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Improving Productivity and Efficiency in the Contact Center

February 06, 2017

A well run contact center has a lot of attributes, but at its core, it’s supposed to provide an excellent customer experience without wasting resources on overstaffing, duplicate work or onerous administrative processes. If the contact center has a good infrastructure at its heart but it’s poorly staffed, it won’t result in good customer support. Likewise, if it has obsolete technology and a great, hardworking staff, it still won’t achieve its objectives. Efficiency and productivity are, therefore, the two most important elements of successful call center management.  Neither will be easy to maintain: no red light flashes on when the quality of the customer experience begins taking a nosedive.

“The challenge with maintaining these attributes is that they don’t stop working all of a sudden,” wrote Monet Software (News - Alert) CEO Chuck Ciarlo in a recent blog post. “Productivity rarely drops suddenly – instead it slides, gradually, over a period of weeks and months until, left unchecked, a lower standard becomes the new normal.”

If the organization’s efficiency and productivity aren’t what they could be (or what they used to be), there are some steps call center management can take to put it back on track.

Training. Are agents’ struggling to complete calls? Is first-call resolution on the wane? Your agents may simply not have the knowledge or the tools they need to do the job, and this will show up in the form of agent attrition, which can get very expensive.

“Agent attrition is an ongoing concern at most call centers, and one of its most important components is the training of new agents to replace those that depart,” wrote Ciarlo. “If that training effort falters, a business will exchange qualified agents with less-qualified substitutes, and productivity is certain to suffer.”

Agent desktops. Are your agent’s computer desktops cluttered with old or poorly integrated software? Many agents use six or more applications on the average call. If they’re having to toggle back and forth between them, comparing information that may (or may not) match, they’re wasting time and not serving customers well. Ensure your agent desktop solutions are integrated, coordinated and, if possible, all on one screen.

Meetings. Businesses just have meetings on a daily basis. That’s just the way it is. Or is it? If your organization seems to spend interminable hours in meetings without anything ever really witnessing improvement, it’s time to see what you can cut. Can you replace some team meetings with collaborative messaging?

After-call work. Most agents spend a great deal of time just finishing the last call before they can take the next. This may limit how many calls or contacts they can successfully handle each day. Finding a way to streamline after-call work can help improve efficiency and productivity, and technology is at the core of it.

“Among other benefits, speech analytics can expedite how customer information is updated, reducing wrap-up time on every call,” wrote Ciarlo.

Your agents want to do well: nobody wants to spend their working day in frustration, missing performance goals. Ensure they have the time and the technology to do a good job, and put all else to the back of the queue. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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