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Customer Relationship Management
March 2002

Ask Dr. Jon

The Purdue benchmark research has been conducted since 1995. Purdue currently holds data for more than 5,400 call centers. To learn about how to participate in some of Purdue University's new benchmark research, please visit www.BenchmarkPortal.com.

Q. For annual telephone agent performance reviews, I have a four to seven percent range to work with regarding compensation increases. Is this consistent with other call centers?
~ John Wettlaufer

A. On average and across industries, the performance increase range is from three to ten percent. Many call center managers are encouraged not to increase the annual compensation by very much, but instead give quarterly bonuses based on achieving very measurable goals, like calls per shift, attendance, occupancy, caller satisfaction scores and the like. In addition, overtime is also a way to satisfy both the company's need to take care of seasonal 'spikes' in calls and the employee's need to make more money.

Q. Most call centers use something like 80/20 for service level. What is an acceptable service level for chat?
~ Nina Westvold

A. As I am sure you already know, a Web chat session is certainly a different customer interaction than a call. So far, our research into key performance indicators (KPIs) for chat sessions indicates that customers are much less demanding of a chat session. I have witnessed an experienced agent handle as many as four chats simultaneously. From my observations, I think most chat users will tolerate having their answers in one to three minutes.

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 [email protected].

I have received several 'Ask Dr. Jon' questions regarding company policy on sick days for agents. In checking our benchmark database of best practices, it is clear from the first graph below that almost half of all call centers allow unused sick days to accumulate from year to year. In addition, from the second graph below, it seems that the most common strategy to minimize agent sick leave is to include attendance as an integral part of an agent's performance evaluation.

For a free white paper on minimizing agent turnover, please visit

' Purdue University/BenchmarkPortal. Inc.

' Purdue University/BenchmarkPortal. Inc.

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