Calculating The ROI Of CSR
By Jeremy P Stanfords
Businesses use financial analysis for strategic planning and to evaluate the effectiveness of past initiatives. Unfortunately, customer service may get left out of the equation because it is difficult to quantify, and this can lead to serious financial problems in the future. Companies use call center reports to measure the effectiveness of their contact centers and put service back into the equation.
Managers focus on expense reports and profit projections because numbers are easy. Figures are concrete concepts, simple to grasp and understand. It can be as straightforward as plugging a few statistics into a spreadsheet, or as complex as having an accounting team conduct a review that takes months. In the end, it comes down to “more profit is better” and numerical analyses simplify the decision process.
A number of consumer studies show that customers often rate intangibles like good service higher than product price or company stock value. Taking the time to treat clients well is an investment, not an expense. The dividends come back in increased sales, returning customers and word of mouth advertising. However companies can’t blindly chase good service without finding a way to quantify a return on this investment.
Turning The Intangibles Tangible
Results of changes to customer service and phone center operation can be measured by looking at increased sales and revenue, but expenses are harder to calculate. How much does customer service cost the company? The financial breakdown goes beyond simply tallying up phone center salaries. Agents are resources and the real question is how effectively is this resource being used.
Today’s call centers are integrated information networks that blend telephone service with access to customer data, all monitored by the latest generation of service software. Call center reports generated from these applications yield valuable insights such as how much time agents are spending with callers, how long clients are waiting in hold queues, and whether or not customers are helped by the end of the contact.
Efficient use of resources improves profitability, and that rule applies to call centers just as it does to any department. Call center reports quantify the costs of operation, and they also give managers a chance to see where the process could be made more efficient.
For example, call center reports for a technical support department might show a large number of transfers to from level one to level two technicians. Auditing random phone calls shows the bulk of these transfers are for fairly simple problems. By educating level one technicians to handle these issues, fewer transfers are made, clients are helped more quickly, and the department is able to process more calls on a given day.
Financial analysis is a key tool in strategic planning, and call center reports allow service centers to be included as part of the process of improving company function and productivity.