The first point of contact between customers and a business is the call center.
Call center employees are on the “front lines,” expected to resolve issues, handle complaints, answer questions and provide additional information. It’s important for call centers to be accurate and helpful, but also quick. Here are seven ways to make your call center run like a fine-tuned machine:
- Examine critical call metrics regularly. Don’t wait until you have a report due or, worse, your call center has problems. Look at your most important call metrics – probably dropped call rates, peak calling times and wait times – frequently to make sure they’re meeting your targets. It’s easier to adjust minor issues than to correct large problems.
- Share your call metrics with employees. Use a little bit of friendly competition to motivate your employees. Post your call metrics somewhere all of your agents can see, then ask them to try to beat the record, either individually or in teams. Before the day or week is up, you should see faster answer and resolution times.
- Find ways to improve the small, simple tasks with calls. Does your call software take too long to display customer profiles? Are there too many steps in your call tree? How many buttons do employees need to press to transfer a call? By speeding up any one of these functions, you can speed up the entire call process.
- Evaluate your software needs. If your software is outdated or too basic, it may be hindering your agents’ performance. More modern or comprehensive programs can give your employees all the information they need to handle a call, including agent-to-agent messengers to get answers from other employees.
- Categorize calls effectively. Categorizing calls can help you save time in a few ways. First, it can help your overall call statistics since some types of calls – troubleshooting or complaints, for example –take longer than other calls. In turn, reviewing metrics for those calls separately can boost your general numbers. Second, you can review the call volume by category and see if your call tree needs to be reorganized or if you need to train more agents in certain areas to meet caller demand.
- Route calls by category and skill. Once you have defined categories, you can route calls to agents with skills and training to match. This will reduce the number of call transfers needed for certain calls, which will lessen your overall call length and improve customer satisfaction scores.
- Schedule staff by call volume. Look through your metrics – especially call volume, call duration and time to answer – to figure out your busiest and slowest times, then staff accordingly. Take employee skill sets into account when creating schedules to make sure you have scheduled at least one employee per category, per shift to meet your customers’ needs.
Tired of hearing the same script every time your employees speak to customers? Visit our article Keep Your Customers Listening: Avoid These 5 Cliche Call Center Phrases for tips on keeping your call center conversations fresh.