After-call work (ACW) in a contact centre, sometimes called “post-call processing”, refers to the various tasks an agent might need to perform once they have concluded a call. Although the customer is not involved at this stage, ACW is a part of the interaction and is therefore included in the total handling time for the call.
ACW is performed in wrap-up time after every call, so the pattern of an agent’s working day will look like this:
Available > On Call > ACW
ACW will usually involve tasks such as logging the call reason or “disposition” codes for call reason and outcome, scheduling follow-up contacts, or updating colleagues. Some of this work can be carried out during the call in order to reduce wrap-up time. For example, it is often possible to log disposition codes before a call has ended.
Most ACD systems will automatically keep agents in a “not ready” state in order for them to carry out ACW. If an agent is placed back in the queue immediately after each call, it is likely that the quality of their ACW will suffer; with less time, they will record less accurate data about call types and resolutions.
Best practice for after-call work
It’s advisable to ensure that agents make meticulous notes of any action they take after a call. While calls are usually recorded, ACW can be difficult to track – detailed notes make this much easier. Recording progress this way is as much for the agent’s benefit as the centre’s; staff might need to demonstrate that they followed a procedure or performed a task requested by the customer.
For example, a customer may call to chase progress on a payment query they have raised. It is much easier to help them if the original handling agent left detailed notes showing the action they took.
Agents can be taught to reduce the time spent on ACW by using shorthand and abbreviations in their notes. Because it is so important that their notes are easy for future users to understand, it may help to develop a style guide for staff reference.
Another key concern with an agent’s notes is the visibility of those notes to customers. In the UK, customers can place a request obliging any company to release information held on them. This includes the notes written by your agents.
It is very important that you brief agents on the situation they could potentially create by recording a personal opinion of a customer in their notes. The best advice you can offer them is not to write anything they wouldn’t say on a call.
How to reduce after call centre ACW (after call work) time
There is a good article written by Carolyn Blunt that provides a number of tips on How to reduce after call centre ACW (after call work) time