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The Contact Center KPI Benchmarking Guide You Need

August 7, 2023
contact center kpi benchmarks

Blog

The Contact Center KPI Benchmarking Guide You Need

Introduction

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of a contact center are a set of quantifiable metrics used to measure the performance and effectiveness of delivering customer service and support. KPIs serve as essential tools for contact center managers and supervisors to monitor the overall performance of their teams, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions.

The contact center industry has evolved significantly in recent years, with an increasing focus on customer experience and satisfaction. To meet the growing demands of consumers, contact centers KPIs are effective for tracking performance across various key aspects of their operations.

Importance of Contact Center KPI Benchmark

Importance of contact center KPI benchmark
Benchmarking is a critical practice that helps contact centers compare their performance against industry standards and best-in-class peers. It provides valuable insights into the performance of contact centers, identifies areas that need improvement, and allows businesses to set realistic and achievable performance targets.

Here’s why benchmarking is crucial for contact centers:

• Performance Evaluation and Goal Setting: Benchmarking allows contact centers to assess their performance objectively by comparing it with industry standards and best-in-class peers. It helps contact center managers and executives identify strengths and weaknesses in their operations and set realistic and achievable performance goals.

• Identifying Best Practices: Contact center KPI benchmark identify best practices followed by top-performing peers or competitors. By studying what successful contact centers are doing differently, organizations can adopt these practices to optimize their own processes and enhance the quality of customer interactions.

• Strategic Decision-Making: Making data-driven decisions is vital for the success of any contact center. Benchmarking provides the necessary data and insights to support strategic decision-making.

• Competitive Advantage: Contact centers that leverage benchmarking effectively gain a competitive advantage in the market. By consistently monitoring their performance against industry standards, they can proactively address issues, deliver better customer experiences, and stand out from competitors.

• Employee Engagement and Motivation: Benchmarking not only focuses on external comparisons but also provides valuable insights into internal performance. By comparing different teams or agents within the same contact center, managers can identify high-performing employees and recognize their achievements.

• Customer-Centric Approach: Contact centers KPI benchmark measures customer satisfaction and loyalty to gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs and preferences. Armed with this knowledge, they can tailor their services and interactions to meet customer expectations more effectively.

Purpose of the Guide

This comprehensive guide will assist contact center managers, supervisors, and professionals in understanding, implementing, and leveraging contact center KPI benchmark effectively.

Throughout this guide, we will delve into the different contact center KPIs, explaining their significance and providing the latest relevant statistics to help you grasp the current industry standards. Additionally, we will explore the process of benchmarking, guiding you on how to collect and analyze data, set achievable benchmarks, and implement strategies to achieve your goals.

Understanding Contact Center KPIs

Understanding contact center KPIs

Common Contact Center KPIs

Contact centers rely on a range of KPIs to evaluate their efficiency, effectiveness, and overall performance in delivering exceptional customer service. Let’s explore some of the most used KPIs:

• First Contact Resolution (FCR): First Contact Resolution measures the percentage of customer inquiries or issues that are resolved during the initial interaction with a customer service representative. High FCR rates indicate that contact center agents possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to address customer concerns promptly, reducing the need for customers to make repeat contacts.

• Average Handling Time (AHT): Average Handling Time represents the average duration an agent spends on a single customer interaction, including the time spent on the call or chat and any after-call work. While shorter AHT may indicate efficiency, it is crucial to strike a balance between speed and quality of service. An excessive focus on reducing AHT might lead to rushed interactions and lower customer satisfaction. It is essential to train agents to provide efficient yet comprehensive assistance to customers. On average in the industry, it takes a bit more than 6 minutes — precisely 6 minutes and 10 seconds (as of now).

• Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score: The Customer Satisfaction Score measures how satisfied customers are with their interaction with the contact center. CSAT is typically obtained through post-interaction surveys or feedback forms. It provides valuable insights into the overall quality of service, agent performance, and areas that need improvement. Improving CSAT requires a customer-centric approach, active listening, and swift resolution of issues.

• Net Promoter Score (NPS): Net Promoter Score is an indicator of customer loyalty and brand advocacy. It measures the likelihood of customers recommending the contact center’s services to others. NPS is obtained by asking customers a single question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” Customers are categorized into three groups: Promoters (score 9-10), Passives (score 7-8), and Detractors (score 0-6). Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the NPS score. High NPS reflects satisfied customers who are more likely to remain loyal and refer others to the contact center.

