Looking for tips on effective contact center management?
From scheduling customer support agents to monitoring their interactions, contact center management involves managing a contact center’s daily activities.
And while life as a contact center manager can be hectic, you can ease the workload with the right techniques and tools.
In this article, we’ll cover ten tips that’ll help you with contact center management and agent training.
This Article Includes:
(Click on the link to go to a particular section)
- What is a Contact Center?
- 10 Tips for Successful Contact Center Management
Let’s dive in.
What is a Contact Center?
A contact center is an office that manages customer interaction across various channels.
Unlike a call center, an omnichannel contact center deals with inquiries from various telecommunication platforms like webchat, email, live chat, chatbots, etc.
Additionally, a contact center agent will provide customers with technical support, customer service, and sales assistance.
On the other hand, a call center agent only handles inbound and outbound calls from new or existing customers. So call center management is comparatively easier because of the lighter workload.
10 Tips for Successful Contact Center Management
Poor customer service can cause huge losses to your firm.
According to a study, businesses lost more than $75 billion due to poor customer service.
But don’t worry.
Here are a few tips that will help you manage your contact center efficiently to provide great customer service:
1. Set the Right Goals
One of the main challenges faced by a contact center is setting the wrong goal.
Improper goals can distract and misguide you and your workforce.
You can avoid this by creating a list of all challenges faced by your team in the previous year.
Then, prioritize your team’s issues based on their weaknesses and their severity.
Once you know what the main problems are, you should brainstorm ideas to solve them.
If you brainstorm as a team, you can get diverse solutions – which can act as goals and objectives your team should work towards. For example, if a high turnover rate is your problem, your goal can be to ‘provide a better employee experience.’
2. Hire Suitable Employees
Staffing the right remote and virtual agents is crucial to achieve goals and develop a positive team culture.
For starters, you should only hire someone who will work in your company for at least a year.
If a hired agent resigns within a few months, your company won’t benefit from the investment made in training them. Low retention or turnover rate will also affect the overall productivity of the firm.
So let’s look at two points to keep in your mind while you search for a contact center agent:
A. Detailed Job Descriptions
The job advertisement you post should be clear, concise, and include a detailed description of the job responsibilities. It should also sync well with the platform you’re posting it on.
For example, if you’re posting a job advertisement on a social media platform like Facebook, you need to convey the important points in the first two to three lines.
This is because Facebook only displays the first two to three lines in a post, and most people won’t bother to read the rest. You’ll have to press ’See More’ to read the entire post.
Emphasize your team’s work culture and what the firm expects from them. Additionally, you should include the firm’s goal, salary, benefits, and other conditions to attract the best talent.
B. Job Interviews
Your would-be agents must be technically skilled and experienced.
However, it’s also essential that they’re emotionally intelligent and have good team spirit.
You should confirm that the interviewee is patient, trainable, and has a good personality. This way, your new agent will fit well in your team and also pick up the skills needed to excel at work.
3. Conduct Effective Training Programs
New agents can be confused about how to answer certain calls, which will affect their performance.
But with proper training, frontline contact center agents can reach customer expectations within their first week of joining the company.
You should also train your agents to work towards high customer service levels.
Your onboarding process can include webinars, workshops, etc. This way, they’ll be able to handle at least a minimum call volume and easily fit in with the team.
4. Create An Employee Centric Workplace
As per a survey conducted by Globoforce, 89 percent of organizations with employee recognition programs provide a better employee experience.
And when your agents are happy, they are more productive and provide a positive customer experience.
You can increase employee engagement by:
- Providing agents with benefits like health care insurance, performance bonuses, transportation allowance, etc.
- Allowing agents to work from home or any place of their choice a few days a week.
- Promoting work-life balance by reducing their workload and arranging team outings. You can also offer them free vacations.
Additionally, you should ensure that your employees don’t consistently work overtime, as they may become less productive and might face burnout.
5. Give Insightful Feedback
Providing feedback is very important for agent engagement and performance management.
Additionally, 51 percent of millennials prefer receiving feedback frequently or continually.
Feedback will help your agents improve their skills and make them more efficient. You can also improve the relationship with your agents by giving them real-time feedback face-to-face.
Inquire about any discomfort they may be facing at work and take appropriate steps to make them feel comfortable.
6. Develop A Positive Environment
Sometimes working in a contact center can get difficult.
Angry customers can stress your employees out — affecting their mental health and reducing their productivity.
You can help them withstand harsh or stressful situations by providing a positive work environment. Build a positive atmosphere in your office by:
- Praising your agents for their performance and encouraging them to work better.
- Giving them rewards like bonuses, free medical insurance, etc., to increase agent satisfaction.
