Do your Communicators have the best tools and techniques to do their jobs well? If so, you’ve likely learned that less is more. Fewer Communicators with heightened skills are a greater contact center asset than more Communicators with fewer skills. That means it makes sense to develop a customer service approach that optimizes the customer experience as well as your business’s cost structure.
To reduce the need for more Communicators requires taking action on three fronts: Communicator utilization, productivity and call center volume.
Optimizing Communicator usage: Contact center managers can boost staff utilization by employing technology tools that ensure Communicators are scheduled effectively. Today’s workforce management software, which can capture all types of work, including interactions via phone, email and other communication channels, provides an alternative to inefficient paper- based staff planning. Communicators can be scheduled based on their skills—from fluency in two languages to training and experience with various technologies.
Increasing Communicator productivity: Instead of measuring productivity with the old standard average handle time (ADT) metric, contact center managers should track customer satisfaction across Communicator conversations. ADT can actually pressure Communicators to rush customers off a call instead of fully ensuring their satisfaction. Consequently, managers should not only guarantee that Communicators are following policy and procedure but make sure to monitor calls and coach staff on how well they controlled interactions and stayed on point.
Contact center managers should also track how often customers are placed on hold while Communicators look up information. This is usually an indication of training gaps or difficult searches on poorly designed information systems. To improve the customer experience, contact center decision makers must acknowledge and address Communicator challenges to quickly and effectively resolving customer issues.
Reducing call center volume: First-contact resolution (FCR) is the key metric to look at when trying to decrease the number of incoming call center inquiries. Your goal here is to ensure that more customer interactions are based on requests for more products or services—and not to resolve problems with existing ones.
To improve FCR success, proactively identify the root causes of customer problems and determine to prevent them. Do your due diligence to learn from customers whether your products are easy to use. Next, look into whether your processes and practices prevent Communicators from addressing problems on first contact. Check into whether it makes sense to give your Communicators more power to make decisions on customers’ behalves. Ensure they are properly trained for this sort of responsibility before moving ahead.
Keep in mind that less can be more when it comes to both the number of Communicators in your contact center and your success at providing optimal customer service.