June 14, 2015
Cost-per-contact is one of the primary Key Performance Indicators (KPI) used to measure the success of your Service Desk. As a health IT professional, do you know your hospital’s cost-per-contact as it relates to your Service Desk? Does your brain go into a tail-spin when you try to calculate the cost-per-contact? After many years of consulting on Service Desk operations in a variety of industries, I’ve found that most clients consider very different inputs when calculating their cost-per-contact. Not surprisingly, the value of their work varies with the effort expended.
Every hospital has a different approach and process when it comes to this KPI. One will compute its cost-per-contact at $8.20 and say they feel this is too high while another will be proud that their cost-per-contact is $22.40. How can this be? Are we comparing apples to apples when discussing cost-per-contact statistics across the industry? It seems more like we’re comparing apples and grapes.
Some hospitals use the actual budget of the Service Desk to calculate their cost-per-contact because they realize this is what it costs for them to operate the Service Desk. Some take the more comprehensive approach of looking at the Service Desk as a separate business, and consider every cost required to operate as such. This approach allows them to periodically compare their cost of operating the Service Desk against the cost to outsource.
Which cost-per-contact model is correct? If you’re only using statistics to benchmark the monthly cost-per-contact of the Service Desk, then the Service Desk budget may be your only input. However, if your stakeholders want the Total Cost of Ownership version of the cost-per-contact then you will need to identify every support aspect involved in running the Service Desk.
Listed below are some of the factors to consider when looking at cost-per-contact statistics and why they vary:
What type of support is the Service Desk providing its customers? Does the Service Desk provide internal support, external support, and / or clinical support? Consider the differences:
What level of service is the Service Desk providing?
Each of these factors has the potential to increase your cost-per-contact.
What type of contacts does the Service Desk receive? Each of the scenarios below will impact the final statistics when calculating cost-per-contact.
What additional support activities or services are included?
What hardware and software costs associated with the Service Desk are included in the cost-per-contact?
Remote control software and knowledge bases can significantly reduce cost-per-contact but the cost of the software must be included when calculating the cost-per-contact. A knowledge base that is available to customers can improve customer satisfaction, but increase cost-per-contact because the customer is able to resolve a large number of the easy problems themselves. As a result, the reduced incoming call volume to the Service Desk will cause an increase in the overall talk-time.
What telecommunications software and hardware cost are included?
Have the facilities costs been included in the cost-per-contact?
In our industry, there are an overwhelming number of measurement factors to be considered, but the effort could have a significant impact, including signaling potential needs for change or improvement in areas such as staffing, processes and tools.
Industry average for cost-per-contact (fully burdened) within the Service Desk is $20 – $40. As a hospital service desk outsourcer, Phoenix is able to leverage our onshore service across many hospitals, 24 X 7, thereby typically reducing that average cost that by half, inclusive of network monitoring.
Determine what your cost-per-contact rate is and document the costs included in your calculations. If you’re not happy with what you see, let us know.