Your contact center is the front line to your customers and is critical to the image of your company. In fact, customer service in your contact center can have a bigger effect on customer loyalty and sales than a new website, logo, or storefront. People want to have their concerns heard and handled. You may feel like resources are scarce, but it is easy to overspend in the contact center. Here are five areas to evaluate and how you can find extra money and time in your contact center:
- Optimize Your Schedules. If you are still using Excel to schedule your agents, then you are likely over staffed by as much as 30%. Most call centers run multiple skills and multiple channels. Erlang cannot handle creating proper agent requirements across skills or channels. The result is a schedule with more agents than really needed to cover the work. Automated tools use complex mathematics to optimize agent requirements. They can be adjusted to optimize coverage or optimize costs. The tools can also provide suggestions on cross training opportunities to further reduce agent requirements.
- Monitor Schedule Adherence. A hidden cost in the contact center is agents not adhering to their schedule. Contact Centers not using an automated workforce management tool to track adherence tend to have 65-70% out of adherence rates, meaning only about 30-35% of the agents login or take breaks on time. Five or ten agents taking a break at the wrong time, coming back late from lunch, or just taking an unscheduled break, can back up call queues for the rest of the day. Using a tool to monitor schedule adherence and training the agents on the impact of adherence; will improve service levels, reduce occupancy, and reduce agent requirements to cover a specific shift.
- Understand Your First Call Resolution Rate. The contact center buzz word that certainly has value, but may not make sense for your contact center. First call resolution is the idea that the customer is satisfied in one call. Maybe your contact is a sales center and people call a first time to ask questions and then call back to make the purchase. Or your service model is dependent upon a multi-call staging of resources. For example, level one must verify and diagnose the issue before assigning it to the proper technical resource. The important thing is that whatever your model, that customers can get to the right person or process easily every time. If the customer cannot get an answer they are likely to seek it out on other channels. For example, calling sales instead of service. This begins to multiply the cost to serve the customer. You end up paying three or four people that can’t solve the problem, instead of one that can. Understanding call routing, transfers, and agent training are keys to reducing re-work and will improve customer satisfaction. An effective call recording system is key to identifying why people are calling, why they are transferred, and why the call back. Quality monitoring and coaching tools can be used to cross train agents or just ensure agents are properly trained.
- Limit Refunds, Discounts, and Service Upgrades. The customer is always right is only true when the customer is sincere. If your contact center is dealing in consumer goods, a percentage of your customers have learned what to say to get something free. If you are not recording calls, you will never know if or when these cons are happening. Did this person just call another agent asking for the same offer? Is there an agent training opportunity? Did they really have a price quoted for first class tickets, or are they just saying that knowing you cannot verify? In the travel industry, we see entire departments created around solving problems while the customer is travelling. Free upgrades, free excursions, and free beverages are just some of the soft giveaways frequently absorbed by the contact center. Without the proper recording and reviewing of calls, you will not know if this is a training issue with an agent or customers taking advantage of your desire to delight.
- Reduce Agent Handle Time. Your best trained agents take care of your customers, give extra, and still have a lower handle time than their peers. The idea is not to rush the interaction. In fact, you want to ensure the customer issue is resolved completely before ending any interaction. However, you can learn a lot from your best agents. Watch what tools they use, how they organize their desktop, and then share those best practices with your other agents. You can record your agents and use performance evaluation, coaching, and training tools to train your agents so they can quickly provide the right answers or identify the right resources. A ten percent reduction in handle time is the same as a ten percent increase in staffing.
CXM’s workforce optimization tools can help you achieve a more efficient contact center. Our team can provide ROI tools to help you find these hidden cost savings to improve your contact center and your bottom line. For more information call us at 866-400-4296 or cxmrecord.com.