Introduction

  • Call Center: It is a stressful environment that manage high volume calls maintaining consistent and high standards of customer service. Metrics and KPIs are usually used to track the performance of the call center. These also help the call center management in the improvement of the processes to help customer success. Below are considered as the top Contact Center Business Challenges and the role facing/impacted by that challenge
    • Agent recruitment and retention: VP of Support
      • Recruitment: One wrong selection of agent during the hiring process may lead to lots of issues within the call center, a proper planning of the interview process may resolve such issues. Look for important qualities as outlined by Kevin Hegebarth
        • Technical knowledge: They have a solid understanding for the industry and basic resolution skills.
        • Ability to multitask: They must thrive in a hectic environment and be able to jump from one issue to another quickly.
        • Pleasant phone etiquette: Candidates must have the ability to engage with customers in a pleasant manner and be able to hold a fluid conversation.
        • Ability to stay calm, cool, and collected: They’re able to remain calm and resourceful in any situation, regardless of the circumstances.
        • Ability to focus: They have the ability to stay present and focused on delivering the best possible service to each and every customer.
        • Solution-oriented thinkers: They display a high level of confidence and a propensity to search for a resolution themselves or direct their customers to the appropriate personnel who can provide an answer.
        • Ability to listen and put the customer first: They can use empathy and patience to ensure customers feel catered to and confident that the support representative is hearing their issue and is knowledgeable in the subject matter.
        • Four key strategies for hiring
          • Early bird gets the worm: make quick decisions in hiring and donot delay.
          • Let candidates know about how good or bad they performed in the hiring process with pleasant responses
          • Get every stakeholder involved with/for whom the agent is being hired
          • Use your Crystal Ball by doing a predictive analysis about the candidate to ensure prevention of a bad hire.
        • Best Practices for Hiring:
          • Customer Service Mindset
          • Tolerance for Stress
          • Decision Making Skills
          • Creative problem-solving skills
          • Motivational fitness
      • Retention is another problem in the current market where many companies are facing attrition issues. Companies have to provide proper training, good work-life balance, proper rewards, and recognition to motivate agents.
        • According to David Bethers “fun incentive programs are an easy way to motivate and build team collaboration, while making employees feel rewarded for a job well done. But you also need a plan. These five ways can help agents make a successful career out of customer service.”
          • New skills: Offer training in digital, social media, and mobile apps and emerging channels.
          • New motivations: Empower agents to make decisions, highlight agent diversity hiring practices.
          • New work rules: Give high-performing agents more autonomy that can lead to future positions, offer schedule flexibility, and encourage collaboration within the team.
          • New metrics: Take another look at agent retention, offer role extensions and paths to promotions.
          • New career paths: Introduce opportunities for agents to migrate to another department in your organization, such as Marketing, Digital Content, Social Media, or Sales.
    • Achieve High Customer Satisfaction: VP of Support
      • CSAT is influenced by fast response times, first call resolution, proper product information to agents to ensure proper answers are provided to the customer.
      • Good People, proper processes and technology upgradation helps the call center to succeed.
      • 24/7 support, Fee-based high end support, support availability globally, multi channel support also influence customer satisfaction.
    • Accurate reporting and analytics: VP of Support
      • Call center managers are responsible
        • to provide outbound sales performance reports to sales and marketing departments
        • to provide operational cost reports to Finance
        • to provide operational performance reports to IT.
      • With so many separate reports and systems jumbled together, getting accurate and consistent reporting becomes a colossal problem to call center managers.
    • Magnification of Bad Customer Responses: VP of Support
      • Customers have multiple avenues to magnify a bad customer experience which may cause a lot of damage to the reputation of the call center. These include review sites, social media like Facebook, Twitter and many more. One single comment of 140-280 characters will be ready by thousands in a matter of minutes.
    • Increasing Revenue: VP of Sales
      • These are influenced by Upselling and cross-selling, increasing customer retention rates, agent training, providing Tools/knowledge to agents.
    • Optimizing the workforce: VP Of Support
      • Precisely predicting the number of agents required at any given point of time helps in optimizing workforce and associated costs.
      • Call center managers need to tackle two major issues overstaffing and understaffing.
    • Accurate forecasting and planning: VP of Support
      • By analyzing records of call patterns, managers can identify call peaks and troughs. During peaks, managers should ensure that enough agents are available to handle customer calls. And at the time of troughs, managers can either reduce the number of agents or allocate idle agents to other productive venues such as making sales or follow-up calls.
    • Managing Operational costs: CFO
      • Influenced by agent productivity, Technology upgrades

Business challenges, KPI’s and Metrics

  • Business Challenge: These are related to achieving business objectives that are defined for fulfilling a business strategy.
  • KPI: Key performance indicator measures the success of achieving business objectives. It is a metric (a calculated value by combining measures) related to a business objective. A subset of metrics are related to KPIs. These are used to predict the performance.
    • Business Objective: Increase Customer satisfaction by 10% over next 12 months,
    • Measures: how many calls are closed on the first interaction
    • KPIs: First Call Resolution, CSAT Score
  • Primary KPIs for Service Contact Centers
    • Customer Satisfaction
      • First call resolution
      • Quality of Service and associated CSAT ratings
      • Average Wait Time
    • Cost of Service
      • Average Handle Time
      • Cost Per Call.
    • Revenue
      • Cross Sell/Upsell/retention
    • SLA compliance
      • Meeting agreed upon Service Level Agreements.
  • Key Metrics
    • First Call Resolution: The percentage of issues resolved in the first call in a single interaction with an agent without the need to transfer or escalation or responding at a later date. Multiple factors influnce this including skills-based routing, quality of knowledge base, proper training on products, Systems integration so that agent can pull information from different systems.
    • Average Handle Time: Total time to deal with the customer issue. This includes call time, wait time and post-call work time. factors influencing these are skills based routing so that proper agent gets the case, improved agent workflow, proper training to agents to make them efficient, improving knowledgebase, automating tasks (Service Console, Macros etc),
    • Average Wait Time: Time waiting for an agent, this is influenced by appropriate and accurate staffing levels, number of agents, call deflection, reduced handle time.
    • Abandonment rate: Percentage of callers or chats that disconnect before they are connected to the agent. Influnced by appropriate and accurate staffing levels, number of agents, call deflection, reduced handle time and announcements in queue.
    • Customer Satisfaction: Percentage of customers that are satisfied with their support experience, based on survey results. Influenced by First Call resolution, quality of service, proper resolution steps provision by agents or the underlying documentation in knowledgebase.
    • Cost per Call: Total cost to run the call center per number of calls. Influenced by reducing the average handle time, decreasing the cost per call.
    • Cross-sell/upsell rate: Total revenue generated selling to customers during an interaction. Influenced by the quality of Knowledgebase, agent training, process automation for upsell offers, measuring agents by the KPI and rewarding with incentives.

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