18 Effective Ways to Improve Call Center Performance
Customer satisfaction is the primary requirement in call centers. The only way to achieve this is by properly managing the agents, improving their performance, and delivering the required results. However, call center management is not an easy task. The ability to motivate people to accomplish tough goals, strategic vision, hard work, and tough decisions is important. In this blog, we look forward to discussing the most effective ways to improve call center performance.
An effective leader in this industry must be familiar with every element of their organization. They must lead by example and adhere to strict budgetary constraints. Such responsibilities can be challenging.
Moreover, dealing with the agents is not always a pleasant customer experience. There are times when there is a gap between what customer wants and how agents are providing their service. To avoid losing customers to your competitors, you must ensure that your customers keep up with the digital age.
It is given that one of the major issues that occur in customer service is related to the process. With the right process in place, agents will be able to offer better service, which will eventually help in delivering better customer service.
What is a call center, and how does it work?
First things first, a call center is a service offered by companies to ensure that customer’s queries are answered. These call centers receive both inbound and outbound calls. Today, almost all call centers interact with customers via phone, web chat, email, text (SMS), social media, etc.
With so many channels available, your workload can be tremendous – for you and your team. You will need to examine the way the team works. You need to refine your management methods to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of your department.
We can classify call centers into three types-
Inbound Call Center
In the inbound call center setup, the customer contacts the company when they have any kind of queries. Agents answer these queries. This is the usual setup that most of the businesses have opted for.
Outbound Call Center
In an outbound call center, the agents call customers from their end. These calls can be placed as per the request of a customer or to reach out to them regarding a product or service, or it can be anything. This is also a common setup that most businesses have.
Blended Call Center
Blended call center offers agents the ability to make and receive calls. Incoming calls at this are automatically distributed, and it can receive outbound calls. As each agent can handle the overflow of the other, it is more efficient.
What is Call Center Management?
Call center management is the process of managing a company’s daily call center operations. In simple words, call center management means taking care of everyday operations and ensuring that things are running smoothly. It focuses on hiring and training employees, workforce scheduling, and customer service. Your call center’s performance is determined by how your team handles these processes.
What Makes a Successful Call Center?
Managing the entire customer service setup is not easy. However, starting to prioritize these three factors, can result in improving call center efficiency.
1. The Members of the Team
Customer satisfaction directly depends on the performance of your team of agents, managers, analysts, etc. To cultivate a positive working environment, the most successful call centers put their team first. They ensure their employees are properly trained, retained, and rewarded.
Many call centers, however, face high turnover rates. When your team is constantly changing, your business won’t be successful. Why?
To make your business successful, you must spend more time recruiting and training new employees.
Therefore, it is important to examine your workforce and retention rates. It is most often the case that agents are dissatisfied for three reasons:
- Clumsy systems make the job harder.
- Routine, repetitive tasks (which could be automated) render the position uninteresting.
- Agent performance is poorly understood, and KPIs are oriented towards quantity rather than quality.
All three of these issues impair the success of your call center and adversely affect your agents’ experience. Becoming aware of these things will help take the right steps to resolve the issues and prioritize customer satisfaction.
Engage your team in a comprehensive training and engagement program. Provide training on the tools that your team members use and help them understand the definition of success. As a result, they will be motivated to go the extra mile for customers rather than just meeting the targets. Finally, reward them for their efforts.
Technology plays quite an important role in business. There will be so many tools that organization uses.
An effective call center integrates its technology stack and optimizes it. Also, many have moved to the cloud, removing hardware and installation costs associated with on-premises hosting. It also helped them improve productivity and security.
It is advisable to classify only the essential tools, which include:
- Software for telephony
- Call recording & monitoring
- Tools for internal collaboration and communication
- Tools for external communication with customers
Your agents must be able to use these essential technologies seamlessly, enabling them to provide a better customer experience without hassle.
You should integrate your telephony system with your CRM or ticketing system. They can benefit from this type of integration in the following ways:
- Providing your customers with an omnichannel support experience.
- Reducing turnover by keeping the team members happy.
- Enhancing critical KPIs.
- Increasing ROI while reducing costs.
Also, read our latest blog on the top benefits of CRM systems for your business here.
3. Customer Experience
The customer experience is one of the most important aspects of successful call centers. They are intended to address the needs and concerns of their clients. They should also provide value in their time of need.
The customer experience improves when the team and technology are prioritized. A call center should follow these practices:
An Empathic Approach
Your representatives need to speak with empathy to your customers. Therefore, appropriate tone is essential, regardless of how out of line the customer may appear.
Maintain a serene and honest tone of voice. Express your sincere gratitude for their past support. Be compassionate and communicate clearly and concisely, even if the customer complaint seems irrational.
