Call center management can increase agent productivity by implementing policies and by choosing the right tool in the form of the right contact center software. It is the only tool the agent will be using all day and if it has glitches then your agent is likely to be frustrated and that reflects on quality of work. Legacy call center solutions lag behind modern offerings. Just as you review agent performance all the time it is also essential to review the software and if it is worth an upgrade, go for it by all means. The right software can help agents discharge duties efficiently.
Omnichannel is not an option. It is a must have feature. Consider software that does not have this feature. Your agent will have to jump through hoops to engage with customers who, these days, prefer to initiate contact on one channel and then switch to another. Your agent may not even be aware that this has happened and remains ignorant. The result is customer dissatisfaction. Now consider contact center software that has a single dashboard to manage all channels including chat, email, fax, voicemail, social media and plain old voice. The dashboard keeps agents alive to activity on any channel and jump to it right away.
Take it a step further. Omnichannel is good. When it is tied to a CRM module it becomes better. The agent has only to press a key to bring up records of the customer in view and fast track resolutions. All such interactions go into the CRM further enhancing data for refining service quality. Customer satisfaction level increases and positive feedback keeps agents motivated to do better. Such access to data also does away with frustration of searching for customer records. The CRM may be fine tuned to collect information received through the IVR and display tickets that the agent can attend on priority.
Automatic call distribution
The simple call distribution feature of legacy contact center software simply passed on an incoming call to an agent who happened to be free at that moment. This can prove counterproductive since the agent may not possess skills to deal with that particular issue. It can happen that an agent who processes calls fast receives even more calls, creating an overload in the process. Today’s intelligent call distribution systems consider skill levels of agents, the type of issue that the call pertains to and then routes the call to an agent that matches the parameters. If an agent has handled that caller before then the call goes to that particular agent. There is continuity and speed. Customers like to engage with one person who is conversant with their issue instead of having to restate their issue to each new agent who receives their call.
Agents have specific responsibilities and limited powers when it is a matter of taking a decision on a specific issue. At such times a supervisor may barge in or whisper instructions to the agent. An agent may use the intercom facility to obtain clarifications while the caller is kept on hold. Instead of having to fob off the caller the agent progresses to the resolution stage.
The IVR is seen as a tool to insulate an organization from callers. However, it is also a fine-self-service tool depending on just how it is configured and its degree of smartness. You do not want agents to handle calls that simply request information. Let the IVR do it so that agents can handle calls that have more value such as inbound leads that can be converted or resolving a customer’s genuine complaint. IVRs reduce burden on agents and give them more headroom to handle a long list of tasks waiting to be handled.
Smart power dialer
Contact centers also handle outbound campaigns in which the power dialer plays a crucial role. The system dials a number only when it senses that the agent who is on one call is nearing the end of the call. If the call connects the agent takes it up otherwise the power dialer moves on to the next number on the list. The agent never has to manually dial numbers and that saves effort besides leading to the agent handling higher number of calls.
Reporting and metrics
It is back to management with the reporting and metrics feature that call center software must have. Intelligent analytics can show how much time an agent spent on a call and what part of it was necessary. You get data on average wait time, calls resolved successfully and speed. Management can know which agents need encouragement and which agents are good and need further incentives to do better.
The contact center software is a tool and how agents use it can make a difference to their performance. Conducting training sessions to let agents become thoroughly familiar with the tool can help them increase speed of handling calls. Get their inputs on the tool and see how it can be customized further and you take one more step towards agent productivity.