average speed of answerAs a call center manager, analyzing KPIs to track your team’s performance is important, but acting on the results is even more so. This blog post will help you do just that. It provides information about how to reduce average speed of answer (ASA), a frequently analyzed call center KPI associated with efficiency and agent accessibility.

Call center managers can reduce average speed of answer in their call center by:

Improving call forecasting

The first step to reducing ASA in the call center is accurately forecasting call volume. Doing so will lay a solid foundation from which managers can accurately staff and schedule agents in accordance with predicted call volume. This will have a large impact on reducing ASA in the call center as teams will be well-prepared to meet the demands of inbound calls.

Optimizing workforce management

Making sure that the right agents with the right skills are working exactly when they are needed is imperative when aiming to reduce average speed of answer in the call center. Optimizing workforce management will do just that. For example, Foremost Insurance Group recently decreased their ASA to 18 seconds by deploying a workforce management solution. Workforce management systems allow companies to optimize their agent scheduling, occupancy rates and schedule adherence – all key to reducing ASA in the call center.

Optimizing agent training

In order to reduce average speed of answer in the call center, agents must have the skills necessary to effectively and efficiently meet callers’ needs. This reduces handle time and frees up staff to field more calls, thus reducing ASA. Make sure that call center agent training protocols include information about the importance of ASA, call handling best practices as well as how to efficiently resolve caller issues. Agents should also receive comprehensive training on the product, their call center software, helpdesk and other integrated business tools. Finally, they should be told where to look for answers when they don’t know how to resolve an issue and who to ask for help when they don’t know what to do. Optimizing call center agent training will help agents hit the ground running – and reduce ASA.

Equipping agents with an agent dashboard

Once agents understand the importance of reducing average speed of answer in the call center and have been trained to do so, they must be equipped with the tools they need to execute. Make sure that each agent has access to a call center software agent dashboard that displays the ASA in real-time as well as in their historical metrics. This will allow them to have a true understanding of this metric and will empower them to make data-driven decisions so their team’s ASA remains in an acceptable range.

Reducing call center agent attrition

When the right team is hired and they are trained to perfection, the goal of any call center manager should be to keep them on board. Doing so will significantly reduce average speed of answer as seasoned staff are professionals when it comes to meeting callers’ needs in a timely fashion. Having a staff full of tenured agents will significantly decrease handle time, improve customer service quality and improve first call resolution – all of which will reduce ASA in the call center.

Streamlining workflow

A great way to reduce ASA in the call center is by streamlining workflow. This is because inefficient processes – or anything that increases handle time for that matter – significantly increase average speed of answer. Leverage call center software that integrates with CRMs, helpdesk, chat and other business tools so agents don’t have to go back and forth between multiple systems to resolve a caller’s issue. Utilize call center software that has two-way synchronization of data so that when agents update one system with information about the caller, all integrated systems will be updated with the same information. Finally, leverage call center software automated tasks so that agent busy work is kept to a minimum. Streamlining workflow by leveraging progressive call center software will significantly reduce ASA and increase efficiency in the call center.

Optimizing call routing

In addition to ensuring that agent workflow is optimized by leveraging progressive call center software, managers seeking to decrease ASA should also ensure that their call center software has efficient routing functionality. This will ensure that the caller is routed to an agent who is most capable of meeting their needs which will reduce handle time, optimize first call resolution and increase customer satisfaction – all of which decrease average speed of answer.

Using queue callbacks

The final feature in your call center software toolbelt that will significantly reduce ASA is queue callbacks. Queue callbacks allow callers who are waiting in a call queue the option to request to have an agent call them back instead of waiting in the queue. Not only does this call center software feature significantly reduce average speed of answer, as many callers opt not to wait in the queue, but it also reduces telephony costs and other costs associated with high ASA. This is a simple feature that has a dramatic impact on reducing ASA in the call center.

Reducing average speed of answer in the call center is often at the top of the to-do list for many managers. Following the aforementioned tips will help to reduce ASA, inefficiencies and costs in the call center while improving customer service quality and customer satisfaction. It’s therefore imperative that call center managers not only track ASA over time, but also put practices in place and leverage call center software that will allow their team to actively work towards reducing average speed of answer in the call center.