Solving Small and Medium Business Problems With Your ShoreTel Phone Analytics
Running an SMB comes with unique challenges that are often overlooked by vendors designing solutions for larger scale. Take, for example, your business phone system. Your ShoreTel phone system is the most common point of contact for your customers. There are opportunities to leverage a ton of data about your customer experience, your employee productivity, and to help you with important decisions such as staffing level, scheduling, and training needs. Utilizing this data to make better-informed decisions on these issues can have a direct impact on your bottom line, but you’ll need the right analytics tool to help you collect and sort that data into legible business intelligence and insights. Here are some important questions to ask, and answer, with your ShoreTel SMB phone system and Brightmetrics.
Start with This Metric
One of the most valuable metrics that small and medium businesses can monitor is employee availability. This is because you can go back historically and build a summary or detailed report to see exactly which employees are meeting productivity standards, and which ones aren’t. Employee availability will show how much time each individual spends idle versus available to take calls. Additionally, you can add in hourly filters to determine which hours get the most calls, and contrast available agents to ensure that you’re staffed appropriately. For example, if you have some employees taking 40 calls while others are only taking four calls, you can clearly see where your employees need coaching to even out the workload and improve the customer experience. This also gives you a starting point for discussions with those agents. While bigger organizations also want maximum employee productivity, the stakes can be much higher for a small business with six or eight employees.
What’s Taking So Long?
One of the major customer experience issues that we see on a regular basis is that customers don’t reach a live person in a reasonable amount of time. The thing about small businesses is that you don’t typically have excess staff to handle spikes of incoming calls. So when a call comes in, maybe your customer is going to an auto attendant, then to a work group, and an overflow work group, and then maybe a hunt group. There might only be one person in each of these groups due to limited staffing, and they’re all hoping someone along the way will pick up the call. Understanding your call flow helps in determining why calls are not being answered in a timely fashion, and can suggest options toward solving those problems and giving your staff better opportunities to connect with customers.
What’s The Journey?
Think about this in terms of your customer’s experience and what this looks like as they follow the path you create with your ShoreTel phone system. Brightmetrics will give you a clear understanding of how many steps your callers are going through before they reach an actual, live person. Sometimes they might have to go through seven or eight steps before reaching someone. For your business, the path might be completely fine — but for some, it may be contributing to your abandon rate. It might also be a good opportunity to determine whether those calls are being routed correctly, and if the person at the other end of the line has the training necessary to handle those calls. There are a lot of questions you can answer with how many steps your caller has to go through, and what impact those steps have on your customer experience.
Do You Have Abandonment Issues?
Another major challenge with SMBs is the high abandonment rates. Every abandoned call is a missed opportunity for a rep to build a customer relationship. But it’s not enough to KNOW that calls are abandoning, it’s about learning WHY calls are being abandoned. There’s a common misconception that your abandon rate should be 0%. This is far too costly to achieve, especially for smaller businesses, and trying to staff to this target isn’t necessary. Combining metrics and perspectives like your count of abandons, queue time before abandon, and the number of steps a call goes through before abandon are all pieces of the puzzle that help you understand exactly how long average callers are willing to wait, and why the phone may not be answered before that timeline. Your ShoreTel system can tell you, with the right analytics tool, if there is an issue with the entire team and your processes, or if it’s a certain individual who needs coaching. This will help you determine if there is a technical issue with your phones, a frustrating path through your phone system, or the total queue time. Knowing WHY calls are being abandoned is the first step to achieving the abandon rate that’s right for your business.
What’s Your Magic Number?
Staffing levels can be very difficult for SMBs to manage. This is because call volume can fluctuate without warning, and because labor is very expensive for the average SMB. Managing that expense is important, but not at the cost of the customers who keep you in business. The right data can show you some higher-level trends and patterns you may not be aware of, like busier times in the morning, toward the beginning of the month, or concurrent with external factors. Using data to back up your staffing decisions is the best way to balance your need for appropriate staffing levels with your need to manage labor costs.
But Who Is It?
This one is really difficult, but can be hugely helpful to achieving your customer satisfaction goals. As an SMB, it’s important that every single call is handled appropriately. One major clue you have available in determining if a call was completed to customer satisfaction is the disconnect reason, and who it was who ended the call. You can measure disconnect reasons and look at total call time to understand the quality of the engagement. Trends from these metrics allow you to create an action plan for employees who are missing the mark, if it has to do with one individual, or take a look at your policies and procedures if it’s a department-wide issue.
More on Quality Engagements: Here’s a Few More Metrics to Monitor
Another incredibly important piece of the analytics puzzle is pulling information about average call length. This information will give you clues about whether customer questions and issues are resolved, or whether employees simply want customers off the phone. There are two metrics that measure this well—average call length and transfer rate by employee. For example, if you’re seeing a shorter-than-average call time for one particular employee, paired with a high transfer rate, you know that either that employee needs additional training, or they are getting calls routed inappropriately to them. Again, this isn’t that big of a deal for huge organizations, but when you’re spreading one agent’s calls to one of only a few people, the burden of the workload can be overwhelming, disruptive, and ultimately can cost your business customers.
The Secret Sauce
Now that you’re aware of some of the issues you can address with your ShoreTel phone system analytics, as well as some of the metrics you can monitor to assess those issues, it’s time to discover the secret to acting on this process. Let’s face it: knowing may be half the battle, but how easy is it for you to arrive at these perspectives in a reasonable amount of time with all of your other responsibilities? Obtaining this information from manufacturer reports — this specific level of information, such as the performance of one employee—is like pulling teeth. Larger organizations employ individuals, or even teams of workforce analysts, to spin up reporting and dashboards around these perspectives. What you need for guaranteed success is an analytics tool like Brightmetrics. With a simple setup process, you can access pre-developed templates designed to answer questions exactly like the ones you have about your SMB. Your questions about staffing levels, employee productivity, and employee training are built within the Brightmetrics system and are exactly what our services are built for. We provide you with vital perspectives and analytics capabilities in a manner that’s easy to read and share, with data available from cradle to grave that you can slice and dice however you need to make better business decisions for your SMB.