10.09.2020

12 Tips for Improving Call Center Efficiency

How to improve the work of the call center, increase its efficiency, the most important points, methods, useful tips.

12 Tips for Improving Call Center Efficiency

We have prepared a translation of the article , which was written after research by Callcenter Helper specialists. Read how to improve call center performance!

1. Determine the main requirements

What hinders the coordinated work of the call center? Often this is a misunderstanding or ignorance of the operators themselves of the main requirements and standards of work. Think about whether an employee can achieve the goals that are set for him if he does not know what those goals are? Consider the following questions:

  • Are the training and evaluation programs for operators properly designed?
  • Do the expectations of the leader and the team match?
  • Do employees know how their work is evaluated?

If you can't confidently answer these questions, then it's time to implement a call center improvement program. Get operators and managers involved so they can see for themselves how their productivity changes. And more – read about the fashion trend SMART

2. Focus on intrinsic motivation

It is difficult to motivate the entire staff at once, since it is difficult to evaluate the monthly contribution to the work of each individual employee in isolation from the overall results of the team. Still, how do you motivate staff when it's so hard to measure everyone's performance on a short, monthly basis? Use encouragement. People love it when their efforts don't go unnoticed. Praise from the manager will help replenish the sense of “common purpose” and provide internal team motivation. Often this does not require financial costs, but it works no less effectively than training or a gift certificate.

3. Share experience

Rules are easier to learn if they are supported by examples. If one of the operators is a master at communicating with customers, hold a group meeting, and use the example of a specific call to determine all the advantages of a successful conversation. In this way, you will emphasize the good work of the employee, and less successful colleagues will understand how best to build a dialogue with the client. Anne-Marie Stagg (former CEO of the Call Center Management Association, UK): “Give the team the opportunity to evaluate the call quality of their colleagues using a list of established criteria. If there is no list of criteria – do it! It is important to make sure that the employee whose conversation with the client will be evaluated is not opposed to the experiment. He may feel uncomfortable, falling under everyone's attention.

4. Use brainstorming (brainstorm)

Create one group of several managers, supervisors and operators in which everyone can express their ideas or point out mistakes. These meetings, online or in the office, will help employees feel like part of a strong cohesive team, increase the overall productivity of the call center and each individual group. Remember that solving current problems, quickly and clearly discussing pressing issues, will set the right pace for the entire work week. Finally, a valuable tip that will involve all employees and help increase the efficiency of the call center – unite everyone around one common goal!

5. Consider the possibility of personal growth

Personal growth is not just a hackneyed expression. Call center employees need to improve their professional skills in order to more clearly understand what they do, how they do it and why . Answering these three key questions will help empower your call center and inspire agents to become more efficient. Let's analyze the "what they do" component with an example. To give operators more freedom of action, try:

  • Create an additional position like "subject matter expert" that operators can apply for.
  • Conduct employee exchanges between branches in different cities/countries.
  • Give consultants the opportunity to learn new skills through workshops or training, which can also benefit the call center.

6. Set a flexible work schedule

Call center employees will perform better if they perform their duties when they really want to work. But setting flexible working hours for staff is easier said than done. Today, there are many centers for personnel management that will help you create a schedule specifically for your needs. Here is a list of key recommendations to keep in mind:

  • Measure the length of your annual leave not in days, but in hours.
  • Allow employees to make changes to their own schedule.
  • Plan your working hours so that you can change shifts if necessary.

Today, remote work is more relevant than ever, where you can combine work from home with work in the office.

7. Test your knowledge

It is important that the manager understands the basic functionality of each structural unit of the call center. This is necessary in order to use them most effectively now and in the future. In addition, in order to introduce new methods of work, it is necessary to take into account existing experience. Guy Fielding of Horizon2 suggests the following three steps for technology adoption:

  • Determine what innovations will give a positive result.
  • Learn the methods/technologies in detail, as well as how to use them.
  • Test new features before using them in full-fledged work.

Also, do not forget to carefully weigh all the pros and cons. As yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester once said : The new big cruiser is certainly beautiful, but if her engine fails, you will not be able to row to shore. So I prefer to sail!

8. Track Key Performance Indicators

When was the last time you reviewed call center performance metrics? Are all of them important, or do they exist only for quantity? Don't waste time on things that might not only be useless, but also conflict with other call center goals. The classic anti-example is mean call service time (AHT). Using AHT as a way to improve call center performance leads to agent rushes and call handling errors. This approach will not only harm the quality of call processing, but also negatively affect CSI (customer satisfaction index) – customer satisfaction index, as well as FCR (first call resolution) – addressing the subscriber's issue from the first communication. Take the time to identify the key performance indicators, it will definitely pay off in the long run.

