6 Proven Ways To Increase Contact Center Productivity
Employee productivity is key for any organization’s profitability and long-term outlook. So what does agent productivity mean for contact center managers? It starts with keeping overhead and operational costs down, while also providing excellent customer service.
To reach maximum operational efficiency in a contact center, customer service agents must combine effective time management skills and be motivated to achieve results and increase productivity.
Productive call centers don’t just come to life overnight. You need consistent training, high-performing agents, efficient contact center processes, and operations managers who can ensure maximum return on investment. Effectively running a contact center means continuously keeping tabs on the overall output.
What Is Contact Center Productivity?
Contact center productivity is best defined as the use of resources and time by a company and its employees to achieve a desired goal or outcome. In other words, how much input does it take to produce an output? For most contact centers, this translates to cost per contact.
To get a good baseline metric, you can divide a contact center’s total annual operating expense by the annual inbound contact volume. But since every business is unique, it’s important to determine how your contact center individually defines productivity.
In a contact center context, productivity can be defined in several ways. Contact center productivity is typically measured with several agent performance metrics. Some of the common metrics used to measure agent productivity include:
- Average handle time
- Transfer rate
- Average resolution time
- First interaction resolution
- Customer satisfaction
The current, real-time data found from monitoring these metrics will give you a close-up look at customer interactions so you can continually measure the overall productivity of your contact center.
Agents are one of the largest costs in any contact center, so anything you do to help them become more productive and efficient will translate to budget savings. Similarly, low productivity hurts your budget because it takes more people to do similar work.
When it comes to monitoring contact center productivity, think about your staff in an agile way. You might consider tracking each agent’s available hours for work and the time spent during an interaction. You may need to consider whether their current shifts are still feasible with a model that includes end-to-end digital and voice interactions.
Related Article: Improve Contact Center Productivity with WFM Software
Drivers Of Contact Center Productivity
Productive, engaged employees create happier and more loyal customers. In fact, increasing agent motivation has been shown to increase interaction quality and drive productivity. In addition, engaged agents help drive, profitability and service levels improve as well.
Contact center productivity is driven by agent productivity. It makes sense — each individual agent’s productivity drives the contact center’s holistic performance. But channel mix, geography, and even the root cause of customer inquiries all contribute too.
When it comes to driving contact center productivity and increasing motivation, there are several steps contact center managers can take. Start by acknowledging each agent’s individuality and understanding what motivates each person.. For example, a competitive agent may enjoy gamification, whereas an agent who is also a parent is likely to value a flexible work schedule.
Another way to increase productivity and ensure agents remain motivated is to offer a solid reward program and continuous coaching opportunities. Agents are more engaged when they feel that their employer cares about them and supports them in doing a good job.
In addition to recognition, it’s crucial to equip agents with the right tools and technology to be successful. When you integrate a customer relationship management system with your workforce engagement solutions, it improves and personalizes the customer experience. It also helps with productivity levels and adds value for your customers and agents.
Providing variety in the day-to-day work also assists with productivity. An omnichannel system with one queue for live chat, email, social media, and phone queries gives your customer service staff the ability to have varied experiences, instead of repeating the same thing over and over again. Integrating a CRM with workforce engagement systems provides real-time insights so you can better manage your staff to map to customer communication preferences. This decreases customer frustration with long wait times and creates strong customer experiences.
Related Article: How Contact Center Agent Burnout Decreases Productivity (And What You Can Do About It)
Best Ways To Increase Productivity In Your Contact Center
Without measuring key metrics, you simply can’t effectively manage contact center agents, improve the experience for your customers, and achieve your business goals. By understanding the importance of agent performance metrics and their role in increasing contact center productivity, you can scale your business quicker than ever before.
Let’s explore six strategic steps you can take to improve contact center productivity.
1. Assess Downtime
One key to making a positive impact on productivity is to help contact center agents make the most of the average time spent off calls and/or interactions. Not all customer issues are completely resolved when the interaction ends. The administrative time can vary from agent to agent and disorganization can come at a high cost.
An effective workforce management system provides contact center agents with the means of improving their productivity metrics, increasing agent efficiency and the number of satisfied customers.
Once you understand the downtime, then you can work to improve processes and staff more effectively to make the most of your agents’ time.
