With increasing call volumes, rising customer expectations, and ongoing attrition issues, balancing customer satisfaction and operational efficiency is no mean feat. Is call center optimization the key to reducing costs without sacrificing CX?
From an operational perspective, you want to trim the fat, but 88 percent of customers now believe that the experience a company provides is just as important as the products or services it offers—so you need to be mindful of what you cut.
Optimization strategies can support an ideal balance between cost reduction and customer experience, while also improving agent engagement, ensuring regulatory compliance, and driving revenue generation.
Let’s explore the best strategies to optimize your contact center and streamline operations.
Call center optimization is about taking steps to improve your operational efficiency, agent productivity, and the overall quality of your customer support. It’s a strategic approach to getting the best possible performance from the resources available to you.
To effectively optimize your contact center, you need to look at it from both sides of the support interaction. The best optimization strategies strive to improve both agent engagement and customer experience.
The benefits of contact center optimization touch every aspect of your organization, from customer and agent experience to operational and cost efficiency. An effective optimization strategy can boost KPIs and showcase the value of your call center to stakeholders.
The increased speed and efficiency of an optimized call center can have a significant impact on the customer experience. If you can streamline call handling, it will reduce wait times and improve service consistency, leading to better scores for CSAT, NPS, and other key metrics.
With 60 percent of customers stating that they are 3.5 times more likely to make a purchase after a positive experience, this improvement in CX will not only cement loyalty—it will boost the bottom line.
Efficiency is one of the key aims of any business. Ensuring that you are operating in a way that maximizes your resources and minimizes waste can lead to significant performance improvements in virtually every aspect of your call center.
Optimization uses automation, workforce management (WFM), and scheduling to get more from your most valuable resource—your agents. Automating manual tasks frees them up to focus on more complex, rewarding work, while effective WFM saves time and money.
With high call volumes and difficult customers, working in a contact center can be challenging. Unsurprisingly, 96 percent of agents feel acute stress at least once a week. CX is essential, of course, but it’s also important that you optimize the employee experience.
By giving your agents the right tools and support, as well as a clear process, you can improve both productivity and morale. This can come from better equipment and technology, automation of menial duties, or even more personalized coaching sessions.
Using QA tools like scorecards and analytics, you can optimize your contact center operations, remove any unnecessary steps, and minimize the chances of human error causing a regulatory lapse.
With 84 percent of service leaders citing the importance of data and analytics in achieving their organizational goals, it’s clear that there is value in analyzing your operations and customer interactions.
The data insights unlocked through optimization can give you visibility into your strengths and weaknesses, as well as customer needs and behaviors, so you can make informed decisions on business strategy.
When you think about optimizing a call center, cutting costs likely springs to mind. You want to ensure that the business is getting the best ROI from its customer-facing arm and prove its value to the C-suite.
By identifying inefficiencies, improving productivity, and removing any unnecessary steps between a customer picking up the phone and an agent resolving their query, you’ll save time and money on every interaction while also boosting service KPIs.
We can see that there are a ton of benefits to optimizing your call center, but maybe you’re happy enough with how things are going and would rather hold off for now? Well, unfortunately, there are risks associated with failing to optimize.
Operational inefficiencies can lead to increased wait times and a drop in first call resolution, dragging down the entire customer experience and damaging trust. With existing customers spending 67 percent more than new ones, you need to establish long-term relationships.
Without optimization, call volumes swell, and the pressure on agents grows. This leads to agent burnout, churn, and negative sentiment that makes it hard to recruit new talent. Even if you do, onboarding can be lengthy and expensive, adding to the pressure on existing agents.
If you’re standing still, you’re going backwards. The call center industry is a competitive one, with leaders always looking to find an edge. If your organization is dealing with inefficiencies, weak CX, and low productivity, there’ll always be a competitor ready to take advantage.
If a lack of optimization begins to filter through your organization and impact customer-facing processes, your brand reputation will suffer. In fact, nearly two-thirds of consumers will share their experience after a negative service interaction.
Weak customer experience, negative word-of-mouth, unhappy agents, low productivity, inefficient processes—all the risks of failing to optimize can contribute to lost revenue opportunities and a lack of growth.
