20 Ways Contact Centers Can Increase Production: Part One

contact center performance

Whether you’re a CEO, senior manager, or floor supervisor, knowing how to drive results within your contact center team is imperative for success. A combination of skills, processes, technology, and optimization efforts directly impact contact center performance. What follows are ten critical factors to consider in your planning efforts. We’ll be posting an additional ten tips in Part Two.

1.  Encourage healthy competition by sharing results

Establish a culture of professional competitiveness. Provide agents with metrics that reflect individual results across their teams. All programs have specific KPIs established at the outset. Post daily results of metrics broken down by agent. Both enterprises and programs benefit when individual contributors feel encouraged and encourage each other to be as productive as possible, no matter the reason or incentive.

2.  Streamline contact channels into a universal queue

Omnichannel contact center platforms allow contacts to be fed into a universal queue, combining phone, email, chat, and social media. This approach enables agents to move seamlessly between channels when a customer requests or the support need calls for that transfer. 

A streamlined approach allows agents to view the entirety of the interaction, regardless of the channel chosen by the customer, improves the customer experience, and provides the best strategy for consistent support. All information secured along the way can be displayed to the agent contributing to an efficient support experience and eliminating the need to recapture information already provided. 

3.  Combine customer data in one place

Searching for customer information among multiple systems and screens can frustrate agents and customers. A unified agent desktop solution that combines data from several systems into one view or screen has a significant, positive impact. It gives agents a more comprehensive view of the customer and provides more efficient navigation between sources. Additionally, research shows that using a unified solution positively impacts handle times and customer satisfaction scores, two metrics regularly measured on contact center programs.

4.  Monitor frequently and provide timely feedback

Quality monitoring tools allow supervisors and analysts to monitor agent activity across all contact channels. Leverage the technology, apply qualified human capital to the process, and document observations. 

Provide staff feedback, including positive feedback, to help improve contact center performance. Coaching and training opportunities noted from the analysis of customer interactions should be acted on promptly, contributing to better program results and skills amongst agents. Not only will program results benefit, but agents will be better engaged and feel appreciated, thanks to positive feedback.

Don’t forget to allow your agents to analyze their efforts. Agents are usually more critical of themselves than management, and buy-in comes more naturally when one observes their shortcomings.

5.  Provide easy access to knowledge-based reference tools

Customers demand timely and accurate responses to their inquiries. Providing quick access to knowledge-based content is your best approach to delivering the desired outcome.

Contact center software typically allows enterprises to assemble reference tools specific to a program and deliver the content in a format that is easy to navigate for agents. Employing such technology affords staff to expeditiously access manuals, scripts, FAQs (and responses), marketing collateral, articles, catalogs, and other business information when the proper technology is employed.

6.  Provide job diversity

In a contact center, repetition typically breeds success. However, sometimes repetition also results in boredom. Keeping agents engaged, happy, and interested is key for contact center performance. 

Programs that call for shared agents allow representatives to serve customers of multiple brands. This diversity keeps agents on their toes, and once they move past the learning curve of various programs, the change of pace between programs deflates boredom. 

Another way to have agents focused on their programs and feeling challenged is to open up channels they support when a program offers more than one channel. When doing so, make sure agents have the requisite skillset to provide excellent customer service across all channels under consideration for them. A great agent on the phone might not be great for chat support or email correspondence, for example, if they lack the typing skills required to excel in that role.

7.  Utilize IVR to capture customer needs and route calls

Introducing an IVR component to incoming calls is a great way to begin a dialogue with your customers.

A call greeting IVR allows you to quickly and cost-effectively provide customers a way to communicate with you before they speak to a live agent. You have the opportunity to greet callers in the IVR message and offer them a way to share the nature of their needs. Knowing what each customer needs assistance with, as expressed in the IVR, allows you to route the call to a properly trained team member to assist them. 

Make sure you pass through any information captured during the customer’s time in the IVR to the live agent who will serve them, circumventing the need to gather the same information for the second time and degrading the customer experience. This pass-through process allows agents to properly greet customers, express appreciation to existing customers, and hone in on their stated needs for assistance.

8.  Monitor contact arrival data and reallocate agents accordingly

The contact arrival forecasting process is not without flaws. Despite best-laid plans, such as leveraging historical data and accounting for market adjustments, a materially accurate forecast still isn’t guaranteed. Be prepared to adjust when reality doesn’t align with projections.

It is best to cross-train agents to serve customers across different channels, or in the case of shared agents on various programs, to have options available. When a contact center cross-trains its agents, managers can easily and quickly realign resources with demand, depending on program volumes. Employing an omnichannel technology platform allows for simple reallocation of staff when a given channel is lagging behind the forecasted volume. Since KPIs associated with email support are typically more lenient, time-wise, than phone and chat channels, slower times of phone demand represent great times to swing those agents to email support to fill the void. Conversely, if heavy call volume requires additional resources to maintain metrics on a program, reallocate email staff to assist with phone call spikes. Make sure management personnel are on top of queues and reports throughout the day to look for opportunities to leverage staff appropriately. 

9.  Provide IVR options for customer self-service for basic needs

Interactive or Conversational IVR, audible or visual, offers a way to satisfy the more basic needs of customers without requiring human interaction. Offering customers a way to help themselves to desired information saves money and reduces demand for human capital. 

Companies effectively employ this approach for simple needs such as confirming an order shipped or checking the balance on an account, among other applications.

Today’s IVR platforms allow customers to access the information they seek efficiently. They still offer companies a way to thank customers for their business and provide a personalized welcome message.

10.  Leverage workforce management tools to drive high occupancy rates

Employ a workforce management solution (WFM) with an optimized scheduling function to develop schedules for agents. A WFM program that allows for individual contact channel forecast data (phone, email, chat, social) and service level goals provides the shift schedules required to ensure high occupancy rates, the efficient approach every program calls for. 

Telecom, Inc. offers nearly 30 years of experience building successful programs, always focusing on increasing contact center performance while employing the latest contact center technology and exceptional domestic staff to provide a strong ROI for our partner clients.  

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals on your next campaign.

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