Answers: I have to improve productivity in our call centre – where do I begin?


I have been given the task of improving productivity in our call centre, and it has been said that if I do, then this will directly impact on salary increases for the telesales agents in the call centre. It means a lot to me for this project to actually get off the ground and become successful, as this then means that the staff at the call centre can now get a good salary increase and can be happy with their jobs as they are currently not. However, my challenge as to work and be maintained ….”I have to improve on productivity”

The problem is I don’t know where to begin…

I need some guidance in what steps I need to follow and what important points I need to follow in order to get this task to actually work.

I will welcome as many thoughts and ideas that I can get.

Answer 1: 

Improving productivity has an infinite number of solutions. I’m guessing time isn’t on your side so a quick solution is key?

Why not focus on non-value calls (assuming you’re an inbound call centre)? This way you are addressing productivity and this should assist with poor morale.

These are the steps I would follow for a quick result:

• Create a simple spreadsheet that is used by a team of call centre agents for them to record every type of call received. Continue with this for a week.

• At the end of the week, review all calls received and categorise them into value and non-value. How you do this is up to you. Maybe if you’re a sales department; did it generate revenue? Maybe if you’re a customer service department; was the call avoidable?

• Once the calls have been categorised, decide which calls should be removed. In a sales environment, removing the non-value calls can be achieved by using an IVR, using a recorded message to point to a FAQ page on the internet, reviewing documentation & ensuring the correct telephone numbers are printed and so on (if the customer doesn’t want to buy from you, send them to another department). In a customer service environment you can look at ways to stop the bulk callers by improving the first point of contact, always ensuring first call resolution, making all documentation clear and easy to understand; all preventing people calling for a reason that could have been easily avoided.

I sadly had the misfortune of working for a business that (unbeknown to me at the time) frequently sent out inaccurate insurance policy documents. After doing what I suggest in this note I soon discovered that we could reduce the inbound call levels considerably; resulting in reduced abandonment, better service given to customers that required it, reduced chance of reputational risk & FSA intervention and improved productivity through improving morale as a consequence of removing so many calls that could have been avoided in the first place.

So to summarise: Study your calls; remove the calls that shouldn’t be there by utilising smarter telephone messages, IVR, internet & documentation; execute your plan and communicate to all. Result: Improved morale, improved efficiency, improved customer experience, improved profitability.

Answer thanks to Darren Degiorgio.

Answer 2:

Are you currently recording your calls? This may seemed biased as I sell recording and performance / quality monitoring for call centres. Recording combined with an integrated, focused performance database KPI framework can be very effective if implemented correctly. Agents are marked via call / screen recordings directly loaded into the database with full reporting to identify key trends and areas affecting productivity for individuals, teams and contact centre.

Answer thanks to Tony Stephens.

Answer 3: 

Have you considered applying a Lean-Sigma approach. Significant improvements have been achieved across many banks and other service based organisations.

Areas such as ‘Failure demand reduction’, ‘Standardisation and call structure’ (NOT scripting !) as well as the key area which is around the role of the Team Leader….

Productivity may be achieved through increased sales conversion, AHT reduction, First touch resolution, it depends upon the local drivers / crisis.

Answer thanks to Mike Twigg.

 

Published On: 22nd Jul 2008 - Last modified: 19th May 2017
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3 Comments
  1. Have you considered applying a Lean-Sigma approach. Significant improvements have been achieved across many banks and other service based organisations.

    Areas such as ‘Failure demand reduction’, ‘Standardisation and call structure’ (NOT scripting !) as well as the key area which is around the role of the Team Leader….

    Productivity may be achieved through increased sales conversion, AHT reduction, First touch resolution, it depends upon the local drivers / crisis

    good luck

    Mike Twigg 15 Aug at 8:36 am
  2. I work for a Texas state agency where we have a call center employing over 300 call takers who work various shifts 24/7/365. I would be very interested to know if there are any organizations similar to yours over here in the US. We are interested in improving our employees’ work situations wherever possible. People call us to report abuse and neglect of children and the elderly, so we’re more a service organization, not a business seeking a profit.

    Vernon 8 Apr at 9:13 pm
  3. According to Gartner REsearch Vernon, First Call Resolution is currently providing the highest return on investment amongst management improvement projects. You might want to start with this.

    Michael Allen 9 Apr at 11:50 am
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