Customer Experience News & Trends

3 ways to make your contact center more efficient

Of all the things customers want, “faster” has to be at or near the top of their list. To meet that need, contact centers are always on a quest to increase efficiency. Here are three proven ways to do it.

Contact centers want to improve processes across the board — quality, agent performance, operations, etc.

“No one can get it all done in the amount of time they have,” says Deborah Alvord, of Customer Engagement Management at Hewlett-Packard Co., who will be speaking at the upcoming The Future Call Center Summit in Orlando.

That’s why leaders need to make the best use of their agents’ and their own time. Here are three tweaks leaders can make to their operations that will help them run more efficiently. They’re culled through Alvord’s decades of contact center experience:

1. Try cascade call routing

This gives you time to give contact center reps the training they need — the training that will make them more efficient and valuable when they do talk to customers. Divide reps into several groups, keeping the groups diverse based on experience, expertise and ability.

Prioritize call routing so one group gets calls directed to them first and most often while another group is at the bottom of the priority list. Then the low-call-priority group can spend more of the day doing online, desktop training with fewer interruptions. Switch it the next day so the other group can beef up on training.

2. Clean up the escalation desk

Many escalation desks — where calls that reps can’t handle or need a little help with are sent so a supervisor or expert can jump in to help — are inefficient, says Alvord. Why?

“So much of that information isn’t captured,” Alvord says. Supervisors or experts help, but never document what they help with. So they might not identify training needs.

A better approach: Document escalations — whether it’s on a simple Excel spreadsheet or in an updated CRM system. Then look for trends that could become training topics.

3. Chase the right issue

Many organizations chase the wrong root of problems, wasting time and resources that could be put toward helping customers quickly. So try this approach to root cause analysis: 6 Thinking Hats.

It’s worked for Alvord and her colleagues at HP for some time. A cross-functional team looks at a problem from several different angles (or colors). For instance, they might “wear” a black hat for a while to look at just the negative things about the issue at hand. Then they might switch to green hats to talk about creative ideas.

Find more on 6 Thinking Hats here.

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