Customer Centricity
Astute Planning. Flawless Execution.
Delighted Customers.

Issue #180

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

We are pleased to begin publishing a series of articles from our long time consultant Harry Heermans. The first article covers the results of a benchmarking survey performed by on service and support metrics.

In a subsequent newsletter edition, we will complete our series on lessons learned from our latest CRM engagement.

How Does Your Customer Support Department Measure Up?
A 2012 Service and Support Metrics Survey

by Harry W. Heermans, Jr.

Is your average speed to answer the telephone faster or slower than the competition?  Does it cost you more or less than others to handle an email transaction?  Is your support department ahead of the curve or behind it in adopting forward looking technologies like social media?  If you are wondering about the answers to these questions, a survey by, sponsored by Aptean, answers them and much more.
  • The survey covered more than 100 companies, ranging from technology (32%), services (10%), and healthcare (9%), with the rest of the responses coming from a variety of other industries.
  • More than 40% of companies had support budgets over $1 million annually while 12% allocated less than $100,000 per year.
  • Small companies (fewer than 500 employees) made up 41% of the respondents, while large companies (over 10,000 employees) represented 18%.
  • 29% of companies handled fewer than 1000 incidents per month; 13% handled over 20,000 incidents per month.
We share just a few highlights below. To obtain a complete copy of the research report, you are encouraged to visit SupportIndustry.

Performance metrics

There are numerous performance metrics that an organization may consider. Here is a summary of the key performance indicators typically measured by contact centers involved in SupportIndustry's study. How do you measure up? Are you on the high or low-end of performance?
  • Average speed to answer – telephone:  70% answer within 30 seconds, while 8% take more than a minute.
  • Average speed to answer – email:  30% respond to emails within one hour, with 75% answering within six hours.
  • Average hold time: The vast majority of call centers (80%) report hold times of less than two minutes, with 65% answering within one minute.  About 22% report no hold time at all.
  • Average abandonment rate: Almost a quarter of call centers have an abandonment rate of less than 1%, while over 65% keep their abandonment rate to less than 5%.
  • First call resolution (FCR) and escalation: 24% of service organizations escalate fewer than 10% of their issues to level 2, while 10% escalate more than 50% of transactions.  46% of contact centers do not track FCR at all.
Cost of support

In today's economic environment, we must continuously look at ways to provide increasing levels of support, while maintaining an appropriate (even decreasing) cost structure. Following are metrics around the costs of specific avenues of support, from contact centers involved in SupportIndustry's study. How do your costs compare?

Not surprisingly, telephone support is the most costly.  Nearly 30% of respondents reported average costs of less than $10 per transaction, about one quarter (27%) have costs in the $10 – 20 range, and another one quarter (26%) have costs over $24. 

Email support was less expensive to offer, with nearly one-half of operations (48%) keeping costs under $10, but 14% had costs over $24.

The median cost of chat varied between $5 – 9, with nearly 10% reporting costs above $24.

To cover these costs, over one-third of contact centers (37%) saw their budgets increase, another one-third were level funded (33%) and about one-quarter (24%) slashed their budgets.

SupportIndustry's complete research report includes additional details on the above as well as other metrics, including but not limited to:

  • Communication Channels
  • Social Media
  • Knowledge Management
  • How customer service organizations use metrics

If you would like to obtain invaluable insight on these and other metrics, please visit SupportIndustry's website.

If there are areas in your customer support department that fall short of where you want to be, contact Customer Centricity. We perform objective assessments and deliver pragmatic recommendations on how to deliver a superior customer experience. We also offer project management services that turn recommendations into reality.


Available Talent

As our clients can attest, Customer Centricity talent is comprised of seasoned resources with “scars of experience” who bring incredible focus to drive key business initiatives to successful conclusion. An example of a resource currently available is:

Project Manager focused on the Customer Experience and Vendor Management including:
  • Extensive experience working with both retail and traditional IT organizations to significantly improve operational efficiencies and increase customer satisfaction through assessment, collaboration and detailed execution of improvement initiatives.
  • Defining business requirements and leading the RFP process for the selection, contract negotiation, implementation, support and performance monitoring for POS systems, CRM technologies and outsourced vendor partners.
  • Collaborating with internal and external senior-level executives to expedite the permanent resolution of cross-functional people, process, communication and technology issues.
Our primary objective is to make you look good through the successful completion of your business-critical initiatives. In addition, we seek to serve as a mentor to effectively transition and/or develop key skills in your organization so that you are not dependent on external resources for the long term.

If you’d like to learn more about how Customer Centricity can help you, please contact us. We’re happy to serve as a sounding board and determine if there is real potential to assist you.

In This Newsletter

  • Customer Support Benchmarking Metrics Survey
  • Available Talent

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Recommended Reading

For a comprehensive guide to Customer Relationship Management, you are encouraged to read CRM In Real Time: Empowering Customer Relationships.

As described on

This comprehensive guide to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) draws on Barton Goldenberg's 20+ years of experience guiding firms to a successful implementation of CRM solutions and techniques. Goldenberg demonstrates how the right mix of people, process, and technology can help firms achieve a superior level of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and new business. Beginning with a primer for executives who need to get quickly up-to-speed on CRM, the book covers a full range of critical issues including integration challenges and security concerns, and illuminates CRM's key role in the 24/7/365 real-time business revolution. CRM in Real Time is an essential guide for any organization seeking to maximize customer relationships, coordinate customer-facing functions, and leverage the power of the Internet as business goes real time.


About Customer Centricity

In summary, we help companies:

  • Improve the Customer Experience and Operational Performance
  • Drive mission critical projects to conclusion

We invite you to check out the "Quick Links" below to learn more.


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