5 Tips to increase contact centre productivity featuring a call centre agent wearing a yellow top and pointing upwards

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5 Tips to increase contact centre productivity and accelerate employee engagement

It’s accurate to depict people working on the front line in contact centres as among the most measured workforce in the world today.

There is an incredible focus on contact centre metrics including time taken to answer, time spent with the customer, the outcome of the contact, whether it was the first call from the customer and much more.

The continual focus on how to increase contact centre productivity is due to a number of reasons:

  • Customer experience is suffering as wait time increase due to the inability to recruit staff.
  • Employee experience is directly linked to customer experience.
  • People are the biggest expense line in a contact centre and labour costs are increasing.
  • Productivity is required to fuel growth.
  • The cost of automation can be a fraction of a human agent and reduce wait time.
  • Contact centre metrics make it appear deceptively easy to measure cost versus outcome.

There are many other reasons, but fundamentally it is the notion of an efficiency dividend from the use of digital self-service, combined with the need to enable employees to do more due to chronic churn.

These factors underpinned by the knowledge that customer service is key to growth and reputation, drive the increasing focus on enhancing productivity to better service the customer.

Not an exhaustive list by any means, and you are encouraged to reach out to me for more detailed discussions.

5 ways to increase contact centre productivity

1. Make your people as happy as possible

Motivated, engaged and enabled employees are more likely to stay with your organisation beyond the industry average.

Technology to simplify engagement is a key requirement but no amount of technology will replace the need for career development, education, recognition and a caring culture as key factors in retaining and building top talent.

The capacity to redefine the employee experience including enabling working from anywhere and driving a culture of active engagement in wellness will drive engaged employees who in turn will drive positive customer experience.

The Gallup report “State of the Global workplace 2022” stated that low engagement alone cost the global economy $7.8 trillion.

It is undeniable that engagement drives productivity, and high engagement is the result of happy motivated and enabled workers that stay with your business longer (also reducing costs).

2. Right calls to the right agent

Leveraging your contact centre technology platform to identify and connect the best agent to the caller’s particular need is more likely to result in a happy customer who has their need resolved at the first attempt.

This notion of predictive routing is available on most modern platforms and gathers data about the customer and their intentions and carefully matches them to the agent with the skills or characteristics to resolve.

3. Workforce Management

Another weapon to increase contact centre productivity is to build a workforce management or optimization strategy to ensure you have the right blend of agent skills deployed at the right time.

Workforce management technology will ensure you have enough people with the right skillset to address peak demand.

This will reduce or flatten excessive queue times but also avoid less qualified agents receiving calls that they are not best suited to handle, resulting in increased call times or reduced first call resolution

Allowing employees to pick, choose and swap shifts reduces rostering overheads and goes to optimized employee experience and engagement.

Workforce management will also avoid overstaffing, particularly where higher-value specialized resources may be deployed and awaiting calls.

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4. Support your people with knowledge

The inability to navigate multiple applications, complete multiple and complex processes and a need to understand multiple products or policies is a challenge for agents and drives employee churn, in addition to delivering poor customer experience through longer than required call times and extended post-call processing.

Deploying knowledge management that delivers contextualized help not only tells the agent, in real-time, the next step, but It can also guide them through the entire call, advising what to say and even what screen to navigate to.

This drives for compliance, but ultimately it is about delivering a faster more effective service to the customer and enhancing the experience of the employee.

Additional savings are made through the reduction in training as a result of contextualized help acting as an “always-on” coach.

Gartner predicts that by 2025 customer service organisations that use AI-enabled knowledge automation will achieve 90% first-call resolution, up from 50% in 2021.

5. Automate and Augment

Automation is accelerating especially with the increasing capacity of Conversational AI to undertake increasingly complex tasks across every channel including voice.

The purpose of many automation initiatives is to free up agents for higher-value tasks including and especially those that may require a degree of empathy.

Customers are happy to engage with self-service so long as it requires no waiting, is the channel of their choice and resolves their needs at speed.

Automation of contacts can be inbound in response to a customer call, but they are increasingly proactive or outbound and include CRM integration to deliver personalization.

Partial automation to augment the agent is also of high value, using biometrics to authenticate can save up to 30 seconds per call, and using Voice Biometrics to identify a caller prior to passing the call with the customer information to an agent will drive savings on every call and deliver customer and employee experience improvements.

Gartner predicts that conversational AI deployments in contact centres will save $80b by 2026.

Summary

This is by far not an exhaustive list of how to increase contact centre productivity.

Technology does offer some great benefits across all aspects of the interaction lifecycle and will drive productivity and the employee and customer experience.

However, it has to be embedded within a wider framework of optimised policy, process and importantly, culture for organisations to fully extrapolate the significant benefits these solutions bring.

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Nadine Power, ACXPA National Advisory Board Member

IVR Best Practice

Over 90% of contact centres are using an IVR (Press 1 for this, press 2 for that), and we've encountered many contact centres with over four layers of options for customers to select from. In this session, Nadine will be sharing some best practice tips on IVR design for 2024.

Presented by Nadine Power, Chief Product Officer, Datagamz (and ACXPA National Advisory Board Member)

ACXPA National Advisory Board Member Simon Blair

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Of the five quality competencies we assess as part of the Australian Call Centre Rankings, the 'ENGAGE' competency from the Australian Contact Centre Quality Standards has consistently been at the bottom of the rankings throughout 2023 and into 2024.

In this session, Simon will provide some tips that can be shared with agents on how to increase engagement with customers at the start of calls.

Presented by Simon Blair, General Manager Quality Insights, ACXPA

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1 Comment
  1. Kylee Noble 1 year ago

    Great list David, providing employees with opportunities to upskill and become role ready is another effective way, too often we are reactive to situations. I’ve often heard employees tell me they’ve been asking for training for ages and now people have left or demand has increased they’re expected to learn almost overnight. Be proactive, provide pathways and encourage self development and learning options.

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