Ensuring top-notch customer service must be one of your top priorities as a business owner.
Customers want instant and reliable solutions, which means your call center efficiency needs to be at an optimum level at all times. With an efficient call center strategy, you can enhance your brand image and improve customer satisfaction.
Wondering how you can achieve optimum call center efficiency?
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at seven actionable tips to boost your call center operational efficiency. We’ll also explore the three major benefits of an efficient call center strategy.
This article covers:
(Click on a link below to jump to a specific section)
- What is Call Center Efficiency?
- 7 Best Ways to Improve Call Center Efficiency
- Top 3 Benefits of Boosting Call Center Efficiency
Let’s get started.
What is call center efficiency?
Call center efficiency involves eliminating operational inefficiencies within a call center to improve customer experience.
An efficient call center process involves optimizing four key aspects of your workflow:
- Quality monitoring.
- Agent performance.
- Agent productivity.
These productivity metrics give you an insight into your call center’s profitability, productivity, and employee performance, allowing you to chart an improvement strategy and implement it carefully.
And since your call center is the first line of contact for most customers, you must make a good first impression. For that, it’s crucial to streamline your entire call center workflow and achieve operational efficiency.
Now, if you want to calculate your call center’s productivity percentage, here’s how you can do it:
Call Center Productivity = (Total Output / Total Input) x 100
- Total output indicates the time your employees spend on achieving their targets.
- Total input means the total time they have to spend in their working schedule.
For example, if your agents spend 8 hours during their shift. It is the total input.
And, if they spent 6 hours doing work-related activities, their productivity rate would be:
(6 / 8) * 100 = 0.75 * 100 = 75%
However, you can use any number of ways to measure ‘input’ and ‘output.’
Read more about calculating employee productivity to learn how.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can improve your call center’s operational efficiency.
7 best ways to improve call center efficiency
In this section, we’ll explore how to optimize your call center process step-by-step.
1. Measure call center productivity metrics
The most important step in promoting call center efficiency is evaluating how successful you’re by measuring your productivity metrics, also known as a KPI (Key Performance Indicator).
Now, let’s take a look at three key metrics (KPIs).
A. Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average handle time is the time an agent spends to resolve one customer call.
This includes the amount of time spent taking notes, the average hold time, the time taken to escalate issues, and other related processes after the call.
Although reducing your AHT is a top priority, it shouldn’t be your sole focus as that can reduce your call quality and customer experience. To avoid such a scenario, it’s also important to keep an eye on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and First Contact Resolution (FCS).
B. First Call Resolution (FCR)
First call resolution is the percentage of customer queries that are resolved during your first contact with the customer.
It’s usually more effective to resolve a customer issue in a single call without involving a callback, even if it takes longer to achieve the resolution.
Measuring the FCR can also help you gauge your agent’s ability to resolve customer queries, resulting in improved customer satisfaction.
C. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score is a performance metric that measures a customer’s willingness to recommend the products and services to their friends or family.
In fact, it’s one of the most widely used metrics worldwide. NPS typically takes the form of a single survey asking respondents to rate their experience with the business.
Since it’s the gold standard of measuring customer experience and loyalty, your goal should ideally be to score as high as possible on the NPS scale.
Here’s how you can improve on all three of these key call center performance metrics:
- Evaluate each customer interaction to see what works and what doesn’t.
- Listen to every customer feedback, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative.
- Identify live agents who are underperforming.
- Use call center technology to future-proof your customer service team and improve your call center performance.
- Reward the highest achieving employees with incentives and bonuses.
The important thing is to measure your progress consistently. This can help you identify whether your call center management has the desired impact that you want.
If you want to know more about call center metrics, you can refer to our guide on call center metrics.
2. Develop omnichannel strategies
Omnichannel support means fulfilling your customer’s needs at every touchpoint, whether it’s a live call, live chat, or chatbot, to improve customer interaction and experience.
An effective all-around customer experience leads to high customer retention, low abandon rate, and eventual revenue growth.
Here’s how you can provide a positive omnichannel customer experience:
- Implement the right call center technology to facilitate real-time live call monitoring, speech analytics, and other engagement activities.
- Empower your customer service representative to be authentic and relevant across all communication channels. You can train them in soft skills such as tone, empathy, and willingness to listen and learn.
- Personalize the customer experience across every channel by using customer data for a seamless customer journey.
- Execute routing strategies to match a customer with the right agent.
Want to know more about omnichannel contact centers?
Explore our guide to omnichannel contact centers.
3. Optimize call center workflow
Your call center agent carries out numerous processes every day, including handling customer complaints, attending meetings, and training. It’s important to strike a balance between agent workload and improving your call center’s operational efficiency.
You can optimize your workflow by streamlining your customer service, eliminating unnecessary steps, and allocating your human resources effectively.
There are several ways you can optimize your call center’s workflow. You can start by developing an organizational chart that helps you to determine who is responsible for what.
You can also group customer service inquiries into categories like marketing, sales, or tech support to address them better.
Additionally, you can enable customer self-service to answer basic questions through FAQs or chatbots. This will reduce customer calls and help your call center agent focus on urgent queries.