Related Article: How to Control Call Avoidance and Interaction Avoidance
2. Efficient HR processes: Onboarding, Training, And Retention
Efficient HR practices — including onboarding, training, and retention — are critical to increasing contact center productivity. Recruiting the right people, implementing effective training, and preparing new staff will help avoid issues around poor performance and the cost of retraining, as well as result in higher employee retention.
By far the greatest cost when operating a contact center lies in the cost of manpower. Onboarding, training, and retention are critical to agent success, but they also represent time spent not serving customers. As a result, it makes sense why being mindful of human capital costs promotes productivity.
A huge outflow of financial expenses is invested in training staff, including providing training on contact center software, producing materials, offering initial support, and monitoring.
While it’s essential to fully equip staff with the right tools, it is also important to continuously retrain to increase retention. Digital training tools maximize both learning and efficiency. These tools help agents improve in areas where they need growth, without wasting time re-learning areas they have already mastered.
Another way to maximize retention is continuous coaching. Coaching should be ongoing, and feedback should be delivered regularly, so contact center agents can incorporate key learnings immediately (rather than waiting for a formal performance review, for example).
It stands to reason that getting the right omnichannel agents is key to contact center productivity. Effective monitoring and allocation of manpower have the biggest impact on improving productivity, customer experience, and job satisfaction in the contact center. Ultimately, it’s about cultivating positive experiences for everyone — clients and team members alike.
3. Stay On Top Of Technology
Technology has automated so many operational tasks. Not to mention, contact center software allows companies to be more cost-effective while eliminating the risk of human error. Clearly, the right technology solutions can make a major impact.
Stop using spreadsheets to track key performance indicators (KPIs) like response time, average handle time, and abandonment rate. Start pulling contact center performance metrics instead.
Playvox offers software that lets you create agent scorecards, grade customer interactions, generate user-friendly KPI reports, and track real-time metrics all from the same digital contact center platform. These real-time insights can help transform poor customer experiences into those that end with positive customer outcomes.
Related Article: Defining the Most Effective KPIs to Measure Your Business’s Performance
4. Engage Everyone On Staff In The Productivity Drive
Having staff focus on output is vital to increasing productivity in the contact center. Make your business goals the personal goals for your team.
The daily tasks in contact center work can be monotonous. If omnichannel agents are disengaged, staff can quickly get bored.
Including contact center staff in effective conversations about objectives, goals, and achievements can help the entire team stay on board and make the company’s achievements their own successes. Consider a little gamification to get everyone engaged with reaching contact center productivity goals.
Help every customer service team member connect with the bigger picture so they can understand how they play a vital role in the company’s success.
5. Publish A Leaderboard
A leaderboard can be used positively to encourage and acknowledge the efforts and success of agents. If customer satisfaction levels are increasing because of an employee’s efforts or if an individual agent’s performance over time has significantly improved, let the entire team know. One of the biggest factors in helping your team reach goals can be positive peer pressure.
The way this works is that staff are monitored for their overall productivity, quality, and attendance and ranked according to KPI scores. The top-performing agents can be rewarded based on how many points they’ve earned. The Playvox platform lets agents accumulate Karma points, which they can later cash in for gift cards, days off, or other rewards depending on what managers decide on. In addition, publishing the rankings act as an incentive and a reassuring way to congratulate staff.
Making a point to congratulate staff who have improved their position on the leaderboard can serve as a great morale booster and push the rest of your team to hit their key performance metrics during the next period. It’s all part of creating a positive work environment and a great agent experience.
Related Article: Top 10 Ways To Boost Contact Center Efficiency & Productivity
6. Establish Benchmarks
Benchmarking provides a range of analytical support, including effectively monitoring productivity. To increase productivity in the contact center, you’ll need to identify metrics based on customer expectations. Once these are identified, customer satisfaction scores and feedback can be measured.
Both effective benchmarking and the subsequent discussion around the way customer interactions are handled can contribute to the training of new staff. The development of existing staff in modifying their approach to inbound interactions should be measured.
Boost Productivity With Contact Center Technology
Without a doubt, focus on productivity is crucial to developing a contact center. Fortunately, Playvox tools are available to support the effective management of staff.
With Playvox software, you can monitor, coach, and reward your contact center staff from the same platform. Are you looking to increase productivity in your contact center? Discover the Playvox solution today!