Whatever the size of your contact center, there will likely come a time when you notice your numbers slipping and employees losing steam while their productivity fizzles. In a world still managing pandemic burnout and fears around health and safety, it’s easy for processes to become disjointed and for management to stop pushing for growth. Sounds like a good time to shake things up!
Developing and executing a call center improvement strategy is no easy feat, but if you plan properly and get your employees excited about a change, your contact center will be back on track and producing even better results!
Start Creating a Call Center Improvement Strategy
Step one may seem overwhelming, but it’s absolutely essential. It’s time to dig into the current state of your contact center. When we say dig in, we really mean it. Don’t leave any stones unturned. The items below are key data points you should know about your contact center before getting started, but it’s not a comprehensive list. Feel free to add elements that fit your specific needs.
Gather Your Data:
- Customer satisfaction score
- Average handle time
- Agent absenteeism rate
- Agent engagement
- Call quality
- First call resolution rate
- Occupancy rate
- Agent churn
- Call volume
- Call abandonment rate
- Employee happiness level
- Net promoter score
Conducting anonymous employee satisfaction surveys is a great way to determine how team members feel about their jobs. Ask questions about their level of engagement, what improvements they’d like to see, and whether they feel happy at work. Use these results as a baseline for achieving the more ambiguous goals of improved agent engagement and happiness levels.
Call Center Improvement in 5 Easy Steps
After finding your baselines, it’s time to start determining your next steps to contact center success. These five tips can help you overcome the obstacles preventing your contact center from reaching its full operating potential.
1. Set measurable goals and communicate them clearly.
List out every single one of your key performance indicators (KPIs), noting where they’re at now, and where you’d like them to be. Set a specific date establishing when you’d like to achieve these goals. All your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relative, timely. Some examples include:
- Increase CSat score from Y to Z by [this date].
- Host three social events for contact center agents by [this date].
- Add one new contact channel (like Twitter) to the customer journey by [this date].
Once you’ve established the goals you’d like to achieve for the call center, communicate them to your team members clearly and provide status updates along the way. Ensure everyone’s on the same page, working together to reach new heights.
2. Make sure your call center agents are consistently engaged.
It’s no surprise that consistent agent engagement leads to positive customer interactions and overall improved call center performance. As the saying goes: happiness is contagious. Customers can tell when an agent is excited about the work they do, leading to more trust and higher quality interactions.
According to HubSpot, 69% of employees say happiness is key to their ability to work efficiently. Engage your employees by offering on-going training, employee incentives, team bonding activities, and flexible scheduling. All of these activities contribute to a more engaged contact center workforce.
It’s no surprise that consistent #agent engagement leads to positive #customer interactions and overall improved #ContactCenterPerformance. As the saying goes: “Happiness is contagious!” #ContactCenterSuccess Click To Tweet
3. Find inefficiencies in your technology and determine how to correct them.
You could have the best agents in the world but if your technology doesn’t allow them to properly serve customers, their talents won’t get put to good use. Take stock of your technology and determine if it’s meeting your needs. Consider expanding or upgrading your tech to include these contact center staples:
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that helps to direct customers in the queue to the right agents to meet their needs, improving KPIs like First Call Resolution and Average Hold Time.
- Voice-Call Backs that smooth out call spikes and empower customers to request a call back when it’s their turn in the queue. We’re experts on this one!
- Cloud-Hosted Security and Storage instead of hardware.
- Customer Relationship Management software that tracks client history and data and allows for quick and easy access to all the information agents need in a matter of seconds.
- Chatbots that manage smaller or faster online requests.
4. Forecast calls like a pro.
Keeping an eye on your call volume and establishing a call forecasting plan that makes the most of your staffing is an excellent way to tighten up on spending and improve call center efficiency. Analyze historical data around key dates like holidays or big sales (Black Friday, for example). Were they extra busy or extra quiet? See if you can spot patterns in your weeks and months. Are Mondays especially busy because your contact center is closed on the weekend? Do you always have services on sale at the same time every few months? Use this data to properly anticipate the staffing needs of the contact center.
5. Get specific with agent productivity and performance.
Though having team goals is engaging, fun, and essential to contact center success, it’s also important to individualize your processes and training based on specific agents’ needs. Create comprehensive goal-setting plans with each individual agent so they’re always working towards something and are given the chance to improve on any mistakes they’ve previously made. Book monthly check-ins to ensure agents are still comfortable with these goals at work. Allow them space to make up their own goals as well.