Reducing After Call Work For Your Contact Center Agents
In an effort to optimize efficiency within the call center, managers often seek to decrease after call work, or the work that an agent completes after the call has ended. However, it is not as simple as limiting the time agents are allowed to spend in their “After Call Work” status in your call center software. Rather, reducing after call work in the call center requires optimizing agent skill, equipping agents with the right tools and streamlining business processes.
Below are 10 ways to reduce after call work in the call center. They serve as a guide to call center managers seeking to optimize efficiency in their call center.
1. Optimize agent training
Reducing time spent in after call work often starts with effectively training call center agents. During the agent training process, make sure call center agents are proficient at using your call center software and business tools. Too much time is wasted in after call work searching for the right tab to enter information, navigating business tools and consulting training manuals looking for an answer. Eliminate all of this wasted time by ensuring that agents know the ins and outs of your business tools and processes before they hit the phones. During agent training it is also helpful to educate agents about effective listening behaviors, proper note taking, who to ask for help and where to look for an answer when they don’t know what to do.
Finally, it is imperative that call center agents understand what reducing after call work and increasing efficiency means to the call center as a whole, become educated about how managers analyze after call work as a metric and are informed if management plans to use after call work metrics in their performance evaluation of the call center agent. When provided this context, call center agents may be more motivated to increase their efficiency while completing after call work. Properly training call center agents on the front-end will shave off seconds, minutes and even hours of after call work per week.
2. Enhance agent coaching
Effectively training call center agents to reduce the time they spend completing after call work doesn’t stop once they hit the phones. In order to be proficient at completing after call work, they often need effective feedback and nudges in the right direction. It is therefore important to set some time aside during coaching sessions to address their after call work metrics and offer suggestions for improvement. A little feedback can go a long way, especially early on in the call center agent’s stint.
3. Streamline business processes
Streamlining business processes can significantly reduce after call work for call center agents. Take a long hard look at the step-by-step processes your call center agents have to complete and see if you can eliminate any redundant steps (i.e., emailing billing about a return and labeling the call with the disposition code “Return”), any processes that are inefficient (i.e., sending an email to management when a customer complains with the date and time of the call rather than simply forwarding them the call recording) and any processes that can be eliminated altogether. Working to streamline business processes can not only reduce after call work, but also agent frustration and burnout.
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4. Optimize your call center software
Call center agents who are well equipped to perform their job will be more productive and efficient. Thus, optimizing call center software can have a major impact on reducing after call work. Utilize call center software that is intuitive to navigate and has functionality that fits your business needs.
When your agents have access to disposition codes that pop up on their screen after their call has finished, information about the caller pre-populated into relevant fields and an efficient note taking system, they will spend significantly less time completing after call work. Thus, optimizing your call center software can go a long way to improving the overall efficiency of your call center agents and significantly reduce the time they spend completing tasks while their after call work clock is ticking.
5. Integrate your call center software with your business tools
The bulk of the time spent completing after call work is on updating databases, call center software, CRM, helpdesk, Salesforce, etc., with the same customer information from the interaction. This is a HUGE efficiency zapper.
Eliminate the redundant entering of information into multiple systems by utilizing call center software that integrates all of your business tools into one unified desktop. When your agent updates information in one tool, all integrated tools will be updated as well. Additionally, when a call is finished, the call metrics, call recording, disposition code and any notes associated with the call will be uploaded into your helpdesk, CRM, call center software, etc. An integrated call center software solution will reduce after call work by streamlining workflow.
6. Automate tasks
In addition to integrating with business tools, more progressive call center software solutions automate repetitive manual tasks. Not only do automated tasks significantly reduce after call work, they also reduce errors and ensure that the information in all of your integrated solutions is always up-to-date. For example, you can automate the following business tasks:
- When a call is missed, create an event in Salesforce
- When a new contact calls, create an opportunity in Salesforce
- When a call ends, add the call log, recording, and disposition code to SugarCRM
Automated tasks will help streamline business processes, enhance agent productivity and significantly reduce after call work.
7. Optimize the disposition code entering process
Optimizing the disposition code entering process is often overlooked by management on their quest to increase efficiency and reduce after call work time. But it shouldn’t be. Many call center agents spend a significant amount of time sifting through a plethora of codes to find the one code that best fits the call. Still others, sift and sift only to find their is no code that is appropriate and they then make their own. This process is an efficiency killer and a quick fix for management.
In order to optimize the disposition code entering process, you must make the right codes available to your agents. You can accomplish this by looking at your list of codes and eliminating codes that are rarely (if ever) used. Next, see if you can combine a few redundant codes (i.e., “Requires Follow up” and “Callback Required”). Additionally, look at the codes added on the fly by agents and include them as an option. These are codes that you may have overlooked when you first conceptualized your list. Finally, consider how you analyze your disposition code data. Do you not really care how many calls were transferred to tech support vs. billing? Then remove the separate disposition codes and replace with one (i.e., “Transferred to another department”).
Optimizing your disposition codes will save your agents seconds and even minutes of after call work following each call. This might not sound like a lot, but in a busy call center, seconds matter.
8. Utilize an agent knowledge base
There is no bigger waste of time than having to search through training manuals, emailing engineering or calling a colleague to find an answer to a common question in order to complete an after call work task. To combat this utilize a comprehensive agent knowledge base. This makes it simple to find an answer to a question without having to involve third-parties or searching through multiple databases or training manuals.
9. Utilize an office communication system
When an answer can’t be found in the agent knowledge base, the last thing you want your agent doing is walking across the hall looking for a colleague to help them complete a task while their after call work clock is running. Utilizing an internal communication system like HipChat or GChat can make it simple for call center agents to ask the technical team, a manager or a colleague an answer to a question, so they don’t have to search high and low for them. This will not only reduce after call work, but also increase collaboration and cohesiveness.
10. Go paperless
Believe it or not, a significant amount of after call work time is spent sending faxes and documents via mail for the customer (or worse yet) someone from another department to complete and sign. Stop the madness! Utilize an electronic signature solution like Adobe EchoSign, which integrates with CRMs and other business tools. A product like this will effectively eliminate paper in your office and significantly reduce time spent completing after call work.
Reducing after call work in the call center is often at the top of the list of things to do for call center managers. Following the 10 aforementioned tips can help you take a huge step in the right direction on your quest to reducing the time your agents spend completing after call work in the call center.