Your call center relies on the performance of its customer service representatives (CSRs) to provide greater customer service with every interaction, whether it’s on the phone, through email support or on your website’s live chat feature.
There’s a reason why, according to Microsoft, one in three people (30 percent) say the most important aspect of customer service is speaking with a knowledgeable and friendly agent.
That’s because agents are the foundation of your brand’s customer service strategy.
However, improving agent efficiencies, while at the same time minimizing overhead costs, can be complex. To complicate this, even further common call center challenges such as staff turnover and upticks in demand can make it even more complex to boost efficiencies and improve agent productivity.
In this blog, we’ve listed some tactics that Advantage Communications uses in our contact centers across North America to boost agent productivity and achieve superior customer care results.
#1 - Use artificial intelligence to enhance agent performance
Contact center artificial intelligence (AI) has a number of uses in the call center to dramatically improve agent productivity and customer service results. AI is used to enhance customer service agent performance, not replace them. Technologies such as live call guidance and operational intelligence can provide agents with in-the-moment feedback and future training for better customer service outcomes.
#2 - Improve agent productivity by reducing agent effort
Technology, and AI in particular, also has its place in reducing agent effort giving them more time to focus on the tasks that truly matter. Chatbots, for example, can answer easy customer queries so that agents have more time to focus on the questions that drive true value to the customer. Automation technologies meanwhile can make agent tasks easier to complete, so they can focus on customer interactions over admin.
#3 - Leverage training both virtual and in-person
Customer service strategies are always changing, depending on customer expectations and new technologies that deliver better results. As a result, customer service representatives need continuous training to ensure they are able to resolve issues as seamlessly as possible. Leverage frequent virtual and in-person training events for your stay-at-home and in-office agents.
#4 - Improve recruiting and onboarding to attract better talent
Call centers have notoriously high turnover. When an agent leaves your brand, you have to find someone to replace them and train them to successfully answer customer questions - this is not only expensive but can lead to poor customer service outcomes when you have to rush an agent into their role too fast. Thankfully, by focusing on recruitment, onboarding, culture and building a team of brand ambassadors, you’ll be able to build a loyal team that’s highly productive.
#5 - Enable agents to focus on specialized tasks
Like any employee, customer service agents want to feel like a valued member of the team. Not only does allowing them to specialize give them that opportunity, it’s also great for your customer service program to have experts in their own areas. It’s a great way to promote career progression while at the same time better training your agents to answer customer queries.
#6 - Foster better peer-to-peer and peer-to-supervisor collaboration
Collaboration is the cornerstone of business success. By fostering an open environment where peers and supervisors can share feedback and give advice, your entire team is going to grow as a result. Your office will become a place of constant learning, and that’s only going to lead to better customer outcomes.
#7 - Leverage analytics to identify gaps and improvement areas
Analytics is the key to a successful customer service program. Through a combination of monitoring contact center performance and using technology to analyze the key issues/challenges that your customers are facing, you can use hard data to improve how your agents perform moving forward.
#8 - Fix call quality and equipment issues for at-home agents
At-home agents are becoming increasingly common, particularly as employees begin to look for flexible work that fits in with their work-life balance expectations. Yet working from home brings its own technical challenges. Glitches in computer systems or disturbances in phone lines can seriously impact customer outcomes. These need to be addressed to truly improve the efficiencies and productivity of your CSRs.
#9 - Improve routing rules and technology
The process of call routing in the call center decides which agent receives each incoming call and how that caller is queued. The better your call center can route calls, the better your agents will perform (improving first call resolution metrics) and the less time your customers will need to spend on the phone. AI technologies, such as interactive voice response, can help your call center better route callers to the appropriate agent.
#10 - Use gamification to improve agent performance
Gamification is a strategy that uses gaming principles to achieve non-gaming outcomes. By using gamification to spur your CSRs on to outperform their peers, your brand will be able to improve employee engagement, make your office a fun place to work and celebrate achievements with your entire team.
Want to learn more about improving the efficiency and productivity of your customer service agents? Get in touch with Advantage Communication today. We have an extensive range of innovative customer service techniques and technology that vastly improves customer service outcomes for our clients.