9. Reduce the number of repeat calls

Create a feedback system for subscribers who were forced to re-apply to the call center. Create a questionnaire that will help analyze the main mistakes of operators and track the reasons for secondary calls. The feedback system will help you avoid common mistakes and reduce the number of repeated requests from the same clients. Your feedback system will most likely be based on subscriber complaints, employee feedback, as well as on the analysis of recorded calls. “In call centers that lack customer feedback, operators often make the same mistakes,” notes one reader. That is why it is important to work on the mistakes. This will reduce the number of secondary calls and give operators more time to process new calls. The feedback system is a simple but very effective method to improve the efficiency of call centers.

10. Make contacts

Get to know the heads of departments that are out of your control, but who influence your ability to effectively manage your call center. “A chat over coffee or tea outside of the office can create more rapport than a formal work meeting,” says Janet Coulthard, call center consultant at Pole Star Coaching. Good relationships between departments and divisions are important for the manager in particular and are very useful when working with large clients. The main thing to remember is that strong relationships mean great influence, and influence provides an opportunity to grow and develop.

11. Identify the customer

For many subscribers, call center operators become personal consultants, but not for everyone, therefore, in order to increase the efficiency of call centers, it is important to be able to recognize regular customers so that work with them is more productive. You can identify the subscriber using intelligent call routing or use the interactive voice menu. A good voice bot will help direct the call to a competent operator. The CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) will increase accordingly as the client will have a dialogue with a qualified consultant able to answer his questions.

12. Make sure your employees are competent

A survey of senior managers Call Center Helper poll showed:

  • 65% of senior managers never answered calls;
  • 15% received calls in the past year;
  • 12% received calls in the last week;
  • 8% received calls in the past month.

The results make you wonder how this can affect the efficiency of the call center in the future? Can managers who have no idea about the work of operators help them navigate a difficult situation or answer questions that arise. After personal communication with clients, the manager can get a clearer idea of \u200b\u200bhow best to build a call center. Make sure that each of the key processes is debugged and aimed at improving the efficiency of the call center.

Reader Tips

Our readers also had the opportunity to share their tips that helped improve the efficiency of call centers. We have selected the best.

Healthy rivalry

Encourage healthy competition that may arise between department heads, managers, or operators. If two divisions are working on the same problem, make it a friendly competition. Set deadlines and choose how the winners will be rewarded. Such a mini-competition will dilute the monotonous workdays and become the basis for creating a friendly atmosphere in the team.

Knowledge is power!

Increasing work efficiency starts with providing operators with the right training and knowledge. Very often, large companies train narrowly focused operators who lack a common understanding of the main tasks that call center employees solve. In turn, this negatively affects the work, since the more the operator knows and can do, the more productive his communication with customers. Today, many call centers send their employees to various trainings and training programs to increase the overall level of knowledge of the staff.

Call a consultant

Consultants are in constant dialogue with clients. They know all the pros and cons of call centers. If you plan to use new call center staff development strategies, we advise you to talk with consultants. For example, in order to develop a new system of bonuses and incentives, you can use consultants who will conduct a survey of employees and take into account the voice of everyone. This approach can be helpful in establishing a connection between the manager and the staff, creating a sense of cooperation, and increasing the level of productivity.

Agent Workplace

Take a look at the agent's desktop. In most cases, this is a complex environment that results in excessive training needs for agents, increased levels of agent stress, and, over time, staff turnover. A simple desktop can also lead to an increase in average call handling time and… frustration to customers who are waiting for a consultant to solve their problem. Now there are products on the market that offer a convenient agent workplace, making it more interaction and customer focused, rather than business applications.

Hire the right people

Poor sales, negative customer ratings, unexpected expenses are the result of hiring the wrong candidate. Every bad hire is a waste of money, not to mention absenteeism, poor performance, lack of team spirit. Preliminary testing will help to more accurately assess the level of qualification of applicants. Verification of candidates will help weed out those who are definitely not suitable for a vacant position. On the other hand, testing will identify motivated people with high personal and professional qualities.

Reward system

Rewarding the best employees is the key to increasing productivity. With the help of encouragement, you can set an example for other employees, which they can imitate, aspire to, or even surpass. Various bonuses or awards contribute to the self-development of the team, and also have a positive impact on the efficiency of the call center.

Tasks and goals

Rewarding the best employees is the key to increasing productivity. With the help of encouragement, you can set an example for other employees, which they can imitate, aspire to, or even surpass. Setting goals, encouraging positive behavior, and creating an environment that encourages self-development will not only positively impact employees, but also impact bottom line performance in a positive direction.

Source: callcentre helper, translation: Oki-Toki

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