Looking for a detailed guide to call center optimization?
Call centers are an inseparable part of a customer-centric business. They are a great asset to the organization to improve customer interaction, resolve their issues, and enhance the brand value.
The customer service industry has grown by leaps and bounds, and most call centers now use advanced technology to enhance their performance.
To stay in the race, your organization needs to focus on improving the quality of the call center. This includes rebuilding infrastructure as well as workforce optimization.
In this article, we’ll highlight the best strategies for optimizing your call center performance. As a bonus, we’ll also list the top three call center optimization software in 2021.
This Article Covers
(click on the link to jump to a section)
- Why Do You Need Call Center Optimization?
- Top 3 Strategies For Optimizing Call Center Performance
- 3 Smart Call Center Optimization Software
Why Do You Need Call Center Optimization?
Call center optimization is a part of the customer experience strategy. It modernizes call center platforms and workforce management systems with digital, automated, and advanced tools.
Optimization enhances customer satisfaction, as well as employee engagement.
Customer service representatives who’re more engaged and have a great experience at the workplace are more likely to provide a better customer experience.
Top 3 Strategies For Optimizing Call Center Performance
Any call center has three vital aspects – metrics, workforce, and infrastructure.
If you’re looking to modify your call center, it’s imperative that you consider all the aspects and not just focus on one.
So here are some practical top tips for successful call center optimization:
1. Use The Right Call Center Metrics
The first thing you need to do during call center performance management is to analyze your Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
You should set goals for these KPIs and track your progress throughout the way.
However, you must measure the right metrics to positively impact your call center performance and improve the service level.
Some of these metrics include:
A. Average Speed To Answer
It tracks the average time taken by your contact center agent to answer the inbound call.
The lesser the time, the better!
However, if your frontline agents take a lot of time to answer calls, you should try to determine the root cause of the issue and amend it.
B. First Call Resolution Rate
This metric helps you understand how frequently your center agents can answer customer queries within the first contact.
If you can resolve their issues in their first call itself, they’re more likely to have a better customer experience and become loyal customers.
C. Number Of Calls Until Resolution
This metric measures the number of calls the customer had to make before their query was resolved. This analysis will also highlight other shortcomings in the call center like lack of advanced software, untrained new hires, etc.
D. Auxiliary Time
During this time period, your agents don’t take inbound and outbound phone calls.
Instead, they might be attending meetings, undergoing training sessions, doing paperwork, taking a lunch break, etc.
It’s important to set limitations for an acceptable auxiliary time so that you can take corrective measures if the time goes beyond these standards.
E. Active And Waiting Calls
These metrics help determine the number of active and ‘on-hold callers’ at any given point. You can also understand how long a client has to wait before connecting to the right customer care agent.
If the wait time is too long, the customer experience may go from bad to worse instantly.
Analyzing these parameters will give you a clear picture of whether you need to increase your staffing, streamline workflows, etc.
F. Schedule Adherence
This metric shows how often the agent sticks to their schedule. You can analyze whether or not the agent has good time management skills.
It’ll help you understand the productivity of individual agents and guide them accordingly.
Read more about measuring employee productivity in the call center.
G. Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Customer satisfaction ratings generally come into the picture during customer feedback surveys, which are usually conducted at the end of the call.
Customers rate your service on a 5 or 10-point scale, with 1 indicating highly dissatisfied and 5 or 10 indicating extremely satisfied.
Here are some more call center statistics and metrics that you can track.
2. Keep Your Call Center Team Happy
Employees are an integral part of your call center.
Sometimes, you may get so focused on enhancing the customer journey that you may forget to pay attention to the agent experience.
To increase employee retention, you need to ensure that your center agents have a positive and enthusiastic work environment.
Always remember, a happy customer care agent will certainly result in a happy customer!
Here’s how you can keep your support team satisfied:
A. Invest In Comprehensive Training
Your agents need to be up-to-date with your organization’s latest products and services.
Additionally, changes in customer expectations and behavior mean that your agents need to update their know-how, soft skills, and documentation constantly.
Fortunately, an ongoing training program can:
- Review agent performance and provide insights.
- Identify areas of improvement.
- Provide relevant training to enhance agent skill.
But how do you set up continuous training sessions?
You can provide continuous training to the agents by:
- Teaming them up on some calls with senior agents.
- Providing employee discounts for a certificate program.
- Encouraging them to attend free webinars or training.
B. Offer On-the-Spot Coaching
Real-time guidance can certainly help you improve the efficiency and productivity of an individual call center agent.
Allow the team leader or a manager to listen in on a few calls and provide immediate assistance whenever needed. They can use methods like whisper coaching to provide on-the-spot guidance.
This type of assistance will boost the agent’s confidence when they’re providing customer support. They’ll also be able to handle complex client queries with ease.
Additionally, on-the-spot guidance can also improve agent soft-skills like empathy, script adherence, etc.
C. Measure And Analyze Performance
Measuring and analyzing agent performance frequently will give you valuable insights about various metrics such as etiquette, script compliance, problem-solving capabilities, etc.
You can use scorecards to assess the agent and call center performance regularly.
