>Visibility into the truths about your vendor services is critical to long-term success. They help you understand whether your current vendor is best serving your needs and shine a light on issues that could let you know it’s time to seek a new outsourcing company. From general statistics to metrics about your own service, here are eight must-know numbers to get familiar with if you’re planning to use or already use third-party services.
3 calling service provider statistics businesses should be aware of
When engaging service providers of any type for your company, it helps to have some knowledge about the industry and benchmarks as a whole. These bits of information help you ask the right questions when seeking a new telecommunications service provider.
1. Unplanned events are a consistent wrench in the machine
According to a 2018 Call Center Industry Report shared via the Global News Wire, 20 percent of spikes in customer demands that can throw a call center into flummox happen because of unplanned events. And while that means these incursions aren’t typically staffed for, that doesn’t mean outsourcing companies don’t have a plan for them. The best call centers are ready to shift into different modes to handle increases in demand. When considering a new third-party vendor, talk with them about their plans to handle these types of events.
2. Customer service is more important than price
Price has always been a major factor in buying decisions, with consumers and businesses opting for the lowest price point, especially if quality or functionality measures were fairly equal. But during the past decade or so, customer service has crept up as one of the most — if not the most — important factors for consumers. Experts believe that by 2020, customer service will be the top factor in most buying decisions, and 86 percent of consumers already say they’re willing to pay more for enhanced customer service. These stats are important when considering a call vendor: You must be confident in their ability to deliver high-quality customer service.
3. Turnover rates in the US are high
Call centers have notoriously high turnover rates for staff. According to The Quality Assurance & Training Connection, the average rate of turnover in call center environments is between 30 and 45 percent. That’s double or triple the average in other occupations. While some turnover comes from the fact that many call center jobs are entry-level and people look to move on or up from there, the high turnover rate can have knock-on effects when it comes to quality or customer service. When talking to potential call vendors, ask about their turnover rates and what processes they have in place to ensure new staff is well-trained before they begin handling your calls.
5 numbers to know about your call center service
It’s not enough to be aware of specific industry numbers, though. As you sign on with a new call vendor and begin to work with them, make sure you take time to discuss the following metrics. You should know:
- What type of service levels the telecommunications center is able to guarantee for various metrics
- How the metrics will be recorded
- When and how you’ll have access to reports about the metrics
1. Average speed of answer
ASA is the average time it takes for phone calls to be answered once they hit the appropriate queue. ASA does not typically include time spent making selections in an automated system. Consider working with your call center partner to develop a realistic and appropriate benchmark for ASA. Some industries are going to spawn longer ASA than others, though you should typically be talking seconds and not minutes.
2. Average handle time
Average handle time is a productivity metric that let’s call supervisors to understand quickly whether agents are devoting enough time to solving problems or providing service without stretching each call out so long they aren’t able to help a good number of callers. For companies working with third-party service providers, AHT may be more important as an indicator of quality. If you know it takes five minutes to place an order accurately but handle times are regularly coming in at two minutes, something might be missing from those calls.
3. Average non-call work time
Agents can’t always jump from one call right to another. They may need to handle some details related to the previous call, such as notating the system, finalizing an order or sending a work ticket for another team to handle an inquiry. While this non-call work time may be expected, you typically want to keep it to a minimum. Every minute spent on this time means staff isn’t taking the next call or helping the next consumer — which is what you’re paying the vendor to do. Discuss an appropriate non-call work time with your vendor, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if averages start slipping out of the agreed-upon range.
4. Call abandonment rates
Abandoned calls occur when the customer hangs up before a resolution is reached. This can occur because the customer becomes impatient after being on hold too long, feels like the agent is not offering enough assistance or has been shuttled between too many agents and is frustrated. Global benchmarks for this metric tend to fall between 5 and 8 percent, although you may need to consider factors related specifically to your company or niche before setting an appropriate range with your third-party provider. Rates outside that range may indicate an issue with processes, staffing or training.
5. Call block rates
This metric refers to calls that don’t make it into the system at all because the caller received a busy signal. This is actually one reason you might go with an outsourcing provider — you want to ensure the lines are always open for consumers. Before signing on with a vendor, make sure you discuss what an appropriate lost call rate is and how the vendor plans to avoid this type of issue. By staying ahead of the game on the numbers, you remain in the know about your call center provider and whether it’s meeting your business’s needs. If a look at the numbers calls your call vendor into question, contact Ameridial at 888-480-8700 for information or get a quote to find out how we can serve you.