To get the best out of your call center, you need to understand what’s working, what isn’t, and when to make a change. Conducting audits on a regular basis will allow you to examine the current state of your call center and pinpoint areas for improvement.
To help you guarantee an effective audit, we’ve identified six key areas to focus on during the process.
An audit is a way to measure your overall performance and determine whether or not your call center is performing to the best of its ability. A typical contact center audit will assess processes, workflows, procedures, and guidelines to give a full overview of how effectively the center is running and what gaps may exist.
At its most basic, a call center audit is an opportunity to learn what you do well and what you could do better. You carry out the audit, implement necessary changes, and repeat the process to determine the relative success or failure of these changes. Audits can also be more specific, focusing on one team, department, or area. For example, a regulatory compliance audit may be useful if you’re concerned about mitigating risk in your organization.
Using the information you’ve gathered during an audit, you can determine how to enhance performance in areas like revenue generation, agent engagement, operational costs, and more. This will allow you to make the most efficient use of your resources and get more out of your workforce.
The results of an audit can also be the spark needed to move your organization forward. Concrete data can support a new strategy and innovation, helping to make the business case for change in your call center. Most importantly, after an effective audit, you will know exactly where your organization stands in terms of its long-term goals.
The key to a successful audit is planning. Pick areas to focus on, understand your goals, and establish a timeline for completion. While priorities and needs would differ for each call center, there are six areas you can’t ignore when conducting your audit.
The first thing you need to evaluate during a call center audit is your adherence to the set KPIs. Evaluating metrics like calls per agent, cost per call, and average handle time can give an excellent insight into the operational efficiency of your call center. Using these KPIs, you can determine potential changes that could boost performance.
For example, if the calls per agent value is too high, you might consider hiring more staff. Similarly, if the average handle time is too long, you can look into offering extra training.
A contact center's success depends heavily on its agents' performance. If your team is inefficient or disengaged, it will impact everything from customer experience to revenue generation. By evaluating metrics like first call resolution and call handling time, you can determine whether or not your agents are adhering to their schedule and meeting targets.
Poor FCR scores, for example, could indicate anything from a lack of emotional intelligence to weak scripting. An audit will highlight these agent shortcomings, so you can take steps to fix them.
Effective internal processes facilitate strong agent performance. A messy workflow and weak policies can lead to confusion for both agents and supervisors. In such a fast-paced industry, having a structure is key. An audit will expose any flaws, allowing you to refine processes like hiring, agent onboarding, call escalation, and more.
For example, if your scripts are ambiguous, unfit for purpose, or too restrictive, the audit will highlight these issues so you can address them.
Company culture is about your organization’s ethos—the shared values and behaviors that form the basis of your working environment. An audit will allow you to assess this culture. Is everyone aligned in pursuit of your goal? Do your leaders embody the culture and mission? Is there an issue with work-life balance, risking agent burnout? The answers to these questions will inform the future direction of your company.
A strong culture allows for better communication, easier decision-making, and a more effective workflow, all of which are important drivers of agent productivity and retention.
With 86 percent of customers ready to jump ship to a competitor after just two poor experiences, getting your CX right is vital. An audit is a way to assess the state of your customer experience through metrics like CSAT, NPS, and customer effort score. By combining the results, you can assess customer sentiment and, if necessary, drill down into different areas to see what needs improvement.
For example, a poor customer effort score could indicate the need for additional training or improving call processing. Whatever the issue, the audit will bring it to light and help identify potential solutions.
PCI compliance fines can reach up to $100,000 per month until the issue is resolved. With non-compliance coming at a high cost, you must use your audit to evaluate regulatory adherence and identify opportunities to improve consumer protection and data security.
Make sure your agents are adhering to all applicable policies, both internal and those enforced by third parties. If any call center compliance issues do arise, the audit will help you find the source, whether it’s a policy error, poor use of automation, or an agent failing to adhere to the rules.
Now that you know what areas to cover in your call center audit, it’s time to look at the best practices for conducting it to ensure the optimal use of resources.
Like everything else in the call center industry, an audit needs clear guidelines to succeed. Define your goals in advance, detail the procedure and criteria for the audit, identify key stakeholders, and establish a timeline for completion. All of this information must be documented and distributed to the relevant parties to ensure transparency and alignment around the core objectives.
Assigning the right auditor is an important part of the process. While you can select one of your team members for the role, most call center audits are carried out by a neutral third party. An external auditor is likely to have broader relevant experience and be more objective.
They may also have knowledge about similar organizations, providing them with a good reference point and the ability to draw comparisons.
An audit isn’t a one-time occurrence. To get the most out of the process, you have to run it on a regular basis. This way, you can continuously refine the process to improve standards in the long run.
The assessment stage is just one part of the overall auditing process. After this, you must share the results with your leadership team and other key stakeholders.
The collaborative approach allows for a more objective review of the results and helps garner support for any changes you may wish to implement following the audit. Make sure that the information you share is specific and relevant, with clear recommendations linked to defined outcomes.
As we’ve alluded to already, planning is pivotal to the success of a call center audit. This doesn’t just mean planning for the audit itself—it means preparing follow-up actions for after you’ve completed the audit. Simply running the audit as a box-ticking exercise isn’t enough. Acting on the results is the most important part of the process.
You need to outline the issues arising from the audit, rank them in terms of priority, and assign specific actions to tackle them. Remember that no two audits are the same, so a plan that works for your last audit may not work as well for the next one.
Data from your CRM or quality assurance platform can be extremely helpful in the auditing process. For example, if your audit is focused primarily on agent performance and finding out what you could do to enhance call center productivity, you could use the data from scorecard evaluations to build an assessment and deliver recommendations in that area.
Carrying out a call center audit will help you determine the current state of your center’s performance and identify areas for improvement. By doing this, you can deliver data-driven recommendations to leadership with defined actions and specific outcomes.
To ensure an effective audit, you must cover key areas like agent performance, culture, customer experience, and compliance. Furthermore, you should adhere to best practices with a clearly-defined audit plan for both the process itself and the actions you will take afterward.
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