- The goal of a contact center is to ensure a positive customer experience in as short a time as possible to keep costs low while ensuring success.
- Operational efficiency is key to a well-run and profitable contact center.
- Management should adopt several strategies to improve and maintain operational excellence, including implementing cutting-edge software tools.
Contact centers focus on ensuring that customer calls end on a positive note without spending more than necessary to achieve this goal. Providing prompt answers and resolving issues effectively is the gold standard for any contact center.
Achieving this goal largely depends on a contact center’s efforts in the area of operational efficiency. Operational efficiency refers to positive output, such as revenue and cash flow, relative to the costs associated with running the business, including those associated with paying workers and implementing technological platforms upon which customer calls are handled.
Contact centers with higher operational efficiency are ultimately more profitable. In fact, a recent survey of company executives across the globe found that over three-quarters polled claim that operational efficiency remains their number one goal. They’re well aware that streamlined operational processes can improve customer experiences and inevitably boost their bottom line.
The question is, what can contact centers do to improve operational efficiency?
1. Focus on providing a positive customer experience
The main goal of a contact center is to ensure the customer is left satisfied with their encounter. No matter what the reason may be for the customer getting in touch with a contact center, their questions should be answered and their issues should be resolved.
To do that, you must closely evaluate how well agents are capable of helping callers. Such evaluation should involve measuring quality assurance on a daily basis, requesting feedback from each caller, identifying areas of weakness among agents, and ensuring regular and ongoing training so agents are always up-to-speed on their tasks.
This continued evaluation and any positive actions taken from such evaluation can ultimately lead to operational excellence.
2. Enhance agent workflows
It’s not uncommon for agents to experience regular hurdles when trying to do their job. For instance, they may spend some time searching for information needed to assist customers or may have some trouble with the technology they’re required to use to take calls.
These issues can impede agent workflows, which in turn can mean wasted time and money for the contact center. Not only that, but such a scenario may also lead to agent burnout, which risks a higher turnover rate for the contact center. Again, this leads to unnecessary costs which can negatively impact profitability.
Optimizing agent workflow is crucial to ensure that customer support is handled appropriately and costs are kept to a minimum. Contact centers can improve workflow by prioritizing customer support appropriately, clearly establishing how calls are assigned, and implementing self-service options so customers have self-service options whenever possible.
3. Optimize average call handle time
Ideally, call times should be as short as possible to save time and, ultimately, money. It’s important, however, that the focus is not solely placed on reducing average call times, as doing so could risk negatively impacting customer experience. Ideally, calls should be reduced in time while maintaining quality customer service.
A quality assurance process should incorporate average call time metrics as well as metrics that assess whether the agent was able to understand the customer’s issue and provide a solution. Analyzing these metrics can help shave down call times without compromising customer experience.
4. Come up with a good script
A staple in every contact center is a comprehensive script that agents follow. Such scripts often cover the more common questions and issues that callers may have. They also help agents handle calls in a more time-efficient manner and ensure that information is accurately relayed to the customer.
Having said that, agents should not solely rely on scripts to resolve any issues or answer specific questions. Customers are good at detecting whether or not an agent is simply reading off a script and don’t always like having to sit through a speech. Agents should be able to personalize their scripts and use their personal and problem-solving skills when communicating with customers and answering their queries.
To use scripts effectively, agents should personalize them so they sound more natural when they’re being read. Scripts should sound conversational and should include several scenarios that can cover multiple questions and issues. Scripts should be measured and tracked for customer satisfaction to ensure they’re working. Otherwise, improvements should be made.
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5. Include self-evaluating tools for agents
While contact center managers should always have metrics in place to evaluate the performance of their agents, it’s also helpful to allow agents themselves to evaluate their own performance. Doing so will enable agents to feel more empowered and valued in the workplace. Self-evaluation can also encourage agents to be more committed to doing a better job and feel more engaged in their work.
A great way to help agents self-evaluate their performance is to include scorecards. Not only can these help to measure customer satisfaction, but they can also be used to help agents review their performance and incentivize them to make improvements where required.
6. Implement cutting-edge cloud-based communications technology
Every contact center should have some form of digital technology to help make the job of an agent more efficient while improving the overall experience of callers. RingCentral’s cloud-based solutions are designed to make telephone communications, video conferencing, and team messaging easier and more flexible.
RingCentral also offers a mobile app that makes it easier for agents to get their work done efficiently, particularly those who work in remote settings. With RingCentral tools, agents can get more done more effectively and efficiently, which helps contact centers achieve operational excellence.
Speak with a customer representative from RingCentral today and request your free demo.
Originally published Mar 29, 2022, updated Dec 30, 2022