5 priorities for Smoother Call Center Operations

Coming to the close of the first month of 2016 gives an opportunity to review and re-evaluate your call center goals and priorities. If you find that there are items on your year’s to-do list that need a little tweaking, or re-defining all together, consider shifting your focus to what research completed by
Contact Center Pipeline has found to be a few of this year’s contact center priorities.

1. Quality of Training

One of the top priorities cited by call centers across industries in the United States was to improve the quality, content, and amount of training for agents. As agent attrition was found to be the top challenge for contact centers, research shows that sufficient and effective training is a priority to combat it.

Newly hired call center agents typically receive 15 days of initial training. If your training protocol falls short of that mark, consider evaluating your training curriculum and whether or not your agents are entering their work environment empowered to do their job efficiently and effectively. Feeling empowered and confident as an agent can avoid high agent attrition rates. If your training requires 15 days or more, take a look at how proficient your agents are when they hit the phones, and adjust curriculum or timing accordingly.

2. Performance Management and Coaching

Intrinsically connected to quality of training is the management of agent performance through adequate coaching. Training done right must be effectively and consistently backed up by top-quality coaching and management. Agent training ought to be built around whatever performance measures are taken when employees are evaluated, with benchmarks and goals transparently and clearly defined to agent in the interviewing process. When agents know what to expect, are trained to meet their goals, and are consistently supported through appropriate coaching and team management, contact center service excels and customer satisfaction increases.

3. Refine the Hiring Process

As the number one challenge for call centers is agent attrition, refining your recruiting and hiring processes can be extremely beneficial. Look for employees who fit the feel and culture of your company and who show a strong propensity for teamwork. Be honest and upfront with your potential employees about common tasks for their position, performance measures they’ll be rated on, and clearly define any other expectations. During the hiring process is a great time to fully explain how agents are rewarded for excellent performance, any incentive programs you have in place, and any opportunities for pay raises and upward movement within the company. You may even consider creating a written and signed commitment for minimal time required to work if hired. This allows agents to understand that you are committed to them when they commit to you.

4. Invest in Technology

Companies who invest in state-of-the-art technology find that their first contact resolution (FCR) rates decrease significantly, their service levels (SL) improve, and their average speed of answer (ASA) is shortened. Bottom line, if your agents have appropriate desktop tools and an efficient and updated operating system, you will find improvements in these three areas of service as well as others not mentioned here. Improved technology streamlines the customer service process, and aids agents in getting the job done right.

5. Improve Reporting and Analytics

You can hire the best agents in the world, train them efficiently and effectively, manage them excellently, and have top-notch technology, but when your internal processes are struggling, it will be very difficult to run a smooth operation. Regardless of the type of operational system you use for reporting and analytics, you must incorporate a method to implement changes based on your data. Don’t wait for end-of-the-year reports. Keep tabs on company performance and come back regularly to check on progress. If changes need to be made to incorporate a new system for reporting internal processes, actively seek the best fit for your company and consider it an investment well worth the improvements you will see across departments, and throughout the company.

It’s not too late!

Should you need to redefine your contact center priorities for the new year, remember it is not too late. Consider the above 5 priorities and get set for smoother operations in 2016.

Photo by mitchbeagle/CC

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