Call Center Management
Elevate your contact center management strategy with our trusted contact center solution.
Elevate your contact center management strategy with our trusted contact center solution.
Call centers employ different sets of strategies to achieve one common goal: deliver exceptional customer service experiences. To be effective, these strategies should address the many facets of managing a call center, including but not limited to:
But where do some call centers go wrong? Why do many companies outsource their customer service department? Most importantly, what makes an effective call center? Let’s dive into the complex but rewarding world of call center management.
Call center management refers to the way businesses manage their daily call center operations. It covers employee hiring and training, workforce scheduling, and customer interactions, among others. How your team handles these processes contributes to your call center’s performance.
There’s no definitive formula that would ensure a call center’s success. But when the entire customer service team is working together and using the right call center technology, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong. Let’s take a close look at the two key roles in a company’s customer service department: call center manager (or supervisor) and call center agent.
Call center supervisors are responsible for managing the call center’s operations in support of the company’s customer service goals. Their tasks include but are not limited to:
Effective leaders lead by example. Actions speak louder than words, and that’s an idea many great supervisors keep in mind. They must present themselves as a worthy leader to other call center employees, especially the agents.
A call center agent is responsible for managing inbound and outbound customer calls for a business. They operate as the company’s front-line, handling issues like product complaints, billing concerns, support requests, and more.
Call center agents may also go by names like customer service representatives, customer care representatives, telephone service attendants, or telesales agents. You’ve probably heard of the term contact center agent—contact center agents handle emails, live chats, social media messages, and other interactions via digital channels on top of traditional phone calls.
The main duties of a call center agent are to answer and dial out customer calls. Incoming calls usually mean responding to inquiries, addressing complaints, taking orders, and troubleshooting problems. Outgoing calls, on the other hand, normally come in the form of gathering survey data, setting appointments, and relaying promotional offers.
Here’s a list of typical call center agent duties:
It’s a given that call center agents must have exceptional communication skills. Apart from that, they have to be empathetic, organized, able to retain information well, and can keep calm under pressure.
A lot goes into a call center’s daily operations. But as far as addressing customer concerns go, here’s a simple explanation of how inbound and outbound call centers deliver customer service:
A call center can handle both inbound and outbound customer calls. It’s also possible to have an entire call center workforce based in different locations; in which case, it’s called a remote call center.
No matter what type of call center you have or whichever way your call center operates, your call center manager needs to have a good grasp of different call center metrics to make room for success.
A call center manager is expected to monitor customer behavior and help enhance the performance of their staff. They should be able to gather data and analyze metrics to identify trends, create reports, and refine processes—all for the purpose of improving customer experience, agent performance, and ultimately, call center performance.
Below are some important call center metrics that provide great value when you’re measuring performance.
The first call resolution rates show how many issues were fixed at the first call. Companies use it to evaluate their service level standards. A high FCR rate (around 90%) means agents are resolving issues at the first point of contact. Customers don’t need to make followup calls or switch to digital channels like chat, email, or social media.
Let’s look at the two ways you can measure FCR:
Gross FCR is measured by dividing the number of cases resolved in a single call—those that can actually be resolved in the first call, including cancellations, upgrades, and booking changes—by the total number of incoming calls you received.
|Gross FCR =||Number of cases resolved on the first call|
|All incoming calls|
Of course, not all cases can be addressed in one call. If you don’t factor that into your equation, you might get a distorted picture of your call center’s performance. It's for this reason why many companies prefer to use net FCR.
Net FCR takes cases that can’t be resolved on the first call (e.g. support issues and hardware repair) into account. That number is subtracted from the total number of incoming calls received.
|Net FCR =||Number of cases resolved on the first call|
|All incoming calls - Cases that can’t be resolved at the first call|
To get the gross FCR or net FCR rate, you just have to multiply the quotient by 100.
Average handling time refers to the average time an agent spends on handling customer issues. It also covers the amount of time a customer experiences waiting time within the call duration as well as the after-call work time, which is the time an agent spends doing administrative tasks.
You can calculate AHT by first adding the agent’s total talk time, total hold time, and total after-call work time. Then you divide the sum by the total number of calls to get the average handle time.
|AHT =||Total talk time + Total hold time + Total after-call work time|
|Total number of calls|
Keep in mind that low AHT isn’t always good. Let’s say an agent encounters an irate customer who wants to cut his video subscription. The agent easily gives in to the customer’s request for fear that his AHT would shoot up. Contrast this to a situation in which an agent who may have spent a little more time on the call but managed to calm the customer down and address his concerns.
What’s a good way to assess customer loyalty? Ask customers themselves. You do this by asking them this simple question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend the company or agent you spoke with to a colleague or friend?” (If you want, you can append this with a follow-up question—“Why?”)
You can run the survey over the phone or other communication channels. Based on customers’ responses, you’ll get your quantitative score:
To calculate your NPS, add your number of detractors, passives, and promoters. Get the percentage of each group by dividing each segment total by the total number of survey responses. Then, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The resulting difference is your NPS.
A little confusing? Here’s an example. Let’s say you received 100 survey responses:
15 Detractors - 15%
40 Passives - 40%
45 Promoters - 45%
NPS (45% - 15%) - 30%
In this case, you have a low NPS. Any score above 50% is considered decent because it means you have at least 50% more promoters than you have detractors. But let’s not forget that there’s one more element to your survey question—the Why. The answers you get will give you valuable insight as to why customers are satisfied or not with your service.
The ultimate goal of a call center is to make customers happy. When they’re happy, they give positive feedback and are more likely to recommend your service to people they know. A good indicator of customer happiness is the customer satisfaction score (CSat), which is given to an agent.
CSat is measured by asking your customers a question about a particular interaction they’ve had with an agent (e.g. Were you satisfied with how our agent handled your concern?). The customer is provided a survey scale they have to fill out, typically 1-10, with 10 being the highest.
The CSat score is calculated by adding all of the scores an agent received and dividing the sum by the number of surveys.
|CSat score =||Total score agent received|
|Total number of surveys received|
These are just some of the top metrics you can use to drive call center performance. As a call center manager, you’ll also deal with cost per contact, abandoned call rate, average call transfer rate, etc.
Is your company providing the best possible customer service? Here are some call center management practices that will help elevate the way you deliver customer experiences:
All the call center management tips mentioned above deliver a positive impact on both customer and employee engagement. Add a good customer experience platform into the mix and you have a call center that’s built for success.
Despite the popularity of digital channels, many customers still prefer to reach companies using the phone. They want to speak with a real person, get more personalized service, and get immediate action.
As a business organization, you want to be able to serve all kinds of customers, from young individuals who spend a great deal of time on social media and messaging platforms to professionals who want fast, straightforward replies over the phone.
In such cases, a good contact center solution would prove invaluable. You want one that empowers agents, enhances customer experience, and drives successful strategies.
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