Is Your Call Center Worth the Money?

Customer Service | 3 minute read

Is Your Call Center Worth the Money?Maybe you run an answering service, a small customer support function, or a 2,000 seat call center. Whichever it is, I’m sure the questions running through your mind are:

  • “Is it any good?”
  • “Is it well run?”
  • How will I know?


Service teams love to tell you how good they are, and they’ll do that by showing you a whole host of measures:

  • The average speed to answer
  • Their 80:20 service level
  • The average time to abandon


If that isn’t enough, you will also get: customer satisfaction measures, net promoter scores, quality measures, achievement of call outcome, adherence to schedule, productivity and the list goes on…

But all those performance metrics aren’t reassuring; they are just confusing. There are more numbers than you can shake a stick at.

So what’s really important?

Instead of getting hung up on the numbers and metrics, how about standing back and looking at the principles. If you were a consumer what would you want?

There are four things that customers desire:

1)    To avoid the call center

Consumers are constantly phoning service providers, either for an inquiry or too complain about a service. Most callers don’t enjoy talking to contact centers simply because they’d rather be doing something else with their time. The typical experience of waiting on hold and/or being passed from one agent to the next, is one we all want to avoid.

Your call center must determine how it can mitigate all those calls to avoid consumer frustration.

2)    More self-service options

Not all calls are driven by failures. Sometimes customers have a simple request (address change, new account type, etc.) and need to phone the contact center.

Personally, I would rather sort these inquires out online, without any fuss, rather than deal with a lengthy conversation. I don’t even mind those voice response units – as long as they satisfy my needs.

A bit of self-service can go a long way. Have your call center write a list of automation opportunities to get the clear picture on how to solve these “simple” customer inquiries with self-service options.

3)    To get their call answered (when the call is required)

Sometimes human interaction is necessary. Self-service, as clever as it might be, can’t solve every problem. However, there is nothing more frustrating than phoning a call center and being forced to wait on hold, or worse not getting through at all.

It doesn’t matter how your call center addresses this issue – abandon rate, service levels – pick one and stick with it. You need to know how quickly calls are being answered.

4)    To get the problem fixed

Imagine the situation as a customer: your bank is faultless, they never mess up, they have a fabulous website – you are a very happy customer. On occasion, when your daughter is stuck in Outer Mongolia, you need to wire her some money. The call center answered your call in two rings.


Unfortunately, the agent on the other end doesn’t know what they’re doing.

  • They can’t find your details
  • They don’t know where Outer Mongolia is
  • They are adamant that you can’t wire cash on your type of account
  • They have to send you a paper authorization form (that will arrive in 7 to 10 working days)

This is not the moment to drop the ball. Your flawless brand perception has now been completely altered because of one bad service experience. This is when first call resolution (FCR) comes into play.

If you don’t know the cost, how do you know the value?

The accountants out there will have their heads in their hands. I didn’t mention expenses, I didn’t discuss productivity, and I haven’t once talked about handle times or cost per call. Without knowing these costs, how can you determine the value? Well here’s the thing, if you are actively:

  • Mitigating calls
  • Automating calls
  • Answering calls
  • Fixing queries

And getting better at it month over month, then you will be more valuable by the minute – it’s as simple as that. Watch out for those points and your contact center will be worth every penny.

Guest Blogger: James Lawther

James Lawther


James Lawther writes about business process improvement at


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