Call Center Best Practices to Implement Immediately
We love the optimism and the hopefulness that beginning a new year brings. Individuals ruminate about self-improvement practices. Businesses try to forecast what is ahead of them and craft strategies to support those forecasts.
The past couple years have been filled with immense challenges. In a time of mass uncertainty and unpredictability, call centers were faced with increased call volumes as they were also making shifts to remote environments creating a need for improved workforce management best practice strategies.
Businesses have started to see the impact and importance of having actionable analytics on their side to make timely, informed decisions. Employee retention and wellbeing have been at the forefront of conversations and covered extensively in the news coverage across industries. Advanced technological solutions for call centers and honing internal process changes and policies are beginning to reflect the reality of COVID-era customer support.
This article highlights some of the trends and best practices we see on the horizon.
Contact Center Best Practices: Why Are They Important?
This is going to be the year where contact center industries will be focused on creating efficiency and cost savings while enhancing customer experiences (CX) and improving employee experiences (EX). Contact centers have evolved with customer preferences beyond handling phone calls, and now handle a variety of interactions (email, chat, video chat, etc.) so developing best practices that are universally applicable and helpful makes practical business sense.
5 Call Center Best Practices To Help Your Team Thrive
1. Leverage Your Call Center’s Data
Analytics is here to stay in today’s data-driven world. Gone are the days where manager instincts and skill alone were enough to make important business decisions. There is a paradigm shift in the ways that call centers have integrated analytics into their adaptive management strategies to do things like improve their customer service experience or increase the performance of their call center agents. Analytics is the key to improvement across business facets.
- Predictive analytics help companies stay ahead and understand a customer’s journey through various touch points.
- Advanced analytics help your teams stay ahead and help them execute successful strategies.
- Robust analytical tools help companies extract insights on performance and productivity.
- Dashboards that offer essential information to agents and managers alike.
Knowledge empowers teams. At Brightmetrics™, we have designed a best-in-class product that enables your team to gain critical insights into the overall performance of your contact center by identifying key performance indicators and metrics. Brightmetrics REAL TIME Analytics™ and historical analytics services help you directly understand how your customers’ experiences are impacted by how your call center is operating.
Everyone in your contact center from your agents to your CEO can use our tools with easy-to-use drag and drop capabilities to build out reports and dashboards that best suit your call center’s unique needs.
Do you need insights on high-level trends? We have you covered.
Looking for the nitty-gritty details? We make it simple.
2. Track the Metrics and KPIs That Matter
This year many companies are going to dial in on what they want to measure and what metrics matter most to their organization, aligning metrics with business objectives. Is being overly concerned about your call time that important if your revenue is ahead of your goals? Are customer satisfaction and customer loyalty really important to your business after looking at churn or abandonment rates?
Help your team by identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are critical to the success of your business to improve your call center performance.
Here are useful call center metrics you should consider:
- Issue type
- Call volume
- Abandoned calls
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
- Average wait time
- After-call work
- Resolution rate
- Turnover rate
- First call resolution
- Average handle time
- Lifetime customer interactions
- Customer feedback
The fact of the matter is that no is no such thing as the perfect call center operation. Even with impeccable metrics performance, there are still blind spots to consider. There is also the necessity for compliance with laws and industry regulations. Quality assurance is also an important element of call center operations. Tap into the resources of your all-stars to review their calls, perform regular assessments of your team, solicit customer feedback as often as possible to keep a well-rounded vantage point of how your contact center is operating.
3. Make Technology Work for Your Contact Center
Over the last several years there has been an increased reliance on technology to support call center operations and call center agents as they aimed to address customer issues effectively and efficiently.
Some of the more traditional technology solutions like IVR and finding robust analytics programs are becoming standard issues for any call center looking to succeed. So what is next? Deploying the next wave of technology with artificial intelligence, automation, cloud migration, chatbots, advanced self-service tools, and omnichannel integrations to support multi-channel communications to help unify call center operations.
We foresee modern technologies providing succinct business intelligence insights to managers, teams, and agents as well as strategies for call center process improvement and increased cost efficiencies.
