Maximise Call Centre Efficiencies

Maximise Call Centre Efficiencies

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Technology offers a powerful means of improving the performance of call centre agents, with analytics (reports) having the most direct bearing. But the intricacies of analytics necessitate having a trusted advisor on your side, to choose and interpret the right data models and reports.

Doing analytics right

It is tempting to think analytics can solve all of a call centre’s problems. Reports can isolate instances of low productivity or quality, to the point of being linked to individuals’ key performance indicators. If done right, they allow managers to institutionalise the right behaviour, incentivise performance and improve the call centre’s overall efficiency and effectiveness.

And yet very few call centres ‘do analytics right’. Many call centre platforms offer only rudimentary reporting. Among the better solutions, few are used to their fullest potential, because many call centre providers are ‘box droppers’ that install a solution, give staff a crash course in its use, and then clear out. Subsequent callout fees are high and results are not guaranteed, leading customers to under-utilise the tech at their disposal.

As a result of both these situations, managers are at the mercy of agents, who are quick to find loopholes in the reporting structure and use it to their advantage (and the disadvantage of the call centre).

Plugging loopholes

By procuring the right technology, implemented and managed by the right partner, the following common loopholes and many others can be plugged:

  • Basic schedule adherence – the simplest performance metric is ‘basic schedule adherence’. Surprisingly, few call centres have even this level of analytics. Adding it to their arsenal of performance measurement tools is bound to be revealing.
  • Quality measurement – because productivity metrics alone are not enough to measure the desired agent behaviour, some systems offer quality monitoring, according to scripts. This is all part of the power of proper performance measurement.
  • Prioritising agents – agents have been known to collude to bypass incentivised systems and still make target. For example, average agents may forward inbound calls to better-performing friends on the team, thus cheating the system while still splitting the rewards. This will be picked up by good analytics that is properly understood.
  • Overcoming objections – agents hauled over the coals for poor call numbers may counter by saying their productive time was spent on email. Good analytic platforms can integrate and measure communications channels.

Many guises

How can one make sure of finding the right partner that will implement the right reports and help customers interpret data?

Call centre technology companies come in many guises – telcos, hosting companies, broad-based integrators and platform specialists. Most are concerned only with a component of the total call centre, or use the solution as a means to achieve a business objective that is, at best, only related to the analytics-driven efficiency of your work force.

Telcos, for example, are focused on voice termination, not the intricacies of using their systems. A broad-based integrator is focused on implementing the call centre and keeping it running rather than on operational issues, such as analytics.

The right partner

To help with operational issues, call centre customers need more than this: a trusted partner offering a managed service to help attend to operational issues, including the proper design and use of analytics.

To be most effective, such a provider must be a specialist with deep experience in call centres. It must further follow a consultative approach. A call centre environment is highly dynamic, with constant personnel moves, adds and changes, new applications and system tweaks, to respond to business intelligence.

The appropriate customer engagement model in such an environment is a service contract with a trusted provider, not an upfront capital cost with subsequent callout fees.

Bruce von Maltitz
Bruce von Maltitz is currently the MD of 1Stream, a hosted contact centre company. He has over 20 years experience in the service industry focusing specifically on contact centres for the last ten. He has a detailed understanding of how to design, build and operate contact centres having worked in the industry in SA, Africa and abroad. Visit www.1stream.co.za for more information.