What is After-Call Work (ACW) or Post-Call Processing? Tips, Industry Standards & More

After call work includes all tasks which require completion once your contact center’s agents phone conversations with customers are finished. While there are a number of things that take place outside of phone calls in a call center, “after call work” refers to the specific things completed by the reps and customer service agents who actually take the call.

A few examples of these post-call tasks include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software updates
  • Sending emails to either the customer or appropriate department for an answer regarding the call
  • Marking the call (for instance, outbound calling may code the call as “answering machine” or “did not answer”)
  • Updating notes on the account of the caller (perhaps one of the most frequent tasks)

Benefits of Tracking After Call Work Time

After call work is one of many essential metrics to track when it comes to gauging the effectiveness of a call center. Average handle time, after call work and other metrics are great definitive data sets that gives a definitive snapshot of numbers. Customer satisfaction and other survey scores are great for improving the overall reputation of your company.

In particular, after call work benefits include:

  • Reduce customer wait time: If your after call work is too high, it likely means that the wait time for incoming calls is high (or fewer outgoing calls are being made).
  • Highlight process issues: Tracking post-call tasks will quickly highlight issues your reps encounter which can quickly be fixed with new processes or software upgrades.
  • Improve rep performance: Tracking average call time and other “in-call” items are only part of the job your reps do.

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Tips for Reducing After Call Work Time

Once you start tracking after call work time, there are a number of things a call center can do to reduce and improve that time. But first, it’s important to know that reducing the time can also make your call center less effective. Encouraging reps to limit the amount of post-call activities can mean cut corners and less detailed notes.

Here are some tips for effectively reducing after call work time:

  • Include it in training: Handling customer questions, understanding software and working on speed are all vital to success. However, in many centers training for what happens after the call can be anecdotal, at best.
  • Don’t have set times, but look at average times: For instance, if it takes your average agent 90 seconds to update a CRM, but 80% of your agents take 60 seconds, it’s likely you can improve.
  • Clearly assign calls: Using a good call routing software can send the right calls to the right agent. This will limit the need for after call work where an agent has to incorporate their colleagues with more information about certain topics.

Expert Advice On After Call Work

  1. Help agents know what is critical. “Don’t require your agents to capture every piece of information that is communicated during a call. Instead, teach them what elements are essential to capture during the call. Many organizations use a variation of:
  • What is the reason for the call?
  • What additional details were provided?
  • What steps did you take to resolve the issue?
  • Are there any follow-up steps that should be noted (e.g., escalation to a manager, a refund to be processed)?
  • Did you capture any useful personal notes that can be referenced during future calls?” – Liz Alton, How to Reduce Your After-Call Work Time, Marketing Daily Advisor; Twitter: @MarketingAdv
  1. Keep all of your processes streamlined. “Any component that offers streamlining the practices of the contact center should be explored. While some methods may not work in certain environments, it doesn’t hurt to take a look and see what may be beneficial.” – Managing After-Call Work in Contact Centers, Contextual Strategy Group
  1. Don’t scare reps out of taking good notes. “It’s advisable to ensure that advisors make meticulous notes of any action they take after a call. While calls are usually recorded, ACW can be difficult to track – detailed notes make this much easier.

“Recording progress this way is as much for the advisor’s benefit as the centre’s. Staff might need to demonstrate that they followed a procedure or performed a task, when requested to do so by the customer.

“For example, a customer may call to chase progress on a payment query they have raised. It is much easier to help them if the original handling advisor left detailed notes showing the action they took.” – What Is After-Call Work (ACW) and How Can It Be Improved?, Call Center Helper; Twitter: @callcentrehelp

 

What are your top tips for reducing time spent on after call work? Maybe better coaching through speech analytics!