The 80/20 service level target is a staple of most modern call centres. In many cases, this service level target has gone unchanged for years.

However, with your service level playing a crucial role in improving performance, it’s more important than ever to choose relevant, effective targets. With that in mind, we’re looking at two reasons why it’s essential to evaluate your call centre’s service level targets.

Industry Standard Service Levels Might Not Be Right for You

No two call centres are identical – and your choice of target needs to reflect the idiosyncrasies of your own work environment.

Peer targets can provide helpful insights into the performance of other call centres. Crucially though, there’s no guarantee that their service level targets will be right for your call centre. The ideal service level for your own call centre will depend on a myriad of additional factors – most notably the industry you’re in, the purpose of your individual queues, and real-world customer behaviour.

For example, a call centre in a highly-competitive marketplace will need to set a different service level target to a call centre operating in a monopoly environment, like a local government call centre. Whilst the former will need to offer an extremely rapid service, the latter may be better served by reducing how much public money the centre costs to operate, and choosing a lower service level.

Similarly, a sales-focused queue is likely to operate with different priorities to a customer service queue. With each call a potential revenue source, a sales queue will need to minimise abandonment rates, and offer a high service level. In contrast, existing customers calling a helpline will be expecting some degree of waiting period – allowing a customer service queue to operate with a slightly lower target.

The crucial benchmark for evaluating the relevance of your service level is customer behaviour. It may be that your call centre is successfully hitting its 80/20 service level target. If, however, that target is resulting in higher-than-average abandonment rates, it’s likely you’ll need to re-evaluate your target. Your callers have provided a clear indication of the level of service they expect, and to increase customer satisfaction and lower your call abandonment, you’ll need to try a higher service level.

Targets Aren’t Goals in Their Own Right

Your service level, like each of your metrics, KPIs and targets, is a tool designed to help you improve the performance of your call centre. Crucially though, achieving your service level target isn’t a goal in its own right . Unless your choice of target is actually translating into improved performance, it’s necessary to re-evaluate your service level.

There are a plethora of ways to define ‘improved call centre performance’, but most goals tend to fall into one of three categories: Operational Quality, Customer Experience and Operational Efficiency. Even if your call centre is successfully hitting its 80/20 or 90/10 service level target, unless that translates into tangible improvements in at least one of those areas of performance, your target isn’t doing its job.

To set your service level target appropriately, it’s essential to first determine which aspects of performance you need to prioritise. It may be that your call centre would be best served by improving the customer experience, and that First Call Resolution is the metric you need to focus on improving. In this instance, your service level target needs to reflect your need to answer calls as effectively and comprehensively as possible.

Your service level target needs to be chosen to serve your performance goals – not the other way round. To learn an automated way to improve call centre performance, download our free executive summary below.

How Intraday Automation Can Help Your Call Centre