These simple, innovative ideas could help you to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your contact centre operation.
1. Allocate Admin Tasks to Agents Working Quieter Shifts
If your contact centre needs to process a lot of admin in addition to taking customer calls, think carefully about who should handle the work and when.
In a 24-hour operation, agents will likely be far busier during the day shifts, and may see the additional admin as a stress factor. However, your night shift workers might welcome the additional work if there are long gaps between calls.
2. Remember Your Floor Managers Aren’t Always Your Best Coaches
Floor managers can be stretched too thinly across the contact centre to give agents the level of coaching they really need.
Hiring a designated coach can help support your agents with qualified and consistent support to help them achieve their best.
This approach can also help to free up your floor managers’ time, so they can focus more on driving contact centre strategy.
[For more on this topic, read our article: Train Team Leaders Well]
3. Teach Every Agent About Resource Planning so They Understand the Impact of “Pulling a Sickie”
Make time in the training plan to teach everyone about resource planning and the steps the team takes to put the schedule together – with a focus on schedule adherence.
This demonstration should also highlight the negative impact of sickness and short-notice absences on the customer experience and their team.
This should help agents to understand the impact that “pulling a sickie” and being late back from lunch might have on the wider business, and help to curb this behaviour in your organisation.
[Find more advice on challenging absenteeism in our article: 46 Tips for Managing Absence]
4. Remove “Your Call Is Important to Us” on Your IVR Messages
If your current IVR message repeats “your call is important to us”, you should consider replacing the message with useful information instead.
For example, updating customers with their current position in the queue, offering them the option of a callback, or suggesting a quieter time of day for them to try again.
This should help you to better manage your call queues and your customers’ expectations.
[Find other IVR improvement suggestions in our piece: 19 Ways to Create a Great IVR Experience]
5. Treat Everyone Fairly in the Recruitment Process
Word of mouth can have a big impact on your recruitment success, so try to be fair in your recruitment process – and be creative with your rejection letters too. For example, send out a useful CV tips article to all unsuccessful applicants, wishing them “all the best for the future”.
Get it right and you’ll need to put very little effort into attracting the best people into your business. Get it wrong and you’ll have a lot of making up to do before people even come through the door.
[Find out how you can improve your hiring process in our article: How Do I… Recruit the Best Agents?]
6. Hold Agents Accountable for Customers’ Names Being Spelt Wrong
Inaccurate information being stored in the contact centre database can have embarrassing consequences. For example, a customer’s name being spelt wrong on a letter could find its way onto Twitter.
One way to address this issue is to hold agents personally accountable for customers’ names being spelt wrong in the database, by tracking who entered the data and looping back on any mistakes as they become apparent.
7. Try to Give Everyone the Holiday They Ask for to Reduce Unplanned “Sickness”
There is a big difference in impact between planned and unplanned absence in the contact centre. Unfortunately, agents who are denied their holiday requests may choose to take the time off anyway, as “sickness” – resulting in an increase in unplanned absence.
If you suspect that this is happening a lot in your contact centre, it may be worth reviewing your holiday procedure and increasing the number of requests you say yes to.
This will make it easier for your scheduling team to accommodate the absences – as “planned” – and improve schedule adherence.
8. Discuss Ideas With the Frontline Before They Go Live
Instead of rolling out a new idea and hoping for the best, involve agents in the developmental stages.
For example, when the management team has decided on a new initiative, ask the frontline “we’ve had this idea, what do you think the impact will be?”
This will help to address any problems that might have a negative impact on customers and frontline processes, as well as increasing agent buy-in.
[Follow the link to find out how you can: Involve Agents in Operations and Strategy]
9. Ask Agents to “Say It Out Loud” Before Typing into a Webchat
If your agents aren’t feeling very confident about resolving an issue in a webchat, ask them to “say it out loud” before typing it to the customer.
This will help them to make their own judgement based on whether they would be happy to say this to a customer over the phone – and hopefully stop them from relying on their supervisor’s judgement for every conversation.
10. Add “Travel Time” into Your Schedules to Improve Adherence
Schedule adherence can be compromised if you aren’t factoring in the travel time needed to get from the contact centre floor to the training rooms.
Make it easy for everyone to adhere to their schedule by adding in realistic travel times to allow people to move around the building and still arrive on time.
For example, a 30-minute training session could be cushioned with 5 minutes of travel time either side.
[Here are our: Top Tips for Improving Attendance and Adherence]
11. Take a “Speeding Dating” Approach to Sharing Updates
Imitating a “speeding dating” approach is a fun way to share updates with the frontline, as well as answer any questions agents may have.
It is best if all senior members of the team are set up in different booths, and agents rotate between the different seats every few minutes.
This will give every agent a limited amount of one-to-one time with the senior team, giving them the opportunity to find out more about new initiatives and how they are going to impact their role.
12. Send out a Feedback Questionnaire After Big Annual Social Events
With a limited social budget, it is important you are spending money where it really counts to create great events year on year.
A good way to make sure you are getting the best from your social budget is to send out a post-event feedback questionnaire to all employees following your annual Christmas party.
This should hopefully stop you from wasting money on the cringe-worthy magician that everyone avoided and spend more on the Italian food everyone loved.
What have you tried to make your contact centre operation more efficient?
Put your thoughts in an email to Call Centre Helper.