What’s motivating your contact center? Perhaps you have an established set of goals and objectives for your call center operations — but when was the last time you updated them? If it’s profits alone that guide you in setting your goals and objectives, you have some work to do! You could conduct some competitor research to get some ideas, but before you do, it’s helpful to identify your call center type.
Are you inbound or outbound? Sales or service?
- An inbound service contact center has agents answering inbound customer service calls. Appropriate goals might be to improve the customer experience by aiming for faster response time or improved cSat scores.
- An outbound sales center makes proactive, outbound sales calls. This type of contact center might seek to increase agent retention, productivity, and sales.
We’ll cover some essential goals that can help you pinpoint — and achieve — these and other strategic objectives. Here are a few to get your organizational juices flowing.
#1 Goals for Contact Center as a Whole
These overarching goals should take center stage in your call center operations strategy, regardless of the type of contact center your manage:
Meeting and Exceeding SLAs: Every contact center has service-level agreements (SLAs) with targets they must meet. The consequences of faltering include negative word of mouth and poor customer experience — who wants that? A call center SLA is your promise to your customer. Maybe it’s answering 90% of calls within a minute, or resolving 70% of complaints in the first call. Meeting SLAs are standard goals for every center’s operations.
Improve First-Call Resolution Rates: Measuring FCR is one of the most common ways to assess call center effectiveness. By contrast, that means that having too many follow-up calls is linked with customer dissatisfaction. Whatever your contact center type, you should always strive to improve first-call resolution rates.
Lower Abandonment Rate: This KPI speaks to an essential part of customer service — immediacy. About 82% of customers see immediate support as key to a satisfactory marketing or sales inquiry, and that number jumps even higher for customer service calls (90%). If you don’t meet this need? Customers will hang up, increasing your call abandonment rates. Every call center should aim to lower this damaging KPI, though the odd abandoned call will always happen.
#2 Goals to Increase Sales
Sounds simple enough, right? Your sales call center aims to increase sales every week, month, or year of your call center operations. But how do you do it, and which KPIs speak to this objective? Let’s start with KPIs:
Customer retention: Did you know it’s 5-25 times more expensive to find new customers than to retain existing ones? Customer retention indicates how likely a customer is to continue purchasing your products. Considering the shocking difference in the cost of nurturing existing customers versus acquiring new ones, this KPI is crucial for a sales-centric call center.
Net promoter score (NPS): Marketing is expensive. Every brand needs it, but call centers with impeccable net promoter scores offer free marketing. Imagine products and customer experiences so satisfying that customers refer you to their friends! This is an increasingly important KPI for sales call centers, as word-of-mouth saves on costs and assists with customer acquisition.
cSat score: This KPI essentially measures how many customers are satisfied with your products. While every sales center will aim for 100%, 75% is considered to be acceptable. If you want benchmarks, the American Customer Satisfaction Index is a fantastic place to start. The happier your customers are, the more likely they’ll buy again.
#3 Motivated Agents Help Increase Sales
DID YOU KNOW?
Gamification is linked to a 10% increase in customer satisfaction.
KPIs aren’t the only way to increase sales in your call center operations. You also need to motivate your call center agents to perform their best. How do you do that? Here are three solid methods:
1. Gamify the Goals: Zippie reports that gamification of goals generates a 10% increase in customer satisfaction. Why? Call center agents have monotonous jobs, so it’s easy for productivity to lag. But a little competition, or gamification, offers that little push needed to inject some enthusiasm into customer interactions — enough for them to keep coming back! But winning for the sake of winning isn’t enough. You need incentives, too.
