Streamlining business processes can have a huge impact on enhancing agent, team and call center productivity. There are many changes that you can make, with relative ease, that have great short-term and long-term benefits. Below are the top seven ways to enhance call center productivity.
A huge benefit of utilizing an IVR is that you can allow your customers to help themselves, thereby freeing up agents to answer more complex issues. Customers can receive answers to simple questions like “What are your business hours?,” “Where are you located?,” “What is your product return policy?” or “When is your Christmas Event?” by pressing the appropriate number in the IVR.
This system has increased productivity at Merrill Lynch, according to Judy Nelson, vice president at Merrill Lynch’s Global Private Client Services and Technology. “Opportunities to provide information up front to clients through prerecorded messaging often answers seasonal [or] event-driven inquiries and eliminates the need to speak to an associate. In one instance, scripting in our voice response system reduced representative call duration by 75 seconds.” Having pre-recorded messages decreases the number of calls that are transferred to an agent and as a result increases agent and team productivity.
One of the best ways to improve call center productivity is to divert callers to other channels. Utilize web self-service options, email, pre-recorded messages on IVRs, and live chat to interact with customers and call volume will decrease. Judy Nelson, vice president at Merrill Lynch’s Global Private Client Services and Technology says that “Since 2002 close to five percent of associate-assisted volumes have shifted to self-service channels.” In addition to freeing up agents to handle more important issues, agents can also interact with more than one customer at a time (i.e. one on phone and one on chat) and respond to chats and emails during idle time, thus maximizing productivity.
“One of the primary call center productivity initiatives has been to give callers clear choices to use other channels to obtain their answers,” says Jon Anton, Ph.D., director of benchmark research at Purdue University’s Center for Customer-Driven Quality. “There are many times when a customer does not need to talk ‘live’ to an agent. The question is simple, the answer is easily found through self-service, and the customer is happier with the speed and accuracy of these alternative channels.”
Agents have a lot of take care of. Why not automate some of the more repetitive manual tasks. Not only will this free up agents to take care of more important issues, it will significantly reduce errors and ensure that the information in your business tools is always up-to-date. Call center software that offers automated tasks like:
will help streamline business processes, enhance agent productivity and enhance team performance.
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First call resolution (FCR) means adequately addressing the customer’s issues the first time they call. FCR has a large impact on agent and team productivity as callers whose issues are resolved on first contact are less likely to call back about the same issue (which decreases call volume – freeing up agents to handle more pressing issues) and are less likely to be transferred or escalated to a manager (so they will not tie up other team members on the same issue).
According to a study conducted by Dimension Data, the top issue that contributes to a decrease in FCR is lack of access to customer information and systems data. This occurs when software isn’t integrated, when agents don’t have access to the customer’s history (i.e., support tickets, items purchased, cases and call logs), when agents forget to input information into the business tools (or it isn’t an automated process), and when agents don’t have access to accurate information about the product/service (via a knowledge base, training, or access to a manager). Agents in these situations are less likely to resolve customer’s issue on the first attempt and more likely to have to transfer the call or call the customer back. If your team can identify with one or more of these practices that decrease FCR and you’re looking to enhance productivity by enhancing FCR, here are some great resources to get you started:
Call volume fluctuations can be the Achilles Heel of call center productivity. Workforce management tools ensure that the right agents, with the right skills and training, are on shift exactly when you need them. Foremost Insurance Group has recently seen its call center productivity increase as a direct result of workforce optimization. “Foremost was experiencing rapid growth that was increasingly complicating our business,” said Nancy Treul, senior vice president of marketing. “Since implementing a workforce management strategy, Foremost has seen productivity increase 24%, service level improve more than 120%, average speed of answer drop to 18 seconds, abandon rate fall by 85%, and cost per call decrease 40%.” This tool will significantly improve productivity in your call center.
There is no bigger productivity-zapper than constantly having to search through multiple systems, emailing engineering, calling in a manager, or asking a colleague to find an answer to a common question. To combat this, companies are utilizing a comprehensive knowledge base. For example, at Scotts when a customer calls with a question regarding weed control, “our representative would type in the word weed in the reason code field and do a search, and instead of seeing 1,000 reason codes, they see five that are associated with weed control.” This makes it simple to answer a customer’s question without having to involve third-parties or searching through multiple databases.Source: HelpScout.com.
Transferring calls can not only cause customer frustration, but decreases productivity on an agent and team level. Utilizing an internal communication system like HipChat or gChat can make it simple for frontline agents to ask the technical team, a manager or a colleague an answer to a question, so they don’t have to transfer the call. Best Software, for example, uses internal chat system as an add-on to its knowledge base. “[Instant messaging] allows us to do work…while we’re online with a customer,” says Ron Taylor, vice president of customer support. “We probably reduced transfers by five or ten percent.”
The seven aforementioned tips and tools can streamline business processes and significantly improve call center productivity. Try them out and notice the impact they have on productivity within your team.