- Conducting contests and awarding them with titles like ‘Best Employee of the Month.’
This way, your agents may feel energized and go the extra mile to satisfy your customers.
7. Distribute Work Equally
Workforce management and equal distribution of workload within your team are crucial.
Agents who are assigned more work may feel stressed because of the huge workload, and consequently, they might overwork to achieve the target.
So it’s essential to ensure that you equally distribute work among all agents in your team.
You can do this by calculating the total number of calls in a day, week, month, and year. Then, forecast outgoing and incoming calls for the upcoming year.
Based on what you predict, evaluate whether you need to hire more agents so that your existing team members won’t have to take on tons of calls during the busy period.
Consider creating and scheduling shifts so that they can run every contact center operation smoothly.
8. Coach Your Employees
You may tend to micromanage poor-performing agents to increase their productivity.
However, micromanaging your agents will add undue pressure and could actually make them more unproductive in the long run.
Instead, you should coach them empathetically based on agent performance.
Invest time in quality monitoring to identify their weaknesses and coach them individually to provide a better customer experience.
According to Fuel50, if a manager coaches their team once every month, employee engagement rises to 82.6 percent! And high engagement translates to higher productivity.
What should your coaching sessions include?
You can help them through unfamiliar or difficult calls that couldn’t be covered in training.
Or you can role play with your agents – where you can play the part of an angry customer, and the agents can try to resolve your queries calmly.
9. Complete Administrative Tasks Regularly
These tasks provide a solid foundation for your team to work – making it as important as coaching your agents.
You should regularly complete your administrative tasks to evaluate your team’s performance.
For example, you may not notice problems like absenteeism if you don’t regularly update your timesheets. Similarly, you may need to track expenditure and budget to confirm that the project has low operational efficiency.
This way, you’ll be able to take the necessary actions to deal with these issues.
10. Use Robust Technology
With the proper use of technology, you can improve your agent’s efficiency and performance.
Let’s look at a few tools that will help you manage your contact center:
A. Intelligent Routing Tools
Routing software captures all inbound communication from customers and routes to agents depending on a set of rules. It assigns calls to agents depending on their skills and consequently helps with quality management to provide great customer service.
B. Contact Center Software
A contact center software can help you manage operations like inbound queueing and routing, outbound contacting, etc. Service Cloud from Salesforce is one such popular contact center software.
C. Workforce Management Solutions
WFM solutions help contact centers increase agents’ productivity and competency by managing staff schedules, vacation schedules, workforce optimization, etc.
D. CRM Software
Customer Relationship Management software records and stores all your customer data in a single place so that you can access it quickly when needed.
An interactive voice response system is a self-service virtual voice assistant that will guide customers to find solutions to their problems without a live agent. It’ll connect the customer’s call to an agent only if it can’t find the solution or when the customer specifically requests it.
F. Predictive Dialer
This software automatically calls customers from a list and directs them to agents when it detects a connection.
G. Speech Analytics Software
This tool will provide insights into contact and call center calls by analyzing recorded customer calls.
H. Productivity Management Software
Productivity management software will help you know how productive your on-site and remote workers are.
You can also track the total time they work using software like Time Doctor.
What’s Time Doctor?
Used by small businesses like Thrive Market and huge firms like Verizon, Time Doctor is a powerful productivity management software that lets you track the time an agent works and help them achieve their targets quickly.
Here’s a look at Time Doctor’s functionalities:
- Create and assign tasks and projects to agents.
- Track the time your agents take to complete a task or project using interactive or automatic time tracking features.
- Access detailed analytic reports which will give you an insight into your agent’s productivity. Some of the different reports are activity summary, hours tracked, projects and tasks, timeline, attendance, customer, and web and app usage report.
- Manage distraction by showing a ‘Were You Working?’ pop-up when the agent has been inactive while the software tracks time.
- Take screenshots and 3-minute videos of agent’s screens to know what they’re working on.
- Integrate with premium software like Asana, Basecamp, Freshdesk, Intercom, etc., for enhanced workflow optimization. It also offers a Chrome extension to integrate with top project management and CRM software.
- Pay your agents directly with Paypal, Wise, and Gusto integrations.
- Available as mobile and desktop applications for Android, Windows, Linux, and Mac devices.
A contact center leader has to look after their agents’ well-being and motivate them to provide satisfying customer service.
And while it can seem challenging, you can simplify the process by utilizing the tips and tools we covered here.
For instance, you can use Time Doctor to optimize agent productivity by monitoring their work.
So why not sign up for Time Doctor’s 14-day free trial and boost your agent’s productivity today?
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.