Q: Is there an industry standard for the average number of seconds an agent places a customer on hold?
- Jason Graves
A: The Purdue University Benchmarking Survey does not capture data on placing customers on hold after an agent answers a call. From the data we collect, we have been able to confirm that the performance indicator that most influences caller satisfaction is first call closure. This measure is more important than service level (80 percent of calls answered within xx seconds) and average speed of answer. Across the thousands of call centers that benchmark with us, 66 percent of all calls are closed on the first call, 80 percent of all calls are answered within 37 seconds, the average speed of answer is also 37 seconds, 6 percent of calls received are abandoned before answer, and the average time callers wait before abandoning is 71 seconds. We encourage you to benchmark to see how your performance metrics compare to your peers.
In the graph, we see the frequency of various age groupings in our research on who uses the toll-free telephone to contact companies. As was expected, the majority of the respondents were in the age range of 26 to 55 years old, with the peak group being between 36 and 45 years old.
This is an important finding for companies with a call center. The age range from 36 to 45 is certainly a group of Americans that companies want to attract and service properly, since this age group is the most active in contacting companies for assistance and for information.
The right graph shows there is an even spread between high school graduates and college-educated respondents. Seventy-five percent of the respondents have at least some college education, and 51 percent of the respondents have four or more years of college education.
In our opinion, the demographics and psychographics of the population that most companies target their products to is the same group that is most likely to call the toll-free number for assistance and/or for information. This is an important finding that should motivate companies to make sure their call center is all that it can be in delivering superb quality service to this kind of customer.
This research was sponsored by Kelly Services.
Dr. Jon Anton (also known as 'Dr. Jon') is the
Director of Benchmark Research at Purdue University Center for
Customer-Driven Quality. Have a question? E-mail him at DrJonAnton@BenchmarkPortal.com.
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