Best Practices for Benchmarking the Contact Center


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Every year many organizations conduct an annual review and planning exercise. This provides an opportunity to measure success and to set new goals, which are then taken by departments and broken down into supporting tactics. This practice forms a roadmap which helps the organization navigate the future. But that’s only the first step, as organizations must align velocity and direction across all departments. KPIs and KPI benchmarks are a good way to achieve this.

Each department will have a set of unique KPIs which measure their contribution. For example, a contact center will likely have a combination of efficiency and customer satisfaction objectives and associated KPIs to measure results. Therefore, each contact center should have a well-defined set of performance measurements. But how do you know if you have the right KPIs and whether your measurements are reflecting progress?

Because every contact center is unique, the business strategy, the products offered, and the types of customers being supported must all be considered when determining which KPIs to use. For example, a national retailer around the holiday season is more likely to set quick responses as a key metric, while a healthcare organization might focus on highly personalized, positive engagements. Both are important but serve very different needs. This cocktail of variables creates an interesting challenge for many: establishing a set of KPIs that not only measures success but serves as a basis for identifying areas of needed improvements.

Knowing what the right KPIs are and how current performance measures up against an ideal is vital context for planning purposes. If you’re looking to implement a benchmark strategy for your contact center, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

Establish Relevant KPIs Early

When a new brand and product is launched, the amount of customers seeking support can quickly snowball. Commonly, this results in a patchwork contact center to handle the volume of inquiries – made up of disparate agents, phone systems and technology. This approach might fix the problem in the short term, but it isn’t sustainable. How can you understand how to better serve customers and build exceptional experiences if you’re only being reactive?

Before you can set a benchmark to measure success, you need to think critically about the KPIs that you’re measuring right at the start. Listen to your customers, understand what they want and expect. Are their needs being met? This should serve as a baseline to consider the right set of KPIs based on your business strategy. For example, low cost providers will focus on cost and efficiency metrics whereas
premium providers will focus on KPIs which reflect ease of doing business with your company and overall customer satisfaction.

When you establish relevant KPIs early, as your contact center matures it’s easier to analyze historical data and trends, and you can adjust goals and metrics in real time. Otherwise, you’re left to reverse engineer performance, which can take significant time and resources and stymies growth.

Set a Benchmark “Goal Post” to Measure Growth

As the front line of customer experience, contact centers play an important role in brand perception and value in today’s experience economy. In fact, NICE inContact has found that 83 percent of customers who have exceptional experiences are likely to recommend that company on social media, and 89 percent would buy more products and services from that company. Therefore, it’s critical to regularly assess and readdress contact center performance to ensure continuous improvement.

Benchmarks allow you to better analyze the root cause of what is working and what isn’t. They provide the key contextual backdrop, so contact center leaders can develop and implement plans when KPIs are missed, or replicate and extend successes. That’s why selecting a unified, complete and intelligent cloud customer experience platform has become standard among best-in-class contact centers – offering a comprehensive view into performance data and measurement practices.

Measuring KPIs against benchmarks is a repeatable exercise that draws a direct line from contact center goals to business goals. Furthermore, the data builds a compelling argument when contact center leaders need more budget or new technology to support further growth.

Explore Industry Benchmarks

Because there’s such a wide variety of metrics and measures of success, comparisons against competitors isn’t always apples-to-apples. Staying ahead of customer expectations and needs is an industry-wide challenge, so it’s top of mind for everyone. So, selecting the right industry benchmarks is important.

Increasingly, contact centers are partnering with neutral, third-parties to conduct comprehensive performance audits in order to create a specific and targeted customer and industry benchmarks to measure against. By anonymizing the data, these third parties provide an extra layer of critical analysis of industry-specific contact centers. This process creates a twofold benchmark strategy: first, measuring performance over time relative to the specific needs of your customers, and second, measuring performance relative to your industry.

Chart a Path for Continuous Improvement

Regular KPI measurement and benchmark reporting is a powerful way to keep your contact center aligned with customer needs and business goals. As contact centers take on greater responsibilities and become growth drivers in the experience economy, having a clear set of goals provides critical structure for exceptional experiences. The better understanding you have, the easier it is to act on opportunities in real-time and delight customers in unexpected ways.

Mark Ungerman
Mark Ungerman is Product Marketing Director at NICE inContact, a NICE company. Mark has over 20 years of experience in Product Management and Product Marketing for B2B SaaS companies. Mark’s expertise spans customer research, data analytics, product management, go-to-market planning, and business case development for both enterprise and SMB customers. Mark’s history of progressive accomplishment brings in-depth insights to his customer-driven role at NICE inContact.


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