Benchmarking in call centers is necessary in order to determine if a team’s performance meets company expectations and complies with established practices. Benchmarking lays the basis for planning and implementing other call center improvements.
Call center benchmarking is a valuable management tool in any organization; it is used in contact centers to compare performance against competitors. Implementing benchmark processes is crucial to tracking improvements and building success. Call center assessments are necessary to establish the value of various benchmarks to the organization.
Benchmarking is the process of establishing a standard by which the need for changes and improvements can be measured, as well as the contribution resulting from such changes to business operations. It involves a search for “best practices” in the industry among successful competitors. Outcomes typically considered are quality, time, and cost. Discovering and adapting these insights leads to growth and improvement.
The process of call center benchmarking requires defining and measuring the company contact center’s performance metrics. These can then be compared in a global or industry environment to the metrics of similar companies, and the examination into the practices of high performers. Proper call center benchmarking gives organizations the opportunity to analyze and learn the successful methods in use by other companies to improve their own processes.
Call centers can identify areas needing improvement or cost reductions, and gauge individual agent performance. Benchmarking allows management to assess the value of their own initiatives, motivate staff, and streamline contact center workflow. It can lead to improvements over all aspects of contact center operation.
Call Center Performance Benchmarks
The performance metrics which apply to call center performance fall into four categories: Quality, Responsiveness, Productivity, and Cost.
Customer Satisfaction – the customer’s level of satisfaction with the service provided by the agent.
First Call Resolution – the percentage of calls where customer issues are successful resolved on the first call, without the need for escalation, transfers, or call backs. This is one of the most important factors in a better customer experience.
Call Resolution – This correlates the outcome of each call, including how many contacts it takes for customers to find resolution of their problems.
Call Quality – The quality of the call can be seen in terms of how well the agent understood the customer need, accurately obtained and recorded information, and responded to the customer in terms of appropriateness and value. This is done in part through call monitoring and recording to determine the quality of customer interaction.
Service level – the percentage of calls that were answered in a given time period. This is a vital metric that can help determine staffing needs, and affects overall customer impressions.
Average Speed to Answer – the average time elapsed before answering calculated from all calls.
Active vs Waiting Calls – the percentage of callers being helped compared to the number of callers waiting in queue.
Blocked Calls – the count of inbound callers who encountered a busy signal.
Abandonment Rate – this is the percentage of callers who hung up without speaking to an agent.
Longest Wait Time – the longest amount of time a caller was obliged to wait in queue before their call was answered.
Self-Service Accessibility – the rate at which callers found solutions in the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system. This can free up time and pressure on live human agents, but some companies tend to rely on them excessively; they should handle simple enquiries where a human agent is not necessary.
Adherence to Schedule – a quantifiable measure for how well agents follow their schedules. This can give companies a better idea of what employees are doing with their time.
Average Handle Time – the average time that an agent spends on a caller issue, including phone time and follow-up, or After Call Work, such as submitting call reports.
Call Wrap-Up Time – average time spent on After Call Work.
Call Forecast Accuracy – the difference between predicted call volume and actual calls. More accuracy in critical times of the day or year can lessen the risks of being understaffed and disappointing customers.
Cost-per-Call – the total cost of handling all calls within a fixed timeframe.
Agent Attrition – a percentage reflecting annual staff turnover.
Agent Absenteeism – the number of days per year agents are absent from their jobs as a percentage of their contracted work days.
Benchmarking is an important management tool which involves call centers taking the time to learn from the successful methods of competitors. Contact centers can use that knowledge to identify areas needing improvement in their own operations, as well as establish their own best practices. Success starts with an assessment usually measured in terms of call center metrics covering Quality, Responsiveness, Productivity and Cost, through key performance indicators such as Abandonment Rate and Cost-per-Call.
Our company performs call center assessments that consider every factor of operations to provide your organization with new strategic insights. We develop customized solutions for improvement, including agent training. Our analysis and benchmarking processes help you to quickly identify your organizational strengths and weaknesses.
Our experienced team can help you achieve the optimal balance between exceptional customer service and the cost-efficiency and organization that every company needs. We can ensure that call center benchmarking is done effectively and provides benefits that will improve the customer experience and value of your call center operations.