Increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your agents can help to dramatically improve the results of your call center. Your SLA’s and service metrics will begin to reach their goals and even surpass them, with a few simple steps. Here are 7 ways to increase agent efficiency in your contact center:
- Clear Processes for Solving Common Problems
For anyone that has adopted the Guided Process Workflow approach, this comes as no surprise. By supplying your agents with an arsenal of best practice processes and subject matter expertise, you are able to eliminate any unforced errors from the support process. Creating the processes is simple and can be handled by an expert in a matter of hours. Guided Process allows each agent to become a subject matter expert when handling a customer’s issue; even if they possess minimal training and knowledge.
- Continuous Improvement Training
By establishing a continuous training schedule, you can rest assured that each agent will receive the appropriate training at the right time. When each session is focused on new customer service skills, best practice procedure, or specific problems that arise in the contact center, the entire operation will quickly become more competent and knowledgeable.
- Skills Based Routing
The use of skills based routing technology can drastically help to reduce call transfers and increase FCR. Even in a shared agent environment, where calls have the opportunity to route to your entire agent population, skills based routing can make a significant difference. For example, if a call comes in for a home loan application and the customer is brand new to the system (perhaps identified in the IVR or based on the number dialed) it can be handled by the agent with great “on-boarding” skills rather than the agent with a different skill set. If all qualified agents are busy, take advantage of your available agents, and see tip #4.
- Live Call Monitoring and Coaching
With the selection of the right telephony and ACD system, a contact center can take advantage of live call monitoring and coaching. This is especially useful for new and inexperienced agents. Having a supervisor or higher level agent listen in to live calls gives agents the sense of a safety net. If the agent begins to falter or needs help, the supervisor can simply speak a few words of guidance to the agent.
- Inter-agent Chat
With inter-agent chat, agents are able to utilize the expertise and experience of more seasoned agents and supervisors while supporting customers. Chat can be accomplished in one of two ways; on a one-to-one basis, similar to AIM or Yahoo Messenger, or on a one-to-many aspect, similar to chat rooms. In either case, agents can increase their effectiveness by asking real time questions to the rest of the organization without the customer realizing.
- Favorable Agent to Supervisor Ratio
Whether you operate a small help desk or multi-thousand seat distributed call center, it’s important to maintain a favorable agent to supervisor ratio. The exact ratio will depend of the services you provide, volume, location of agents and much more, but we have come to find that a 25:1 agent to supervisor ratio is a good benchmark to start with.
- Listen to your Agents
In our experience and that of our customers, contact center agents are typically the first to know about a broken process or procedure. After all, they are on the ones on the front lines, taking the calls and interacting with the customers. It is very important to setup a feedback loop for your agents to provide input and suggestions. By consistently implementing agent ideas, you will not only increase their efficiency, but also help to boost motivation and morale.
So what do you think? Have any of these tips helped to increase the efficiency of your agent? Did we miss anything important? Comment with your best practices.