According to Tyler Riddell, Vice President of Marketing for eSUB,
“One of the most important aspects of a call center is efficient phone traffic flow”
The most crippling factor for most call centers is inconsiderate and unplanned call traffic distribution. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than having to speaking multiple executives and still not getting the right information or solution.
Managing a call center requires proper planning and effective execution of the plans. It involves having a 360-degree vision, the ability to take complex decisions and motivating others to give their best to achieve the organizational goals.
Earlier, the means and mediums available to BPO call centers were very limited. Many new channels such as social media, video, web chat etc. have recently have opened up newer avenues to ensure better connectivity and contact with customers. But, it has also increased the workload on customer service and support teams.
In order to ensure the smooth functioning of a call center and provide the best-in-class services to customers, thereby fulfilling call center goals, following points should be carefully considered.
For increased productivity and boosting your numbers, effective call center management becomes a must-have attribute for your business. In this article, we are going to be listing some of the most important and successful call center strategies for your business. keep in mind that if you choose to outsource to a call center service provider, the firm should be able to do this and more:
How to Achieve Call Center Success:
- Proper Scheduling
Scheduling is one of the most crucial functions of any call center. It requires the call center manager to analyze the daily rota, examine call volume trends and keep a record of agents’ availability. The onus is on the manager to analyze the peak time when the call center receives maximum calls. Consequently, top agents can be assigned for those specific slots so that they are handled in the best manner. This ensures a good customer experience and hence a good brand image leading to better turnover.
- Appropriate Hiring
Technical skills aside, it is the soft skills of the call center employees that make them more suited for BPO call centers. Often, technical skills are prioritized during recruitment process and soft skills are undermined. Call centers require people with good communication skill, excellent memory and zest. It is the attributes like voice appeal, shrewd listening skills and general enthusiasm that makes them more attractive. Soft skills is that it cannot be taught or be brought in practice through rigorous training. These traits are in-built within certain candidates. For others, you may have to play the role of a “teacher”. Even then, one mustn’t be discouraged from working alongside freshers. They may bring new ideas and tech onboard with their skills. Therefore, the managers and recruiting team must carefully scrutinize the applicants for their aptitude and more importantly, attitude.
- Employee Engagement
A report by Gallup suggested that companies in the top quartile of employee engagement have experienced 10 percent higher customer ratings than companies in the bottom quartile. Call centers are perceived to be the most challenging places to work in. This makes attracting good talents difficult. The first step to getting good talents is meticulous hiring but it is only one part of the process. The most crucial step is effective employee engagement. It could be as simple as maintaining a daily interaction with the employees. The management must regularly hold engaging activities like brainstorming sessions, a team outing, etc. It boosts their morale and make them feel right at home. Ultimately, it helps them handle the customers in a better and enthusiastic manner.
- Proper Onboarding
A very significant element of the management process is thorough onboarding. Quite often, oversights made during hiring are corrected during an onboarding process. A carefully planned and researched training program must be laid out for the fresh recruits to enable them to handle customer complaints efficiently. They need to perceive consumer complaints as opportunities to provide better services rather than a hurdle. Gamifying tasks and making employees want to progress to the next level to get proper recognition are a great way to maintain better workflow and morale. Managers may assign experienced employees to mentor new ones that would help the employee to be acquainted with critical aspects of the job. Following up with the new hires help them fit in better with the company.
- Factual Decision Making
Like any other industry, decisions in the call center must be based on facts and data. There should be proper goal setting, effective execution of plans and appropriate metrics to assess the performance against goals. Once the metrics are decided, all possible data must be pulled together to get a better insight into the workings of the organization. Some examples of metrics to be used in call centers are Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction CSat, etc. However, keep in mind that each of these metrics, though inter-connected, might present a different picture. This is why, if you assess an agent based on lesser than 5 metrics, you may be in the wrong.
- Balance Workflow
It is extremely indispensable for any organization to have just the right number of employees for the job. If the number of workers is higher than the work required, it leads to a waste of resources. On the other hand, if there is too much burden on every member, chances are they could underperform. Therefore, it is essential to balance the work burden and size of the team to ensure smooth and efficient functioning. With the help of certain important information such as daily call volume, call times and team members necessary to provide short wait times etc. it is easier to calculate call volume, forecast staff requirements, and manage costs.
- Investment in Technology
Every industry needs the right tools and technology to run smoothly. Call centers are no exception. In order to ensure optimal employee performance, it is the responsibility of the organization to equip them with the best tools and technology that would help speed up productivity. There are a number of call center management software suites that provide quick, effective and seamless experience to the employees as well as the customers. Database management, record access and advanced search functionality have further eased workload and helped streamline call-center workflow. Investment in technology must be proactively planned as these technologies are very expensive but the dividends they pay in terms of productivity, ease of business and satisfaction is worth the costs. If you choose to outsource your calling requirements, you should go for a center that is heavy on AI and voice chat because these are being touted as the future of tech in BPOs.
- Hiring Remote Agents
Customers have always been the crucial factor for any commercial enterprise. For call centers, these customers could be located about anywhere in the world and speak any language. Therefore, remote working solutions could be an effective step for the success of the organization. It opens the opportunity of a broader talent pool and usher in a whole new level of personalized conversations. Hiring remote agents extends the talent pool beyond borders. This gives better flexibility and allows for more options for recruiters to choose from. With remote agents at service, call centers have the option of engaging more members when call volumes increase. With absenteeism and turnover being the common problem associated with call centers, remote hiring techniques help in better retention of employees thereby saving a lot of funds which would otherwise be wasted on repeated recruitments. The remote agents can further cut down the cost to company due to the absence of time spent in commutes, savings in utility bills, etc. With these savings, the organization can focus on empowering its employees and incentivizing them to work better.
- Targets and Incentives
It is a proven fact that employees who are better incentivized perform better. Good incentives not only ensure good quality work but also help in retaining the employee for a longer period. When there is a direct link between effort and reward, the workers tend to give their best. Working in a call center could be very stressful and tedious at times. Being on phones for hours on end can exhaust anyone. Even in the best working conditions when the influx of demand is high, the employee tends to be drained.
Choosing the correct incentive programs could be tasking for the managers since there are many factors to be considered. The measurement criteria should be such that it primarily focuses on all those factors that are directly related to the growth and betterment of the enterprise. For instance, focusing on time spent per call will encourage employees to quickly complete the calls rather than ensuring that the needs of the customers have been fulfilled. The key is to carefully chalk out a plan and decide what is expected of the employees and then decide on how to motivate them. Not only that, you can define more specialized attributes like call reception promptness, wherein the faster agents get better incentives. Moreover, call resolution rate is an important metric. Consumers whose queries are resolved fast and without any hassles are likely to come back. The goal should be to settle each query right at the receipt. If a query has to be passed on to multiple calls and agents, consumers may feel infuriated.
The metrics must be clearly intimated to the employees or the incentive scheme would fail. Care must be taken to not base the incentives on unattainable goals. This would frustrate the employees and ruin the employer-employee relation. While formulating the incentive plans, focus should be on the behaviors that the organization wants to encourage on the employees. The program once framed must be regularly analyzed and tweaked if need be.
In conclusion, we see that there’s a lot more to running a call center than just assigning agents to phone lines. It’s a tedious process, but specialized service providers like ExpertCallers are enormously experienced in providing high quality outsourced inbound and outbound call center services across the globe. To know more about how you can outsource your call center duties, speak to us.