Operations Benchmarks & Best Practices
Barry: You can't take someone else's numbers as your own, unless the businesses are identical — and few are.
Kislik: Or he uses the number as a prod to try to force his operations to some level of performance. That tactic can have consequences that can be very damaging.
CS: Can you give an example?
Kislik: Agent talk time. Sometimes when companies track that they end up with draconian supervisory techniques. They do all kinds of harsh things to keep people in seats. But employees will find ways to rebel. They'll pace themselves, so they get lost in calls; their call time gets very long, which can lead to lots of calls in queue and bad customer service. They'll take their breaks while on the phone.
CS: How could someone participate in a benchmarking study?
Barry: You have to start at a level that your organization can support from a data capture and collection perspective. The data have to be something you can gather. Then you build slowly, looking for companies within your same industry. Join a ShareGroup. You have to be willing to share data and best practices.
Kislik: Businesses must go into trusted, sharing, candid mode. The worst way to start is to go in thinking: "I'm going to get the skinny on other companies." When that happens, other participants detect that, and they become protective of their own data, so you don't get the sharing of useful information you want.
Barry: Being trustworthy is at the top of our list for participants in ShareGroups. We uninvite people every year because they only want to give, say, 15 answers to a survey that asks 100 questions. That's not good enough. We've had people submit prior year's data. We try to build checks and balances into our data validation.
- Liz Kislik Associates LLC