This can help you get a better picture of the highest and the lowest-performing agents with ease.
D. Plan Monthly Events
Monthly office events go a long way in increasing the rapport between team members.
Team outings, group lunches, or even simple coffee breaks are great ways to increase team bonding, especially among new agents.
By connecting with colleagues outside the workplace, employees can open up more and display their true personalities.
E. Have Regular One-On-One Meetings
Try to fit a one-on-one session with all the agents at least once a week.
It’ll help you gain insider insights into client complaints, agent issues, or even infrastructure problems. These insights can help you get a 360-degree view of your business performance and shortcomings.
It’ll also give the agents a channel to express their grievances. This way, you can assure them that their call center manager is concerned about their wellbeing
3. Improve Your Center’s Infrastructure
The last important step for improving the call center performance is keeping your center updated with the latest technology.
Such tools will help you enhance your response time, as well as the customer experience.
You may not realize it now, but advanced infrastructure goes a long way during critical periods such as high call volume spikes, increased employee attrition, etc.
Here’s how you can use advanced technology for better call center management:
A. Use Chatbots
Your call center may be flooded with calls, especially after particular events like a product launch, holiday season offers, etc.
It’s also very common to have multiple customers with the same questions or extremely simple ones that don’t necessarily need agent intervention.
At such times, an automated chatbot is a highly sought-after tool as it can help answer frequently asked questions and reduce incoming calls.
What’s a chatbot?
It’s an artificial intelligence based chat tool that can significantly increase customer engagement on your website. Customers can type in their queries in the text box of the chatbot, and it can intelligently deal with most queries without requiring any live agent interaction.
B. Invest In A Call-Back Solution
An automatic call-back solution enables the caller to choose to be called back instead of being put on hold.
You can define the amount of hold time, after which the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system may offer this option to the customer.
The call-back option drastically improves the customer experience and loyalty since it offers scheduling the call back according to their convenience.
C. Make Provisions For Internal Chat
The tool can also serve as a medium for having personal conversations, sharing inspirational quotes, or even a good joke! This will help lighten the work environment, increase agent engagement, and ultimately reduce the turnover rate.
D. Include Omnichannel Software
An essential requirement of improving the call center infrastructure is ensuring that you have software that’s compatible with any digital channel.
An omnichannel software enables you to have customer contact through multiple channels like web, mobile, or even a landline phone.
Various other tools, such as AI-enabled (artificial intelligence) predictive analytics tools, quality monitoring tools, etc., will undoubtedly help in the quality management of your call center.
However, while using such advanced call center technology, you should also ensure that all the tools in your stack work together efficiently.
This will enable your contact center agent to use the software to its full potential. It can also enhance their efficiency and provide superior customer service.
3 Smart Call Center Optimization Software
Here’s a list of the top three call center optimization software with their key features, limitations, pricing, and user ratings:
1. Salesforce Service Cloud
Salesforce Service Cloud provides advanced functionalities for contact center optimization like call recording and transcribing, AI-powered service analytics, computer telephony integration (CTI), etc.
- Omnichannel system to understand customers grievances from multiple channels such as email, social media, etc., and route them to the right agent.
- Automatically record and transcribe a call.
- Dashboards to analyze agent performance and contact center KPIs.
- Self-service portals and communities enable customers to find some solutions without needing agents.
- Einstein Bot resolves certain common queries without any live agent interaction using built-in natural language processing and voice recognition capabilities.
The basic plan starts at $25/user per month. The advanced plans can go as high as $300/ user per month.
- G2: 4.1/5 (1500+ ratings)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (500+ ratings)
CXone is a cloud-based call center software that can be used to enhance your agent and customer experiences. It works across your call center and all other contact center channels.
- Empowers agents to provide personalized and quick responses by understanding the customer journey through omnichannel routing.
- Provides actionable insights through easy-to-understand customer analytics.
- Promotes employee self-improvement and quality management through the workforce engagement feature.
- Automates mundane tasks and streamlines the resolution of customer issues.
Paid plans start at $100/feature per month.
- G2: 4.2/5 (870+ ratings)
- Capterra: 4.2/5 (450+ ratings)
3. Genesys Cloud
Genesys Cloud is a comprehensive app that provides all the customer information in one place to enhance the customer and agent experience.
- Connects customers to the right contact center agent using predictive routing.
- Integrates the contact center software with your existing customer relationship management (CRM) software.
- Increases employee engagement using the call center gamification platform.
- Enhances the efficiency of the call center with the Genesys Workforce Optimization software.
- Provides actionable insights into any customer interaction using call center analytics.
Paid plans start at $75/user per month when billed annually.
- G2: 4.3/5 (450+ ratings)
- Capterra: 4.1/5 (100+ ratings)
Call center and workforce optimization are an integral part of the performance enhancement process.
Knowing which areas need improvement and which ones need a new strategy will significantly improve the call center performance.
By using the guidelines, you can undoubtedly give your call center processes a much-deserved makeover. Happy optimizing!
Liam Martin is the co-founder of Time Doctor—one of the world’s leading time tracking software for remote teams. He is also the co-organizer of Running Remote, the world’s largest remote work conference.