10 Clever Ways to Improve Your Service Levels

Thumbs up and graph showing increase - improve service level
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Are you happy with your current service levels? No? Well, you’re not alone if you feel there’s room for improvement!

Our recent poll revealed that 53% said ‘Could be better’ whilst 9% said they were ‘Not happy’ – compared to just 4% who said ‘We’re thrilled with our service levels’.

So… What can you do about it? In our webinar on Clever Ways to Improve Your Service Levels we asked our experts and the live audience for their best tips on how to improve service levels.

Here’s what they said…

1. Get Buy-In From the Senior Leadership Team

Take steps to demonstrate to your leadership team the positive impact meeting the right SLAs has on your business.

Take steps to demonstrate to your leadership team the positive impact meeting the right SLAs has on your business.

When you can get them on board, it will make it far easier to create business cases for additional resources as and when required – all helping you to drive ongoing improvements to your service levels.

Contributed by: Sophie, who shared this tip on our service levels webinar

2. Map Out the Customer Journey to Spot Unnecessary Transfers

Map out the entire customer journey!

This will help you spot where multiple transfers are being made across the department, which is inevitably draining customer and employee satisfaction, as well as wasting precious time and compromising your service levels.

Contributed by: Aric, a regular contributor to Call Centre Helper

If you are looking for advice on customer journey mapping, read our article: How to Improve Your Customer Journey Mapping

3. Look Out for Averages That Could Be Hiding Problems

If you’re looking to deep dive on your service level issues, one of the biggest problems is service level targets based on averages.

These can hide problems if you’re overperforming in some intervals and underperforming in others. Instead, build a service level target that evaluates performance at the interval level.

Contributed by: Bruce, a Call Centre Helper reader

4. Take a Long Hard Look at Your WORMs

Garry Gormley, Founder, CEO - FAB Outsourced Solutions
Garry
Gormley

Improving service levels is all about WORMs!

What does this mean? It’s an acronym that breaks down as follows:

Waiting

Stop and think about the customer that’s waiting to interact with you and the steps you can take to start reducing those wait times.

Ask yourself:

  • How are you tracking against average speed of answer?
  • How are you tracking against the longest call waiting?
  • How are you tracking speed of abandonment and the average response times that you might be seeing from different channels?

When you know the answer to these questions, you can start to make positive changes to improve your service levels.

Overproduction

Overproduction refers to how effectively you’re using your people and how over-engineered some of your processes might be.

For example, how is your service level impacted by occupancy? These are all important considerations when trying to optimize and improve service levels.

Improving service levels is all about WORMs!

Rework

The sheer amount of rework in the contact centre can be shocking, and it all negatively impacts your ability to deliver against your SLA targets.

So take a closer look at the number of times your team are having to redo the same piece of work, simply because it’s not been done right in the first instance.

For example, First Contact Resolution, the number of complaints, and repeat caller demand.

Motion

Motion is about reviewing how far items and customers are being sent. Are team leaders having to walk all over the contact centre floor to get things done, or having things coming back and forth between multiple team members?

That’s not all! Beyond this, you should also ask yourself “are you making any processes too complicated?”, “how much work is in our backlog and what can we do about it?” and “how many customers are being escalated into management?”

Contributed by: Garry Gormley, Founder, CEO – FAB Outsourced Solutions

5. Focus on Transferable Skills for a Win-Win on Service Levels and EX

Focus on transferable skills development.

We don’t expect call centre agents to stay with us forever, but we want their time with us to be time well spent, as when they reach their full potential we find this hugely impacts the quality of service they are delivering.

So, upskill your agents and implement career development plans for a win-win on service levels and employee experience (EX).

Contributed by: Amanda, a Call Centre Helper reader

6. Personalize Every Interaction With the Right Experience at the Right Moment

Person holding phone with ai chatbot
AI is starting to enable what we
call a ‘smart customer experience’

AI and automation are now starting to permeate right across the contact centre.

This is driving customer and agent satisfaction, as well as allowing us to think about the operation in a way that we haven’t before – giving real opportunities to drive business performance.

How? Artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to enable what we call a ‘smart customer experience’ – which is more sophisticated and personalized.

This gives contact centres the ability to self-serve with intelligent virtual agents and take a lot of volume calls and issues away into a ‘digital box’.

Not only that, but AI can also assist the agent in a way that we haven’t been able to do before – providing consistency of brand with the right touch, the right welcome, and the correct digital experience – all at the right moment!!

Contributed by: Dave Johnson, Strategic Programme Director at Five9

7. Develop Improvement Plans With the Metrics You’re Aspiring to Achieve

Create a simplified dashboard to report on current delivery metrics.

Also implement a CSAT programme to gather feedback on where improvements are needed and how this connects with and impacts on customer attrition.

THEN develop improvement plans with the metrics you are aspiring to achieve – all whilst tracking on progress.

Contributed by: Amanda, a Call Centre Helper reader

8. Look at Your Customer’s Queue Experience

The queue is the actual point of introduction to your service and can really help to set the conversation up for success.

Another way to help improve your service levels is to look at your customer’s queue experience.

It’s almost as important as their journey within the call or chat, as it is their actual point of introduction to your service and can really help to set the conversation up for success.

Contributed by: Karen, who shared this tip on our service levels webinar

For a quick guide to help you understand queue positions in the contact centre, read our article: Understanding Queue Positions

9. Assign Dedicated Agents to Take Live Escalations

We’ve found our service levels have improved by having dedicated agents take live escalations – with a maximum one-day delay for a callback if they are unable to resolve the issue live.

This also helps our core agents to handle a higher volume of more straightforward calls without skewing their Average Handling Time stats.

Contributed by: Tammy, who shared this tip on our recent webinar

Looking to design an escalation matrix for your call centre agents? Read our article: How to Design an Escalation Matrix for Call Centre Agents

10. Invest More Time Into Knowledge Management

If you are neglecting your knowledge management system, this is probably harming your service levels!

Regularly review and update it to make it an effective resource for your agents and this will help them to better support more customers first time, every time – enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty too!

Contributed by: Omid, a Call Centre Helper reader

For tips on effective knowledge base management, read our article: How to Keep Your Knowledge Base Up to Scratch

★★★★★

What Have You Tried to Improve Your Service Levels?

So, what have you tried that has successfully helped to improve your service levels?

Have you seen results from any of the ideas mentioned above, or tried something else that’s made a world of difference to your day-to-day contact centre operation?

Reach out to our team on LinkedIn and let us know… and we might even interview you for a future article!

If you are looking for more great insights from our webinar programme, read these articles next:

Author: Megan Jones
Reviewed by: Xander Freeman

Published On: 20th May 2024 - Last modified: 29th May 2024
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