Maintaining the trust of your customers is critical to maintaining your business. Customers today, more than ever, do not want to feel as if they are speaking to an empty void. Some businesses find this to be a problem.
A breakdown of communication may jeopardize your relationship with your customers. To stay top of mind with their clients, successful call centers communicate frequently.
Customers value openness. For example, increased demand or disruptions to your supply chain could affect shipping times. Customers may become irritated as a result. You will more likely win their understanding if you explain the disruption and apologize for the delay.
What is the best way to determine if you are classifying customer experience? Analyze quantitative and qualitative feedback. Maintain accountability through meaningful metrics, such as the following:
- First call resolution
- Average speed to answer
- Average handle time
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
- Hold time
Any or all of these metrics can be improved to provide a better customer experience. It will ultimately increase the success of your call center.
18 Ways to Improve Call Center Performance
One of the best way to develop call center improvement strategies are by understanding your audience. Your agents won’t know how to solve your customer’s problem if you don’t know your audience well enough.
We aim to provide you with information on the best practices for call centers. These practices will help you improve the way agents interact with customers. It will also enhance the overall efficiency of the contact center. Here is the list of them.
1. The Best Employees Should Be Hired
Hiring the best employees is essential for success. An ideal candidate should have a natural ability to provide excellent customer service and good listening skills. He/she should also have effective communication skills, a good memory, and a pleasant attitude. Employees who are good at listening and energetic are often the best.
However, these characteristics cannot be taught. This is why it is so crucial that managers screen new employees to determine their attitude and aptitude.
2. Agents and Employees Should Receive Thorough Training
For the management to be effective, the process is much more than just hiring. Proper training is going to make a lot of difference. It is recommended that employees be trained specifically to handle customer complaints. It is essential to prepare them for most of their calls to be of this type.
As your agents stay at the front of customers, they will face people of different types. An onboarding program is an effective way to prepare your new employees for any call they may receive. As a result, the employee will be happier, and ultimately, the customer will be satisfied.
3. Engagement of Employees and Proper Scheduling Are Priorities
It can be challenging to attract good and skilled employees and minimize turnover, whether the label is true or not. It is important to hire good employees, but employee engagement has a direct impact on minimizing turnover. Engaging your employees can be as simple as holding a daily meeting or as elaborate as a team retreat.
Your employees should feel like they are a part of a team. This is by involving them in brainstorming sessions. Also, providing team happy hours can help keep them on track. Keep your team’s motivation and performance high by implementing employee engagement programs.
Furthermore, working for customers on the front end can be extremely stressful. They will begin to experience a reduction in performance abilities as soon as they begin to feel overworked. That’s why it’s important to schedule properly. Allowing your employees adequate time to recharge and refocus. This will ensure your customers are treated with the patience and friendliness they deserve.
4. Maintain Regular Contact with Your Employees and Provide Them with Targeted Feedback
One of the most commonly asked questions in a call center situation is how to improve call center agent performance. There is no substitute for first-hand experience. Even though you may not be on the front line daily, your employees are.
The customer service process is familiar to them from beginning to end. Thus, they become more conscious of where the problems lie. They have a better understanding of what is required to resolve them. By communicating regularly with your employees, you can discover what your employees know. Understand where they are experiencing difficulties.
Make sure they have the tools and resources they need to be successful. Ask them what their customers value. Find out what they suggest to improve things. To operate effectively, regular assessments are essential. You should be ready to offer targeted feedback to your employees based on their performance.
You should systematically conduct this evaluation to determine the level of abilities of each employee. Even though targeted feedback can have a huge impact, it may not always be sufficient. To reinforce the quality of service standards that you have set, you should implement an ongoing training program.
5. Track Call Center KPIs and Use Metrics When Making Decisions
The vast majority of decisions made by businesses today are based on data. This should also be true for the management. Define your goals and determine the metrics that will be used to measure success. Having a clear understanding of the metrics is important for managers.
You should consider metrics such as net promoter score (NPS), first call resolution, customer satisfaction (CSAT), etc., when making your decision.
6. Give Employees Responsibilities
Call center managers can easily become entangled in the particulars of the job. A business runs smoothly when several small tasks are completed. The best performance for your agents depends on various high-level strategic decisions. An effective manager should concentrate on these tasks and decisions.
To achieve this, you must delegate responsibilities for the small tasks to your employees. In addition to managing your time more efficiently, delegating responsibilities empowers your employees. It’s important to design a process that allows your employees to make decisions without consulting you on every step.
Give your employees the tools and freedom they need to do their jobs. Especially when you’re still in charge of that job, it can be difficult to let go of your lesser responsibilities. By successfully delegating, you can focus on more important issues that will affect the success of your business.
