call center benchmarking

Engaging in benchmarking to determine best business practices, critically evaluate your business and implement necessary changes has become essential for the success of any call center.

In order to develop and innovate in an ever-progressing industry, benchmarking must be prioritized as part of a strategy used to initiate the integration of new ideas and methods in your call center.

Below are 10 steps to achieving benchmarking success in the call center industry complied from two researchers at Purdue University [1].

1. Identify the process, practice or service to be benchmarked

Ensure a strong focus of your benchmarking efforts by starting with targeted questions. The questions should be specific, capable of being explored using qualitative or quantitative research efforts and in line with corporate strategy.

2. Identify the companies against which you will benchmark

Compile a list of potential companies. Then narrow down your list by deciding whether to engage in same- or cross-industry-benchmarking and whom to benchmark your company against. If your goal is to setup a systematic, ongoing comparison between your company and its competitors, benchmarking within the same industry is necessary. If your goal is to assess dramatically different business processes or to think outside the box, then cross-industry comparisons are appropriate.

3. Collect and archive data about these companies

Define your hypotheses, constructs to measure, variables to assess, data points to include and specific formula. This is the first step to ensure that your team accurately and consistently collects data so that it will be valid and useful.

4. Analyze the data

Interpret the data in a meaningful way. Consider causes for any trends, outliers or inefficiencies. Analyze the data based on call center size, size of the company, geography and business configuration. The data analysis will reveal gaps between your company’s practices and that of your industry’s best.

5. Project future performance

Analyze business trends to understand how fast your industry is changing. Project the results of your benchmarking efforts beyond the issues of today to ensure that they don’t become quickly obsolete.

6. Communicate the results to your organization

Decide who you will communicate your results with and what your goals for communicating results will be. Your objectives may be to get “buy in” from critical team players or employees, to reveal inefficiencies to a struggling team or to pitch a new marketing strategy. They should be conveyed in a way that is most helpful for the person or team that you are communicating them to.

7. Establish objectives

After the results of the analysis have been interpreted and communicated to the appropriate people, goals should be established. These should be concrete, attainable and in line with your corporate strategy.

8. Develop an action plan for each objective

Define specific, concrete actions to be taken. They should detail the tasks involved and include specific names and dates associated with each task.

9. Monitor the results and implement the action plans

Continuously monitor the results of the benchmarking efforts and ensure that the action plans are consistently applied.

10. Start the process over again

Adjust what is being measured, how it is measured and what is included in the calculation in order to keep efforts aligned with desired results. Continually refine your benchmarking efforts in order to ensure that they are up-to-date and effective.

Engaging in effective benchmarking and incorporating the results into strategic and tactical initiatives may be the most effective method to increase the performance of your call center.

Ensure that your company is amongst the industry’s best with calculated benchmarking efforts.

[1] Anton, Jon and Gustin, David, “Call Center Benchmarking: How Good Is” (2000). Purdue University Press e-books. Book 1.