For many organisations, the contact centre is either the main frontline or at least one of the main ways of engaging with customers. Whether we’re talking about inbound or outbound, existing or prospective customers, the contact centre not only represents the brand or organisation, it constitutes much of the effort that goes into customer relations.
This is why it pays for organisations to regularly review contact centre staff productivity and performance, which depends on a combination of the right culture, the right processes and the right supporting technology. Here are some suggested areas to examine:
1. Do staff have the support they need?
Efficient contact centres depend on staff who are confidently processing calls rapidly and efficiently, while feeling that they have the tools they need.
For instance, as standard simple call recording (‘this call may be recorded for training purposes’), also consider screen recording. This helps the team leader to see how simple it is for staff to jump to the right part of the call, or if there needs to be some adjustments made to the system, or to provide that team member with more tailored training.
Call scripting helps to keep the dialogue ‘on message’, but at the same time, it’s important that scripts are flexible and not rigid: agents need to be able to hold honest, engaging and real conversations. Also make sure that scripts are updated regularly and integrated with the CRM system, so that ‘improvisation’ matches on-screen data.
2. Are you maximising campaign impact in real-time?
In this day and age, there is no excuse for reviewing campaign performance once a month, once a week or even once a day. Finding out about lost performance – for instance, through long inbound waiting times and other problems – after the event means that the damage to the customer experience has already happened. Use real-time campaign monitoring services to help the dialler manager, contact centre manager or team leaders to ensure make sure that reporting remains on track, customer experience levels do not dip.
Call-blending is relatively commonplace these days, but many contact centres are not utilising it properly still. Dynamically allocating agents to handle inbound and outbound calls, rather than having dedicated to one or the other, means that agents’ time is being used most effectively and that inbound callers are not having a frustrating wait.
3. Is technology helping to create a great customer and agent experience?
There are some simple techniques and technologies that can ensure a smoother experience for both the customer and the agent. For instance, many firms have dismissed Answering Machine Detection (AMD) solutions because traditionally the complexities and administration still required for Ofcom compliance outweighed the benefits. However, the new generation of AMD solutions virtually eliminate the risk of the agent reaching an unattended phone (thus preventing delays and the frustration of having to get ready for the next outbound call).
Payment technologies – particularly PCI DSS compliance – often get in the way of a call’s flow, however new advances mean that the agent can stay on the call, reducing the chances of delays or worst still, a call being dropped, without exposure to sensitive customer data.
Third and finally, intelligent routing means that the workforce can be used more dynamically, according to adviser’s skills or priority groups. This minimises the risk of a relatively inexperienced agent having to deal with difficult calls, while ensuring that calls are handled more swiftly and giving customers an experience more likely to satisfy their expectations.
Improving agent and contact centre productivity is not just about keeping an eye on the minutes: it is just as much about ensuring that resources are being deployed effectively, that calls are being answered and dealt with swiftly and efficiently, plus that the customer has a positive experience.
By Justin Hamilton-Martin, CEO, Ultra Comms, founded over a decade ago as Europe’s first ever cloud-based contact centre solution provider and today, supports a wide variety of UK organisations through its portfolio of innovation-focused services.