It’s easy to overlook back office efficiency in call centers since most of the focus is on the frontline operations.
After all, a collective mediocre performance from your agents can easily equate to losses as the failure of each agent compounds the cost.
Interested in learning how to improve your call center back office system?
But this shouldn’t be an excuse to neglect your back office. According to Tarp Worldwide research, 60% of customer dissatisfaction can be linked to back office inefficiencies. This is further corroborated by the European Business Review which found that 60% of the knowledge and 73% of the human resources required for a good customer experience are found in the back office.
Taking steps to optimize your call center back office system will positively affect your bottom line in the end. DMG Consulting research sheds some light into these. Did you know that increased productivity can cut operational costs by up to 40%? Being in the business of call centers, you also know that the quicker your agents can resolve issues, the shorter the phone calls. And the shorter the phone calls, the more customers they can assist. Unfortunately though, it was found that back office inefficiencies can result in 20% more frontline interactions.
Below are some of the ways you can optimize your call center back office system:
1. Take a hard look at the processes
You should have the same visibility for your back office as in your customer service agents. I’m not talking about technology here. I want you to focus on all the processes in your back office and the individual steps or tasks that are a part of each process.
List each process and see how each step flows into the next. Where are the bottlenecks? Where are you weakest? How can the processes be shortened or optimized?
One common problem is when you have task-specific teams such as a team handling billing resolution, claim approval, customer information changes or complaint handling. Each team is focused on a specific set of activities. There will be times when certain teams will be vacant while others are struggling to juggle customers.
A solution could be to have a swing team that can help you manage gaps across all your teams. If you rotate team members across different teams, then no one will be stuck doing the same thing every day and it will be easier to build your swing team as well.
2. Know your workforce, in and out
Processes are just one part of the puzzle. People are an integral part. After all, those processes aren’t going to work themselves, at least not until they create affordable robots.
There are many challenges to managing a call center back office workforce. If they aren’t motivated, or sincerely trying to assist your customers, then that will negatively affect you. After all, customer service is the essence of what you are trying to achieve, and if that doesn’t exist in your workforce, then there’s no point in keeping your customer service channels.
Research suggests that 28% of time spent in the back office by employees are allocated to unproductive tasks. That can be a problem if you consider that there are customers patiently waiting for their issues or requests to be resolved as soon as possible. Apply the 80/20 rule. Find out which 20% of their unproductive behaviours produce the most effect.
Some unhealthy behaviours observed include choosing only the tasks that they like instead of handling the most important ones or taking their time in identifying and prioritizing the next task to work on. You’ll have to eliminate or optimize them.
3. Adopt appropriate technological solutions
There are many tech solutions out there. So what criteria should we look for when searching for the right solutions?
Every call center has its own unique challenges and needs, but at the very least, you will need something that gives you 360-degree visibility across your workforce especially for workload, efficiency and resolution rates. There are many terms for them. You can look for customer engagement platforms, or customer service platforms or even customer experience platforms.
You may also need a solution allows you to set business rules to route calls or tasks. Look for systems that have an element of Business Rules Management or Business Process Management.
While it’s always best to get a solution that covers all your needs, sometimes, it’s just not possible and you need two or more. If that’s the case, then you should also look at integration possibilities.
Process, people and technology - these are the three cornerstones that can make your contact center a success. Take a hard look at each and soon, you’ll find the best way on how to optimize your call center back office system.