In our fast-paced world, first impressions matter, and they have a significant impact when dealing with customers. You only have one opportunity to leave the first impression, which is often up to your contact center.
Whether you are running a small help desk or a large group of customer support agents, ensuring high-quality customer experiences must be at the very top of your list of priorities. Customers want an instant, reliable service that communicates with them on their chosen channel or platform. Your call center operational efficiency needs to be at peak performance, or you risk customer dissatisfaction.
Defined, operational efficiency is the ratio of output gained from your business (profit, revenue, cash) as input (operating costs, people, and time/effort). The more efficient your business, the more profitable you are. You can get the same return (revenue) with lower costs and effort.
According to a recent survey of 1,300 global CEOs, 77% say their primary focus is creating operational efficiencies and driving revenue growth. They recognize that making processes run smoothly will improve their business impact and translate into external customer experience improvements.
Now, let’s talk about what call center operational efficiency looks like.
The Importance of Call Center Processes Improvement
Every day and week, your call center carries out hundreds of processes—everything from handling customer interactions to inputting time cards, attending meetings, training, etc. To measure call center operational efficiency, you have to measure both the amount of effort you put in as well as what you get out of it.
For example, you would have to measure how long your agents spend on customer calls versus the customer satisfaction you get out of it. Or you have to measure time spent training versus the benefits—cash and otherwise. And those are just two small pieces of the puzzle.
Minor improvements in almost any call center process can increase significant efficiency. You have to identify the tasks and areas of your contact center that can be the most quickly and easily improved.
To help you out, we’ve come up with a list of 10 call center process improvement ideas. These operational efficiency tips will help you gain greater profits and customer satisfaction.
Developing a thriving call center Q, A framework is paramount to improving customer experience and building brand loyalty: contact center success and productivity hinges on evaluating agent performance accurately and using that information to improve CX.
A strategic QA framework will help you evaluate agent performance and training, collaborate effectively, understand the customer experience, and increase operational efficiency. The challenge is implementing the right technology and systems to collect data without the need for significant resources.
A Strategic Quality Framework chart by Martin-Hill Wilson, the founder of customer service and customer experience consultancy, Brainfood.
A strategic QA framework is less about micromanaging and understanding and respecting your agents and management team.
The ultimate goal of your call center is to provide positive customer experiences. But you can’t do this without first evaluating how successful you are at helping your customers. That’s why your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is critical. It can help you operationally, tactically, and strategically.
Your NPS is the gold standard for measuring customer experience and customer loyalty. Your goal should be to make Promoters (a score of 9-10) of as many customers as possible. If you do this, you could outgrow your competition by 2.5 times and expand your revenue by 24%.
According to a recent study of contact centers, 55% use at least seven channels in their customer experience (CX) programs. But unfortunately, only 13% are delighted with their ability to use data to manage customer interactions. You must ensure consistency and personalization of interactions across all channels, where adequate omnichannel support is critical.
Providing personalized customer service should heighten the overall contact center experience. To drive customer engagement and provide authoritative solutions, customers need to be routed to the correct person who can assist them—both in terms of knowledge about the type of question the caller inquires about and possessing the right authority to help the caller.
If customers are sent to the wrong department and need to be redirected multiple times, traffic becomes congested and slows the whole call center down. They are segmenting customers by sstreamlinetatching the right customer to the right agent. This will improve customer satisfaction by pairing the customer with a skilled agent who can officia get with their query.
According to a study conducted by Aberdeen, agents spend 14% of their time looking for information to help customers. Agents also face roadblocks and struggle when it comes to:
Worse yet, 74% of call center agents are at risk for burnout, and 30% are at severe risk. So, optimizing your workflow is necessary for contact center agents to handle customer support with positive results effectively.
Unfortunately, most companies (77%) are currently experiencing a leadership gap. They don’t have a solid management team to accomplish even the most basic tasks: hiring, satisfying customers, and increasing profits. This means that many call centers flounder when setting objectives, crafting goals, and providing reliable, efficient, and effective supracticalboth staff and customers.
To change this, first and foremost, your call center needs to hire contact center managers that are exceptional communicators, detail-oriented, and possess a deep understanding of customers, agents, and service.
If you hire and train the proper call center management, you should have a leadership team that increases productivity, maximizes efficiency, and promotes cost-effectiveness. They’ll solve problems, look at the bigger picture, analyze data, and lead your call center toward achieving its goals.
Empowered employees are associated with more robust job performance and job satisfaction. They are also more committed to reaching their goals, demonstrating initiative, and providing exceptional customer service. And one of the best ways to empower your agents is to not micro-manage them but instead implement self-evaluating performance tools for a feedback loop.
The key is to create a call center quality feedback loop that works by creatively using scorecards.
To boost call center operational efficiency, you need to create a training program focused on handling complex tasks and decisions. The most successful programs are built around call center quality assurance processes. This framework helps you develop specific objectives and outcomes for each training session based on clear and measurable performance insight.
Unfortunately, only 65% of companies provide practical tools for training. A call center learning management system (LMS) is essential. An LMS will help you train and educate your agents by automating the training process with a centralized software solution designed to manage, track, and achieve your learning goals.
A versatile call center script can contain the solution to many customer queries. It allows for faster handling of calls and ensures that information is accurately explained to the customer.
However, it’s important to note that customers prefer calls that sound unscripted and personal and solve superior problem-solving skills. There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than calling a company to resolve a problem and feeling that they are not being heard. Sixty-nine percent of customers say they hate it when a call center agent reads from a script.
Customers want more than anything to speak to a customer service agent that is both knowledgeable and friendly. That means your agents need more than just a good script; they also need solid and soft skills and empathy—these are essential tools for an agent to utilize when responding to customers' queries.
For call center performance to improve, it first must be measured. While average handle time (AHT) is one metric that could be lowered to improve contact center efficiency, AHT shouldn't be the sole focus as reducing call quality, and customer experience will hurt the company’s overall brand.
Instead, you need a quality assurance process that looks at a critical call center and customer experience metrics. Many KPIs are available on everything from productivity to sales, customer satisfaction, and quality. We recommend breaking it down into three sections:
To improve these metrics, capture and share best practices within your call center. Don’t just focus on what not to do; highlight what works well.
Remote call center agents face many more challenges than in-office agents. They can feel disconnected, struggle with delayed communication, lack resources, easily get distracted, and feel that there’s little trust, accountability, transparency, and feedback.
The key to a thriving remote call center is to track the success of your agents. You need a tool that can tell you how your agents handle every customer interaction and if their performance is meeting your expectations.
Scorebuddy is a call center monitoring platform that is entirely customizable. You can dig deep, carry out a root-cause analysis, identify training gaps, discover broken processes, reveal common pitfalls, and find the key to agent success. You can also set up as many call center QA forms as you need to evaluate calls, review emails, monitor chat, check social media, etc.
It’s a powerful analytics tool that makes it easy to spot trends and expectations within your call center, so you can determine what training is needed to improve operational efficiency.
Boosting your call center's operational efficiency isn't an overnight feat. It requires taking a good hard look at the metrics of your contact center and recognizing areas for improvement. By reevaluating your QA framework and gauging where your agents are lacking, you will be able to invest the time and resources needed to improve your call center’s processes drastically.