It’s always better when you can hire new employees with the amount of experience you require. But this is not always as easy as it seems. Usually your competitors are also out there scourging the terrain which creates a higher demand on an already short supply. There are some things you may be able to do to mitigate this challenge. As you already know, whatever industry you are involved in, you and your competitors experience the same ebb and flows of that market which in turn influence your decision-making. Perhaps, you could adjust your recruiting timeframes and start sooner to avoid the “peak” in the demand from the industry. However, that may be too costly.
For any of us who run a call center it is easy to lose sight of an important fact. Yet this fact literally means the difference between a great brand and a dud. We can spend millions of dollars on a great ad campaign and still end up short of establishing a great brand if we have lost sight of this critical success factor.
Ever wonder what your customers think about the new improvements on your product? Or ever wonder about why people do not visit your website? Ever wonder why your employees don’t seem motivated about your rewards program?
Nobody`s perfect. True. But that should never stop anyone from trying to achieve it. What is perfection anyway? If you treat the concept “perfection” as an objective idea rather than intrinsic or subjective one you might well achieve it. What I mean is perfection presupposes the question “perfect for what”. In other words, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Is the screwdriver perfect for the job of tightening or loosening a screw? Yes it is. Is a hammer perfect for a nail? Yes it is. Yet the screwdriver or the hammer are not perfect for every job.
The Oxford dictionary defines customer as follows: “a person who buys goods or services from a shop or business”. By that definition we all have been customers – a fact we often forget when we are on the other side of the “counter” and are looking for ways to attract more customers.
Let’s face it, you want to enhance customer experience because you want to attract and keep customers. Delivering outstanding service is especially challenging in a call center environment. It’s time to re-acquaint yourself with what it feels like not only be a customer but what it feels like to experience an extraordinary customer service experience.
Many clients do not get answers to their questions on their first call, and thus creating unnecessary callbacks. Call center managers are dying to find ways to be able to measure performance as it relates to First Call Resolution. Perhaps only those with unlimited resources might even get a glimpse at it.
I recommend in cases where it is virtually impossible to get an accurate score to focus primarily on proper methods to improve first call resolution and attach scores to each of these methods. The methods are more easily measurable because you control them.
To better illustrate my point let’s begin by applying a problem solving approach. At the end of which I promise you will have plenty of ideas to improve your customer satisfaction.
Managing call centers is a constant balancing act. You know how it is. The delicate balance between customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and shareholder satisfaction is an on-going struggle. Some companies have gone as far as determining that putting their people first makes for better service which leads to more profit.
No matter what your position and approach to managing the delicate balance, you have wondered about how to measure your service level. You may have considered evaluating your service by limiting the number of abandon calls (abandon rate), or the flip side of this which is measuring the number of calls answered (also known as answer rate or accessibility). You may have measured the average speed of answer. You may have combined these measures into a single indicator that goes under so many different names but comes down to this: “x” percent of calls answered in “y” seconds.
Successful call centers constantly look for ways to improve every aspect of their business. You focus on the quality, the quantity and the spirit of your service. In other words you know your customers want it good, fast and they want to feel important.
Among the several factors that a call center executive might explore in order to optimize the return on her investment is the service level goal. The higher the service level the higher the investment. You already know this, and you have noticed that the higher the service level the more your agents must find themselves sitting idle waiting for calls. Not exactly the kind of picture you want to see.
IDEA #5 – Process versus People.
Process versus People. This simply means to focus primarily on your processes rather than on your employees when it comes to improving results. I am not suggesting ignoring people’s performance but merely switching the emphasis on processes. Furthermore you must realize that your results come from the strengths and weaknesses of your processes as much as the strengths and weaknesses of your people.
Productivity – can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
When it comes to productivity measurements within a call center environment, we are all but too familiar with the AHT (average handling time) indicator. Basically, it refers to the total time spent talking with a customer plus the total time in post-call processing divided by the number of calls answered.
Lately many call centers have decided not to hold agents accountable to this measurement to create a better environment while aiming for better call quality. Other call center managers put too much emphasis on productivity as they try to improve the service levels and prevent productivity cost from rising.
I suggest that there is a balance that can be achieved – there is no need to “throw the baby out with the bath water”. There is a way to hold agents accountable for productivity without sacrificing quality and maintaining a positive environment.