Customers have important questions and are put off when they have to deal with being on hold for hours, waiting for the next available representative. It can be annoying and it certainly doesn't endear them to your brand.
Instead of subjecting your customers to that, your company should implement strategies to improve your call center efficiency.
Tips to Boost Operational Efficiency in Your Call Center
At its most basic level, operational efficiency is a ratio comparing what you put in and what you get out. Your business puts in overhead costs, employees, time, and effort. You receive profit and customers in return. Therefore, when you improve that ratio, you can receive the same amount of output (revenue) for less input (investment).
However, there are also intangible benefits to improving your call center efficiency too. The majority of the tips below not only help you but also ensure that your customers have better experiences, too. Customer satisfaction is difficult to measure, but customers won't say 'no' to shorter wait times or alternatives to calling support lines.
Let's explore some of the best tips to boost operational efficiency in your call center.
Get Customer Feedback
It's never a bad idea to get a sense of overall customer satisfaction. Small surveys after interacting with your call center are a great way to understand how satisfied or dissatisfied they are after their interaction.
Customers may not take the time to fill out the survey, but if they are dissatisfied with some aspect, they're more likely to answer the survey and pinpoint the issue. Knowing where your call center fell short in their eyes is the first step towards correcting those issues and improving your call center efficiency.
Fewer Transferred Calls
One of the main reasons customers end up spending so long on their support calls is that they're often transferred through multiple departments. Instead, make that knowledge available and accessible to your employees in the call center, so they won't have to transfer calls and can respond to inquiries themselves. Another helpful solution is to use the site search to make that knowledge directly available to your customers. They can then quickly find the information for themselves and avoid tying up your customer service reps.
Assist Certain Agents
If you identify specific call center agents who aren't performing as well as others, take the time to invest in their skills. Provide training or coaching to help them understand how they could be doing better.
Even when agents are completely professional, they can always improve their skills. Training your employees in soft skills like empathy, active listening, and the right tone of voice are important aspects of making your customers feel reassured and giving them a better experience with your company.
Incorporate Quality Assurance
Using quality assurance by recording calls and later going over the interactions is the best way to get an impression of the customer experience. The tone of voice and words used will show you how both the customer and the agent reacted to the circumstances and if there are things that could be improved.
Additionally, if you find that many customers are calling in with the same or similar questions, that should be an indicator that you need to add something to your website to address those questions, so customers don't have to call support for answers.
With reliable site search, you not only build a database of customer queries, but you can also analyze your search results to ensure that you're providing the best knowledge for your customers and customer service reps.
This might seem obvious, but your call center doesn't have to revolve entirely around phone calls. Giving customers more ways to contact support through live chats or email can improve your call center efficiency by dispensing answers without needing to be on the phone quite as much.
Chatbots are an increasingly popular way to answer basic questions and concerns without needing to involve a support representative at all. When automated bots can answer your customers' questions, you save time and money since your representatives don't have to personally contact the customer.
There are plenty of ways you can make it easier on your customer service representatives. Many of them find it challenging to look up the information they need to answer questions or to contact people in other departments for data. Ensuring that your company's data is accessible and departments are linked will drastically improve your call center efficiency.
Another way to optimize workflow is to prioritize support tickets. There isn't one right way to prioritize, and many companies do so based on a first-come, first-serve basis, but agents should know who's next in the queue and not waste time trying to figure out which inquiry to answer.
In addition to prioritizing requests, simple categories should be assigned to them determined by the nature of the question. These categories will help the call center designate which agent should answer the question or if it needs to be redirected to another department.
Micromanaging employees is one of the quickest ways to frustrate your workers. It can makes them feel like you don't trust them to get the job done. However, it is important to monitor employee performance, so you're able to make corrections when necessary.
Striking a balance between those doesn't have to be challenging if you use self-evaluation tools. Improving their ability to assess their performances is an important skill and people are always more likely to work harder when trying to please their inner critic.
The Learning Never Stops
Setting up a training program for ongoing education and practice with soft skills is crucial for boosting the operational efficiency of your call center. The same ways you judge performances with quality assurance or self-evaluation can be applied here to demonstrate how agents should respond to a variety of situations.
Always ensure that your employees have a clear picture of the company's expectations and give them clear and achievable goals. Then, reward them for reaching these goals during meetings.
Learning Management System (LMS)
To ensure that onboarding goes smoothly, automated systems like an LMS can raise efficiency without requiring more hours from a trainer. These systems can also score your agents as they proceed through the training to show them, and you, which areas they excel in and where they need a little extra help.
Create the Right Script
While it's true that customers vastly prefer not to hear an agent reading from a script, it is a way to boost operational efficiency that your business should keep in mind. Customers who can tell the agent is reading from a script might feel like they're not being treated as an individual or their unique concerns aren't being heard. That's why it's essential to create a script that is both versatile and dynamic.
The script will need to guide your customer service rep in learning to sound natural and authentic while still being formal and straight to the point. Scripts should include words or phrases to avoid, have multiple conversational branches, and give suggestions for how to fix specific issues. Additionally, your agents will need to know when they should read from it and when they should go off-book to handle a customers' needs.
Give Customers Answers Online
If your website can answer questions before customers need to call in, you'll save your business and your customers the hassle. With site search, your customers will have no trouble finding FAQs, guides, tutorials, and manuals throughout your website. Customers don't have to find the right keywords or jargon to find the answers; they can type in exactly what they'd say on the phone.
Call centers have to handle everything from routine customer interactions to answering complex questions about unique circumstances. While some of these inquiries require the human touch, many of them could be eliminated if the customer could find the tutorial or answers online. Using these tips, your company's call center can spend less time keeping customers on hold and more time helping the people who really need it.
Check out what Yext's Support Answers can do to help your company answer all of your customers' questions.
10 Tips to Boost Contact Center Operational Efficiency | Scorebuddy
Top 7 Ways to Increase Agent Efficiency in the Call Center | Spice CSM
10 Steps to Improving Contact Center Operational Efficiencies | VHT