Falling Short on Service Levels

Despite the importance of keeping customers happy, multichannel merchants still have a way to go when it comes to improving service levels. According to MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT/OPERATIONS + FULFILLMENT’s 2006 Benchmark Report on Contact Center Operations, in three key metrics—average speed of call answer, average time in queue, and agent occupancy rate—survey respondents come up surprisingly short.

For example, in the average speed of answer metric, respondents targeted incoming calls to be answered in 14 seconds. But the actual time it took the average call to be answered was 22.6 seconds.

Respondents also fell short of their goals when it came to answering incoming calls from the queue: The average time that callers spent in the queue was 40.5 seconds, longer than the 36.8 seconds that marketers were aiming for.

The mean agent occupancy rate—defined as the percentage of time during a half-hour that agents on the phones are in talk time and after-call work—among those surveyed was only 64%, lower than the 71% that they had set as a goal.

For more results from the survey, see the May issue of MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT magazine. To buy the exclusive Benchmark Report on Contact Center Metrics, go to: www.multichannelmerchant.com or contact: Lynn Adelmund, at 913-967-1891 or by email at lynn.adelmund@penton.com.