As we shake ourselves down and re-calibrate our operations to cope with the current, and hopefully, soon to be post-COVID-19 world there’s a lot of talk about efficiency. A recent article in the FT series, ‘Leading in a crisis’ highlighted that, “The insight will be crucial for companies and governments as they emerge from this pandemic. Adequate preparedness demands wider margins and buffers. It also requires a tolerance for slack that goes against the grain of what, pre-Covid-19, was orthodox management thinking.”
So much of this is true. The pandemic has changed many rules of business for good and, in many cases, for the better. However, it’s worth noting that we humans have been striving to create greater efficiencies since the Industrial Revolution. Being efficient is not a new desire and how to drive these efficiencies across our organisations has always been critical to business leaders and managers.
How to Drive Call Centre Efficiencies
From our point of view, there are lots of simple ways to drive call centre efficiencies in your business and across your workforce, especially for contact centre agents. None of these are new or rocket science:
Remove the dull – we all know there are boring tasks to do, not matter what work you’re in but quite often people will procrastinate and put the boring stuff off to last. It may be boring but it’s still important, try to remove unnecessary paper trails
Emails and messages – reduce the interruptions and keep the ‘noise’ traffic to a minimum
Break it up – introduce regular breaks and encourage some exercise to re-energise both the body and mind
Focus and purpose – create targets and share successes to encourage effective and motivated agents
Enable flexible working – especially in the current climate, with many having to remote work or with others handling critical support in call centres, allowing flexible working will help boost agents’ well-being.
Call Centre Efficiencies in the New World
BUT – how we now go about driving call centre efficiencies in this new world has changed. The opportunity is immense and it’s far more than some good practice HR processes. Pre-Coronavirus many businesses could be forgiven (just about) for using antiquated or just ‘good enough’ software and technology to support their agents. However, this pandemic has forced every industry across the globe into action. How could businesses mobilise the highest number of their workforce, in the quickest and most effective manner, with the aim of keeping as many of their people safe and healthy as possible? Understandably, this couldn’t be done for all, with our key workers having to continue working the frontline and carrying out their critical work, but for many employers the move to working remotely was a responsible and necessary step.
And this is where digital transformation has jet propelled many contact centres into a more efficient and effective approach. Previous conversations and potential projects of updating or migrating to superior platforms to better support agents, and ultimately, provide a stronger customer experience, were no longer “nice to have” but business critical. You can motivate people with morale boosting messages and change their working hours to suit their lifestyles but the best way to get efficiency is to give people the right tools for the job.
Outstanding Customer Experience through Agile AI and Conversational Analytics
Deploying agile technology solutions for your contact centre doesn’t have to take months or weeks, it can be done within days. Dynamic call and omnichannel solutions mean that your agents can quickly understand scenarios and adapt to every customer interaction. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and voice analytics won’t just drive efficiencies, they will transform your customer experience (CX). For example, our conversational analytics solution enables you to analyse the vocabulary and sentiment in the conversations taking place. You can analyse the emotion in calls, which helps you to understand if agents are struggling to handle some conversations, but also to recognise what causes frustration in your customers.
The ability to understand and search through customer conversations within minutes, without listening to calls significantly improves productivity of your contact centre and therefore drives greater efficiencies. Furthermore, having this information can allow you to implement ways for customers to self-serve, make changes to online information and update customers prior to them contacting you. Thus, enabling your business to really drive down the number of customer contacts and lift the pressure placed on your agents, all while enhancing your CX and reaching that goal of driving greater efficiencies.
We don’t need a revolution and we don’t need a global pandemic to drive greater efficiencies across our contact centres. As 2020 has proved, we can transform our businesses much faster than any of us anticipated and we can evolve to cope with whatever is thrown at us to become stronger and more efficient than ever before.