Lastly, you can test different call resolution approaches by asking for feedback from your customer, management team, and agent to improve your operational efficiency.
Read about the 3 call center optimization strategies you can use today.
4. Train call center agents
You can create an agent training program focused on problem-solving skills and taking customer-related decisions to boost your call center’s operational efficiency.
To achieve that, it’s important to create a learning framework with specific objectives. This way, you can evaluate each agent training session based on measurable performance insights with the help of your call center manager.
And, how can you do that?
By using training tools like customer service training software.
A customer service training tool helps you train and educate your call center agents by automating the entire training process. It’s designed to manage, track, and accomplish your training goals.
This way, you can positively impact your operational strategy with the help of training management tools.
But training will never be a one-time event. To maximize your workforce’s talent, you need to train them continuously.
Want to know more about call center training?
Check our detailed guide on call center coaching.
5. Invest in call center technology
Your agents alone shouldn’t be judged for lack of productivity. You also need to consider the tools and software you’re using.
Even if your agents are motivated, they need the right call center software to exceed customer expectations.
Your agents should find the right information as quickly as possible to improve their average handle time. The information helps reduce errors and improves customer satisfaction.
Since customer service agents sometimes use multiple communication channels, resolving a customer’s problem can be time-consuming. That’s why you need to integrate all the systems so that your agents find all the customer information in one place.
For instance, you can use a computer telephony interface (CTI) that allows you to link your call center’s telephone systems with your computer. You can also implement an inter-agent chat to connect agents with each other and facilitate communication.
Using integrations like this promotes information accessibility and helps your agents efficiently solve customer issues.
6. Automate call center processes
Improving automation is key to achieving call center efficiency.
According to a survey by Gartner, 25% of customer support teams will integrate bot technology across their engagement channels.
While bots can’t replace agents, automation can cut out the tedious elements of call center work. This leaves space for better agent efficiency and development.
Through automation, your call center uses bots for guiding customers to serve themselves. Bots can answer FAQs, so your agents get more time to work on more urgent inbound calls.
Additionally, automation helps your team prepare for each customer interaction by predicting how your customers will respond to an email or on a call. You can also use historical data to respond to customer needs for improved accuracy along the way.
7. Track your team’s productivity
Call center agents can feel disconnected, struggle with delayed communication, and easily get distracted. There can also be issues like lack of accountability, transparency, and feedback within the organization.
To overcome these, you can:
- Create a learning and development strategy that’s focused on improving productivity in the workplace.
- Measure how well an agent adheres to their schedule by using a workforce management metric like schedule adherence.
- Build trust with your agents by communicating regularly, as agent empowerment is crucial for your customer support representatives.
- Track how many KPI goals your organization has reached with the help of a call center service level agreement.
Additionally, you can also use advanced productivity software like Time Doctor to manage your team’s productivity and performance.
With Time Doctor, you can:
- Track your employee’s work hours accurately.
- Access detailed attendance reports to maintain accountability.
- Use strict productivity ratings to determine if your team is actually productive during work hours.
- Send a distraction alert to employees when their computer is idle for too long.
Explore all the Time Doctor features that can boost your company’s efficiency.
Next, we’ll look at some of the benefits of improving call center efficiency.
Top 3 benefits of boosting call center efficiency
Here’re some of the benefits of implementing call center efficiency to your business.
1. Better customer satisfaction
The primary goal of a call center is to provide meaningful service to customers interacting with your organization.
Whether it’s fixing a business problem, getting information about a new service, or finishing a sale, your customers want a seamless experience.
To ensure a smooth customer experience, you can use productivity benchmark scores like AHT and FCR or a customer satisfaction score like NPS. Since KPIs also determine customer satisfaction, you can improve customer satisfaction rates by carefully analyzing and improving these metrics.
2. Enhanced brand image
Modern businesses are always concerned about their company’s brand image.
But, brand perception in today’s world is driven largely by customer experience.
If you want to create a brand image of a company that listens to its customers and acts on their advice, you have to be available on all the channels frequently accessed by your customers.
Proactively responding to customer queries across multiple touch-points can make your customers feel heard.
3. Greater up-selling opportunities
A basic understanding of customer sentiment allows agents to offer the right advice. Your call center representatives can suggest products or services to customers that might be useful for them.
Without access to customer data, call center agents can end up making cold outbound calls to uninterested customers. This not only achieves very little in terms of sales but also comes across as intrusive and pushy.
Fortunately, the right set of tools and automation gives agents a complete overview of the customer’s needs and past interactions with the company.
This can help them make more intelligent suggestions leading to increased sales and profits.
Being efficient in your call center operations is a good business strategy. You save on your customers’ time as well as your hard-earned money.
But increasing call center efficiency requires a multi-faceted approach that includes people, software, and workflows — all functioning in harmony.
You can use the strategies we’ve listed in this article, like measuring productivity metrics, optimizing call center workflows, and training your agents to increase call center efficiency.
This can help you maintain a high level of customer service quality at all times.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.