• Service Level (SL): Call center service level calculation helps to determine the percentage of customer interactions that are answered within a specified timeframe. This KPI is crucial in measuring the contact center’s responsiveness and its ability to manage call volumes efficiently. Commonly, SL is expressed as a percentage with an accompanying time limit, such as 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds. Achieving a balance between staffing levels and SL targets is crucial to meet customer demand without sacrificing service quality. Usually, the commonly accepted service level in the industry is to answer 80% of calls within 20 seconds.

• Abandonment Rate: The Abandonment Rate represents the percentage of callers who hang up or abandon their call while waiting in the queue before speaking to an agent. High abandonment rates can indicate long wait times, inefficient call routing, or understaffing. Minimizing abandonment rates is essential to improve customer satisfaction and prevent potential customer churn. A call center’s efficiency is seen as positive when the abandonment rate is below 5%.

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How KPIs Vary Across Different Industries

Contact center KPI benchmarks can vary significantly across different industries due to the nature of their customer interactions, business objectives, and customer expectations. For example:

E-commerce contact centers may prioritize FCR and CSAT to ensure a seamless buying experience.

Technical support centers may focus on AHT and FCR to swiftly address customer issues.

Financial institutions may emphasize SL and data security to build trust with customers.

Travel and hospitality contact centers might put a premium on NPS to encourage repeat business and referrals.

Understanding industry-specific benchmarks helps contact centers tailor their KPI strategies to meet the unique needs and expectations of their customer base.

How to Choose The Most Relevant Contact Center KPIs

The choice of contact center KPIs depends on its specific goals, customer base, and the nature of its services. To identify the most relevant KPIs for your contact center:

• Understand Customer Expectations: Analyze customer feedback and conduct surveys to determine the aspects of service most valued by your customers.

• Align KPIs with Business Objectives: Ensure that selected KPIs align with your contact center’s overall business objectives and contribute to its success.

• Consider Industry Best Practices: Benchmark against industry leaders and adopt KPIs that are proven to drive exceptional performance in your field.

• Regularly Review and Adapt: As customer expectations evolve, review and adapt your KPIs to ensure their continued relevance and effectiveness.

The Contact Center KPI Benchmarking Process

Contact center KPI benchmark standards

    Contact center KPI benchmarking is a systematic process of comparing and measuring an organization’s performance against industry best practices or top-performing peers. By identifying areas of strength and opportunities for improvement, benchmarking enables contact centers to set realistic performance goals, optimize processes, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

    Why Contact Center KPI Benchmarking Matters

    • Promotes Data-Driven Decision: Benchmarking provides objective data and insights to support informed decision-making. Rather than relying on assumptions or intuition, contact centers can base their strategies on information obtained through benchmarking.

    • Ensures Continuous Improvement: Benchmarking fosters a culture of continuous improvement. As contact centers strive to reach or exceed industry standards, they consistently seek better ways to enhance their services and operations.

    • Assured Competitive Advantage: It also helps contact centers gain a competitive edge by identifying and adopting best practices followed by industry leaders. By offering superior customer experiences, they can differentiate themselves from competitors and attract more loyal customers.

    • Performance Evaluation: Contact center KPI benchmark offers a clear evaluation of a contact center’s performance in comparison to peers. It enables organizations to identify gaps and areas of excellence and tailor improvement efforts accordingly.

    • Customer-Centricity: By benchmarking customer-centric KPIs, contact centers can better align their services with customer expectations and preferences. This focus on customer satisfaction drives loyalty and positive brand perception.

    Establishing Baseline Metrics for Your Contact Center

    To initiate the contact center KPI benchmark process, establish baseline metrics representing their current performance levels. This requires a thorough understanding of their own KPI data and performance trends. Here’s how to establish baseline metrics:

    • Data Collection: Gather historical data on key performance metrics, such as FCR, AHT, CSAT, NPS, SL, and abandonment rate. Ensure data accuracy and completeness.

    • Performance Trends: Analyze historical data to identify performance trends over time. This will help identify patterns, seasonal variations, and areas of concern.

    • Establish Targets: Set realistic targets for each KPI based on a combination of historical performance, industry benchmarks, and organizational objectives.

