Call centres are a huge investment for any company – large or small – so it makes sense from a customer, expenditure, and productivity perspective to make yours as efficient as possible. While there are lots of technological fixes around – and these definitely have their place – the best way to boost the efficiency of your contact centre is to improve the productivity of your agents so they can not only take more calls, but also deliver better customer service.
Fine-tune skills-based routing
The best customer service agent in the world is still going to give a customer a less-than-stellar experience if the call focuses on a subject they know nothing about. They’ll also spend more time on the call than they should.
Really basic queries such as “What time are your stores open until?” should be diverted to the web or a natural language/speech recognition engine, so that your agents can have more meaningful conversations with your customers. When a customer speaks to one agent and is able to get their request or issue sorted quickly in a single call, you have a happy customer and have achieved efficiency while improving agent morale.
Unify communication channels
There are now a wide variety of ways customers interface with contact centres, such as voice, chat, web form, and email. Unifying multiple communication channels reduces the cost of managing and maintaining separate systems, while also streamlining operations; agents can respond quickly to customer requests and easily keep on top of their interactions with customers.
Whichever way a customer chooses to make contact, the query should go through the queue so that it is dealt with in the order it is received – no matter what the channel. Also, automatically displaying information on the customer as the call comes through is a good way to enable your agents to better tailor the call to the customer.
Train for continuous improvement
First-call resolution is critical to improving call centre efficiency, and one of the best ways to achieve this is to continually train people. Most contact centres will conduct annual or half-yearly training, but having a continuous training schedule ensures your agents receive training when they need it. Whether the session focuses on improving customer service skills, product knowledge, new procedures, or how to deal with a specific problem, timeliness is vital for agent productivity.
Real-time insights into customer feedback
In order to be more efficient – to lower call times while also delivering better service – understanding customer feedback is essential so your agents know how they can be more productive in their conversations.
Distilling real-time customer feedback into actionable insights (such as slicing up customer data based on survey responses, Net Promoter Score (NPS), or CSAT score, then segmenting groups for upsell,cross-sell, or rescue) is an effective way to do this, as it quickly surfaces underlying patterns in customer sentiment.
This can be a powerful way to help your agents know about key problem areas, opportunities that could be further acted on with customers, and other insights that help them be more productive and therefore improve overall call centre efficiency.
Take notice of your agents
Ask your agents what’s happening on a regular basis. They will see product, service, process, and procedure issues before anyone else. They are also the people most likely to have insight on how to improve productivity and efficiency in the contact centre. Ask them: “What slows you down the most?” Some people will complain – and they may have legitimate reasons – but ask them to focus on solutions first.
These tips will get you started, but you can also check out these sophisticated tools for running your contact centre more efficiently. Call us today on 1300 725 628.