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Customer Experience

September 25th, 2009

Trends in customer contact centres


Bright produce the leading benchmarking survey for customer contact centres in the Nordic countries.

Over 500 audits have been carried out and here they share some of the findings from the last survey, looking at 75 Nordic contact/call centres’ performance during 2006.

Cost per call continue to fall

Cost per call continue to fall for the second year in a row. This is due to a combination of increased agent productivity, operational costs having decreased and an average self service level now at over 40% (and in the banking sector as high as 70%).

However, the numbers of lost calls in self service also continue to rise (now at 20%) as well as the number of companies worrying about loosing out on opportunities to sell on inbound calls and building customer loyalty. Email handling is still more costly than voice due to e.g. bad processes, not using email templates and no skills based routing for this channel.

The number of agents per coach is slightly decreasing which is good news. When analyzing correlations between this KPI and others, Bright found that the centres with 8-15 agents per coach had:
10 % higher ready time
5 % higher availability and
5 % higher FCR

Availability is on the rise and in average the centres now “only” loose 11% of all calls, and let the customers that do get through wait 70 seconds. The results however vary enormously from sector to sector.
- Despite a bigger focus on FCR (First Contact Resolution) we don’t see an overall big improvement here. The simple reason is that most centres still don’t track and action the root cause for why the customer calls.
- Training days per agent continue to rise.

Sales focus
We see both an increased focus on sales on inbound calls as well as results. This is actually starting to drive quality metrics as well so it’s good news for customers. Centres are finally waking up to that if you don’t have your internal quality KPI’s in order, then you are going to struggle to sell on inbound calls.

Let’s take 100 inbound calls and apply the average figures for the industry: 10 calls aren’t answered, 12 calls aren’t answered quickly enough, and 15 calls don’t solve the customers query in the first call. We have then lost 37% of our sales potential before we’ve even started to try and sell. These numbers need to be taken into account both when calculating what service levels you can afford, and what sales volumes you can expect. As always, start with measuring properly and benchmark.


Through weighting the most relevant Quality KPI’s (such as abandonment, hold time, FCR, Cust Sat etc.) and Efficiency KPI’s (such as Costs, Productivity, Utilisation level etc.) we can plot the results of all participants against each other as well as the results of different sectors. Results based on 75 centres’ performance January to June 2006.

The average result of all participants is in the middle and best performing sectors in the top right hand corner.


You’ve seen these surveys before but surely we’re pretty good nowadays aren’t we?

Bright carried out a mystery emailing activity after summer to 10 different sectors and found that over 30% of the emails were not answered within 5 days! Worst culprits were found in the IT & Telecom’s sector and best in Insurance and mail order. With a clear increase in volume of e-mails in the industry poor e-mail handling is starting to become a serious problem.

The graph shows the percentage of non answered emails per sector after 5 days.

If you are interested in finding out more about the trends, or participate in the benchmarking yourself, you can contact Bright on info@bright.seThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or by telephone +46 8 6461450.

About the Author

Mats Rennstam

Expert on contact centre trends Mats Rennstam has 20 years experience from the contact centre industry, working all over Europe with companies such as Teleperformance International and Frost & Sullivan. He became Managing Director in Bright UK Ltd 2004 and has been a key note speaker at several events over the last years speaking about contact centre trends in general and performance management in particular. Swedish by origin Mr Rennstam is based in London since 1998.

The organisation Bright
Bright is a leading independent consultancy that also produce the benchmarking survey Bright Index®. The consultancy practise focuses on development and improvement of contact centres. Bright Index delivers key performance indicators of contact centres in different sectors from all over Europe. The results form a platform for participants' target setting and improvement plans.  The end goal is to significantly improve the customers' competitive edge.

Contact info
You can contact Director Mats Rennstam by email or phone:

Email:, Direct Tel: 0207 9784506, Mobile: 07986 767388         



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