Contact Center Benchmarks

Establish KPI Reporting and Contact Center Benchmarks

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If you have recently modernized your contact center, you now have access to far better reporting tools. In the past and without access to rich operations metrics, it’s not surprising that legacy reports focused narrowly on a small handful of efficiency metrics while omitting other important contact center success measures such as productivity, quality, customer satisfaction and more.  This is because older systems did not provide the functionality found in modern contact center software and the access to expanded KPI data. Here are three recommendations to expand your reporting: 

  1. Identify a complete set of KPI metrics to measure 
  2. Establish contact center benchmarks 
  3. Use reports and benchmarks to establish a pattern of improvement 

Contact Center KPIs 

Contact center key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurements which tell us how well our contact center is contributing to business goals, how well agents are following defined processes and how our efforts are received by customers. Each contact center is unique; however, similar types of contact center tend to have similar reporting needs. If you use your contact center for customer service, sales or collections, there are ways to identify which KPI metrics to use. Essential contact center KPIs can be organized by the following categories: Cost (cost to deliver service), Productivity (work volume and labor), Quality (adherence to policies and process), Compliance (conformity to regulatory requirements), Customer Satisfaction (are customers happy with our work), Agent Engagement and satisfaction (employee satisfaction), Effectiveness (resource utilization), and Customer Effort (difficulty obtaining service). 

Contact Center Benchmarks 

Contact center benchmarks tell us whether our KPIs results are satisfactory relative to a comparison standard. For example, your average handle time (AHT) KPI may be 11.2 minutes. Is that result satisfactory? We cannot tell unless we are able to compare it to a standard. Our benchmarks provide that standard. 

Benchmarks can be determined in the following ways: 

  • Internal Benchmarks. These are easy to establish and often are targets established by management. For example, management may state that they want AHT to be under 11 minutes. In this case, our AHT exceeds this standard. Keep in mind that internal benchmarks can be subjective unless they are established with the benefit of external benchmarks. We will discuss external benchmarks in a minute. Nevertheless, internal benchmarks provide a good place to start. 
  • Historical Benchmarks. Based on past performance, these are often used to show improvement (or lack of improvement) over time. For example, the AHT for last period was 12 minutes and relative to that standard our 11.2 minute AHT is a reduction. Like internal benchmarks, historical benchmarks, can also be subjective unless they are aligned with external benchmarks. Nevertheless, they are very useful and should be used. 
  • External Benchmarks. These are standards developed by aggregating results from external peer organizations. External benchmarks typically represent an industry standard. For example, the industry standard for AHT is 12 minutes. External benchmarks can be the most difficult to obtain. They often require coordination between competitors. If you want to use external benchmarks, consider whether industry associations can provide these benchmarks or consider using specialized firms that provide this service.  

Contact Center Improvement 

Contact center KPI’s and benchmarks provide the necessary foundation to establish an ongoing pattern of improvement. KPI’s are evaluated according to its variance with its corresponding benchmark. For, our 11.2 min AHT is less than the industry AHT benchmark of 12 minutes. All things being equal, this may suggest that our contact center is rushing through calls or not properly documenting after call work.  The variance between the KPI measure and the benchmark serves to call our attention to a condition that is extraordinary. If the condition continues, then the root cause must be identified, and corrective actions implemented.  As corrective actions are applied, you can evaluate their effectiveness by observing KPI changes and benchmark alignment. By following this pattern, leaders can not only establish a contact center which consistently achieves business objectives, operates efficiently and delivers great customer service, but also identify areas for further improvement. 

If your current contact center software does not deliver the reporting you require, you may want to consider modernizing your contact center. For more information, you can read this white paper or view this webinar.