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Using call center metrics to evaluate outsourcing

To determine if outsourcing is the right option, Lori Bocklund recommends evaluating Tier II agents based on overall turnaround time, handle time, first call resolution rate, customer satisfaction and quality scores.

What are good call center metrics from Tier II agents? Currently, our CIO is seeking to outsource our help desk based on cost per call at Tier I. Many companies have come in with offers based on cost per call, but this does not include issues that will need to be handled by Tier II call center agents. How can I get my CIO to understand that cost per call is not the only data point that should be evaluated when considering outsourcing the help desk?
Some metrics you might consider for Tier II call center agents are overall turnaround time, handle time, first call resolution rate, customer satisfaction and quality scores. You might also look at the cost per contact that either separates Tier I and II, or shows the cost to resolution factoring in both costs. In any metrics strategy, you want to have a balance that reflects productivity, financials, quality, and customer experience, at a minimum. It is not unusual to outsource Tier I and keep Tier II in-house. Perhaps it would be helpful to have a discussion with your CIO on key business goals and drivers, to make sure you are both looking at the same issues. Then you can focus in on call center metrics.

You should also benchmark your current percent of calls resolved by self service, Tier I, and Tier II. Then evaluate if any of the Tier II calls could be handled by Tier I, or Tier I calls handled by self service. If you don't have a knowledge management system, you may want to analyze the ROI of implementing such a tool. This analysis could help identify opportunities to drive down costs without outsourcing.

Lastly, take a look at these articles…

* Call center outsourcing face-off
* Total Cost of Outsourcing

This was first published in November 2006
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