call center benchmarking

Call center managers, particularly new ones, may sometimes find themselves staring blankly at the real-time and historical reporting function in their call center software. The data can be overwhelming — particularly if you are operating an advanced call center software solution that tracks a range of metrics.

The first step you took to resolve this situation was to do your research on call center acronyms. You’ve made your flashcards and memorized them all. Next, you learned about call center KPIs — what they mean, why they matter. But what’s next? How can you make all of this information actionable?

Congratulations! You’ve arrived at the call center benchmarking step. Time to figure out what benchmarking means for you and your call center. We’re so glad you made it.

Welcome to our cheat sheet on call center benchmarking.

What is the purpose of call center benchmarking?

Successful call center benchmarking enables companies to analyze and learn from the experience of other companies so as to improve their own practices.

What are the two types of call center benchmarking?

  • Competitive benchmarking measures one call center’s performance against its direct competitors.
  • Process benchmarking measures the performance of one call center’s business practices across industries.

What are the steps to call center benchmarking?

  1. Identify the process, practice or service to be benchmarked
  2. Choose the companies against which you will benchmark
  3. Collect and archive data about these companies
  4. Analyze the data
  5. Project future performance
  6. Communicate the results to your organization
  7. Establish objectives
  8. Develop an action plan for each objective
  9. Monitor the results and implement the action plans
  10. Restart the process

What are some common call center performance benchmarks?

  1. Abandonment Rate
    The percentage of callers that hang up before an agent answers.
    Global metric: 5-8%
  2. Adherence to Schedule
    The degree to which call center agents comply with their assigned schedules.
    Global metric: 95%
  3. First Call Resolution
    The percentage of calls where the caller’s issues were resolved on the first attempt without the agent needing to escalate the call, transfer the call or call the customer back.
    Global metric: 70-75%
  4. Occupancy Rate
    The amount of times agents are on live calls or completing work associated with calls.
    Global metric: 60-80%
  5. Call Duration
    The amount of time agents speak with customers.
    Global metric: 4 minutes
  6. Accuracy of Call Forecasting
    The difference between the number of calls predicted to arrive during a specific timeframe and the actual number of calls received.
    Global metric: 5% variance
  7. Service Level
    The percentage of calls answered within a predefined timeframe.
    Global metric: 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds
  8. Agent Attrition
    The percentage of annual agent turnover.
    Global metric: 15%
  9. Agent Absenteeism
    The number of days lost per year due to agents being absent as a percentage of the total number of contracted days.
    Global metric: 5%
  10. Call Wrap-Up Time
    The time an agent takes after the call to complete associated after call work.
    Global metric: 6 minutes.
  11. Average Speed of Answer
    The amount of time for calls to be answered by an agent during a specific time period. Does not include the time that the caller is in the IVR.
    Global metric: 28 seconds
  12. Customer Satisfaction
    Must be acquired via customer surveys and quality assurance measurements.
    Global metric: 90%

Why do companies engage in call center benchmarking?

  • Identify areas of improvement
  • Discover areas for cost reduction
  • Assess call center agent performance quantitatively
  • Test effectiveness of improvement initiatives
  • Motivate employees
  • Optimize use of call center software and business tools
  • Streamline call center processes and workflow

Good job! You’re now versed in the basics of call center benchmarking. It’s a start, but now you need to put this information into action to improve your call center. Why not start today? No time like the present!