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Why ROI? By the Numbers Accountability

Most companies measure their success on a quarterly basis from the amount of revenue produced subtracting out costs. This yields profit and the higher the profit the happier investors are and the more secure the jobs of the senior people in the company. This same type of measurement is used within companies to determine how much profit each unit within the business makes the company.

For call centers that are not third-party outsources or outbound sales this proves to be a problem. For without revenue generated, a call center just uses up revenue in the form of costs which decreases the potential amount of profit each quarter, at least on paper.

How does a call center manager or director justify itself as a critical part of the company and aligned with the company goals when it does not produce revenue? That is a very good question.

First, the manager must know enough about business and business finance to know that his/her call center is a cost function on the books. Knowing how much it cost the company to run the call center operation, and fully loaded cost per call and call per item sold, is a starting point for any manager.

Second, the manager needs to know about who uses the call center and why to determine if the call center did not exist, how this would hurt the overall revenue and repeat sales of the organization.

Run a hypothetical scenario. Make the call center disappear on paper. All of those costs, poof, gone. So now what happens when the customers try and call and get no signal? What do they do? How does this impact the company’s bottom-line?

Third, the manager needs to be able to take these facts and produce a loss of revenue sheet for the company that addresses the loss to the company if the call center disappeared overnight. This is the data that was produced from the thought exercise and the data should be turned into dollars and cents because this is the most common unit of measure within a company.

Fourth, from those data, the manager can produce a defendable return on investment (ROI) calculation for the call center which places the call center more in line with the revenue producing units within the company.

If, and when, someone challenges the purpose and cost of the call center, these numbers can not only help to justify its existence, but can also help to articulate plans for expansion, growth and other resources needs. In short the manager of the call center can walk the walk and talk the talk of the other units in the company helping to showcase the value that call centers bring to an organization.

 

About the author

David Butler PhD., is a contact center expert. In addition to serving as the executive director of the not-for-profit National Association of Call Centers (NACC), and director of the Call Center Research Laboratory at the University of Southern Mississippi, he is also the Author of Bottom Line Call Center Management.

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