Read our latest blog on best practices to provide engaging IVR experiences here.
7. Create Incentives to Motivate Employees
Your employees should be encouraged to do their best work at all times. Incentives are one of the most effective ways to motivate your employees. First of all, they can motivate employees during difficult situations. In addition, they can help maintain a positive mood across your entire organization. Third, they can contribute to employee satisfaction.
Customers are more likely to receive high-quality service when the employees feel appreciated. This is in the best interest of all parties involved.
8. Determine the Daily Productivity Required to Meet the Demand
Managing the size and workflow of a team is the goal of a manager. Balance your teams by considering variables like call volume and peak call times. These variables should be analyzed on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Call volume forecasting, calculating staff requirements, and creating work schedules will make your team more efficient.
9. Keep Tabs On Administrative Tasks
As a manager, you want to cater to your customer service needs immediately. You should not ignore the administrative duties that ensure the effectiveness of your department’s members.
Reviewing, refining, and improving a team’s performance is more visible – and more appreciated. Management activities such as timesheets, margin calculations, and training are a solid foundation for your team. Maintain your administrative tasks so that they don’t pile up and affect your team negatively.
10. Be Familiar with Your Team
Your job as a manager requires you to know everything about your department. Among these are the performance of the team members, insights on technology, branding, industry trends, etc. You will also learn about business, corporate, and functional strategy and how your department can contribute to the company’s success. Make sure to keep an eye on your employees from time to time.
11. Incorporate Technology into Your Business Strategy
The right tools and technology are essential. To deliver quality customer service and support, you must equip your team with everything they need.
Advanced call center management technology gives team members complete data organization and instant information about customers at their fingertips.
Your team will benefit from tools such as call monitoring, interactive voice response (IVR), group ringing, etc. Technology may be expensive initially. But the dividends it pays in efficiency and productivity, both for your employees and customers, are well worth the cost.
12. Become Familiar with Your Local Laws
Customer service centers must comply with local, state, and federal laws. It’s your responsibility to educate your team about the relevant laws and ensure they’re complying with them. In industries like consumer finance, banking, international trade, healthcare, oil, and gas, a thorough understanding of the laws is critical.
13. Discover What Customers Want
Customers want prompt, personalized, and simple customer service that solves their problems immediately, along with your excellent products or services. Their priorities are all about making it easier for them to resolve their current issue. The ideal situation would be for customers to resolve their problems through self-service options.
14. Personas of Your Ideal Customer Should Be Developed
It does matter if you don’t know your customer. Building target audience personas will help you build purchaser and engager character profiles. You will also learn why customers choose you.
What is your main customer type? How are you making their lives easier? Understand your audience and enter the customer journey from their perspective. Gain a deep understanding of the needs and wants of customers by using feedback.
15. Choose the Right Software
Cloud telephony (virtual software) can operate on-premises and in the cloud. Several features make it easier for employees to manage calls and deliver desirable results. Examples include call forwarding and routing, recording of inbound and outbound calls, interactive voice response, etc.
16. Make Appropriate Use of Automation
To distribute incoming calls properly, consider using automated IVR systems. Callers will then receive assistance from the appropriate department. Additionally, this method can distribute calls equally among agents so that no one employee is overburdened. It is possible to route calls based on various criteria, such as location, time, and skill.
17. Provide Omni Channel Support
Recent trends in contact centers include providing real-time support by phone, email, live chat, trouble tickets, and more. Offering support on multiple channels using one dashboard will make things easier for your employees and also provide exceptional service to the customers.
To help callers and users with their queries, you can even implement chatbots, online knowledge bases, an IVR system, and more.
18. Offer 24/7 Customer Support
Most consumers also expect a company they are doing business with to provide 24/7 customer service. To maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty, you should be able to offer customer service whenever the customer needs it.
A chatbot or an IVR system can provide answers to common questions. There are limitations to the amount of information available through guides and knowledge bases. It is best to provide a wide range of options to meet as many requirements as possible. Consequently, even if an agent isn’t available right now, customers will still be able to get assistance.
The employee management technique must be regularly reviewed and refined to be successful. You and your team should examine your processes and guidelines every three months. Try introducing these techniques slowly over time if you find the best practices on this list appealing, to improve call center performance.
At Office24by7, we offer exceptional call center software that will help in the growth of your business. It eases the management and aids agents at every step of their work. Right from having all the customer information in one place to transferring the customers to others, agents can do everything easily.We, for one, know that this has certainly sparked interest, so why don’t we discuss more? Give us a call at +91 7097171717 or email us at email@example.com.