Striking the right balance between achieving Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and making the ‘right’ customer service decision on a human level is undoubtedly challenging, especially in public services. How do you ensure your teams can still provide a helpful, responsive and personal service in an environment full of KPIs and compliance obligations?

Contradictory KPIs: A Real-Life Conundrum

For example, an organisation may set a KPI to answer and complete customer calls within a specific timeframe. The aim is to get through as many calls in a day as possible, reducing on-hold times. However, this well-intentioned metric can become contradictory when the complexity of an issue demands more time for a thoughtful and thorough response. The temptation is to ‘park’ the issue and offer to call back, keeping the KPI on track.

In reality, this approach can actually compound the problem, creating a build-up of outstanding tasks and promises that often can’t be delivered. Even something like ‘leave it with me’ can set an expectation of action that isn’t fully appreciated until it resurfaces as a formal complaint down the line.  The KPI, in this instance, becomes a double-edged sword, pressuring service providers to cut short interactions to meet the designated time frame but potentially compromising the quality of service delivered.


How to get the right balance

1.     Empowerment: Provide training and resources to empower your people, giving them licence to make informed decisions in the interests of customers, within the bounds of business or compliance requirements. Encourage a culture that prioritises thoughtful and compassionate service over strict adherence to timeframes.

2.     Genuine Customer Engagement: Implement a personal, tailored approach to customer engagement, recognising that each interaction is unique. Ensure that employees have the flexibility to dedicate the necessary time to complex cases without fear of repercussions tied solely to KPIs.

3.     Continuous Review: Regularly review and reassess KPIs to ensure they align with business goals, compliance requirements and, most importantly, the genuine needs of service users. A dynamic approach allows for adjustments that reflect the evolving nature of service interactions.

How does your organisation build the skills and confidence to deliver a consistent personal service in a structured environment? If you’d like to discuss how we could help, then please send us an email to to book a call!

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