CCMA Benchmarking Study 2021

28th July 2021 – CCMA is delighted to launch the results of our 2021 member survey which captured key benchmarking data and the continued impact of the COVID 19 Pandemic on the industry.

The research study conducted consisted of a sample of 53 customer service & shared service operations in Ireland. The primary objective of the research was to capture key benchmark data (e.g. attrition rates, absenteeism etc.) in addition to measuring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on CX operations and plans to re-open contact centres once restrictions have been lifted.

Dorothy O’Byrne, Managing Director CCMA Ireland said: “The report demonstrates that the industry continues to respond well to the Covid-19 crisis and has been able to maintain effective customer service support.  The industry continues to focus on providing high levels of customer service whilst supporting and engaging with their staff.”

“Quality of broadband connectivity is once again a key issue for working from home that needs to be addressed by Government in order to support the new ways of working. We also found that a high percentage of staff envisaged working from home for the foreseeable future”.

The survey also found that the sector will continue to grow in 2021 with 60% of respondents planning to recruit additional staff.

Key industry Benchmark Data

  • Positive level of diversity in terms of gender within the sector - Female/Male split 57%/43%.
  • Whilst the sector is at times considered a ‘younger industry’, the average age of the sample of members was 32 years whilst 92% were aged between 24-39.
  • The average length of service for staff is 5 years.
  • The level of attrition for advisor/front line roles decreased in 2020 (14.3%) vs 2019 (15.8%).
  • The impact of Covid 19 was seen with an increase in the Level of Absenteeism from 5% in 2019 to 8% in 2020.

Impact of Covid 19

  • Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, an average of 14% of staff worked from home. In July 2021 it stands at 82% of staff. 33% of companies who participated in the survey indicated that 100% of their staff continue to work from home at this point in time.  
  • Looking ahead to 2022 of the 53 CCMA companies, on average companies envisage 59% of their organisation will work a Hybrid Model (Combination of Onsite and Off-site/WFH), 28% will be Onsite and 13% will be WFH in 2022.
  • Going forward 87% of companies surveyed expect to put a Hybrid Working Model in place. A variety of options/structures are being considered to support WFH. These include - set days (45%) full time WFH (40%) and set number of days (43%).
  • 32% of sample noted a positive increase in productivity since the WFH model was introduced. This conveys how contact centres have been able to pivot to ensure they can provide customer service support whilst supporting their employees and providing structures that enable WFH.
  • No commute to the office, an improved work life balance and money savings were cited as the top 3 benefits staff are expressing in continuing to work from home.
  • For organisations, reduced operational costs, the introduction of new digital CX channels, increased employee engagement and improved customer satisfaction are among the top benefits they are experiencing as staff continue to Work from Home.

Reopening Contact & Shared Services Centres

  • A range of policies to be put in place to facilitate reopening contact centres whilst adhering to government guidelines including mandatory training, temperature checks, etc.
  • In terms of managing remote teams, the top 2 challenges facing companies are:
    • Staff engagement (70% ranked in top 3 challenges).
    • Quality of broadband connectivity (58% ranked in top 3 challenges).
  • Regarding challenges facing staff as they continue to work from home, the main ones cited are:
    • Lack of engagement with co-workers (77% ranked in top 3 challenges).
    • Lack of dedicated office space (55% ranked in top 3 challenges).
    • Broadband connectivity (42% ranked in top 3 challenges).
  • In terms of technology, the quality of broadband connectivity cited by the majority (85%) as the primary challenge they face.

Looking to the future

  • Top 3 areas of focus for customer service organisations in the next 6 months are:
    • Implementation of new Technologies and Training Systems (49%)
    • Increasing staff engagement/Productivity/Support (43%).
    • Realign Business Strategies (38%).