For those of you in the contact center solutions industry, BenchmarkPortal should be a familiar name. If the name does not resonate, the company has carved out an impressive niche in the international contact center community, with vendors and contact center administrators, as a recognized analytics and consultative resource. As the name implies, it benchmarks almost every imaginable activity relating to contact centers and uses the knowledge gained from evaluation of key performance indicators (KPSIs) to provide expert insights, analysis and advice in the form of training and certifications. In short, when they talk it tends to pay to listen.
It is thus with more than passing interest to note that BenchmarkPortal has announced the winners of its 2014 Top 100 Call Center Contest. Participants submitted performance data on key operating metrics. Three winners were declared in each of three categories. They represent those who had the highest statistical values for efficiency and effectiveness, as computed by BenchmarkPortal's expert formula, using what is the world’s largest database of contact center metrics.
The highest ranking centers in the large center (250+ agents) category are:
The highest ranking centers in the Medium-size center (100 to 249 agents) category are:
The highest ranking centers in the Small-size center winners (5 to 99 agents) category are:
“BenchmarkPortal salutes the winners – they are leaders in the call center industry,” said Bruce Belfiore, BenchmarkPortal CEO. “Our Top 100 Award places a contact center among the best in the industry in terms of quality of service and cost efficiency. Their key metrics were benchmarked against our database – the largest in the world of contact center metrics. This is a great accomplishment.”
The contest participants were judged on their key performance indicators – including average speed of answer, calls per agent per hour, agent turnover and caller satisfaction. Each participant received a complimentary customized report benchmarking their company against their peers, as well as a confidential web-based readout of the report with a certified BenchmarkPortal expert.
“The award process is based on actual performance,” stated Belfiore. “Recipients of the Top 100 Award have demonstrated, on a very objective basis, that they provide superior service and financial performance as compared with our database overall. We congratulate them.”
Aside from congratulations to the winners, I was delighted to see that two of those who made the list were contact centers that I have experience with. I can confirm, without citing the names or circumstances of my cause for interaction, that the experiences were surprisingly satisfactory.
I should also note that despite my highest respect for Bruce Belfiore, I am a bit confused by his reference to or community in his first quote as “the call center industry” while he refers to his company’s database as “the largest in the world of contact center metrics.” And, as you can see from the link to their website, Benchmark Portal’s logo is “The Source for Contact Centers,” yet their reports are on “Call Center Key Performance Indicators.” While it may seem like nitpicking to draw attention to the interchangeable use of the terms “call center” and “contact center” this is one of those issues where semantics a non-trivial.
There has been a debate for several years that the customer interactions/customer experience business needs to put the term “call center” in the dumpster. The reasons are simple. First, it has pejorative connotations for the public in general—long call waiting times with useless information or bad music, agents who were not skilled and/or lacked authority to resolve a problems, etc. And, for a host of reasons the name is associated with a business that is a less than desirable career path with poor wages and high turnover. Given the transformation taking place in contact centers and the need for skilled and hopefully loyal employees, who at the moment are in scarce supply globally, this is a perception that needs to be expunged with a sense of urgency.
Second, while calls are still the majority of the ways in which people interact with customer services, in the multi-channel and increasingly self-service environment that is the way in which leading contact centers provide superior customer experiences (like the winners above) it is not just about calls anymore.
In fact, the value in the names for our industry might be something to benchmark. It is time to agree at least for the moment that the industry is the contact center industry, and that everyone in the industry should agree on it sooner rather than later.