Hosted Call Center providers are great at showing off all the features that their call center software can provide. But what good is that to the manager who has never used call center software? Simply having information is not enough to improve a call center. In fact, the path to genuine improvement starts before choosing call center software. Managers often only know that they would like to increase call volume, customer satisfaction or first call resolution.
What may not be clear is how to mine information from your hosted call center to achieve these goals. So how do you achieve results and realize the benefit of your new call center software? We will identify five steps to continuous improvement in the call center environment.
STEP 1: Set Goals
Any one can operate a car but it’s pretty useless to do so if you don’t know where you are going. The same is true of your hosted call center. You must have clear, simple goals that make sense for your overall company. Once you know where you want to be, you will have a direction. Maybe you need to improve operations, or maybe you need to increase customer satisfaction. This step should be done while you are choosing your call center software so that you can match the measuring capabilities of the software with goals. Not all software will be able to measure what you need it to measure.
STEP 2: Define Targets
Take the road to your goals one mile at a time. Setting multiple small targets gives your call center short-term progress milestones and helps drive your goals by establishing the unique things that each team in your call center should focus on. This will require a period of measurement so you can establish a baseline of where you are now. Your call center software should make it easy to display information that tracks your team’s progress which brings us to…
STEP 3: Measure Progress
It is critical to make sure that any measurements used to assess progress in your hosted call center drive the correct behavior, are fair, and can be measured accurately. Additionally, measurements should be simple to understand and communicate or they will be meaningless. It is important to use a good call center management software program that contains the ability to measure the areas that you require. Beware of creating goal/target conflicts that could hurt your call center or discourage good call center management. For example, if you set a target to reduce average call time in a support center, you may encourage agents to be shorter and less friendly seeming on the phone which could erode customer satisfaction. Measuring progress in your call center will help you find conflict and areas for improvement as well as allow you to reward your team where they are doing well. Good software will allow you to asses your calls with a customizable quality assurance feature. If you are measuring customer satisfaction for example, this could help you identify and correct problems that are harder to capture with simple metrics.
STEP 4: Communicate Results
Your team needs to be constantly updated as to where they are in relation to their short term targets and long term goals. Communicating the results keeps your hosted call center focused on improving weak areas and offers an opportunity to celebrate successful areas. Data and information should be neatly charted and arranged so that it is easy to see the results. Additionally, tie the results directly to the goals they are helping meet to ensure that everyone realizes the impact they are having. If the goal is to increase customer satisfaction, set targets for call resolution time, greeting and tone scores, and make sure everyone knows where they are in relation to those targets.
STEP 5: Make Action Plans
Once measurements are flowing in from your software, you can observe where you need improvement and establish action items to help make such improvements. It is important that your team knows what to do AND why to do it. Again, in the customer satisfaction example, they should know why fast call turn around contributes, and what pitfalls exist by simply trying to get off the phone quickly. Make action plans and schedule the action items so you can see the results and adjust as needed.
Start small and eventually, you will be making visible progress and improving your Call Center Operations, your bottom line, and even your career. Following the steps we have outlined and choosing the right technology partner should be the first step.