Worldwide, only 67% of people believe that customer service, as a whole, is improving. This emphasizes that customer service expectations are higher than ever, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for call centers to meet those customer expectations. That’s why it’s never been more critical to optimize your call center performance.
A customer experience promoter has a lifetime value to a company that’s 600 to 1400% of that of a detractor, but developing promoters is not an easy task. It takes consistent work to improve call center management for optimized performance, and there are four steps to help you get there.
Tips to Optimize Call Center Performance
The first step to optimizing your call center performance is to measure and track your progress. It’s essential that you quantitatively and qualitatively measure key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help fine-tune your efforts.
Your end goal should be to set milestones and track your momentum toward those milestones based on specific data points. The key is making sure you’re measuring the right data if you want to positively impact your call center performance.
To help you get started, we’ve outlined some of the most significant call center metrics below which impact performance.
1. Average Speed to Answer
This is the amount of time it takes for your call center agents to answer a call. The lower the number, the better.
2. First Call Resolution Rate
Customers who are satisfied during their first interaction with your business are more likely to become loyal customers and have a positive customer experience. Your first call resolution rate (FCR) illustrates how often a customer’s queries are satisfied during the first call.
3. Customer Satisfaction Rating (CSR)
CSR is typically a five-point scale with one being “very dissatisfied” and five being “very satisfied.” This critical metric tells your call center agents how effectively they’ve helped a customer.
4. Auxiliary Time
This metric tells you how often an agent is unavailable to make or answer calls. The key is to set clear parameters and definitions for auxiliary time, so you know if your metric falls within or outside accepted standards.
5. Schedule Adherence
Are your agents doing the work they’re scheduled to do? Schedule adherence helps ensure your agents are productive, good at managing their time, and can effectively streamline tasks.
6. Number of Calls until Resolution
This metric is as equally important to track as FCR, and can highlight how often you have repeat callers and the time it takes to finally resolve the issue. According to SQM, customer satisfaction drops by 15% every time a customer has to call back about the same issue.
7. Active & Waiting Calls
These two metrics equate to the total amount of active calls and total number of callers sitting on hold. This tells you how busy your call center is and the length of wait to help those customers. You’ll also want to track how long customers are kept on hold.
Invest in the Right QA Software
To help track all of these call center metrics, you’ll want to invest in QA software that makes it easy to assess calls, track non-traditional metrics, and manage your entire call center from a 360° perspective. The software should be easy to engage with agents and showcase the benefits of collaboration, transparency, and communication. It should also enable you to make impactful, measurable changes in the call center which consistently focuses on improving call center performance.
The right QA software doesn’t just collect data; it helps you make sense of that data. It should highlight agent patterns and trends while helping you drill down into groups, teams, or into individual agent levels. These tools should be able to compare performances between agents over-time to highlight training gaps, so you’re consistently monitoring and implementing steps to improve quality.
Scorecards are one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal for monitoring your call center performance and finding new ways to enhance customer experience. When you implement agent scorecards, you give your company a way to assess every agent and customer interaction to ensure customer satisfaction.
The first step to a successful call center scorecard system is defining your criteria. For example, you might consider scoring an agent’s problem-solving capabilities, compliance adherence, soft-skills, etiquette, script compliance, and follow-up skills. Use your scorecard criteria to align with your KPIs, but keep it condensed to just 10 to 20 questions. Design the scorecard so that it is easy to interpret and it produces actionable insights instead of it resulting in an unnecessary exercise.
Finally, launch your new scorecard across your call center and prepare to collect and analyze the results regularly. The goal of the scorecard should be to identify your agent and call center strengths and weaknesses in order to make corrections as needed.
Invest in Training
In the end, you want to empower your call center agents for success, and that means ongoing training. Utilize your data, QA software, and scorecards to produce a program that consistently reviews agent performance and provides insights, feedback and training on areas which require improvement.
Another benefit of agent training is a better understanding of your talent pool. The skills of each agent should quickly become evident, and that’s valuable information for call routing. Once you realize where each agent excels, you can then route calls to the best agent for those particular cases. This will ensure a higher FCR, greater customer satisfaction, and moreover happier employees.
Ultimately, training is how you will implement all the necessary changes to improve call center performance and customer satisfaction rates.
Knowledge is Power (& How You Optimize Call Center Performance)
You can’t know where you’re headed without first knowing where you’re at. The same goes for improving call center performance. Tracking, measuring, and analyzing the right call center metrics is essential to optimizing your performance. The good news is that with the right preparation, QA software, scorecards, and agent training, you can improve every aspect of your call center.