To achieve the level of call center optimization you are aiming for, you need to think about improving your customers’ experience. After all, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable.
While incredible customer service should always be a call center’s goal, it shouldn’t be your only goal. If your agents have polite, customer interactions — that’s great! But it’s not enough. Customers want a pleasant phone experience, but not as much as they want a quick and easy call resolution.
Luckily, a successful call center is within reach. With some careful thought and these helpful tips, you can optimize your call center’s performance:
1. Use metrics and act on them.
With the latest call center technologies, identifying and measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is a breeze. Use historical data, analytics, and call center metrics to measure your agents’ and overall call center’s performance. Evaluate metrics like first-call resolution, customer satisfaction score, abandonment rate, and average handle time to measure performance, and compare them to your competitors.
Then, act on your results. Set realistic goals and create a plan to either maintain or surpass strong performance, or to quickly address poor performance.
2. Lead by example.
Call center performance doesn’t only rest on your agents’ shoulders. As success leaders and call center managers, you need to be an example for your agents. Ask agents for feedback, resolve issues, monitor performance, and take active steps to boost morale in the office.
The best call centers don’t have leaders tucked away in offices. Strong call center managers are on the floor helping agents, encouraging them, and helping them succeed.
3. Schedule agents strategically.
Be strategic in your workforce management, or scheduling. During peak call volume periods, make sure you don’t understaff as this leads to overwhelm for your agents and long wait times for customers.
Similarly, during slower call volume times, make sure you don’t overstaff. When too many agents are scheduled for a shift, idle time usually increases. Agents are one of your most precious but costly resources, so it’s important to ensure they are set up for success!
Use historical data to learn what timeframes your center receives the most calls. With this info, develop a forecast to figure out how many agents you need each shift. It’s also a good idea to have your more experienced agents working during peak call times.
If you notice that agents are idle despite your strategic scheduling efforts, ask how you can support them and help them reduce their idle time. Employee engagement is necessary for improved productivity.
4. Improve training to address gaps.
Training your agents is essential when optimizing call center performance. The good news is, there are many call center agent training options available! From seminars and videos to group training and one-on-one coaching sessions, there is no excuse to slack on agent training.
Another great tip is to use customer profiles to inform training. The most successful agents are well-versed with the behaviors of even the toughest customers. By combining training efforts with customer profiles, you will give your agents a step up in their training and position them for success.
5. Use and evaluate your technology.
Technology is a great tool for all businesses, especially call centers. It improves communication, customer experience, and profits while giving call centers a competitive edge. Here are just a few call center technologies that help improve call center performance:
- Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs reduce hold times, improve customer satisfaction, and heighten call center productivity.
- Web Call-Backs (formerly Visual IVR) is more accessible to customers and increases a call center’s responsiveness through multiple digital channels.
- Smart technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and real-time customer service chatbots are great for both agents and customers. They help reduce high contact volume and let agents focus on more complex issues with customers.
- And, technology that allows customer self-service improves efficiency and satisfaction.
Clearly, call centers need technology to optimize performance. But having the technology isn’t enough. It’s also important to regularly evaluate your tools and ensure they are serving your agents well. Conduct research to find out the latest software that other call centers are using, and ensure your tools are up to date. For example, if your data management system is out of date, you might miss an opportunity to collect different types of important customer data. Update your technology, and evaluate the efficiency of your technology at least once a year.
Call center performance optimization is attainable. With proper scheduling, training, technology, leadership, and performance measurement, you can take your call center to the next level. What would you add to this list?