25 Ways to Improve Your Contact Centre


Our readers share their thoughts on how you could improve your contact centre.

1. Think about the behaviour your targets are driving

It is important to recognise that your targets don’t always drive the behaviour you want.

For example, a nail factory targeting on the number of nails may produce a large number of small and useless nails, while the same company targeting on the weight of nails may produce a small number of heavy and equally useless nails.

Apply this idea to the contact centre and you may see agents rushing customers off the phones to meet their AHT targets – and driving up your number of repeat contacts – rather than delivering the convenient and speedy service you desire.

Removing such targets altogether can help to drive the behaviour you really want.

2. It’s equally important to focus on decreasing disengagement

Adrian Swinscoe

Increasing employee engagement can help you increase performance as well as reduce business costs.

To realise the full benefits of this, however, you also need to think about decreasing disengagement.

You can decrease employee disengagement by addressing issues with working conditions, communication and leadership.

With thanks to Adrian Swinscoe at RARE Business

3. Encourage Product Managers to spend time with your customer service teams

Amazon employ an excellent customer engagement programme.

All of their top product owners have to spend time engaged with the customer service teams to understand the impact that their decisions are having on the customer.

With thanks to Paul

4. Make the changes that you can with the resources you already have

I think there is room for improvement in all contact centres, without upgrading the technology. So start making the changes you can today, with the resources you already have in place.

If you are forever waiting on approval for the latest IT before making any steps forward, it is likely that your customer experience will suffer.

With thanks to Louise

5. Integrate all channels EXCEPT social media

We integrate most channels, but social is kept to a team who are well trained in both customer service and how best to handle social channels.

This is because we have found social media management to be a specialist skill.

With thanks to Colin

6. Divide your agents into teams based on specialist knowledge

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It is best to create teams of specialist agents based on topic area rather than channel, otherwise you are left with a shallow pool of knowledge across the company.

With thanks to David

7. Get your customer service team to report directly to your MD

In my company, the customer service team reports directly to our Managing Director (MD).

The MD is then ultimately responsible for customer service performance and keener to ensure we have the resources we need.

With thanks to Catherine

8. Discourage your agents from passing customers around the contact centre

We have implemented a “One Call Fix” (or First Contact Resolution) policy.

This asks the agent who answers the call or email to fix the problem there and then, without passing it on to one of their colleagues.

There are some exceptions, but it works as a general rule.

With thanks to Louise

9. Appoint a contact centre representative to go into all board meetings

A great way to give your contact centre a boost is to appoint someone to represent the contact centre at board level.

This can help to ensure that the contact centre isn’t overlooked and that funding is properly secured for new technology, etc.

With thanks to Ruan

10. Happy people sell

I am in the direct selling industry – and our primary focus is on our sales force.

We link all of our customer service efforts back to sales force satisfaction, with the underlying idea that keeping them happy will keep our customers happy.

With thanks to Robin

11. Build in a cost-to-serve metric to win over the board

To help persuade the board of any necessary changes, build in a cost to serve metric for the marketing or product teams.

With thanks to Paul

12. Run workshops to keep agents engaged during periods of disruption

We are currently struggling with agent engagement due to restructuring activity (resulting in job losses or roles being downgraded).

To counteract this, we are running a course of workshops to engage our agents – and their views – to ensure they all feel part of the changes as the company moves forward.

With thanks to Lisa

13. Your agents and marketing team should tackle social media together

We’ve found that social media is best managed by the contact centre and marketing team combined.

With thanks to Rav

14. Act on any customer feedback you receive

Act on customer feedback – it’s the greatest tool you have to improve what you do.

Also look at recognised industry leaders and see what they do that you don’t.

With thanks to Craig

15. A central database helps to ensure that no communication is missed

We have a central database which all employees have access to.

We reassign workloads and work through priorities to ensure nothing is missed – and that all of our communication stays in one controllable area.

With thanks to Amy

16. Use social media mainly for outbound communication

In our contact centre, social media handles everything outbound while the customer service team handles all inbound communication.

With thanks to Darren

17. Schedule your agents to handle multiple channels simultaneously

Schedule your agents to handle multiple channels simultaneously.

This can help to improve the customer experience, as well as keep your agents’ work varied and interesting.

With thanks to Peter

18. Agents should be able to use the telephone as well as write well

Recruit and train agents to be competent on both the telephone and in written communication.

With thanks to Jane

19. Give your customers the 24/7 service they expect

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Give your customers the 24/7 service they expect with real-time responses.

For example, have an agent monitor your company Twitter feed at 11pm.

With thanks to Louise

20. Achieve board buy-in by tying customer service efforts into profits

Get more support from the board by tying the customer experience and their satisfaction scores into profitability.

For example, if you improve the customer experience or NetPromoter Score, make sure you convey what that means in terms of the company’s bottom line.

With thanks to Paul

21. Integrate all channels for complete visibility of communication history

Integrate all of your channels to ensure that your agents can see all of a customer’s communication history in one place.

With thanks to Rhys

22. Multi-skill your agents for a better customer experience

All customer communications (from all channels) come to one CRM.

All of our agents are trained for this – and it is a much better experience for both the customer and the agent.

With thanks to Amy

23. Align your day-to-day plans with your stakeholders’ goals

Make sure you fully understand the board and stakeholders’ goals.

Then align your work and analysis to show how, through collaboration, you can achieve your collective goals.

With thanks to Craig

24. Your marketing team should be responsible for outgoing campaigns

We have a client that splits their team into 2 areas:

  • Any incoming messages with inquiries or complaints are handled by the customer service agents
  • The marketing team deal with outgoing marketing campaigns

With thanks to Leo

25. Share employees between IT and operations for improved buy-in

We’ve seen success with building bridges between our operations and IT departments.

This can be done either by bringing someone into your operations team from the IT department, or transferring one of your operations managers into the IT department.

The end goal is to develop improved interdepartmental relationships, which can help the contact centre to get the IT support it needs to improve the customer experience.

With thanks to Colin

What have you done to improve your contact centre?

Published On: 25th Mar 2015 - Last modified: 1st Mar 2019
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1 Comment
  1. These are great, happy to see how many we have in place already! Thanks for sharing.

    Terri Lawson 31 Mar at 5:16 pm
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