Much has been written on the topic of effective call center management, and many managers have made incredible strides in optimizing the productivity of the personnel they oversee. But what about handling the calls themselves?
When it comes to effective call management, many agents compromise between sticking to their call scripts and asking managers for assistance. This creates a constant tug of war in which managers, aiming for relative autonomy among their agents, must resign themselves to step in on complicated calls and implement off-the-cuff strategies when scripts fail to make the mark. Managing calls effectively alleviates these issues through a careful combination of technology and technique.
Here are a few best practices that you can adopt to streamline call management within your contact center today:
Start by measuring performance
Most managers already know that call center metrics can make or break a call center's performance, but those same metrics can also make it easier to manage calls if they are used correctly. If calls are recorded and analyzed, the data gleaned from them can be put to use. You can also make major improvements in call management by keeping track of call center metrics like:
Improvements in the above metrics contribute to gains in customer satisfaction (CSAT) and customer effort scores (CES).
AI-driven conversation intelligence solutions like the CallMiner platform capture and analyze every interaction on every channel, rather than limiting the analysis to voice conversations. By providing a more comprehensive view of call center performance and customer satisfaction, conversation analytics gives call center managers valuable insight for performance monitoring and improvement.
Leverage sophisticated routing
Effective call management hinges largely on an organization's call routing practices. There are numerous routing techniques to choose from when it comes to optimizing contact center operations and improving call management across the board.
Each strategy offers both benefits and drawbacks that ought to be considered before being implemented. Here is a quick rundown of the options that currently exist and what you can expect if you choose them:
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) routing -IVR routing makes interactivity possible for the caller and allows them to select the division or agent that they feel would best accommodate their needs. This approach can dramatically reduce the number of transfers needed to satisfy customers' needs, but only if the IVR menu is easily understood. Otherwise, callers will choose the wrong options too often for the system itself to be effective.
- Least occupied routing -This routing approach is relatively simple, pushing calls to agents who have taken less in a given period of time to efficiently balance the workload. However, specialized agents are almost guaranteed to have their time wasted with questions unbefitting of their expertise when this strategy is chosen. Similarly, more general agents will be forced to field inquiries they do not have the knowledge to handle, leading to transfers and delays.
- Location-based routing - Location-based routing is a great way to pair callers with agents who are nearest them. This strategy is excellent for curbing language barrier conundrums, but it can backfire in terms of creating considerably higher costs for your business.
- Cascading routing - With this technique, managers simply choose the order in which calls should be routed to ensure the best agents receive calls before others do. This works well for smaller call centers, but not so much for larger ones - too many calls would be sent to top agents and the leftovers would be a mixed-bag in terms of complexity, making transfers more likely.
- Data-directed routing - With data-directed call routing, callers are paired with agents on the basis of their historical data with the organization. For instance, new callers are often routed to a sales rep under this paradigm. To work correctly, this routing strategy depends on accurate assumptions and caller detection. If either of these two details are lacking, data-directed routing could do more harm than good.
- Skills-based routing - By first tracking and measuring agents' performance in terms of skill sets, organizations can make use of a routing system that matches callers to those most competent in handling the queries they have. This approach is perfect for large contact centers with many agents to choose from, but it may produce poor results if skill measurements are off or the contact center is simply too small to support it.
Avoid complicating call processes
It can be especially tempting to utilize over-engineered call handling systems or obtuse IVR menus in your pursuit of more effective call management, but that would be a mistake. Complicated call handling systems often create bottlenecks and interruptions that make the experience time-consuming and frustrating for customers, and customer satisfaction suffers as a result.
Aiming for simplicity and efficiency is a surefire way to keep your customers satisfied. This does not necessarily mean using simpler tech, though. Powerful AI solutions can dramatically simplify call handling through intuitive automation, making both your customers and your agents happier in the long run.