Now is not the time to rely exclusively on what has been working but to look forward to what could be in the near and distant future for your organization. What things could you get ahead of? What pain points could you resolve with the right technology right now? Taking the time to dig into these technologies and get started on implementation is time well spent.
4. Provide Professional Development and Training Opportunities
From an employee perspective, if you haven’t heard, we are living in the Great Resignation. The data paints a crystal clear picture for us that the best way to retain employees is by making them feel valued and providing them the opportunity for growth within your organization.
When an employee does not feel valued at work there is a 76% likelihood that they will be looking for other opportunities. A LinkedIn workplace survey report from 2021 showed that “94% of surveyed employees said if a company invested in helping them learn, they would stay longer.”
From new agents to seasoned representatives your organization has gone through the effort of recruiting and training your employees. Now is the time to build out a call center training best practices strategy as a part of your overall cost-saving plan for 2022.
Offer those professional development opportunities. Look for ways to incorporate mentorship or program training.
Is upward feedback a part of your contact center culture? Have you polled your workforce to figure out what incentive programs they’d like to see? Are you utilizing “stay” interviewing techniques?
The future of call center operations is fast, nimble, and diverse. Whether your organization is using physical or remote or hybrid models of work, your call center is in the position to diversify your agent’s skills, invest in their resources, and offer the flexibility they need to be able to take care of your customer’s various volumes and support needs.
5. Keep Humanity at the Center of Your Operations
Do you enjoy being on hold for a long period of time when you need assistance and have what you think is a simple question?
Centering your call center operations around the question “Would I want this exact thing to happen to me as a human being?” is the ultimate best practice for call centers in 2022.
The data shows that $1.6T is lost every year in the U.S. because of poor customer service. (source: Accenture Strategy) 32% of customers stop doing business with a brand they love after only one bad experience. (source: PwC) Consumers are also willing to pay a 16% price premium for a great customer experience. (source: PwC)
Poor customer experiences are a liability to your business. People will quite literally pay more if you help them save their most precious resource – time.
Nobody enjoys feeling like they are just a metric or just an outcome. Successful call centers know that technology can only go so far. It’s the people that help companies crush their goals and deliver on their mission. Behind every call is a person. People still value human connection.
Call Center Best Practices FAQs:
What Are Some Call Handling Best Practices?
Call handling best practices may vary from industry to industry but generally, the best call handling practices are focused on customer experience. Active listening, creative problem solving, aiming for one-call resolution when applicable. All of these best practices come from a place of wanting to genuinely provide a top-tier customer experience.
What Makes a Successful Call Center?
People make successful call centers happen. Having the right team members in the right roles with the right integrations of call center technology applying the right data makes an unbeatable recipe for successful call center experiences and happy customers.
Success will also bring opportunities to do continued process improvement and quality control:
- Exploring expanded functionality and service offerings
- Improving call routing or IVR ( Interactive Voice Response) systems
- Adding staff members during peak seasons to handle the increase in the number of calls
- Streamline workflow processes
- Effectively use call quality monitoring best practices for quality assurance
- Setting benchmarks that are realistic and achievable
- Contextualizing agent productivity
These are all elements of call center management that take time to thoughtful design and implement but will foster healthy, productive working environments and happy customers.
How Can Agents Improve Their Call Center Skills?
Agents looking to improve their call center skills are hopefully in contact center environments where resources are easily accessible to them. Agent performance can be improved by robust call center training programs, centralized knowledge bases, mentorship, call feedback, and listening to effective agents are all avenues to explore for professional development within a call center.
Also, reviewing your customer’s surveys or surveys received for the business unit generally might highlight areas of opportunity or might help you understand a pattern of what delights your customers.
If you are a call center agent in a smaller operation or a newer operation the world wide web offers a ton of “customer service” education. Social media resources for customer service professionals, blogs, tutorials, FAQs, and case studies are readily available. We would highly recommend keeping a record of anything you do to improve your skills for reviews and to add to your resume. Employers love seeing employee engagement and you deserve recognition for going above and beyond!