2. Offer Incentives: A big part of gamification is the feeling of being rewarded for meeting goals. If agents meet their goals without tangible rewards? The whole thing starts to feel futile. Offer your agents incentives to maintain sales and performance. Of course, raises and promotions are top-tier incentives. But suppose you don’t have the budget. In that case, you might consider:
- More vacation time
- Half-days or late starts
- Choice schedules
- Learning opportunities
- Free lunch
3. Provide Proper Tools and Software: Tech investment is vital for almost every aspect of your call center operations. With the right tech, your agents will feel supported, and sales will continue to flow. For example, Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs are proven to:
- Increase ROI
- Enhance customer experience
- Improve cSat scores and NPS
- Reduce telephony costs
But our call-backs are just one part of the equation. For example, offering Web Call-Backs is also a great way to streamline call center operations and improve your customer experience.Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs help call centers achieve objectives like improved ROI, increased CSat and happier employees! #AgentEngagement #CallCenterSales #CallCenterTech Click To Tweet
#4 Customer Service Goals
Let’s say your call center gets inbound calls from existing customers — you help them with product inquiries and issues. You might even get the odd inquiry from a prospective new client about your latest offerings and special deals. Increasing sales would be great, but your call center has a heavy focus on customer service. Here are some objectives that can help improve customer service and customer experience.
Average Speed to Answer (ASA): If an existing customer has an issue with your product, the last thing they want is to wait even longer to resolve that issue. ASA is the average amount of time it takes to answer a customer call. Remember, today’s customer demands immediate support, especially for customer service inquiries.
CSAT Scores: We already discussed the importance of customer satisfaction for sales call centers, but it’s just as important a KPI for service centers as well. The sad part is that customers won’t always brag about impeccable service — but they ARE likely to complain about bad service. This means that poor cSat scores increase the chances of negative word-of-mouth about your brand.
Abandonment Rate: This one ties into ASA. How? Well, an improved ASA reduces the chance of call abandonment. If customers keep abandoning phone calls, your credibility as a service center goes downhill fast.
So, how do you improve all the above KPIs and solidify a positive customer service experience? One way is through self-service options. Maybe your Monday afternoons are slammed as call volume increases. You can’t do anything about it other than tweak your schedules and ensure enough staffing. Regardless, you’ll upset a few waiting customers. But if you offer an effective self-service menu through Web Call-Backs, customers will feel satisfied with solving the issues themselves.
#5 How to Increase Customer Retention
Service contact centers can benefit from improved customer retention in a few ways:
Improved CLTV: Customer retention has a direct link to CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value), which is the amount of revenue a customer could bring over time. The longer the customer stays, the more revenue they’ll bring! The value of a longtime customer is not just about sales, though.
More Data: The longer a customer stays with you, the more you can learn about them. Every customer experience strategy starts with understanding your customers and their needs. So, retaining customers brings you more data at different stages of their buying journeys.
Reduced customer churn: This one’s a no-brainer — customers who stay won’t leave. The exact cost of customer churn depends on your customer’s individual value and rate of churn.
#6 Remember: Agent Engagement Trumps All
Bell Livingstone once said, “I looked outside to see what I could make the world give me, instead of looking inside to see what was there.” In the context of a contact center, he’s talking about the heart of your operations: your call center agents. Investing in agent satisfaction has a trickledown effect on the rest of your business objectives. The story goes: happy employees = happy customers.
Today’s call center is chock-full of high attrition rates — this means lower profits, efficiency, and inferior customer experience. That’s why engaging agents is so important. Their success in your organization is linked to your customer’s positive experience and, thus, your sales.
You might consider engaging your agents through:
- Reasonable raises and bonuses
- Career advancement
- Job shadowing and learning opportunities
And if you’re still unconvinced, let’s talk numbers. The ROI of an engaged agent is:
- 20% sales increase
- 21% profits increase
- 24-50% less turnover
- 10% customer satisfaction improvement
- 17% uptick in productivity
Don’t get us wrong — all those KPIs we mentioned, along with average handling time (AHT), are vital to your call center operations. But if we could leave you with the most important metric to lead with? Agent happiness. And to do that, agents need to feel supported by the right call center tech.