Ways to Enhance Performance in the Call Center
Keeping call center attrition down – and retention up – is a daunting task for management. Agents can get overwhelmed if a call center is understaffed, especially when adding the many trying customer interactions that cause immense amounts of stress, not only for agents but for consumers who want the right answer and want it right away. Fortunately, there are some metrics that can enhance a call center’s performance. Without the attempt to implement these ideals, money can be lost on an unproductive and poorly managed staff.
Is there an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system in place at your call center? If so, how many prompts do the callers have to go through? More than three is too much. Customers call and just want to get to the agent or desired destination so make it quick and easy but also do not make callers wait too long in the queue.
Letting callers know they will have to wait longer than usual is great, but often prompts hang-ups and angry customers, who have grown tired of being on hold. The callback option is always a good option if a wait time exceeds, say, 10 minutes. An automated system can alert the caller of the wait time and give the option for the call center to phone the client back if waiting on hold is not desirable. It allows for flexibility and frees them from being beholden to the phone.
The Average Speed to Answer in a call center is 28 seconds, per the IFC. If the ring time exceeds that, it call centers should consider hiring or scheduling more agents – either full-time or on-call – to handle elevated call volumes. This becomes particularly important during the holidays and other peak periods.
But, just because the call has been answered does not mean the agent has the answers. This leaves callers shuffling between agents and, eventually frustrated, ready to hang up and ready to file a complaint. Make sure agents are cross-trained and have empathy in their voices, so that they have the ability to properly handle all situations and reroute calls to appropriate secondary sources if needed. Call centers should also ensure all skillsets are available at all times.
The IFC says callers should be able to have resolution from the call center agent within four minutes. If that is not possible on most occasions, additional training may be necessary.
Post-call, the wrap-up time should be around six minutes, for total of 10 minutes per call. If the agent is taking too long, try to find out what taking up additional time before they are available in the queue again. Are breaks not being scheduled properly? Are they helping other co-workers?
How many of these metrics does your call center need to implement?
Edited by Erik Linask