Operations: Two industry veterans share their insights on using Benchmarks & Best Practices
Kislik: That’s true. You have to consider your customer population. If you have a lot of older customers, they may be more prone to use the phone than the Net.
CS: Please name some common external benchmarks you see catalogers using.
Barry: We track all kinds of data, including call abandoment rates, percentage of calls answered in 20 seconds or less, e-mail turnaround time, calls answered per hour, how many e-mails handled per hour, average call time, call-to-order ratio, calls answered per square foot of the contact center, costs per order, cost of credit, cost per contact, cost per call, percent to net sales for major expenses such as indirect and direct labor, benefits, training, recruiting, telecom, occupancy, and much more.
We try to see how those vary among companies within our ShareGroups. But it’s tough, because the AOV among those share group companies can be a wide range, from say, $45 to $400.
Kislik: Curt’s array of costs to measure is impressive. Companies not participating in this kind of rigorous, ongoing study ... well, some companies just can’t get near that level of data to pursue; they just can’t handle it.
Barry: Companies find real value in capturing and collecting the benchmark data. They often learn many things they didn’t know about their operations, which leads to positive changes in process.
Kislik: Curt has been talking about efficiency and costs. But if companies are looking to increase revenue or boost service levels, they may not want to look specifically at costs. Some companies want to know who’s got the best upsell program, for example, or who’s increasing order value. I’d like to see what percentage of customers’ inquiries/complaints were
resolved on first contact. And from a selling point of view, not just from orders per hour, I’d like to see a call-to-order ratio, so you can see how much work the enterprise has to do to get the order.