Here we provide some tips for ensuring that advisors don’t rush through calls at the end of their shifts and highlight one way that should be avoided…
In many contact centres, Average Handling Time (AHT) goes down towards the end of the work day, which is likely to be because of advisors rushing or dropping calls at the end of the shift.
Many of us will have been in a similar situation to Stephen, one of our readers, who says that: “I was recently in a queue for ten minutes, then it just ‘closed’. Meanwhile, the chat option was also shut an hour before the listed time on the website!”
Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident, and the original phone call is likely to have been answered and then dropped right away. So, how can this issue be managed?
Close the Phone Lines up to Half an Hour Before Shifts End
The solution that Nerys Corfield, the Director of Injection Consulting, has for this issue is to “contract the advisors to finish 15 minutes after the lines close.”
“If no calls are presented at the death, then use this time to create a shift report highlighting areas for improvement and key observations.”
This is a very popular solution and is used by many of our readers’ contact centres. However, Vax’s contact centre in Droitwich has a slightly different answer to the issue, which has proven to be successful.
At Vax, the phone lines close at 5pm, while most advisors don’t finish their daily shift until 5:30pm. But in that final half an hour, advisors are pushed onto live chat to help any remaining customers, while enjoying a more relaxed final half hour of the day.
For more from this contact centre, read our article: 14 Best Practices From the Vax Contact Centre
Measure Customer Satisfaction Throughout an Advisor’s Shift
While we earlier noted that certain advisors’ AHTs tail off towards the end of the day, it is becoming bad practice to target advisors on AHT.
So, it could be worth instead considering how customers are scoring individual advisors when the end of the day approaches, in terms of customer satisfaction (CSat) and customer effort.
Steve Drew, one of our readers, recommends this, saying: “Measure advisors by checking customer satisfaction, rather than call lengths.”
“Too many centres are run with cost at the heart of all they do, and that’s why they have to work much harder to gain new business. CSat and effort scoring will take care of the behaviours and retention will take care of itself.”
While this is certainly one option, it wouldn’t hurt to check the call lengths of interactions which have a poor satisfaction/effort score at the end of the day and then maybe even listen back to those calls.
Check the call lengths of interactions which have a poor satisfaction/effort score at the end of the day and then maybe even listen back to those calls.
If it becomes obvious that advisors are rushing through calls at the end of the day, have a quick chat with them to discuss why they are doing so. It also won’t hurt to let them know of the impact and importance of frontline work on the entire business.
Focus on Contact Centre Culture
Obviously, the first thing to think about when answering this question is the mechanics of control and scheduling, but people and culture also play a part.
This is according to Sarah Kennard, Managing Consultant at Sarah Kennard Consulting, who says that contact centres must also focus on “getting people to want to help the customers, rather than browbeating them into hitting a KPI.”
“Give the people the tools they need to do the job, the desire to do it – purpose, support, reward and recognition. Focus on removing obstacles that stop them from doing their jobs (unnecessary processes and bureaucracy, poor systems), and then let them get on with doing what they are there to do.”
“Nobody goes to work to do a bad job. If they are doing a bad job then there is a reason. If the landscape has been created for them to succeed and it’s not happening, then a rethink needs to happen.”
Building a culture where people will want to stay to help the customer will undoubtedly take time and effort, but it will help to limit this issue and solve others in the process.
For more on growing a great environment, read our article: Create and Maintain a Positive Culture
Don’t Offer an Incentive for the Last One off the Phone
One solution to stopping the team from rushing through calls at the end of their shift is to offer an incentive to the last advisor on the phone, in the hope of encouraging advisors to go the extra mile at the end of their shift.
However, this has issues of its own, as David, one of our readers, who once worked in an appointment-setting contact centre, found out when they tried to implement the initiative.
David says that: “We used to provide an incentive for the advisor who booked the last appointment of the shift, or who took the last customer call on the inbound side of the centre. We then had trouble sometimes getting advisors to log off at the end of the day!”
There is also the issue of how big a team to do this in, because if it is for the entire contact centre, it is likely to not have much of an impact, as an advisor may think “well, I’m not going to win anyway”.
So, perhaps try avoiding this one and experiment with the three ideas highlighted above.
Do you have any other ideas for stopping advisors from rushing through calls at the end of the day?
If so, please share them in an email to Call Centre Helper.