    • Document Processes: Document contact center processes and workflows, as this will provide context when comparing with peer organizations.

    Identifying Suitable Peers for Comparison

    Selecting appropriate peer organizations for benchmarking is essential to ensure relevant and meaningful comparisons. Consider the following when identifying suitable peers:

    • Similar Industry and Size: Look for contact centers within the same industry and of similar size, as they are more likely to face similar challenges and have comparable operational complexities.

    • High Performers: Identify high-performing contact centers that consistently achieve exceptional results in the KPIs you aim to improve. Studying their practices can yield valuable insights.

    • Collaboration Opportunities: Seek peer organizations willing to participate in benchmarking initiatives and share their experiences. Collaboration fosters learning and knowledge exchange.

    Data Collection and Validity

    Collecting accurate and relevant data is crucial to the success of contact center KPI benchmarking efforts. Ensure data validity and reliability by following these steps:

    • Standardize Metrics: Use standardized definitions and measurement methods for all KPIs to ensure consistency and comparability.

    • Data Verification: Verify data accuracy by conducting internal audits and validations. Resolve any discrepancies or data integrity issues.

    • Align Time Periods: Ensure that data collected for benchmarking covers the same time periods for both your contact center and peer organizations to provide accurate comparisons.

    • Confidentiality and Privacy: Respect confidentiality agreements and data privacy regulations while exchanging data with peer organizations.

    Analyzing and Interpreting Benchmarking Results

    Once the data is collected and validated, it’s time to analyze and interpret the benchmarking results. Follow these steps:

    • Compare Performance: Compare your contact center’s KPIs with the benchmark data from peer organizations. Identify performance gaps and areas of excellence.

    • Root Cause Analysis: Investigate the factors contributing to performance differences. Understand why certain contact centers perform better or worse in specific KPIs.

    • Best Practice Identification: Identify best practices from high-performing peer organizations that can be adapted and implemented in your contact center.

    • Set Improvement Goals: Based on the benchmarking results, set specific and achievable improvement goals for each contact center KPI.

    • Implement Improvements: Implement strategies and changes to improve performance in line with the benchmarking findings.

    • Monitor Progress: Continuously monitor progress toward improvement goals and reassess benchmarks regularly to ensure sustained growth.

    Setting Achievable KPI Benchmarks

    Understanding Realistic and Stretch Goals

    Setting contact center KPI benchmarks is a critical step to initiate the process. To ensure success and sustainable growth, it is essential to strike a balance between realistic and stretch goals:

    • Realistic Goals: Realistic goals are attainable and based on a thorough analysis of historical performance, industry standards, and available resources. These benchmarks represent the expected level of performance and are within the realm of possibility for the contact center.

    • Stretch Goals: Stretch goals, on the other hand, are ambitious and challenging targets that go beyond current performance levels. While they may be more difficult to achieve, they serve as powerful motivators for continuous improvement and innovation.

    By combining both realistic and stretch goals, contact centers can foster a culture of continuous improvement while ensuring that their targets are feasible and within reach.

    Aligning KPI Benchmarks with Organizational Objectives

    Effective contact center KPI benchmarks align with the overall objectives of the organization. When setting benchmarks, consider how achieving them contributes to the broader mission and vision of the contact center and the company. Some key considerations include:

    • Customer-Centricity: Align KPI benchmarks with customer-centric objectives. For example, if the organization’s mission is to enhance customer satisfaction, prioritize benchmarks related to CSAT or NPS.

    • Business Strategy: Ensure that KPI benchmarks are in line with the contact center’s strategic goals. If the goal is to increase efficiency, focus on metrics like AHT and FCR.

    • Financial Considerations: Consider financial constraints and resources available to the contact center when setting benchmarks. Unrealistic targets can lead to unnecessary strain on the budget.

    • Feedback from Stakeholders: Involve relevant stakeholders, including senior management, team leaders, and frontline agents, in the benchmarking process. Gathering input from those impacted by the benchmarks ensures their commitment and support.

    Improvement Strategies to Meet Benchmarks

    To achieve the set contact center KPI benchmarks, implement effective strategies for improvement. Here are five key strategies to consider:

    1. Improving Agent Training and Development
    Invest in comprehensive and ongoing training programs for agents to enhance their product knowledge, communication skills, and problem-solving abilities. Well-trained agents are better equipped to handle customer inquiries efficiently, leading to improved FCR and customer satisfaction.