Optimizing your contact center operations will involve a multi-pronged approach based on reviewing your existing processes, performance levels, and technology stack. Remember that this is a continuous process—you’re always refining and looking for ways to improve, learning what works and what doesn't.
KPIs are the key to understanding your contact center’s performance, allowing you to measure everything from customer happiness (CSAT, Net Promoter Score) to agent productivity (average handling time, average speed of answer) with precision.
For optimization, you’ll want to hone in on relevant metrics and make a habit of reviewing them regularly so you can adjust your tactics if necessary. Say you become too focused on lowering AHT, and CSAT suffers as a result—an ongoing review process can correct this.
No call center process is perfect. With so many variables (agent performance, new technology, industry trends), it’s important that you regularly evaluate your operations and leverage data to identify bottlenecks.
Using reporting and analytics, you can turn unstructured data into actionable insights and make changes that improve both productivity and CX. With only 24 percent of executives describing their companies as data-driven, this approach can give you a real edge.
Call center optimization is about getting the best return from your resources—and what’s the most important resource at your disposal? Your agents. If you can strike the ideal balance between workforce and workload, efficiency, productivity, and engagement will surge.
By forecasting call volumes, building effective schedules, and monitoring performance levels, you can ensure that you always have the right number of agents available. Never so many that you’re wasting money and never so few that you’re overwhelmed by demand.
To reiterate the previous point—your agents are your most important resource. If you equip them with the skills, knowledge, and support to handle any customer query, it will lead to improvements in both customer satisfaction and team morale.
There are countless ways to improve your call center training, from tailoring it based on scorecard data to gamifying the learning process with rewards and healthy competition. Companies that invest in development also see a 58 percent increase in staff retention.
There’s no ignoring the demand for omnichannel support, with 69 percent of customers wanting the ability to transition from one channel to another during a service interaction. If you want to optimize a modern call center, you have to embrace this level of connection.
A fluid omnichannel offering delivers a seamless experience for customers and full visibility for agents. Connect your support channels and make sure agents know why customers are calling, what they want to achieve, and what steps they’ve already taken.
81 percent of consumers want more self-service options, but only 15 percent are satisfied with existing offerings. With such a big opportunity to meet customer needs, improving your self-service capabilities should be one of your top call center optimization strategies.
Whether it’s FAQs, video tutorials, in-depth guides, or even AI-powered chatbots, effective self-service tools can ease the agent workload without impacting customers. A knowledge base, for example, can even serve the dual purpose of assisting both agents and customers.
Refreshing your internal policies to keep up with changes in the industry, technology, or even your workplace can help streamline operations and ensure that agents fully understand their duties, as well as the supports and resources available to them.
With 85 percent of customer service agents stating their desire to work from home on a full-time basis, you’ll also want to make sure your remote work policies are up to date. This can help with work-life balance, reducing churn and the costs associated with turnover.
Modern contact centers are built on effective tech stacks, and with the accelerated growth of AI and automation in recent years, new tools are emerging on a near-daily basis. With all this change, regular review of your contact center technology is essential to optimizing performance.
Picking the right quality assurance software will enable every other optimization strategy we’ve discussed. You want a QA solution that offers complete interaction coverage, custom scorecards, and in-depth reporting so you can accurately evaluate agent performance.
With 65 percent of customer experience professionals agreeing that automation is critical for delivering CX at scale, harnessing the power of these new AI and automation tools could prove essential for optimizing your call center operations.
Using a QA business intelligence tool, for example, you can analyze data from every single agent-customer interaction and identify areas where automation could be used to enhance the customer journey, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.
Optimizing your call center can improve pretty much every single aspect of your operations, from customer experience and agent productivity to regulatory compliance and decision making—but only if you choose the right strategy.
With Scorebuddy, you can unlock actionable insights using integrated business intelligence, a customizable scorecard builder, and comprehensive conversational call center analytics, so you can be sure that you’re optimizing the most important areas for your organization.
Want to see how Scorebuddy can streamline your call center operations with data-driven insights? Start your free 14-day trial now.