Within a call centre the main process is handling the telephone call. If an Agent is able to give the customer all the information they require during the call without passing it to someone else, then this is usually known as ‘one and done’. The more calls that can be handled as ‘one and done’ the more efficient the process can be. In some centres, this is monitored as a way of measuring efficiency.
The call handling can be broken down into three steps – the first is the answering of the call by the ACD; the second is the time that an agent spends talking to the customer, and thirdly, the wrap time which is anything that the agent has to do with the call after the customer hangs up. An agent will be measured on their talk time and their wrap time. Combined together this will give an average call duration, which is a key statistic in the centre.
There are many factors which can impact the talk and wrap times. Here are some of the typical ones:
- Ability to control a conversation with a customer i.e. not letting them ramble on or being clear on how you explain things so you don’t have to repeat yourself
- Complexity of the customer requests
- Level of knowledge or understanding of the customer
- Efficiency in finding information on the computer
- Efficiency in handling the process
- Ability to talk or listen and type information into the computer at the same time
- Efficiency of the process
- Keyboard or PC skills
- Efficiency of the system
Of the above, the Agent’s own skills may be the determining factor – which ones might they be? Some people make the mistake that believing a long call makes customers happy and short calls don’t. This is not usually true. A customer wants several things, firstly that their call will be handled efficiently; secondly, that whatever it is that has been agreed will be done and thirdly that they will be spoken to in a polite and courteous way. All Agents have to ensure, is that they deliver each of these things to ensure that the customer will be satisfied. At the end of the day it is the customer who by buying the goods or service, are bringing money into the organisation, which enables them to employ the Agents. In some situations, the Agents will have to deal with unhappy or difficult customers. This can be for a variety of reasons but the Agent will still be expected to provide the right customer service even in a difficult situation. Most centres do have a process to deal with any rude or abusive customers, and it is critical to always follow this process and never to engage in reacting to the abuse no matter how hard it might be!
Multi-skilling is a term that you may hear in the centre. It relates to an Agent who is capable of undertaking many different types of call whether they are inbound or outbound, sales and service etc. It takes a lot of training to develop an agent to be multi-skilled, but in some centres where this happens, they may be rewarded or be of a different grade. Some centres do have a progression plan to develop Agents to be multi-skilled as it provides them with a more flexible and rounded resource. It also provides the Agents with a more interesting and challenging role!
Many thanks to Paul Weald for providing this information.