At its heart, managing a call center similar to managing any organization. Benchmarking, saving time, optimizing processes and focusing on your people will be beneficial to improving call center management.
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To understand specifically on how to apply them in the call center context, here are some tips:
1. KPIs and setting goals
Setting your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) should be a priority from early on. You can start by understanding what the overall goals of your organization are. From there, you can start setting indicators such as first call resolution rate, call deflection, adherence, average conversation times, etc.
If you haven’t set KPI targets before and you don’t know what to track, you can start by tracking your KPIs for a quarter and using your results as your first benchmark to reach or surpass. Eventually, you will be optimizing even more and setting the bar higher.
2. Adopt time saving, efficiency boosting tools
As part of your drive towards optimization, you should adopt some software or IT solutions that help you save time or boost the efficiency of your call center workforce.
It’s important that these tools help you in achieving your goals and improve the KPIs that you have decided to track. Many solutions today also help you keep track of your KPIs aside from its functionalities that assist common call center operations. Be sure to look out for these.
When looking at technological solutions for your call center, the solutions themselves shouldn’t just optimize your operations but also your contact center’s tech backbone.
Imagine if you use 3-4 different software - one for handling calls, another for chat, another software for time tracking and one for analytics. Such a collection of software will lead to siloed data and your team having to switch from one platform to another to perform certain tasks.
Find software that covers as much of your processes as possible to limit the number of software that you will need. If you can’t find them, then your software should at least be easy to integrate with. A good sign is if they give provisions for APIs and integration with other software.
3. Be sensitive to warning signs
Just like in any industry, problems arise here and there. For most of them however, you can prevent them from reaching a critical point. One example, which commonly plagues the call center industry, is high levels of agent attrition.
In the US for example, while average attrition rates across industries are around 15%, for call centers it can reach an average of 30-45%. Imagine the amount of time and money that you spend for training new agents. If a third or nearly half of them will leave the company eventually, then half or a third of what you have invested in them will be lost.
4. Empower agents
Micromanaging agents will only result in stressed employees and inefficient supervisors and letting your agents focus too much on scripts will sap their enthusiasm for the job and your customers’ satisfaction.
You need to empower your agents to be resolve customer issues as much as they can. If it will require more training, then invest more in that. Empowering agents can go a long way into improving your first call resolution rate which is one of the most sought after KPIs to improve by many contact centres. However, it’s more than just training them. It’s also about holding agents accountable. After all, with more power comes more responsibility.
5. Bring your focus back to the people
Remember that at the core of the call center business is people. Your revenue depends on them as customers and it’s your agents that are the key to customer satisfaction. Remember that there should be a balance between reaching your KPIs and the well-being of your agents. Happy customer service agents will be better at achieving customer satisfaction.
Organize activities away from phones that will help reduce stress. Even changing something in their work environment will be beneficial. You can also explore remote working possibilities. Maybe your employees can have the option of working certain days from home.
Improving call center management requires you to take a deeper look at your company, its goals and its people. Doing this allows you to either discover the root causes of problems and address them more effectively or to find out what drives your agents and learn better ways to deal with and encourage them.
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