Agents, teams, and contact center supervisors face an unending list of demands and expectations from customers and business owners. If you are unable to deliver on these expectations, you risk poor customer experience and diminishing profits. A common underlying factor in not meeting expectations is inefficiency. Inefficiency costs contact centers money and time. Finding ways to streamline contact center processes is the best way to effectively increase efficiency and make better use of resources.
Step One: Identify Problems
Before you can fix inefficiency, you have to identify what problems or processes cause it. Inefficiency is mainly caused by the need for contact center representatives to multitask. A typical agent is expected to document conversations while communicating with customers. It is easy for call center agents to miss or overlook steps while doing something else at the same time.
Start by looking at your current metrics. How many customers contact your business on a given day or within a certain timeframe? What is your average handle time (AHT) or first call resolution rate? If these numbers are less than optimal, chances are your agents are not adequately equipped to handle the calls they receive.
Step Two: Streamline Processes
Once you identify core problems, you can start to streamline your contact center processes. By streamlining these processes, you eliminate wasted time, decrease expenses, and deliver a better customer experience.
1. Utilize Multiple Contact Avenues.
If your contact center is still just a call center, it’s time to consider using other contact methods. Social media, live chat, text messaging, and e-mail are just a few additional ways to connect with customers.
By using more than just phone calls as a communication method, you make it easier for customers to contact you. Using other methods means you can create automatic responses that direct customers where to find answers to low-level problems. These speed up the time it takes for a customer get answers which increases their satisfaction with your company. In addition, it improves your call efficiency giving agents more time to focus on more severe problems.
2. Implement IVR Technology
Interactive voice response (IVR) technology is an automated system that asks callers various questions before they are routed to an agent. Theoretically, using IVR should improve your first call resolution rates, average handling time, and customer satisfaction rates because customers are connected with the best representative the first time. Contact center agents can use the time they would have previously wasted listening to customers they couldn’t help to solve problems they can. IVR systems do need to be constantly tweaked. Speech analytics can uncover issues with IRV routing or insights that lead to additional IVR options. When coupled together, these technologies can help make call centers more efficient and keep both agents and customers happy.
3. Automate Repetitive Tasks
Agents normally have a list of tasks they must complete for each call. Some of these tasks are tedious and waste precious time like assigning next steps, documenting conversations, and creating follow-ups. Automating these tasks means agents are back on the phone helping another customer instead of tackling tasks manually.
4. Create a Knowledge Base
The average United States call center suffers from a 33% employee turnover rate which means one-third of your employees are new at all times. It is difficult to properly train new contact center agents when the process is not documented. In addition to a structured employee training program, it is also beneficial to have a knowledge base for agents to reference.
Knowledge bases act as a central location to agents to find answers and possible solutions to customers’ problems. An agent can search for specific questions and complaints to find out how to respond and how other agent’s helped customers in similar situations. This eliminates the need to put a customer on hold until agents find a colleague that can help.
5. Automate Quality Assurance
Quality assurance (QA) teams play a vital role in determining how well agents perform. Depending on the number of contacts you receive daily, it can be difficult for them to review 100% of the conversations. Using a system that automatically reviews every conversation for silence, certain terms, and call outcome, you are better equipped to make changes quickly. Being proactive on QA issues increases efficiency and decreases company expenses.
The Best Way to Streamline Process
Streamlining contact center processes may seem like a big project and lead you to delay taking these vital steps. While it is significant, it is not necessarily as time consuming as you anticipate. Many businesses use speech and interaction analytics software to implement the strategies listed above. Analytics software is a powerful tool that when leveraged appropriately helps businesses like yours streamline processes, increase productivity, maximize resources, and improve their bottom line.
Benefits of Streamlining Contact Center Processes
When you invest in streamlining processes, you are investing in your customers. Customers expect the brands and businesses they work with to meet their demands and deliver on expectations. Streamlining processes is the best way to free wasted time and spend less while still delivering a positive customer experience. When you deliver a positive customer experience, customers are more likely to turn into loyal customers that not only return but also refer other customers to your door.
What processes have you streamlined that have produced the biggest efficiency gains, costs saving and improvements in customer experience?