An inefficient call center results in burnt out employees and unhappy customers, not to mention lost profits. High inbound call volume means long wait times, which can be painful for your customers, stressful for your staff, and expensive for you. If this describes the current state of your call center, the following ways to improve call center efficiency can help you get back on track to happier customers, more productive employees, and bigger profits.
1. Set Up a Strategic QA Framework
Putting a strategic QA framework in place will help you accurately evaluate agent performance so you can improve your customer experience and build brand loyalty.
When creating your framework, first take a look at the bigger picture of your QA goals. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who defines quality?
- What drives quality?
- How do we improve quality?
- What does success look like?
This framework you are creating is not about micromanaging your team — it’s about understanding their work and how it connects to your QA goals. The purpose of a QA framework is to help you routinely evaluate agent training and performance, improve collaboration, understand the customer experience, and increase efficiency.
2. Measure Key Metrics
Making improvements in anything requires first taking a measure of where you currently sit, and call center performance is no exception.
Measuring key metrics such as Average Handle Time (AHT), First Call Resolution (FCR), Abandoned Call Rate (ACR), and Average Response Time (ART) can help you determine which areas need improvement, and which are working well. This is a crucial part of improving your metrics: don’t focus solely on what isn’t working; highlight what IS working, and share those practices throughout your call center.
3. Invest In Quality Staff
Later on we’ll discuss elements of improving efficiency that require less input from your call center staff. But even if these elements are at their most effective, that doesn’t mean you no longer need to invest in quality call center staff. In fact, if these elements work as they should, the calls your customer service team answers will primarily be the more difficult customer questions that require knowledgeable, empathetic staff to address.
To begin with, a strong team of call center managers is vital to operational efficiency. Invest in management staff who are detail-oriented communicators with a strong understanding of both customer service and team dynamics. These team members will oversee your entire operation, so they should be skilled in staff training and empowerment as well as problem solving and customer service.
4. Optimize Agent Workflow
According to a recent study by Aberdeen, call center agents spend an average of 14% of their time searching for information for customers. That may not seem like a large percentage, but if you think of it in terms of an 8-hour workday, this means that agents spend more than an hour of their time each day trying to find the information customers are looking for.
Outdated technology and infrastructure only exacerbate this problem. Updated technology can reduce the time agents spend searching for answers by making the necessary information more accessible to them.
Breaking down organizational silos will significantly improve agent workflow as well. Within the call center, silos cause customers to have to move from one department to another to get the assistance they need. In addition, when the different departments of your organization are not in alignment, it causes an increase in inbound service calls from confused customers. On the other hand, when every department in your company is on the same page, your customers will have the same experience across all channels, reducing their need to call for help.
5. Work On Your Net Promoter Score
The goal of any call center is to provide positive customer experiences. But to do this, you first need to evaluate how successful you actually are at helping your customers. Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a critical part of this. NPS is the gold standard for measuring customer experience and loyalty as well as predicting business growth.
A few things you can do to improve your NPS score are:
- Measure QA and implement your QA framework
- Provide regular staff training, coaching, and advising
- Set measurable benchmarks for consistent service
- Break down call center silos
- Regularly ask for customer feedback and make changes accordingly
- Evaluate customer calls, looking for best practices and implementing them across the board
6. Utilize Call Deflection
Call deflection helps reduce incoming customer calls, manage high call volume, and reduce customer wait time by giving customers the option to switch to a faster communication channel, such as chat, email, or self-service. When it comes to answering questions like “Where is my order?”, or “When will my service technician arrive?”, these channels are not only faster, but can also be lower-cost options, as they allow your staff to help multiple customers at once.
Call deflection can not only improve call center efficiency and reduce costs, but increase customer satisfaction as well. When your customer can find the answer to their question quickly, they will be happier and more likely to become a repeat customer.
7. Boost Your Omnichannel Presence
Customers want an efficient, reliable service that communicates with them on their channel of choice. Making your customer service available via multiple channels can improve the efficiency of your call center, and using your customers’ preferred methods of communication (such as email, social media, interactive text messaging, interactive voice messaging, and rich media messaging) will result in higher customer satisfaction.
More and more, new generations are preferring alternate channels of communication over phone calls: Ask just about any millennial, and they’ll tell you that they much prefer to text than to make a call. Rich media messaging builds on texting by offering more advanced features like audio, video, or appointment scheduling functions. And tools like interactive voice response allow your customers to solve problems on their own, without the need to speak with customer service staff.
It’s important to do some research to determine which communication methods your customers prefer, and implement them if you haven’t already done so. Utilizing these tools can result in fewer inbound calls, reduced wait times, and decreased ACRs and ARTs…not to mention a better customer experience overall.
8. Enhance With AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers even more opportunities to divert traffic away from your call center staff. AI-powered solutions such as chatbots, interactive voice response (IVR), and more allow you to serve customers more efficiently while reducing strain on your customer service staff.
These solutions allow you to enhance your customer communications with automated personalized interactions — asking users questions, tracking their responses, and delivering the necessary information. They are ideal for calls that need quick fixes and don’t require speaking directly to customer service staff. This automation frees up your call center staff to focus on bigger issues that only they can address.
Bonus: Improve Call Center Efficiency With Glympse
The Glympse platform can be an integral part of your plan to improve call center efficiency.
Glympse has the ability to integrate with your IVR, so that when a customer calls with “Where is my technician?” or “Where is my delivery?” questions, they hear a message like: “We see you have an appointment today, is this why you’re calling?” If they say “yes”, they will then receive the exact ETA of their service technician or delivery, and an option to “press 1” for an SMS with a link to track their driver’s live location.
Glympse also integrates with your lower cost channels like chat, and is customized for your use case, enabling chat with the call center or directly with the delivery driver or technician. This is a customer-friendly feature as well as an ideal way to reduce inbound calls to your call center.
Directing the customer to an automated solution like this saves you money: Some of our customers are saving millions of dollars by using the Glympse platform, and have reduced calls to live agents by as much as 68%!
If you’re looking to improve call center efficiency, Glympse can help. Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions can improve operational efficiency while giving your customers a better experience.