Original post by Kevin McMahon
Managing call center performance is not an easy task; however, it plays an essential role in contact center success. Team leaders and managers must build performance management into the company culture and
day-to-day work practices in order to achieve real results.
A significant amount of system data and management information is underutilized in contact centers. Fortunately, this information is typically at hand and can be put to work to improve performance. With that in mind, here are some quick call center performance management tips that leverage information most call center have at their disposal.
1. Determine Your Best KPIs
Defining clear KPIs can help establish the right business goals for your organization, which you can then break down into team and individual performance targets.
Focus on the key revenue drivers for your business, whether it’s new sales, repeat business, debt collected vs. debt outstanding, or even number of appointments booked. Follow these through to the agent level to align their goals with those of the business. You can do this by developing profit and loss-type management information systems. Using those reports, identify and compare performance, like cost per sale from the agent level, then aggregating that up to organizational level. Or take an agent’s salary plus the data costs and compare those against revenue generated.
Other call center metrics that you can use for performance management include total number of calls handled (inbound and outbound), wait time, average call duration (talk time and wrap time), and the percentage of abandoned calls. In addition to being utilized for performance management, service level agreements can be set against these numbers.
2. Motivate and Encourage Agents and Managers
In outbound sales or collection environments, you can reward top performers by giving them access to the best dialing data with league tables or other similar reports. Or start trainees on old or recycled leads. You can keep them excited and improve their opportunities as they progress by giving them calls where they can reach customers.
You should also consider quality measures – e.g. customer satisfaction ratings, employee engagement, call quality scoring, and first contact resolution – as these all play a role in the overall effectiveness of the operation. You can use quality monitoring and customer survey tools to identify potential problems areas.
Also keep an eye on real-time dashboards to identify basic performance issues like too much time in wrap. A common problem, spending too long on after-call work slows the pace of campaigns overall. You can relay these types of issues to agents and offer training and incentives to improve performance.
Read more about motivating agents and improving morale.
3. Take Advantage of Time Saving Tools
With the proper features, you can save valuable agent time. For example, with Mobile Number Screening in outbound dialing, agents don’t waste time calling mobile phones that are invalid, turned off, or roaming. In a typical call center environment, this equates to efficiency savings of up to 15%. It also increases talk time by 30% on average, meaning agents can concentrate on speaking to those customers who are actually available.
Local and mobile number presentation is also another great time saver. Used in conjunction with your performance management solution, it can improve customer pick-ups. In fact, your customers are 20% more likely to answer a call from their local area code than a call from an out of area location. And if they missed the call, they’re twice as likely to call back.
4. Allocate More Agents to a Single Campaign
Do you segregate leads among specific agents? Are you overly reliant on personal callbacks? You might have fallen into the account ownership trap. Sometimes your customers don’t care who they speak to as long as they receive quality service in a timely manner. If you use a predictive dialer, you can boost productivity by allocating more agents to a campaign. And don’t implement a well-meaning but misguided bonus plan that encourages agents to disable predictive by hoarding potential leads and repeatedly scheduling personal callbacks.
5. Enable Personalized Customer/Agent Contact
It would be great if every call resulted in the desired outcome, but in the real world many calls require additional follow-up to close sales or collect debts. While we pointed out in tip #4 that you don’t want to fall into the account ownership trap, some campaigns and customers call for a deeper rapport. Agent Calling Line Identity (CLI) is an excellent way to allow agents to build a more personal relationship with certain customers by giving them a direct line to call. Return calls can also be routed and queued directly to the agent they’ve already spoken to without skewing reporting systems. For more ways add a personal touch, read “8 Ways to Personalize Call Center Customer Service.”