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Some stand-out findings from the 94-page  UK Contact Centre HR & Operational Benchmarking Report (3rd edition 2013/14)" report include:

  • 58% of respondents expect headcount growth in 2014, with only 18% forecasting a drop in agent numbers

  • The average contact centre manager’s salary is forecast to increase by 18% by 2016

  • Call length continues to increase, with service calls taking 21% longer than 10 years ago, and sales calls lengthening by 56% since 2006, despite improvements in contact centre technology and business processes

  • Median agent attrition rates in large (200+ seat) contact centres are 2.6 times higher than in sub-50 seat operations

  • The finance sector has the highest levels of talk-time, with agents being on calls over 40 minutes in the hour. 

The report's author, Steve Morrell, commented:

"The nature of the contact centre industry has changed considerably: many simple queries now get handled via self-service, and call durations have increased year-on-year. The average agent-customer conversation is now longer and more complex, requiring different skills and capabilities from agents, which existing salary and bonus structures are only just starting to address. For example, despite a strong positive correlation between lower starting salaries and excessive new agent attrition, survey respondents state that ‘Employee of the Month’ awards are a more effective tool against attrition than increasing basic salaries.

“The strong growth in agent headcount last year, coupled with the generally positive changes in investment and headcount planned for 2014 shows that the UK contact centre industry has emerged from the recession in good shape. The improvement in KPIs along with other financial indicators show that the contact centre has a more clearly-defined role within a business – no longer does it have to balance precariously between providing acceptable service while paring call length to the bone – it is now the provider of premium quality, personalised customer support, regardless of channel.”

The UK Contact Centre HR & Operational Benchmarking Report (3rd edition 2013/14)", is a major study of 210 UK contact centre operations, looking in depth at salaries, attrition, absence, recruitment, training, operational performance benchmarks, budgets and growth, with forecasts to 2016. The report costs £295 + VAT and is available from www.contactbabel.com/reports.cfm

 

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