and afternoon breaks, each of which is 15 minutes.

c) Come back from his/her hour lunch break 30 minutes early.

d) Take his/her breaks and lunch as normal and leave at his/her scheduled time.


7.  Which one of the following statements is FALSE?

a) Measuring the number of calls handled by Agent is a good productivity standard.

b) Adherence to Schedule is typically an important productivity measure for a Contact Centre Agent handling Service Level-based contacts.

c) When Adherence to Schedule improves Service Level improves as well.

d) Most of what drives the Average Handling Time lies outside the control of the Agent


8.  The best definition of Time Series forecasting is:

a) A method where the past is a good basis for predicting the future

b) A method which is only used in rare circumstances

c) A method that covers the qualitative side of forecasting

d) A method that does not require judgement


9.  Your Call Centre supports email and is expecting 200 email messages to arrive between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. The Average Handling Time of email messages is 8 minutes.  Your promised response time is 4 hours.  Assuming the Agents can work uninterrupted on these email messages only, which of the following staffing scenarios would meet your response time objective for these email messages?

I. 4 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

II. 9 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

III. 14 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

IV. 40 Agents who each spend at least an hour working on email from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


a) II only

b) III and IV only

c) II, III and IV only

d) I, II, III and IV


10.  Which of the following are ‘factors’ you need to incorporate in a monthly Agent labor budget?

I. Is my Agent in the building?

II. What is the monthly weighted average Occupancy rate?

III. Is my Agent on a break?

IV. Is my Agent on leave?


a) III only

b) I and II only

c) I, II and III only

d) I, II, III and IV


Would you like to know how you did?


If you’d like to know if your answers are correct I’m happy to help.

I’ve intentionally gone ‘low-tech’ here.  There’s no need to register anywhere, set-up an account or pay to access answers.  Your name won’t be added to a mailing list unless you give specific permission for it to be added.

Once you’ve answered all the questions just drop me an email to [email protected]

Let me know the question # and the answer that you chose (either a,b,c or d).  Remember there is only one correct answer for each question.

You can use the following format in your email to me:

  1. a
  2. d
  3. c
  4. c (and so on for all the questions)

I always do my best to answer quickly and let you know which ones you got right and what the right answers are for the one(s) you got wrong.

Of course taking a few specific know-how questions won’t fully reflect the experience and effort that have gone into your Contact Center management work.

But it helps to know that it takes more than passion and experience to succeed in the industry.

And it’s the folks who have that know how, combined with their passion & experience, who create great outcomes for their Center.  And that’s good for everyone.

Good luck with the questions!

Daniel Ord

[email protected]




It’s time to rethink targeting Net Promoter Score at the Frontline

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

It’s time to rethink targeting Net Promoter Score® at the Frontline.

In the old days, suspected witches were tested by throwing them into the water.

If they sank, they were innocent. If they floated then they were indeed witches.

And if they were deemed to be witches…well you know how that went.

Today, some Frontliners go through an equally questionable test with regard to their service on a call or chat.

Let me explain.

I toured a big Contact Center that targeted Net Promoter Score at the Frontline

I was touring a big Contact Centre that conducted a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey at the end of each call.

As soon as the survey was completed by the Customer, that score – along with the Agent name – was beamed across large wall monitors placed around the Centre.

There was even a large lounge area with monitors so that Agents could watch the screens and see the scores for themselves and others scroll by.

But NPS is not really useful as an individual performance metric.

And much of what can go into a Customer NPS score – or overall CSAT score – lies outside the control of the Agent.

NPS is best and most used as a measure of overall brand value.

When it comes to your Frontline, it’s more effective to identify and set goals around the drivers of ‘good’ NPS scores.  What drivers positively impact the NPS and what drivers (or behaviours) to avoid.

Drivers that Frontline folks can support and realistically achieve in the work they do.

That takes some research of course.  But doesn’t that research pay off for everyone?

Sure – measure NPS or CSAT and take the actions you need to take. That’s a given.

But targeting Net Promoter Score scores for Frontliners isn’t much more sound than throwing suspected witches into the water to see if they float.

10 CCXP Exam Practice Questions for Voice of Customer, Customer Insight & Understanding

The big German bank

We’re in the process of finalizing the set-up of OmniTouch International in Germany.  Exciting times.

So a few days ago we went to the bank here in Wiesbaden Germany to open our official company account.  And here I should mention it is one of the top 2 German banks.

And our experience turned out to be a classic case of targeting Net Promoter Score at the Frontline.

There was the Corporate Banking Officer and a university student doing a work-study assignment attending to us.  The service was fine, the setting was fine and in 45 minutes it was all sorted.

At the end the Officer asked – “Is it ok if someone calls you to rate the service I provided to you today?”

He has to ask for this permission before a call is made.

We said yes.

Then he said, “You will be asked to rate us on a scale of 1* – 10  and in our bank a 9 or 10 means you are satisfied.”  *(Not a typo on the “1” but the NPS scale actually begins at 0).

He continued, “So may I know what score you will give?”

To which my partner Marcus answered, “7”.

The room got quiet.  Then Marcus explained.

“If you had pre filled up the forms for us you would have saved us 20 minutes time and I would have given a 9 for this interaction.  But we understand the forms part is a process issue and not you – you were great.

The ‘7’ is my honest assessment of this interaction based on the 1 (sic) – 10 scale.”  It’s not an assessment of you personally.

It was so awkward but instructive to watch this dialogue.  To see the anguish.

I piped in, “I have to ask guys.  Do you find this rating question that you have to ask very stressful?”

They both nodded emphatically.

Because to be fair to them – the question isn’t fair to them.

In closing

I think what surprised me the most was that we were told that 9 or 10 represented ‘satisfaction’.

But that’s not at all how the NPS scale works.

And I don’t think the banking staff misrepresented NPS to us.

I have a feeling that NPS was misrepresented to them – and they were simply sharing what they had been told and what they are measured on.

I’m looking forward to seeing if we receive the follow-up survey call and I’ll report back if/when that happens!

Thanks for reading,


Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.