Benchmarking Drives Operational Improvements in the Contact Center

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Benchmark testing can deliver valuable insights that contact center leaders can then use to build a business case for investing in areas that are in need of improvement.

Most people in the business community are familiar with the adage "You can't manage what you don't measure." But, you also can't make improvements to customer-facing processes and business operations if you don't have a yardstick for comparing your business against industry standards.

This is especially true for contact centers. Many contact center leaders are able to sense whether certain areas of operation are underperforming or executing as expected. However, few companies attempt to measure the performance of their contact centers in different areas. For example, just 9.9 percent of companies measure the costs and resources required for providing social media support to their customers, according to Dimension Data plc.

In order to obtain an accurate picture of how well (or poorly) a particular area of the contact center is performing, such as agent productivity or first contact resolution, benchmark testing can deliver valuable insights that contact center leaders can then use to build a business case for investing in areas that are in need of improvement.

For instance, one of Peppers & Rogers Group's financial services clients was able to use contact center benchmarking to compare its various loan call center operations against industry standards. By doing so, the company was able to establish targeted production standards based on their research and use these insights as the basis for its improvement efforts.

Getting started

Before companies begin benchmarking specific activities or outcomes from contact center operations, it's important to define your company's strategy. What is your organization looking to accomplish through benchmarking? These could include identifying opportunities to improve customer satisfaction or ways to reduce social response times.

By making this determination, this can help guide decision makers to the type of benchmark testing that should be conducted (internal, competitive, industry, etc.).

From there, contact center leaders should identify the key metrics they want to evaluate (customer satisfaction, first contact resolution, Net Promoter Score). In order to do this effectively, companies need to ensure clarity around how the metrics are calculated-both internally and by other companies they may be comparing them against. For instance, while your company may aggregate and measure customer satisfaction across different areas of support (web, chat, social, mobile, etc.), your competitors may only be measuring customer satisfaction with the call center or perhaps just one or two digital channels.

There are a number of sources that companies can draw from to benchmark their contact center operations-vendors, associations, market research companies, consulting firms, etc. Once you've identified potential sources of benchmarking data, it's also useful to determine how the sources obtain their data to verify the authenticity of the data that's used along with its applicability in comparing it against your company.

Once your company has conducted a benchmarking assessment and top stakeholders have reviewed the results, executives should then block out an action plan for areas in need of improvement. Simply knowing how your company stacks up against its competitors or top-performing companies in other industries doesn't deliver value. Benchmarking to drive improvement does.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION