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Welcome everyone. I’m Jeff Rumburg, Managing Partner of MetricNet. In Metrics Essentials for Contact Center Professionals, my goal is to teach you everything you need to know, to leverage metrics for success in your contact center. Today, in the fifth module of our course, we’re going to discuss industry benchmarks for contact center KPIs.

Many of you have done benchmarking in the past. Benchmarking is a mainstream, well-established tool for measuring and managing contact center performance. It enables you to quantify your performance, compare your contact center to others in your industry, identify performance gaps, and define actions that are necessary to close or mitigate the gaps. It is the single most effective tool to bring about rapid continuous improvement in the contact center.

The power of benchmarking is that it enables a contact center to save enormous amounts of time and energy by building upon the industry’s proven best practices. Contact centers that are focused exclusively on their internal operations tend to make progress incrementally, at an evolutionary pace. This is why so few contact centers ever achieve world-class performance. But benchmarking looks externally – at the best performers in the industry. And by benchmarking against the best of the best, contact centers that employ benchmarking can improve their performance at a revolutionary pace, and ultimately achieve world-class performance.

Let’s take a look at some benchmarking data. There are seven KPIs shown on the left of this chart, including the contact center balanced score. By now, these KPIs should be familiar to you because they make up the 80/20 rule for contact center metrics, and they are the same KPIs that appeared in the balanced scorecard.

Each of these metrics is organized into quartiles and includes hundreds of benchmarking data points. Quartile simply means one fourth. So, for example, if we have 400 data points for Cost per Minute of Handle Time, there will be 100 data points per quartile. And when we stack rank these data points from lowest cost to highest cost, the lowest cost 100 data points will make up the first, or best quartile. The next group of 100 data points in our ranking will make up the second quartile, and so on. The first quartile on this chart is always the best performing quartile, while the fourth quartile is always the worst performing quartile. Think of green as good performance, and red as bad performance. Or, left to right, good to bad.

Now, you may be wondering why our cost metric is Cost per Minute of Handle Time, rather than just Cost per Contact. The reason is that Cost per Minute of Handle Time has been normalized to take into account the widely varying handle times from one contact center to another. For example, if one contact center has a 10 minute handle time and a $10 dollar cost per contact, the cost per minute of handle time is $1 dollar. Likewise, if another contact center has a 5 minute handle time and a $5 dollar cost per contact, the cost per minute of handle time is also $1 dollar.

If we were just comparing the Cost per Contact between these two contact centers, we might wrongly conclude that the contact center with the $10 dollar cost per contact is high cost, while the contact center with the $5 cost per contact is low cost. However, they both have the same cost per minute of handle time, so it appears that their costs are roughly comparable.

Please keep in mind that the benchmarking cost data shown is for North American contact centers. If you are outside of North America, your costs will be different because wage rates vary quite dramatically around the world, and agent wages make up the majority of costs for a contact center.

Interpreting this chart is very straightforward. For Cost per minute of handle time, if your costs are $.88 cents or lower, you are in the top quartile. If your costs are between $.88 cents and $1.19, your cost is in the second quartile. If you’re between $1.19 and $1.71, you are in the third quartile. And anything above $1.71 per minute of handle time would put you in the fourth quartile.

Likewise for Customer Satisfaction. If you are above 94.6%, you’re in the top quartile. Customer Satisfaction between 85.7% and 94.6% is in the second quartile. Between 72.6% and 85.7% is third quartile performance. And if your Customer Satisfaction is below 72.6%, you’re in the fourth, or bottom quartile.

That’s how you interpret the benchmarking data for every KPI on this chart. Also, it’s worth pointing out that when you establish performance targets for your contact center, a good rule of thumb is to set your performance targets for the top quartile. A contact center that achieves top quartile on every KPI would have a Cost per Minute of Handle time of 88 cents or less, a Customer Satisfaction of 94.6% or greater, an Agent Utilization of 65.9% or more, a First Contact Resolution Rate of 86.3% or greater, an Agent Job Satisfaction of 88.4% or more, an Average Speed of Answer of 29 seconds or less, and a Balanced Score of 65.8% or greater.

This benchmarking data is designed to give you a feel for how your contact center is performing compared to others in the industry, and to give you some guidance for establishing performance targets.

This concludes the fifth module of our metrics course. I would invite you to join me for Module 6, where I will provide instructions on how to benchmark your contact center.

I want to thank you for joining me today. I’m Jeff Rumburg, Managing Partner of MetricNet.

Angela Irizarry

Angela Irizarry is the President and Chief Operating Officer at MetricNet, where she is responsible for managing day-to-day operations, strategic planning, and new client acquisition. She also oversees the company's sales and marketing efforts and manages its intellectual property and online resources. Angela has been with the company for 10 years and has over 20 years of experience in business development and strategy. She has been featured in Fortune magazine and has received recognition for her work in competitive and trends analysis from executives at a variety of Fortune 100 companies. Angela is a dynamic and accomplished professional who consistently delivers exceptional results for MetricNet and its clients. She has a wealth of industry experience and a track record of success in driving business results, particularly in the financial services, insurance, and healthcare sectors. Angela is highly skilled in communication, problem-solving, and project management, and is committed to delivering the highest level of service to MetricNet's clients.

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