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Benchmarking call centres, CRM and Self-Service

One report that's of interest to managers of customer facing operations is the annual Merchants/ Dimension Data contact centre benchmarking report.

This year's has just been released for download (link here) and the published version will be available at the end of June.
There are two big points of interest to me. The first is that now 31% of all inbound transactions are completed by self-service. This is primarily IVR (15.5% of the transactions), followed by web self service (13.7%) with speech self-service and web co-browsinf with an agent making up the balance. Ten years ago, 90% of transactions required an agent to complete, so this represents a significant cost improvement.

The second is that CRM systems have not delivered some basic functions. Ten years ago the benchmarking study found that 39% of organisations had a single view of customer for the agent to work with, today the figure is  34%, despite massive subsequent investment in CRM. This will not come as a surprise to anyone who has dealt with a bank recently, but it is a damning statement on the performance of CRM.

The self-service metrics, though are a great cause of hope. Although IVR and its menus of "press 1 for...., press 2 for...." are widely hated if done badly, there are signs of it being done really well. I was in a presentation from Lloyds TSB a few weeks ago and they reported that their self-service channel regularly achieved very high customer satisfaction scores. The reasons for this is that it is well designed, does what it intends to do well and doesn't try to unduly force customers to use it for complex transactions. It can also be used for a simple post-call survey (the sort that takes 15 seconds so the survey doesn't cause customer disatisfaction itself), which gives the bank a near real-time view of how customers feel about that interaction.

Interesting to see that despite the hype, it may be IVR and speech self-service that are bringing benefits while CRM is lagging.

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