In a previous blog post, I outlined the four basic steps to begin to implement a return on investment (ROI) calculation within your call center.
To reiterate, the steps are learn how to measure, collect the data, run a ROI and share the findings. The key challenge is in running an ROI on a call center that does not produce revenue and finding alternative methods of measure to create a successful calculation.
One of the benefits of running a ROI calculation is that the head of the call center can walk into business meetings with a similar set of calculations that other business units use to justify their existence and associated resources. It is easier to go into a meeting and ask for pay raises for employees when you can show that your operation brought in a record amount of revenue last quarter.
Having a ROI calculation also sends a message to people higher in the organization that you, as a leader in the call center, understand the business model and how the call center fits into the overall picture. It makes you a part of the group and not a forgotten support unit.
What are the barriers to measuring a ROI in a call center that does not produce revenue? The main challenge is in step two, collection of the correct data. How valuable is the call center to the company? For each widget or each service sold, how much of that sale and how much of that profit should be attributed to supporting the product? If support for the product ceased to exist, how long would it take for sales to slow or disappear?
This is where the person conducting the ROI will need to know much about the company, company finances and how the support role of the call center fits into the equation. Even though you may be able to determine that 5 percent of the profit for each widget sold should be used to support the call center having other expert opinions is useful at this stage.
Bringing others in to evaluate the data and your estimates helps to build your case. Will there be challenges to the data, more than likely yes, but that is why you have a clear step-wise process and have other experts validate the data and process.
Though producing a ROI in a non-revenue producing unit is not the traditional method of corporate finance and accounting, it has become more common over the past five years with multiple people, institutes and books created and thriving in this space since the complexity of businesses and support units continue to increase.