Can contact centre benchmarks really play a role in motivating a happier and more productive team of agents? Melissa Cowdry at Odigo explores why benchmarking isn’t just a management exercise.
In essence, benchmarking is far more than comparing numbers; it’s a powerful tool that can transform contact centres with a deeper understanding of where they are, where they could be and how to bridge the gap.
When approached strategically, and with psychology in mind, benchmarks also have the potential to inspire and empower agents and supervisors.
The Timeless Relevance of Contact Centre Benchmarks
Even in contact centres without formal benchmarking procedures, this practice is essential. It happens through the ongoing tracking of trends and the comparison of performance peaks and troughs.
After all customer service is a function of business; every customer, every experience and every efficiency counts.
For example, are your agents struggling with the most time-consuming workflows and more disparate systems than your competitors?
It’s all important, and as a result, there are numerous types of contact centre benchmarks which ensure no stone is left unturned in the search for ways to enhance performance.
- Internal Benchmarking compares internal departments can share highlight efficiencies which leverage existing tools and expertise.
- Competitive Benchmarking explores the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation helping inform strategies through comparison with direct competitors.
- Strategic or Best Practice Benchmarking widens the sphere of possibilities to include aligning goals and initiatives with global leaders, where appropriate. This can help adapt to changing market conditions.
- Customer Experience Benchmarking looks at factors which influence the customer-facing experience.
- Operational Benchmarking examines how day-to-day operations are performing.
- Process Benchmarking focuses on specific processes of workflows and can draw inspiration from other industries.
It’s clear that for ambitious organisations, inspirational contact centre benchmarks can’t be solely restricted to a single source, like direct competitors. There are good reasons to create a bespoke set of benchmarks from a variety of sources.
Adapting Contact Centre Benchmarks to Stay Relevant
It has long been the case that, where possible, companies compare performance to direct competitors in their industry.
This one-upmanship is a solid business strategy, but it won’t always serve customer needs or inspire agents. Sadly, recent data on the state of service does highlight this exact point.
In March 2023 the ECCCSE surveyed 6,000 European consumers on their perception of service standards. The findings highlight the need for organisations to aim higher.
1) Customer Expectations and Service Experiences
The expert dialogues in the research highlight the gap between expectations and experience. A contact centre may be performing well compared with direct competitors but still have a declining standard of service in the eyes of consumers. Find out how previous experience affects perception, download the research here
A Benchmarking Solution
Knowing what the best performers in other industries are capable of. It’s not a case of winning over their customers but finding ways to apply fresh perspectives and innovate.
2) Agent-Led Service is Perceived More Positively Than Service as a Whole, Which Consumers Feel is Declining in Quality
Operational success doesn’t mean satisfied customers. Self-service touchpoints may outperform competitors’, but for complex requests, consumers crave agent-led experiences. If these are difficult to access, the result won’t be rave reviews.
A Benchmarking Solution
Set goals which align with the right strategies to deliver customer satisfaction not just to increase performance across the board.
3) Service Perception Varies Between Country and Industry
It’s already widely known that not all organisations are directly comparable, and this serves as a valuable reminder.
A Benchmarking Solution
It’s important to set benchmarks and design journeys that reflect customer expectations by taking into account culture, industry and the level of local digital maturity.
4) Higher Stress Conditions on the Front Line
Consumers are struggling with finances and while they appreciate the hard work of agents and perceive those experiences as superior, they are routinely getting angry or upset during interactions.
This changes the goalposts for agents, significantly. It’s no longer about providing standard service.
Vulnerability, complex problem-solving and increased emotional volatility should trigger a revaluation of customer experience benchmarks to ease the pressure on agents and promote the right outcomes.
A Benchmarking Solution
There are many ways to adapt contact centre benchmarks to take into account rising stress levels, like factoring in downtime for agents to recover from very difficult interactions.
These conditions highlight the importance of appropriate goals and using the other factors described below, organisations can set inspirational contact centre benchmarks that acknowledge the conditions and show agents what’s achievable.
Setting Benchmarks Using Psychology and Case Studies
In challenging conditions, there are many ways to improve work-life balance, motivate agents and mitigate growing workplace stress.
Rather than adding to that stress, contact centre benchmarks can be inspirational and confer greater meaning to time spent at work. Using a bit of psychology and real-world examples here’s how to do it:
1. Personal Relevance
Knowing what’s expected of you is important and when a goal promotes skills which align with professional development motivation is even stronger.
There are often different ways of achieving the same thing, when agents are empowered to affect improvements autonomously it boosts job satisfaction.
Agents don’t need to know about each and every contact centre benchmark, that can be demotivating as a lot lies outside their control.
Share benchmarks that reflect their primary day-to-day responsibilities and the concept of a job-well-done.
4. Achievability and Challenge
Contact centre benchmarks that are too easy to too difficult to achieve are demotivating and won’t inspire anyone.
5. Recognition and Reward
Extrinisic rewards as well as social competition play on elements of psychology that boost motivation.
The sense of accomplishment and a job well done that comes from meeting goals also provides intrinsic rewards.
6. Real-Life Examples
There are some well-known award ceremonies for acknowledging achievements in customer service like the ECCCSAs which also have virtual events sharing the winners’ stories.
These examples of not just what, but how amazing results can be achieved inspire teams.
Empower Agents and Reach Your Goals with CCaaS
A Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solution provides high-quality omnichannel engagement tools to empower users and increase customer satisfaction.
An intuitive interface and enhanced control allow agents to maximise on their skills and strive for higher service standards and greater job satisfaction.This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Odigo – View the Original Article
For more information about Odigo - visit the Odigo Website
Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.