By Sue Brady
You manage your marketing budget well to drive as many calls as you can to your call centers. You rely on your centers to answer those calls and close the sales. If you manage an inbound call center, you know about the inherent challenges. It’s not easy work, but there are some things you can do to make your call centers more productive: Training, call routing and competition will help you achieve sustained improvement to your call center performance.
You probably trained all of your call center agents when your latest program started up. But when is the last time you re-trained them? Call center attrition is high in most call centers, and while it’s likely you have trained the trainers, it’s important for you, as ‘the client,’ to get in there and retrain from time to time. Don’t rely on the call center to do it all for you. New agents on your program will benefit from your first-hand knowledge. And existing agents will also benefit. I’ve yet to see an example of a client physically re-training agents that didn’t result in a bump in performance. It’s motivational to have you there, but it also ensures the training is still relevant and that you are aware of new questions that agents might be asking. The longer a program runs in a center, the more information you learn from them to help you improve.
2. Call Routing.
There are a number of technologies that provide intelligent call routing, and a number of ways you can set it up. One way is to rate your agents based on your key performance indicators and route calls to those agents whenever possible. Some companies monitor this daily, and when they see an agent is having a particularly good day, that agent will receive more calls. Another way to route calls is to identify your better performing area codes or zip codes and when those calls come in, make sure they are answered first (and preferably by your best agents). Or, you can identify your better performing media and give those calls preference.
Competition is healthy and keeps the players focused to do their best. Competition between agents is important, but so is competition between centers. For agents, having a ‘leader board’ is motivational as is the old-fashioned bell ringing when someone makes a sale. Awards, monetary bonuses and public recognition can all motivate your agents.
If you have the volume to support it, there are multiple benefits to having more than one center answering your calls. First of all, if there is an issue at one call center, such as weather, God forbid a bomb scare, or even a technology failure, you have another center to allow at least some of your calls to be handled. Secondly, there is great and healthy competition created when you run call centers against each other. Each call center has to be able to see performance numbers for the others, and without a doubt, call center A will want to outperform call center B and visa versa.
What are some of your ideas?