Industry Standards: Are There Any?
I get requests all the time for the “industry standard” for every type of stat imaginable in the call center. My general response is that there are no industry standards — call centers are so different that even if there was an industry standard, it probably wouldn’t be right for your center. Differences in size, types of calls taken, management priorities, types of customer served, area of the world where you’re located — all have some impact on your center, and there is probably not another center out there that is exactly like you.
But I wanted to get some perspective on this, so I asked some of our SWPP members what they think, and it turns out that this is a really hot topic! Here are a few of the responses:
- “I understand why companies ask the question. They just want to check around and make sure that what they are doing in their own company isn’t too outlandish — they are looking for reassurance. Sometimes they are just looking for fresh approaches and new ideas. There is certainly nothing wrong with this motivation, and that is why it is so important to have a good network to turn to in a situation like that. That’s the perfect reason to attend an industry conference, or the SWPP Annual Conference or regional meeting or some other form of industry networking. But I worry about people comparing themselves to other companies’ stats without first considering the differences in size, scope, and business strategy. If retailing is big enough for both Nordstrom and WalMart (whose stats probably aren’t very similar), I’ll bet there are analogous call centers in an industry whose stats shouldn’t be compared either.”
- “Simple answer… NO, I do not believe that there are industry standards. However, there are some generalities or commonalities that may be useful.”
- “Cut and dry answer. The only standards are the ones for your business. Even in vertical markets, the “standard” is not the same for all companies. As you stated, every stat in the contact center world is based on this imaginary “industry standard” when that really means ‘we don’t know, so we do what everyone else does.'”
- “I completely agree with you. Although it would be nice to have these ‘industry standards,’ it is hard to offer when each call center is so individual with the type of business, types of calls, types of agents, numbers of agents, etc. Each call center has that challenge of finding their standard.”
So, do you have thoughts about industry standards? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below.