10 Time Wasters That Limit Call Center Productivity

Call Center | 5 minute read

10 Time Wasters That Limit Your Call Center Productivity (And How to Avoid ThemIs your call center feeling sluggish or slipping on important metrics? For instance, the global metric for call wrap-up time is six minutes. Do you find things are just taking longer than expected? Or not getting done at all? It’s possible that there are pesky time wasters living in the call center, quietly dragging operations down. These issues usually don’t happen overnight, they exist for months, if not years without making a sound, and suddenly things are moving at a snail’s pace. So, what’s plaguing your call center’s productivity and what can be done to eliminate them? We explore common trends that limit contact center efficiency and their corresponding resolutions…

1. Waiting for Something to Happen

Do you have agents waiting around for the next big spike to come? For a long time, call centers believed that staffing up and having agents working overtime during busy periods was the best way to solve this problem. But that means there are periods in the day when agents are doing nothing when they could be doing something. To increase productivity and get more tickets completed consider adding a call-back solution, like Fonolo. Call-back technology can help smooth-out spikes so that agents can handle calls, while also managing back-office work, rather than burning out during high traffic times.

2. Dialing Every Customer Manually

Save your agents’ time and energy by integrating a predictive dialer. These dialers place outbound calls on behalf of agents so there is no idle time between calls. They automatically dial several contacts at the same time until one answers, and then transfers the call to the most appropriate agent. These dialers increase efficiency and are great for contact center agents that need to maximize the time they spend on the phone. If your call center lacks this ability, Five9 offers a comprehensive predictive dialer, that was the highest-rated by customers in 2016.

3. Not Knowing When Enough is Enough 

Calling customers or potential customers over and over again might seem like good salesmanship, but sometimes agents need to learn when to move on. Make sure your call center has rules in place over how often agents can dial the same number. If a customer isn’t returning your call, there’s a reason for it. Don’t pressure agents to overcall; it’s a waste of their time and an annoyance for customers.

4. Asking Customers to Repeat their Reason for Calling

Say your agent started a conversation on live chat but needed to escalate to voice. Without the right software, agents can waste a lot of time transferring customers from channel to channel, and having to rehash an issue all over again. An embedded “Chat-to-Voice” feature improves the multi-channel experience. When customers hit a roadblock on chat, agents can now send them to a live voice representative without having to start over. Using Fonolo’s solutions, contact centers can escalate conversations from chat to voice, all while preserving context. It provides a seamless method of communication and enables better first contact resolution rates, which means more time for your agents to address other issues.

5. Spending More Time Talking, and Not Doing

Do you spend more time figuring out how to solve problems rather than actually solving them? If your agents are constantly being pulled away from work to discuss internal issues, this is bound to affect their productivity levels. Ensure that all meetings have a designated time limit and remain on track. Additionally, be cognizant of which team members to include in a discussion. Sometimes, too many opinions can cause dysfunction, and veer off course.

6. Getting Sidetracked by Menial Tasks

Getting Sidetracked by Menial TasksEmail support can be a tedious task. Ensure that agents are not wasting precious time writing emails if the issue can be resolved through a different channel faster. Moreover, have agents reply to emails during a designated time of day. This prevents them from being sidelined with incoming emails while other work needs to be completed. Agents should be able to focus on a specific channel and complete tickets within that timeframe, otherwise, they’re just running back and forth, not accomplishing anything on their list. It’s better to complete one thing fully, rather than only finish half of a number of things.

7. Asking Too Much Out of Unprepared Agents

This one’s fairly obvious but worth mentioning. It’s no secret that if an agent is poorly trained, they’re going to waste company time trying to figure things out. As much as you might be inclined to send a poorly trained agent out onto the floor, this is a weak strategy for success and productivity. If necessary, spend extra time training agents, the outcome could be the difference between a productive day or a day wasted. Plus, these wasted days could go on for a while before you start to see the consequences. That being said, retraining and reviewing skills periodically is a good way to ensure that operational efficiency in your contact center is at its highest.

8. Not Setting Team Goals

Do your agents have clearly defined goals and objectives? If not, they may be wasting time figuring out what the heck their job is even responsible for. Call centers big and small should have benchmarks in place in order that keep everyone working towards one predetermined vision and plan. In large call centers, this could be done in teams, so that each team has a set responsibility in mind. Also, distributing awards when certain goals are achieved can help boost productivity levels as well.

9. Updating Customer Information

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the average wrap-up time should not exceed 6 minutes, and that’s being generous. If agents are spending more time filling in customer information than actually talking to customers, that’s going to make a dent in productivity.  However, improving speech analytics can help reduce or totally eliminate wrap-uptime. CallMiner’s Eureka software, for example, automatically categorizes each call into existing (or expanded) disposition codes. To put it simply, speech recognition will automatically fill out the form with reasons for calling, among other important notes. This is truly a godsend for improving efficiency and eliminating wasted time.

10. Letting the Customer Take Control

A lot of companies boast about spending extra time resolving customer complaints, but this could also be viewed as wasted time. If an agent spends a whole shift helping one person, instead of helping others, that’s counterproductive to the call center. There are plenty of reasons why an agent might spend that much time with a single customer, but your organization should have a knowledge portal or better accessibility to information so that handle time is short and painless.


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