Top 10 Tips for Creating Contact Centre Excellence
Whatever the main objectives are for a contact/call centre, they probably have something to do with communicating a service or product, providing assistance, or gaining customer information. But what is it that really makes a contact centre successful in what it does? The modern consensus seems to be that a holistic approach is more important than focusing solely on KPIs like ASR and First Call Resolution. Indeed, only focusing on such factors can severely limit a call centre’s potential. In reality a successful contact centre incorporates good practice in all areas. Read on to find our top 10 tips for creating contact centre excellence by keeping the bigger picture in mind.
Create the right environment
Never underestimate the importance of communication
Break and refresh
Make sure a good performance is defined and understood
Offer rewards for good performance and let your agents choose what they are
Stick to your word
Share agent success
Let your guard down for true success
Use your customer data
Use agents’ experience
Contact centre managers should ensure that they create a light, comfortable, fair operating and safe environment for their staff. In terms of the physical environment this can mean maximising light and space, and giving agents the right equipment and workspace. Managers should connect with all staff, learning their names and making an effort to value and understand their thoughts and concerns.
One of the most important factors that can directly affect contact centre success and performance is communication. Hold daily meetings to keep all stuff up to date with campaigns and initiatives, and coerce colleagues to engage with each other organising activities inside and outside the working environment. How often are staff asked about what they feel is going well and what could be improved? Conduct surveys asking agents direct questions so that they can communicate their suggestions to contact centre decision makers.
Believe it or not the human brain is not designed for the kind of extended repetitive focus demanded in modern contact centres. Taking short breaks, especially those involving physical activity like stretching or going for a walk is scientifically proven to increase productivity. Implement a break system for your agents, and don’t restrict their movement when they do have their breaks, to ensure they don’t feel tied down or irritated.
Are your agents fully aware of what their objectives are? Putting them on the spot and asking them will probably reveal that not all of them are. The first step to agent productivity is ensuring each agent has a clear understanding of what they are expected to produce. Agent training should incorporate discussions about what defines a ‘good job’, and whenever objectives change, this should me made clear in update meetings.
Simply providing a safe environment and a pay cheque at the end of the month can only motivate your agents so much. Ask your agents what they would like to receive as a reward for good performance and you will see motivation increase significantly. It’s also important to set personalised goals, that are based on staff input, to maximise motivation.
Take a no-nonsense approach to contact centre management, and instil the same attitude in your agents. This means not making promises you can’t keep and being honest and open in everything you do. If agents mimic this behaviour, they won’t make false promises, and won’t say ‘yes’ for fear of saying ‘no’ to customers on the phone.
When agents do perform well, this should be recognised by everyone. Hold weekly or monthly meetings where good performance is recognised, so that all staff are motivated to receive the same recognition.
Urge management staff to conduct calls themselves, then have these played back and assessed in groups. A manager who can assess their own strengths and weaknesses when doing the same task as their staff, will receive much more respect. This will also make agents more engaged when assessing their own calls.
With the advent of unified communications and other great technologies, there are now a number of excellent ways to enhance service. Having historic caller information appear on agents’ desktops can really help them to personalise each call and improve customer satisfaction.
Agent experience is extremely valuable, and every contact centre should be utilising the judgements of their agents to make real changes. Ask your agents what customers do and don’t like to form a list of things to remove or promote in your organisation. A logical approach like this can really improve your contact centre.
If you aren’t already incorporating these tips into your contact centre, see what affect they have on your organisation. Nothing helps you identify how you can improve like making a change and monitoring the results.