Call Center Optimization: The Ultimate Guide
- Last Updated: 19 Feb 24
- 16 min read
Are you struggling to keep up with the demands of your call center? Are long wait times, frustrated customers, and overwhelmed agents becoming the norm? If so, you’re not alone. Many businesses face these challenges, but there is a solution.
Imagine a world where your call center is a place of efficiency and delight. Customers are greeted with warmth and professionalism, their issues are resolved quickly and effectively, and agents are empowered to do their best work. This is the power of call center optimization.
This blog post will provide you with a step-by-step guide to call center optimization. We will cover everything from implementing call center software to training your agents. By the end of this post, you will have the tools you need to transform your call center into a hub of excellence.
What is call center optimization?
Call center optimization is a combination of strategies, digital channels, tools, and technologies for effectively managing the call center department, handling an extensive volume of calls to enhance the customer experience, and improving employee productivity.
The strategies include analyzing call data, implementing workforce management techniques, and various other plans.
What are the benefits of call center optimization?
Improving call centers with better ideas can possibly be a Midas touch for a company. From increased efficiency in an organization to improved customer satisfaction, call center optimization offers a wide range of benefits to both the company and its customers.
Some of the benefits are as follows:
- Improved customer experience: Optimizing the workflow of the call center results in reducing customer wait time, contributing to higher customer satisfaction and improved customer experience.
- Boost employee engagement: Proper workforce training and flexible working schedules prevent employee overwork and burnout, boosting their engagement.
- Increased productivity: Using advanced call center optimization tools and utilizing the available resources increases the productivity of the overall team.
- Cost savings: Optimizing the call center could potentially give Midas touch to a company. Whether it be in terms of reduced operational costs, lower turnover rates, or enlarged customer numbers, companies are almost guaranteed to save money.
How do you evaluate the performance of a call center?
Evaluating call center performance involves various key metrics and factors. Here are some of the widely used call center KPIs (key performance indicators) to evaluate their performance.
Average Handle Time (AHT)
AHT is the measure of time a CSR (Customer Service Representative) spends handling a customer interaction. Generally, companies associate less interaction time with more productivity. So, lower AHT is much more preferred than higher ones.
Mathematically, it is calculated by:
AHT = (Total Talk Time + Hold Time + After call work) / number of interactions
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
CSAT is a survey-based percentage metric used to measure how satisfied customers are with the company’s service. Typically, a survey is conducted, and questions like, “On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the products”, are asked. Based on that, they split out the number of satisfied and unsatisfied customers.
Simply, it is calculated by:
CSAT = number of Satisfied Customers/number of Respondents * 100
First Call Resolution (FCR)
First Call Resolution (FCR) is a metric that measures the ability of a call center to resolve a customer’s issue during their initial contact without the need to follow up with a second interaction.
Generally, FCR is measured in percentage and calculated by:
FCR = number of issues resolved in first interactions/total number of customer interactions * 100
Percentage of Calls Blocked
The percentage of calls blocked is also referred to as the blocked call rate or, sometimes, the blockage rate. It is a performance indicator used to measure the ratio of busy or blocked incoming calls that can’t be connected to an available agent.
High blockage rates can indicate several issues, like ineffective call handling, inefficient call routing, and other technical problems. The general method to calculate the blocked call rate is,
Percentage of Calls Blocked =number of blocked calls/number of incoming calls * 100
What are the things to optimize to increase call center performance?
Boosting call center effectiveness relies heavily on improving how employees perform. Therefore, team leaders should really focus and invest in employee performance, whether it be providing training or monthly rewards for motivation.
Skilled agents handle inquiries efficiently, resolve issues promptly, and leave customers with a positive experience, leading to shorter wait times and increased productivity. Thus, despite the high initial investment cost of optimizing employee performance, its long-term gains outweigh them.
Key performance metrics
While the metrics provide a good reference for the performance of a call center, they are not to merely watch out. Like a student who tends to study more to improve their grades, call centers should constantly work to excel in all the metrics.
These condensed forms of data can help identify the issues in the work mechanism and also provide solutions to address them. Apart from the above-mentioned metrics, some VoIPs can help you get other indexes, like call occupancy rates, cost per call, etc., that can be helpful in your monitoring aspect.
Applying best practices and adapting various techniques in order to provide a standard/efficient workflow and, eventually, to manage employees is called call center workforce management.
No matter the size of the workforce, without proper management, a call center can turn out to be chaotic. Therefore, you should work on developing some effective measures to cope with that. Sticking to flexible schedules and using proper communication channels can help a lot.
Besides, you should also ensure the implementation of proper procedures and principles, the integration of technologies like workforce management software, and opt for high employee satisfaction and retention rates.
