Call centers operations are prone to inefficiency. Never-ending lists of demands and to-dos can have that effect. But even though many call center tasks seem simple, factors like poor training, tracking and scheduling can slow down operations – leading to poor customer experiences and lost profits. In this post, we’ll take a look at five steps that can help you simplify processes and streamline call center operations.
Between agents, teams and supervisors, the likelihood of call center operations running harmoniously is slim. While every organization and department has its own way of doing things, meeting deadlines and serving customers requires standardized processes. And more often than not, this means identifying inefficiencies and finding ways to overcome them. Here are 5 key examples you can start using today.
Automation has become a buzzword for technology-focused companies – and it’s no different for call centers. Call center automation can be defined as several different things, from chatbots to customer self-service tools. The key to automation in the call center is to ensure the human aspect is still there. One expert notes, “these call center automations all fit within this same context: provide the client with some tools to search and explore on their own, but also gather context and intent to better assist the agent.”
So where does the human aspect fit into processes that are automated? It’s easy – automation simplifies workload. The process of automation will reduce redundancies and eliminate repeated tasks, making your discussion with the customer less time-consuming and prone to error and instead more personalized and relationship-oriented.
Say a customer is calling about an issue they’ve had for the third or fourth time. Rather than having to go through the process of them retelling their story, the issue and what’s happening now, automation will be able to pull that information and provide it to you so you can get straight to the solution and provide that human-oriented response.
#2 Prioritize Employee Training
Employee training goes far beyond the onboarding process. More often than not, employers have the mindset that after official onboarding, employees no longer need training. But this way of thinking leads to inefficient call center operations. This is because when employees face a challenge they weren’t trained for, they create a new process for dealing with it. Training everybody the same way helps prevent this kind of inefficiency. Prioritizing ongoing employee training helps ensure employees are on the same page and aren’t receiving different feedback.
With a standardized process, employees know how and what to answer when particular issues come about – reducing the time it takes to get to a resolution. Additionally, when employees are trained well, they know the ins and outs of what customers are looking for, which makes for quicker calls and higher productivity.
#3 Track Everything
Whether it’s internal or external, tacking each and every aspect of your call center operations is ideal. Not only does tracking help your company understand what’s working and what isn’t, but it also helps keep a record of trends and data. So how does this help with operations? Knowing what’s working and what’s not is the first step. From there, tweaking the processes that aren’t working while expanding on the ones that are will help set your business up for success.
Keeping a close track of business data will help you set tangible and achievable goals. From there, you can align your call center operations closely with these goals to help achieve efficiency.
#4 Create Scheduling Flexibility
Employees need flexibility – in every organization. Employees rarely work well in a pressure-filled environment where they’re tied down to strict hours and a daunting schedule. Believe it or not, giving employees the flexibility to create their own hours or manage their own production schedule can improve call center operations. Think about it – employees who are given the flexibility with their work arrangements are more satisfied with their jobs, which reduces overall stress and increases production. In fact, “a study of more than 19,000 employees at nine distinct companies showed that stress and burnout was lower among workers engaged in all types of workplace flexibility arrangements.”
Additionally, giving employees the flexibility to manage their own work schedules will make filling unpopular shifts easier and less time-consuming – making it easier to provide the kind of 24-hour service promised to customers.
#5 Implement New Technology
While your call center doesn’t always have to have the latest and greatest, implementing new technology is a key part of call center operations. You may think that having that refurbished 2005 Dell monitor is saving your company money, but if it crashes every other day and doesn’t back up your data, is it really helping? Technology that is up-to-date and works smoothly is ideal for automatic data backups which will secure and retain customer data.
Another technology that is critical for the call center is integrations. While you don’t need to have every integration out there, they’re still a must-have. Integrations help your call center operations access real-time data and provide a seamless customer experience. Additionally, certain integrations will give you a 360-degree view of your customer, allowing you to personalize interactions and create lasting relationships.
There are many ways to streamline your call center operations. From automation to new technology, implementing these five steps will help simplify processes and ensure your call center operations don’t fall victim to common inefficiencies.