In today’s increasingly consumer-driven landscape, it’s more important than ever to strengthen relationships with customers. Research, in fact, shows almost 75% of companies plan to have a customer-centric strategy in place over the next two years; 43% of businesses plan to have a strategy in place within a year or less.
One of the challenges with providing positive customer experiences, however, is having the right team of agents in place to consistently deliver unparalleled customer service. In that sense, contact centers are under more pressure than ever to drive efficiency across all levels of the organization.
Getting customer service right means satisfied customers and repeat business – getting it wrong can often mean the loss of customers and a negative perception of the company overall.
So what’s the best way to make contact center improvements that will result in better customer service?
One way is to drill down into agent inefficiencies that may be providing customers with a less than satisfactory experience. Let’s take a look at how one such inefficiency – agent wrap up time – can be reduced or eliminated with the implementation of speech analytics software.
What Is Wrap Up Time in the Call Center?
Broadly speaking, wrap up time is the post-call work time an agent spends on a call. Typically, an agent will use disposition codes from a drop down menu that has been pre-populated with likely call reasons and call outcomes. It varies from organization to organization, but this is traditionally a manual, time-consuming, and incomplete process.
You might also hear wrap up time referred to as “after call work” or “post call processing”. Even though the call with the customer has come to a conclusion, wrap up time is still included in average handling time.
The activities performed in wrap up time include updating the system with call details like resolution, next steps, and customer notes. Agents might also use the time to send emails to kickstart any actions they may have taken on during the call.
While it is quite obviously in the company’s interest for agents to minimize admin tasks in order to spend more time talking directly to customers, it is important that wrap up time is not overlooked completely. Asking agents to double up on wrap up activities while making their next call is not advised and often ends up in a situation where neither task is performed to the fullest – call details are incorrectly entered into the system while the agent gets distracted and does not devote their full attention to the next call. There are some clever ways to minimize wrap up activities that we will cover later in the post, but doubling up wrap up time with the next call is not one of them.
You can calculate average wrap up time at your call center with the following formula:
Average wrap up time = (Total Handling Time – Total Hold Time – Total Talk Time)
Total Number of Calls Made
The Importance of Wrap Up Time
Wrap up time is an important metric because it shows how much time agents are spending on administrative wrap up activities. Wrap up time can be measured against average handling time to see how much time agents are spending talking to customers. The ideal situation for a call center is minimal wrap up time without taking a hit on the quality of the data entered. By monitoring wrap up time, call centers can figure out exactly which activities agents are performing and figure out how to increase efficiency.
How to Reduce Wrap Up Time
There are a number of ways call centers can reduce wrap up time including:
- Training: One of the most straightforward ways to reduce wrap up time is to ensure you are training your agents effectively in the systems and processes used during wrap up time. This might mean extra training on your company’s CRM and call center software. Eliminate these all too common inefficiencies by training your agents to be power users of the software and tools used.
- Automation: Figure out which wrap up tasks can be automated. Do this by drawing up a list of all the tasks agents perform during wrap up time and then asking yourself how many of them could be automated. Weigh up what it will cost to introduce these automation tools against the benefits they will bring. A further benefit of automation is that it reduces the likelihood of human error. One example of automation are speech analytics which automatically categorizes calls into existing disposition codes.
- Coaching: While training will certainly help reduce wrap up time, it should not be a one-time thing. Coaching and training agents in wrap up best practices should be an ongoing process. It might be an idea for managers to sit in on calls and wrap up time with underperforming agents to help identify and proactively coach in areas they could improve on.
- Software: It is imperative that the call center software you implement is intuitive and easy to use. Consumer tools like Google and iTunes have raised the bar in terms of ease of use. Employees today expect that their workplace tools have a similar ease of use. Tools that don’t will suffer from low adoption rates. Assess the tools your agents use during wrap up time and consider if they are suitable in terms of usability.
How Can Speech Analytics Help Eliminate Wrap Up Time?
It stands to reason that reducing wrap up time would result in improvements in agent productivity. Why? The answer is simple: Agents spend significant time in wrap up “dispositioning” or categorizing calls.
With speech analytics in place, the processes outlined above can be significantly reduced or totally eliminated. CallMiner’s Eureka software, for example, automatically categorizes each call into existing (or expanded) disposition codes.
The end result is 100% time savings manually categorizing calls, as well as more accurate data capture. After aggregating call attributes and other data, the CallMiner Eureka platform:
- Categorizes all words in each call to determine:
- Reasons for the call
- Product or competitors mentioned
- Participant behaviors
- Presence of procedural language, outcomes or actions
- Analyzes language to identify hot topics and topic dynamics based on the analysis of all words
- Measures acoustic signals for call duration, silence/noise, agitation, stress, and tempo
- Scores calls by calculating performance indicators per call, rolls up indicators to aggregate indices for tracking key business performance such as customer satisfaction, agent quality, sales performance, etc.
The Bottom Line: Reducing Agent Wrap Up Time Achieves Immediate ROI
Contact Babel’s “U.S. Contact Centers in 2016-2020: The State of the Industry & Technology Penetration” report shows there were over 230 billion minutes of inbound calls across 41,500 U.S. contact centers in 2016 alone. What’s more, emerging communications channels such as web chat and mobile customer service apps are set to grow at a CAGR of 21% and 49%, respectively, by 2018.What does this mean?
By implementing speech analytics technology, contact centers have the opportunity to realize not just improved agent interactions with customers but significant cost savings as well. As stated above, automated call categorization eliminates the need to do manual call disposition, freeing up significant blocks of time for each agent and resulting in tremendous savings across the enterprise.
In today’s competitive, consumer-driven market, the question isn’t “How can we improve interactions with customers?” but instead “What proactive steps can we take to provide exceptional customer experiences?”
The above is just a few of the ways speech analytics software can help to reduce or eliminate agent wrap up time in the call center, allowing agents to focus on what matters most: the customer.
How is your organization driving efficiency across the organization?
To learn more about wrap up time, check out the following resources: