Off Center
 
Ours is an industry obsessed with “industry standards.” Contact center professionals are forever engaged in a mad yet futile search for clear-cut, universal formulas and processes that will elevate their operations to elusive world-class status. 

However, as most experienced practitioners are well aware, there’s nothing universally standard about contact centers or customer care. The metrics you select and the processes you implement will all vary based on the specific industry you are in and the specific types of contacts and customers your company handles, among other things.

That being said, I’ve decided to pander to the industry standard junkies in hopes of quelling their curiosity – however misguided it is – by coming up with a few “New Rules”. These rules apply to every contact center and customer care professional – without exception – and are guaranteed to bring about big improvements to our industry as a whole.

You wanted industry standards? Oh, I’ll give you industry standards…

New Rules:

1) If average handle time (AHT) is your contact center’s primary performance indicator, your agents are allowed to punch you in the stomach as hard as they can once a month (assuming they last that long).  

2) The industry standard for service level for all contact centers from this point forward shall be: 100% of all calls answered 10 seconds or more before the customer decides to rip your brand to pieces on Twitter. 

3) The maximum number of chat sessions an agent is permitted to handle simultaneously is three. The maximum number of chat sessions an agent is permitted to handle simultaneously WITH QUALITY is one.

4) For every caller who has to repeat their name/account info to a live agent after just providing such info to the IVR system, your IT team has to do 25 push-ups. And then 25 more.

5) All IVR systems must be programmed to say, “Love you, bye” at the close of each interaction with a customer.

6) You must allow at least 15% of your agents to work from home to help improve employee retention and scheduling flexibility. Of those agents, 100% must have a swimming pool and a wet bar that you are free to drop by and use whenever you choose.   

7) If your primary method of rewarding agents for outstanding performance is with a mere sticker that says, “You Rock!”, your agents are required to reciprocate by giving you a sticker that says, “You Don’t!”

8) Any agent who consistently receives low scores for “compassion” and/or “empathy” should immediately be moved out of the contact center and placed on the company’s Executive Training fast track.

9) The ideal range for first-contact resolution (FCR) rate in any center is… I’ll get back to you on that. 

10) Practicing contact center management without first purchasing a copy of my ebook Full Contact: Contact Center Practices & Strategies that Make an Impact shall be punishable by up to three years in prison or up to one year in Accounting.