At its core, a call center’s principle lies in properly handling clients while addressing their queries. Therefore, the quality of service you provide depends upon the level of satisfaction they attain on call.
From communication to accurately delivering facts, an agent should have all the important call center skills, ensuring they are prepared for any scenario. Moreover, there may be other factors responsible for your call center service quality.
Therefore, it is important to monitor, take feedback / constructive criticism, and constantly work to improve overall service quality.
Top 5 call center optimization strategies you can implement
According to studies by Zippia, 40% of American customers are likely to give up on a company if they receive poor customer service. So, implementing the right techniques and strategies is a must to outweigh your competitors.
But what are the strategies that global business leaders use to make their call center performance so smooth and efficient?
Here’s what they use. These are some of the industry-in-use professional call center optimization models that can help you reduce costs, improve customer service, and boost profits.
1. Always focus on agent training and development
From the tones of their voices to the accent of the language, from a standard script to handling random instances, every employee in your call center should be able to deal comprehensively with your client. You can do so by conducting training programs and teaching them to use appropriate tools for managing customers.
Even after completing the initial training phases, it is recommended to provide routine training for your employees in order to boost their confidence. Constantly monitoring their work and providing them with constructive criticism will also help to improve their performance.
Also, try implementing reward systems to get the most out of your employees. Providing “Employee of the Month” awards and associating that with increased bonuses and paychecks will boost their morale to work harder and better. But make sure that this doesn’t adversely impact productivity by creating a hostile environment.
2. Track key performance indicators
Well, only a single key performance indicator among all the above-mentioned ones cannot solely evaluate the performance of your contact center. Therefore, it is essential for team leads to identify, use, and track the combination of the most relevant call center KPI examples to accurately evaluate the performance.
Establishing benchmarks and realistic targets based on your industry standards and regularly supervising them using real-time monitoring tools can make KPI tracking easier. Additionally, making reports of the tracked KPI data helps to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement.
3. Conduct A/B testing
A/B testing in call center optimization, a.k.a. bucket testing or split testing, is a method to compare two different versions of elements, whether it be the written scripts, strategies, or the whole process. This helps to identify changes that lead to improved efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall performance in the call center.
Here’s a brief cheat sheet guide to performing effective A/B testing to optimize your call center efficiency.
- Identify the objective: First, be sure about your final goal and which area you are targeting to improve. Then, choose the evaluation metrics accordingly.
- Choose variables to test: Once you identify your objective, select the variable that affects your goal. It might be the call script, call routing strategies, voice mail, or other variables.
- Randomize group assignment: Now, randomly assign the agents to either the control group (which will continue using the current process) or the treatment group (which will use the new process).
- Monitor the changes: After implementing the changes, keep track of the KPIs and the performance of both elements.
- Analyze the tracked data: Now, analyze the performance of the changes and come up with a solid conclusion for which one to implement in production.
4. Implement Automation
Implementing automation in your call center is like upgrading your old traditional typewriter into a high-speed word processor. Just as a word processor accelerates the document creation process, automation in a call center speeds up customer interactions, reduces errors, and allows agents to concentrate on the nuances of customer service
Automating simple and repetitive tasks like data entry, updating customer records, and creating tickets reduces manual labor and the risk of errors. Additionally, you can also automate call routing and use AI-powered chatbots to enhance customer satisfaction by providing them with quick and efficient routing and chat results.
5. Manage Customer Feedback
Ultimately, the end goal of all this performance boosting and optimization is to make the customer satisfied. Therefore, taking feedback and recommendations from customers is the most important step to follow in order to optimize your contact center performance.
Here are some quick tips on how you can ask customers for feedback for your call center optimization,
- Send out short email surveys to customers after a support interaction.
- While conducting a survey, include a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions.
- Handle social media and monitor for any mentions of your call center.
- Consider offering prizes and discounts as motivation for customers to provide feedback.
What are the Key Technologies in Call Center Optimization?
Technology plays a crucial role in optimizing the efficiency of a call center, as its impact extends across various aspects.
By leveraging the right mix of technologies, call centers can stay competitive, adapt to changing customer expectations, and continuously enhance their performance.
Have a vivid look at some of the revolutionary key technologies for call center optimization.
- Workforce Management Software: Call center workforce management software provides forecasting and scheduling tools to optimize overall agent staffing. This improves resource utilization, reduces overstaffing or understaffing, and enhances overall efficiency.
- Omni-channel Integration: Integrations make it possible to combine other technological tools to use a unified platform. It provides a consistent customer experience across channels like social media, email, and voice messages, enabling agents to handle interactions through their preferred channels.
- Chatbots and Virtual Assistants: When it comes to handling simple and repetitive tasks, AI-enabled chatbots and virtual assistants are quite handy and efficient. Tasks like assisting customers with routine inquiries and providing simple information can be automated, freeing up human agents for more complex and value-added interactions.
