Contact Center Optimization: 9 Quick-Fire Tips to Improve Performance

CX Today Team

Uncover a whole host of contact center optimization ideas, covering people, process, and technology

Strategy
Contact Center Optimization: 9 Quick-Fire Tips to Improve Performance

Leading a contact center is not easy in the current climate. Rising contact volumes, handling times, and staff shortages are taking their toll on everyone – even agents.

Indeed, research reported by CX Today reveals that 40 percent of agents want to leave their roles in just 12 months. Meanwhile, 51 percent are pessimistic about their jobs.

Such concerning statistics necessitate urgent intervention. To get the ball rolling, here is a selection of quick-fire tips to optimize contact center performance and build a better culture.

1. Review Contact Center KPIs

Contact center KPIs should reflect critical customer, employee, and business outcomes. Why? Because contact center optimization strategies should consider these three perspectives.

Yet, existing KPI strategies fail to do so. The classic example of this is targeting average handling time. From a business sense, it will theoretically cut staffing costs. Yet, it may cause agents to rush through contacts to achieve their objectives. As such, employees and stressed, and customers are less likely to be satisfied.

Similarly, other KPIs may also need to be reviewed as part of the contact center optimization process – while operations may consider a balanced scorecard to structure their KPI properly.

2. Transition from IVR to Voicebots

Poor allocation of incoming calls impedes performance considerably. Yet, more traditional IVR technologies are making way for sophisticated voicebots, which gauge intent from only a few spoken words and seamlessly route customers accordingly.

Also, voicebots may gather information upfront for agents and even automate particular queries, thanks to self-service functionality. Indeed, many companies now repackage successful chatbots on the voice channel to optimize performance.

3. Integrate With a UC Solution

Since the switch to hybrid work, UC solutions have become popular in many contact centers to facilitate team communication and collaboration. Many vendors are seizing this trend and offering bespoke integrations to UC platforms, such as Microsoft Teams.

By investing in such an integration, companies can connect to the wider organization, integrate further with the enterprise, and share customer insights.

Not only does this help to enhance the contact center’s standing within the business, but fostering cross-function relationships enables operations to cut out upstream issues that drive demand.

4. Invest in Multichannel Agents

Repetition is almost impossible to avoid in contact centers, and the monotony of work can bring down performance after some time. Developing multichannel agents not only offers individuals a more varied workday but also provides them the chance to enhance their skillset.

The diversity in jobs may promote employee retention and minimize weariness. Yet, it also necessitates optimizing agent training and using the appropriate technologies.

5. Account for Agent Preferences in WFM

In a contact center, workforce management (WFM) is vital. When occupancy exceeds the 80-85 percent mark, agents may experience stress due to the immense workload and, as a result, overstretch themselves to meet the goal.

Consequently, it is critical to challenge longstanding WFM practices and build a better system that accounts for agent preferences. Doing so will likely improve attrition, absence, and engagement rates.

Predictive solutions will aid in forecasting incoming and outgoing traffic for future time periods, allowing businesses to distribute workloads efficiently.

6. Build a Better Knowledge Base

Customers and agents gain from the implementation of a knowledge base. An external option allows customers to obtain solutions to fundamental issues without requiring human assistance. As such, human agents deal with fewer transactional calls, easing pressure on the contact center.

Meanwhile, a knowledge repository helps agents discover answers to queries they may not know how to address quickly. Therefore, it provides an excellent support tool, improving agent morale and ramp-up time.

7. Prevent Avoidable Interactions

Assess contact center demand drivers, and highlight which are caused by issues somewhere within the customer journey. Break these down into three categories:

  1. Those that the contact center can solve internally
  2. Those that other departments could solve
  3. Those that require a policy change

Such an initiative takes time. Yet, solving those that require internal change are quick wins, which can drive down a significant percentage of overall demand, lowering strain on the contact center.

Then, build relationships with other departments and work with them to solve avoidable issues. Easier said than done, but by doing a cost analysis of the problem – perhaps utilizing speech analytics technology for accuracy – the contact center can create a significant sense of urgency.

Those that require policy changes are the trickiest to solve. Yet, if the problem is particularly pressing and the costs are high, the c-suite may be willing to listen.

8. Recognize Excellent Agent Performance

Spot agents doing the right things, show recognition to reinforce the positive behavior, and refill their motivation to keep providing excellent service. It sounds simple, but tracking that agents are doing “the right things” in remote environments is challenging.

Quality management systems help, tracking positive customer outcomes, promising performance trends, and rising agent KPIs. All these indicators are not only for spotting improvement opportunities. They are there to motivate agents and ensure supervisors have the chance to pinpoint positive moments, celebrate them, and build a better culture.

9. Embrace AI Trends

Contact center AI has hit the headlines for many years, promising to automate much of the work of human agents. Has this happened? Not really. But the technology is getting better, fast.

Thanks to no-code tools, building a bot has become much more straightforward, almost like playing a video game. As such, offering automated service – for simple, transactional queries – is easier than ever.

However, AI is not all about bots. Analytics technologies are surfacing new insights, assist software is supporting agents, and robotic process automation (RPA) is streamlining work for everybody. These are just some of the latest contact center AI trends to consider closely.

Learn more about how technology is changing the contact center landscape by reading our article: The Future of Contact Center Technology: 10 Key Trends

 

 


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