Call Center Best Practices
Imagine being at this critical contact center moment.
A customer calls the contact center, upset by a problem and looking for answers. The agent is trying to find the right solution, flipping from screen to screen and quickly trying to reconstruct the situation while reading notes from previous interactions. Looking for help from a colleague, the agent stands up to ask one of their teammates and no one is available. The agent then asks the supervisor, who informs the agent that he needs to transfer the call to another area.
This is just one example of where process and technology fails, and both agents and customers suffer as a result. The most disheartening part of this situation is that many companies have purchased the technology that can help with these types of situations but are not fully leveraging what they have.
During a contact center evaluation, Northridge conducts a comprehensive assessment and then develops a strategic roadmap that drives significant improvements. We begin with assessing the current people, processes, technology and performance metrics and then we develop a set of steps to optimize the operation and fully leverage those assets – with the end goal of improving efficiency, but even more importantly, providing superior customer service.
5 Key Steps for Contact Center Assessment
1. Analyze the Data: Our team analyzes Customer feedback and Contact Center data before setting foot on site. Assessing performance against best –in-class operations helps us determine potential areas for improvement. Contact centers generate tons of data, and we sift through it all, along with information on staffing, organization, processes and technology. Even basic metrics, such as reason for contact and number of transfers, can be revealing.
2. Listen and Observe Key Interactions: On-site interviews and side-by-side observations of the customer touchpoints allow deeper insight into how interactions are handled and provide the true Voice of the Customer. It is also important to watch the process steps, workflows and tools that either enable or inhibit a seamless customer experience.
3. Evaluate and Leverage People, Process and Technology: Northridge consultants will collectively conduct interviews, focus groups, and observe the way people execute their roles. These steps provide unique insights into the pace and pressures within the contact center and the ability of the agent to focus on taking care of the customer
Do agents possess the right skills and have they received the right level of training to be successful? Are agents empowered to resolve issues? Is a supervisor readily available for support and serving as a world class coach?
Do the processes adequately support the agent to resolve customers’ issues? Are they well understood by the agent and being followed consistently? Are analytics, quality monitoring, escalations and complaints used to identify and resolve systemic issues?
Technology is third on this list for a reason. People and processes trump technology, but once the right agents and the right processes are in place, agents deserve no less than the most effective and efficient technology available to respond to customers across channels. Whether leveraging existing technology or investing in new technology, the key is to fully leverage the technology to optimize the agents’ workflow and requirements.
4. Best-in-Class Comparisons: We compare the current-state data and qualitative information to industry best practices along with our collective years of experience in the contact center and customer experience space. After completing a gap analysis, we develop an individualized roadmap to optimize IVR design, improve call handling processes, schedule the workforce and manage the overall performance and incentives of the organization.
5. Create a Prioritized Roadmap to Maximize Business Impact: Northridge outlines the action items (time and cost) necessary to create the greatest benefit to the contact center and customer experience. Each step is optimized for both the cost, business benefit and customer impact while also taking into consideration dependencies and operational readiness for the change.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our contact center processes and key successes.
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in 2014 and has been updated to reflect current best practices.