- Cloud-based Technologies: The installation of expensive hardware and software makes it difficult for businesses to manage their budget and resources, hampering their call center performance. However, a cloud-based solution solves the problem in one go, making it more scalable, cost-effective, and easily manageable.
- Predictive Analysis: Analyzing predictive data using various techniques can help businesses predict call volume, predict customer churn, and even identify potential customers. This information can be used to make proactive decisions that can improve call center performance.
Top 3 call center optimization software
One of the best ways to enjoy all the essential and key technologies in a single pack is to use call center optimization software. They are feature-rich and make the optimization much more convenient and streamlined.
However, there are numerous software that claim to be the best of all, making it much more difficult to research and choose the one that fits your business. So, to make your research process easy, here’s a list of the top 3 call center optimization software on the market right now.
KrispCall is a cloud-based contact center optimization system with all the necessary tools and features to optimize call operations. In fact, it’s not just a call center optimization tool; it’s a complete package and a one-stop solution for your VoIP-based cloud telephony needs.
Used and trusted by over 4,500 companies, KripsCall offers its services in over 100 countries, including the USA and Canada. It is suited for both large-scale and small enterprises because of its numerous diverse features at a very inexpensive and reasonable price.
KrispCall’s Key Features:
Along with the basic features like call routing, forwarding, and voicemail, KrispCall offers some unique features, unlike other call center optimization software. This includes:
- Unified Callbox
- Smart IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
- Shared Number
- CRM and helpdesk Integrations like HubSpot and Pipedrive
- In-app call analytics
- Simultaneous call handling
- Call Monitoring
- Essential: $12/user/month
- Standard: $32/user/month
- Enterprise: Customizable
Founded in 2003, Ameyo is one of the oldest call center workforce management software. It was established with the motto of creating astonishing memories of the customer experience at every touchpoint and has been continuing that legacy ever since.
Offering its services in 60+ countries, Ameyo has won over 40 awards and recognition for providing a robust contact center solution.
Ameyo’s Key Features:
- Auto Dialer
- Predictive Dialer
- Interactive Dashboards
- CRM integrations
- HelpDesk Automation
Pricing is customizable, so request Ameyo’s sales team to learn the exact cost details.
CloudTalk is a VoIP-based contact center solution software mostly used by sales and customer service teams. With its built-in analytics, managers can optimize performance and increase call efficiency by automating workflows.
The main reason behind including CloudTalk in this list is its wide range of features (more than 70), including AI-powered conversational intelligence. This gives you the flexibility to customize the customer experience according to your needs.
- Call recording
- Call forwarding
- Automatic call transcription
- Call analytics
- CRM integrations
- Starter: $25/user/month (billed annually)
- Essential: $30/user/month (billed annually)
- Expert: $50/user/month (billed annually)
- Custom: Request a custom quote
In summary, mastering call center optimization is the key to unlocking the benefits of call center business communication. From improving the customer experience to boosting employee engagement and achieving cost savings, the impact is profound.
Understanding the challenges inherent in call centers and the need for optimization can help you prepare the most efficient strategies. Many have been discussed earlier in this article, and you will have to figure out others considering what works best for your call center.
Bear in mind that the integration of technology and the use of proper tools/software are crucial to enhancing the call center’s performance. Therefore, you should be wise enough while selecting one.
What is call center workforce optimization?
Call Center workforce optimization is a comprehensive way to implement various tactics within the members to improve the combined productivity of a team. It involves technologies and methodologies to ensure that the workforce delivers exceptional customer service.
The tactics include workflow automation, performance analysis, quality monitoring, technology integration, feedback surveys, etc.
What are the features to look for in call center optimization software?
Some of the must-look features in call center optimization software are:
- Real-time Monitoring.
- Performance reporting tools.
- Easy adaptability and scalable interface
- IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
How to improve call center operations?
To improve call center operations, you can use various call center optimization models and tactics. Some of the best industry-in-use techniques and strategies are as follows:
- Set up a clear goal for your business and call center
- Identify the best-suit combination of KPIs to evaluate the performance
- Provide scheduled employee training
- Make use of technologies like workforce management tools and cloud-based call center software.
- Promote a positive and supportive work environment
How can technology be leveraged in call center strategies?
Technology can be leveraged in call center strategies in numerous ways. Integrating technologies in call centers enables streamlined processes, enhances customer interactions, and reduces the overall cost of the system.
Call centers can provide personalized service, anticipate customer needs, and proactively address issues by leveraging in-demand high-techs like AI-powered chatbots, predictive analytics, and cloud-based solutions. Integrating CRM platforms and self-service options further transforms call centers into proactive and customer-centric hubs, boosting operational efficiency and driving business growth.