    2. Enhancing Technology and Infrastructure
    Upgrade contact center technologies to streamline processes and improve customer interactions. Implementing tools such as interactive voice response (IVR), customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and workforce management system can enhance efficiency and service quality.

    3. Optimizing Workforce Management
    Align staffing levels with call volume patterns to prevent long wait times and high abandonment rates. Workforce management tools help forecast call volumes accurately and optimize agent scheduling to match demand.

    4. Improving Customer Feedback and Engagement
    Actively seek feedback from customers through post-interaction surveys, feedback forms, or social media. Analyze this feedback to identify areas for improvement and address customer pain points promptly.

    5. Implementing Best Practices from Top Performers
    Study the best practices of high-performing contact centers identified during the benchmarking process. Emulate these practices and adapt them to suit the unique needs of your contact center.

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    Contact Center KPI Benchmarking Challenges

    Overcoming Challenges in Benchmarking

    Contact center KPI benchmarking is a powerful tool for driving improvement and staying competitive in the contact center industry. However, like any process, it comes with its share of challenges. Addressing these challenges head-on is essential to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of benchmarking efforts. Let’s explore some common challenges and strategies for overcoming them:

    Data Privacy and Security Concerns

    One of the primary challenges in benchmarking is data privacy and security. Contact centers handle sensitive customer information, and sharing data with other organizations can raise concerns about confidentiality and compliance with data protection regulations.

    Strategies to Address Data Privacy and Security Concerns:

    1. Anonymize Data: Before sharing benchmarking data, remove any identifying information that could link the data to specific individuals or organizations.

    2. Use Aggregated Data: Share benchmarking results in an aggregated and generalized format to avoid revealing sensitive details about individual organizations.

    3. Sign Confidentiality Agreements: Establish formal agreements with participating organizations to ensure that benchmarking data is used for its intended purpose and remains confidential.

    4. Work with Trusted Partners: Collaborate with reputable benchmarking partners or organizations with established track records in handling data privacy and security.

    Dealing with Incomplete or Inaccurate Data

    Contact center KPI benchmarking relies on accurate and complete data to provide meaningful insights. However, obtaining comprehensive data can be challenging, especially when organizations have varying data collection methods or lack historical records.

    Strategies to Deal with Incomplete or Inaccurate Data:

    • Data Validation and Cleaning: Validate the accuracy and completeness of data before using it for benchmarking. Address any inconsistencies or errors through data cleaning processes.

    • Use Proxy Data: In cases where specific data points are unavailable, consider using proxy data or industry averages to approximate missing information.

    • Establish Baseline Metrics: If historical data is limited, establish a baseline of current performance and use it as a starting point for improvement efforts.

    Addressing Seasonal or Cyclical Fluctuations

    Contact center performance can vary significantly due to seasonal or cyclical factors, such as holidays, promotions, or industry-specific events. These fluctuations can impact contact center KPI benchmarking results and make it challenging to establish consistent performance metrics.

    Strategies to Address Seasonal or Cyclical Fluctuations:

    • Adjust for Seasonality: Normalize benchmarking data to account for seasonal variations. This can involve using rolling averages or selecting appropriate time frames for comparison.

    • Identify Patterns: Analyze historical data to identify recurring patterns and fluctuations. Understanding these patterns can help identify true performance trends beyond seasonal influences.

    • Focus on Long-Term Trends: When benchmarking, consider long-term contact center trends rather than relying solely on short-term data affected by temporary fluctuations.

     

    Avoiding the Pitfalls of “Data Cherrypicking”

    Pitfalls of data cherrypicking
    Data cherrypicking, the practice of selectively choosing data that supports a particular narrative or outcome, can lead to biased benchmarking results. It is essential to ensure that contact center KPI benchmark efforts remain objective and unbiased.

    Strategies to Avoid Data Cherrypicking:

    • Define Clear Criteria: Establish clear criteria for selecting data to include in benchmarking. Ensure that the selection process is transparent and impartial.

    • Use Comprehensive Data Sets: Gather a comprehensive set of data points across relevant KPIs and time periods to avoid cherry-picking specific instances.

