How to Optimize Average Speed of Answer


In order to understand and improve your call center's performance, you must monitor key performance indicators (KPIs). One of the most critical of these KPIs is average speed of answer.

Average speed of answer is the average amount of time it takes for an agent in your call center to answer a customer call. It is measured from the moment that the call connects on the customer's end to the second that an agent answers the call.

Because this KPI can greatly impact your business in terms of customer service levels, in this article we’ll discuss how to optimize average speed of answer.

Consider Re-Training

If your average speed of answer is high, it may be because your agents are spending too much time on the phone with individual customers. This may be because they’re having trouble solving a customer issue, or they’re taking too long to close a sale. Either way, this is an opportunity for re-training.

Make sure your sales scripts are working effectively and study your employees’ behavior on their calls by utilizing features like call recording and call whisper. Use the insights you gain from call recordings and live call monitoring to enhance sales scripts and improve agent training.

Example: after listening to multiple call recordings, you notice that your agents have trouble helping customers quickly reset their account passwords. Host a training session that focuses on this particular troubleshooting task.

Better Manage Your Workforce

Scheduling problems also contribute to a slow average speed of answer. As a manager, you need to ensure that your agents are answering calls during the time periods that they are scheduled to work. (This is called schedule adherence.)

But, you also need to make sure that you are scheduling your employees wisely based on call trends, history and foreseeable busy periods. Proper scheduling ensures that agents are available to quickly answer the phone whenever a customer calls in.

Example: you know that your call center receives the most calls from 12 PM - 2 PM. Optimize average speed of answer by staggering your agents' lunch breaks, instead of allowing all agents to take lunch during this time frame.

Utilize Advanced Call Routing Tools

Cloud-based call center software can help you better manage your average speed of answer. Advanced call routing tools in particular are made for this reason. Utilize time-of-day routing and skills-based routing to ensure that callers reach an available employee with the skills to successfully help them during the time they call in.

Queue callback is another helpful feature for optimizing average speed of answer. This feature allows your system to call a customer back in the order they called rather than making them wait on hold.

Example: You can't afford to hire extra agents during your peak business hours, but your customers are waiting in the hold queue for 10 minutes or more. Optimize average speed of answer by implementing queue callback. Your callers simply leave their phone number and a brief message, and go on about their day. Your virtual call center software system automatically returns customer calls in the order they were received as agents become available.

Optimizing Average Speed of Answer in the Call Center

Your business can be greatly impacted by customer service levels. That’s why keeping track of your key performance indicators is to important. Average speed of answer is one, in particular, that you should monitor closely. Consider implementing the tips above to help you successfully manage this aspect of your call center.

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