Call centers get high marks
- By Brian Robinson
- May 31, 2002
AMS page on call center study
Despite differences among levels of government, public-sector call centers
rate well when compared with private-sector centers and actually exceed
them on several key quality-of-service marks, according to a recent survey
conducted by Purdue University.
Public-sector centers score 10 percent higher than business-to-business
and 30 percent higher than business-to-consumer centers against measurements
of caller satisfaction, the study shows.
"Up until this study, there's been very little data at the government
level to measure just how well call centers were doing," said Jeff Ackerson,
senior principal and customer relationship management expert at American
Management Systems Inc.'s Center for Advanced Technology. "The surprising
conclusion is that there are so many similarities between the government
and private-sector centers."
AMS was the sole sponsor of the study and worked with Purdue to analyze
the results. The study contains data points for about 100 government institutions.
The study shows, however, that there are major differences among federal,
state and local government centers. While federal and state call center
service levels are neck and neck with business-to-business and business-to-consumer
centers, local municipalities' centers do poorly. On the other hand, those
local centers handle the highest number of calls per agent per shift with
an average of 63 calls per eight-hour shift.
Federal call centers have more than twice the average talk time of state
and local centers and also have the lowest after-call work time, some 35
percent lower than state call centers. And, by far, state call centers have
the highest cost per call, more than one-third higher than that for federal
As government shifts from having just telephone call centers to an online,
e-government focus, AMS hopes to define the kinds of measurements highlighted
in the study "in a true business sense," Ackerson said, and then use them
to develop a program of continuous improvement for government centers.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.