The parameters of productivity have changed in the past few years and further shifted gears during the pandemic phase. Going by simple definition, call center productivity is the optimal utilization of time and resources to achieve some desirable outcomes.
What is that desirable goal for contact centers? Meaningful and effective conversations with customers. Customer satisfaction has become far more important than prices and products with the evolution of technology and ample choices available to them.
A good customer experience is inextricably linked to satisfied agents. Call center productivity cannot be ensured by pushing agents harder to the brink of exhaustion. If we are looking at reducing call handling times and cutting unnecessary costs as a means to gain productivity then there is an easier way. Here is a list of tools and techniques to help you improve.
1. Measuring Real-time Productivity Metrics
“What can’t be measured cannot be managed”. Peter Drucker emphasized the importance of measurement by pointing out the fact that we cannot know whether or not we are successful unless success is defined and tracked. The same is true for contact centers
Key performance metrics can reveal a lot about your organization’s productivity. Here’s how:
Average Queue Time: How long are your customers waiting to talk to an agent? This should be low for any productive call center.
First Contact Resolution: The percentage of calls that get resolved in the first contact itself. Agents should be encouraged to improve the FCR rate as it improves customer satisfaction and builds trust.
Average Handling Time: This is the time an agent devotes to handling one customer. It is inclusive of taking notes, tagging cases, and wrapping up any work after the call.
Occupancy Rate: This is the time that an agent devotes out of his total shift in talking with customers. A higher occupancy rate hints at the agent’s productivity because it means lesser time spent on redundant and repetitive data entry tasks.
Depending upon how you choose to measure your agent’s productivity, his/her behavior might shift accordingly. Thus, tools like the NovelVox contact center wallboard can give you ample space to experiment with KPIs and choose the right metric to govern productivity.
2. Integration of Channels
Imagine an agent having to toggle between five different screens at one time to resolve one customer query. It’s bound to take a hit at productivity and ultimately customer experience. In the world of integrations, still struggling with screen switches is like reinventing the wheel when you could be flying a plane!
Going back to first call resolutions or average call handling time, integration has direct result-bearing impacts on an agent’s productivity. It allows an agent to track customer journeys across a multitude of communication touchpoints. Efficiency, productivity, and improved customer experiences can flow from integrated contact centers.
3. Use Analytics to Reduce Pressure Off Agents
Call content is equally important when it comes to improving call center or agent productivity. Analyzing the content of the call is important to understand what type of calls your organization receives. Based on the call intent, they can be routed to a visual IVR, a bot, or an agent. This can bring down the call flow to agents and help them improve the quality of calls they handle.
Cisco Salesforce CTI connectors, for example, help in skill-based call routing to connect customers with the right agent without waiting for ages in the queue. This ensures the twin tasks of maintaining call quality and improving call resolution rates.
4. Keeping the Agent Informed
Productivity is not a person-centric problem but involves technology gaps as well. Even if agents hustle and are motivated to work, they may not get the returns as expected. Improving the average call handling time requires the agent to be able to quickly access the right information.
Contact centers must be able to pull in all the information, portals, and processes into a single unified platform. NovelVox unified agent desktop, for example, is the information unifying tool that your agent needs. Agents can deliver all customer support across multiple communication channels like phone, chat, email, social media platforms without multiple logins. Secondly, agents are aware about entire customer journeys making it easier for them to understand customer’s concerns and giving them the desirable services.
5. Incentivize Agent Performance
Many people believe that paycheck is the ultimate incentive for agents to work better. One way to recognize their work is by rewarding them for not only goal achievements but also equipping them with advanced tools to unlock their potential. Contact centers can strike a balance between short-term (spot rewarding) and long-term incentives (based on track record against KPIs). Contact centers should listen to their customers and understand their needs like a seamless customer journey for a better customer experience and take steps to assist them in their work. The biggest incentive is an interactive and healthy work environment.
6. Call Recording and Monitoring
While tracking metrics are important to understand agents’ performance, managers and supervisors ought to use call recordings as well. This is to understand how the agents interact with customers for a comprehensive analysis of their performance. Recording and monitoring inbound and outbound call activity can give a better look at the agent’s workflow. This can be assessed to understand the loopholes in contact center productivity and bring changes accordingly. Secondly, training new hires can become smooth owing to the recorded call stacks which can be used as a reference for call standards.
7. Segment Customers Using Skill-based Routing
The true productivity of an organization lies in addressing customer queries efficiently and also in the shortest of time. For this, it is important to have agents who have the right context and skills for call resolutions. For example, if a customer wants to interact in French, he should be able to interact with an agent, well-versed in the language. This simple task doesn’t require an additional human resource to route calls. An efficient routing system enables any agent to route calls to the appropriate department. This agility in segmenting customers based on their queries allows agents to deliver value to the customer.
8. Dynamic Call Scripts
Dynamic call scripts can help streamline customer interactions and impart a touch of personalization too. With a well-written and AI-based script, agents have all the required information at their fingertips. Thus, they are equipped with the knowledge of who the customer is, and what they need to talk about. Also, aided with an intuitive edge, scripted language can play a role in addressing agitated customers with the right tone and standard language. With the agent scripting tool, agents don’t even have to make an effort of opening the script manually, it automatically opens up on the agent’s screen as soon as they pick up the call.
9. Deploy AI for Intuitive Guidance
Agile technologies can be especially significant in improving agent productivity. Firstly by automating manual tasks, agents are freed to address customers’ queries more efficiently. It significantly brings down time-consuming and error-prone processes. Secondly, the intuitive edge offered by AI-assistance tools like chatbots equips agents with information to sell better. They help collect inputs and perform predefined functions based on the setup business flow. Such an automated flow helps agents in assisting customers in a streamlined manner which reduces resolution time. Thus, AI assistance not only makes agents’ workload more manageable but also reduces the average cost per contact by speeding up interactions with customers which facilities faster resolutions.
10. Keep Agents Motivated
Why should your agents show up and do a great job? If your answer is bordering along the lines of, “I’m not sure” then it’s time to rethink your strategy. It’s a recognized fact that agents who perform better at their jobs are the ones who know what their goals are. And there are a few ways to ensure agent motivation. Adopting good wallboard software is one of them. NovelVox gamified wallboards can make work look like play and help transform the mundane, routine job into an engaging work environment. Secondly, an emphasis on non-traditional metrics like real-time customer feedback, balanced scorecards help to further improve the performance level of agents.
Productivity in contact centers is founded on the bedrock of technical and human interventions. The adoption of technology should not take out the ‘human’ element from the work and technological adoptions should not be ignored in today’s competitive world. Keeping agents motivated and driven does not come from leaning too heavily on either side.