    • Validate Results: Validate benchmarking results with internal data and external feedback to verify the accuracy and fairness of the findings.

    Tools and Technologies for Efficient Contact Center KPI Benchmarking

    Benchmarking is a valuable process for contact centers. But to make the most of it, organizations need the right tools and technologies to gather, analyze, and compare data effectively. Two key components for efficient benchmarking are:

    Utilizing Contact Center Software and Analytics

    Contact center software and contact center analytics play a pivotal role in the benchmarking process. These tools enable contact centers to collect, organize, and analyze vast amounts of data, allowing for more informed decision-making and performance evaluation. Here’s how contact center software and analytics contribute to efficient benchmarking:

    • Data Collection and Integration: Modern contact center software can collect data from various sources, including call logs, chat transcripts, social media interactions, and customer surveys. The software aggregates this data into a centralized database, ensuring easy access and integration for contact center KPI purposes.

    • Real-Time Reporting: Advanced analytics tools provide real-time reporting on key performance metrics, enabling contact centers to monitor performance continuously. This real-time data facilitates quick identification of trends and deviations from benchmarks, allowing prompt corrective actions.

    • Customizable Dashboards: Contact center software often comes with customizable dashboards that allow users to create visual representations of KPIs and benchmarking data. These dashboards make it easier to track performance against benchmarks and share insights with stakeholders.

    • Root Cause Analysis: Analytics tools offer the ability to perform in-depth root cause analysis, helping contact centers identify the underlying factors influencing performance disparities and benchmarking results.

    • Forecasting and Planning: Leveraging analytics, contact centers can make data-driven forecasts and plan for resource allocation, workforce management, and other operational aspects to meet or exceed benchmark targets.

    Third-Party Benchmarking Services and Platforms

    While contact center software and analytics provide internal benchmarking capabilities, engaging third-party benchmarking services and platforms can offer valuable external perspectives and industry-wide comparisons. Here’s how third-party benchmarking services and platforms contribute to efficient contact center KPI benchmarking:

    • Industry Knowledge and Best Practices: Third-party benchmarking services have deep insights into industry trends, best practices, and performance standards. By comparing against high-performing organizations within the same industry, contact centers gain access to valuable insights and strategies for improvement.

    • Comprehensive Data Sets: Benchmarking services collect data from numerous contact centers, providing a broad and diverse dataset for accurate industry comparisons. This extensive data set enhances the reliability and validity of benchmarking results.

    • Anonymity and Objectivity: These platforms ensure anonymity in the data exchange process, mitigating concerns about data privacy and ensuring objectivity in the analysis.

    • Performance Comparisons: These services compare a contact center’s performance against not just one or two competitors but a wide range of organizations, providing a comprehensive understanding of where they stand in the industry.

    • Specialized Reporting and Insights: In addition, they offer specialized reporting and analysis tailored to specific industries, allowing contact centers to access relevant performance metrics and trends.

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    Final Thoughts

    As the contact center landscape evolves, benchmarking remains a steadfast ally in the pursuit of excellence. It equips contact centers with the tools and knowledge to lead the way in customer service and forge stronger connections with their clientele.

    To stay ahead in a competitive market, we encourage every contact center professional to take the leap and embrace contact center KPI benchmarking. Whether you are a seasoned industry veteran or just beginning your journey, remember that benchmarking is not a one-time event but a continuous process. By committing to ongoing benchmarking and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, your contact center can set new standards of excellence and become a beacon of exceptional customer service.

    In the fast-paced and ever-changing world of customer service, staying ahead of the curve is essential for businesses to thrive. ContactPoint 360 understands the importance of strategic contact center KPI benchmarking practices and is committed to empowering businesses with the tools and insights needed to excel in customer interactions.

     

    FAQs

    Why are contact center KPIs important?

    Contact center KPI is used to determine whether they are meeting business goals like efficiency to deliver exceptional service.

    What is the use of contact center KPI benchmarking?

    Contact center KPI benchmarking process involves comparing the metrics and practices of the contact center with the competitors against defined global standards.

    What is the most important contact center KPI benchmark?

    First Contact Resolution (FCR) is the most crucial contact center KPI benchmark to track. Maintaining a low FCR is crucial because it indicates a higher rate of customer satisfaction and reduced rate of repeat calls.

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