Top 10 Ideas to Boost Contact Centre Efficiency

Team of people working at a contact centre


Focusing on efficiency is vital in a contact centre, as getting it right can lead to shorter wait times, quicker issue resolution, and better overall service.

But how do you drive your operation in the right direction? Here are some top tips from industry consultants and our readers to help.

1. Promote Efficiency as Something That Benefits Everyone

Rob Wilkinson, Customer Experience Consultant
Rob Wilkinson

Rebrand “efficiency” and promote it as something that benefits everyone (agents, leaders, planners, and especially customers).

It should be seen as a way to improve how you deliver – not something designed to make cutbacks in any way.

Contributed by: Rob Wilkinson, Customer Experience Consultant

2. Automate Agent Notetaking to Help Save Time

Ben Hill, AI & Digital Expert, NICE
Ben Hill

It’s now in the realms of possibility for contact centres to automate their agent notetaking thanks to auto-summaries, driven by purpose-built AI models for CX and generative AI using large language models (LLMs).

Not only can this help reduce your costs by decreasing your contact centre’s overall after-call work (ACW) and average handling time (AHT), but it can also better support your agents by serving up this type of summary:

Mr James Smith called 7 days ago about billing because his payment was missing. The agent offered a bill of credit which Mr Smith declined. The agent promised a callback. The issue was not resolved, and the call ended with negative sentiment.

Instead of something unclear and inconsistent, and more akin to this:

CXJames Smith 25854116585858/ concerned about missing pymnt/ DM researched/no record in acc/ Informed not posted/prms cb

Contributed by: Ben Hill, AI & Digital Expert, NICE

3. Frequently Remind Your Agents of Their Purpose and Impact

Agents don’t make mistakes out of spite. It’s often a lack of understanding of their role and delivery that drives inefficiencies.

To counter this, invest time in developing your agents understanding of their purpose, why it’s important, and what the impact is.

Promoting growth and empowerment in your agents improves your overall productivity and efficiency.

Thanks to Hannah, one of our readers

4. Set Aside Time to Clean Up Your Processes and Data

I highly recommend doing a clean-up of processes and data infrastructures prior to upgrades, as tools and resources are only as great as the input of data being fed in.

Thanks to Nikki, one of our readers

5. Keep Occupancy Under 85%

Jonty Pearce Founder of Call Centre Helper
Jonty Pearce

It is very easy to confuse efficiency and occupancy.

If you want an efficient contact centre, you need to keep occupancy under 85%.

If you take it over 85%, this will lead to agent burnout, an attrition problem, and longer average handling times.

Submitted by: Jonty Pearce, Founder of Call Centre Helper

For more on Maximum Occupancy, check out our video article: Maximum Occupancy – The Most Common Resource Planning Mistake

6. Double-Check That Flexible Working Requests Align With Customer Demand

Gary Kinsella, Curium Solutions
Gary Kinsella

If you’re struggling to meet your service levels, have you looked at the impact of your flexible working requests recently?

A major retail store had exactly this issue when they found that service levels were not being met. 50% of the workforce were working flexible shifts, and their shifts were not meeting customer demand.

However, by creating a working party – including agents, team leaders, HR, and more – they were able to review all their flexible working requests against agreed criteria.

This exercise brought the original 50% of flexible shifts down to 10%, and they found not only that occupancy improved, but they brought in additional revenue of £0.5m due to more calls being answered.

Contributed by: Gary Kinsella, Curium Solutions

7. Get the Frontline Involved in Technology Upgrade Projects

Whenever you are working on any kind of tech upgrade or enhancement to the call centre operations, stakeholders at every level need to be involved – including those on the frontline.

They know more about the system and how it works for customers better than most and can help make sure the changes maximize efficiency savings. Too many times, I’ve seen those on the phones just completely left out.

Whenever you are working on any kind of tech upgrade or enhancement to the call centre operations, stakeholders at every level need to be involved – including those on the frontline.

From Michael in our webinar chatroom

8. Make a Habit of Doing Top-Up Training

Routinely create and hold topic-specific interactive training modules with all contact centre employees to refresh knowledge and provide a platform to learn from colleagues.

Thanks to Emma, one of our readers

9. Add Self-Service Options Based on Customer Feedback

We’ve been able to create some efficiencies by analysing our reasons for contact and working toward self-service wherever we can – based on customer feedback.

We’ve been able to create some efficiencies by analysing our reasons for contact

For example, when customers call from a mobile device, we can help them initiate a return, register a product with a warranty, etc.

The IVR sends the customer a link to begin the return process or register their product from their mobile device. No agent required.

From Susan in our webinar chatroom

10. Take Care of Your Team and They Will Take Care of Everything Else

When the number of available metrics seems to be overwhelming and there is pressure to improve everything, the one to focus on first and foremost should be employee engagement.

I took the customer care team from being disengaged with a high turnover rate to an engagement rate of over 90% (the highest department in the business!) and average tenure of 5+ years.

As a result, all other metrics have improved, and we are hitting target on every single one.

Sent in by Tania, a Call Centre Helper reader

You can learn more and watch the replay of our recent webinar here: Recorded Webinar: Improving Contact Centre Efficiency

For more on contact centre efficiency, read these articles next:

Author: Megan Jones
Reviewed by: Xander Freeman

Published On: 8th Jan 2024 - Last modified: 9th Jan 2024
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