Call center management is the critical factor that fosters an environment of efficient service delivery. It empowers support representatives to turn callers into satisfied and loyal customers, significantly boosting call center agents’ productivity and morale.
However, it’s far from a trivial undertaking. Call center management has to bring together people, processes, and technology to meet customer needs and expectations at the right time. Studies reveal that 66% of consumers expect businesses to understand their individual needs. This is a crucial factor that impacts the loyalty of 70% of customers.
The elevated customer expectations and requirements increase the stress on agents and teams. Close to two-thirds of employees report that burnout is among the most serious issues they struggle with. All these facts highlight the high demands contact center management has to deal with.
This article will explore the multifaceted aspects and importance of call center management. You’ll learn the best practices and KPIs to maximize the productivity and efficiency of your customer support team. We’ll also walk you through the most common challenges and their solutions.
Call centers, integral to customer service, are primarily of two types: inbound and outbound. Inbound centers focus on handling incoming customer queries. On the other hand, outbound centers manage calls for marketing or sales purposes.
The administration of these centers is termed call center management. This intricate process entails overseeing all operations and ensuring customer and agent satisfaction. It covers:
Beyond ensuring smooth operations, call center management takes on a broader role. It involves nurturing an environment conducive to employee growth and productivity. Its ultimate goal is the delivery of high-quality customer service by enhancing call center employee engagement.
Call center management is a strategic collaboration that involves:
A well-functioning call center relies on three key roles: the call center manager, supervisor, and agent. Each position carries specific responsibilities and requires relevant skills.
Call center managers are responsible for setting performance standards. They also have to ensure meeting customer needs. The responsibilities and skills associated with this role can be seen below.
Call center supervisors and workforce managers execute the strategies devised by the manager. Generally, they train, monitor, and support call center agents. Please find below their responsibilities and necessary skills.
Call center agents are the backbone of customer interactions. They communicate directly with callers, aiming at resolving issues promptly and professionally. Agents voice the company’s message, following instructions from supervisors.
The responsibilities and skills related to the call center agent role include:
We’ve compiled ten best practices for you to optimize call center operations and provide superior customer service. Feel free to adopt and adapt these strategies to your specific needs.
Talented agents assist customers better and foster loyalty to your brand.
When making hiring decisions, select individuals with the key skills required for the call center agent role. Look for outstanding soft skills and a genuine passion for helping people solve their problems. Provide them with proper onboarding and continuous coaching post-hire. Diversify your training programs to cater to various learning styles.
🎓 A well-trained agent is the cornerstone of excellent customer service. They should know your products and services in the greatest detail.
Happy agents make happy customers. Good employee engagement translates into a 59% decrease in turnover and a 21% increase in profitability. Therefore, creating a motivated and focused workforce can drive your call center’s success.
To encourage agent involvement:
Recognizing high-performing agents boosts morale. It also encourages others to improve their performance.
Embrace innovative approaches to improve service. Role-play exercises during training can nurture an environment of creative problem-solving. Listen to your agents and incorporate their feedback.
💡 The experience of your frontline team makes their feedback invaluable for process improvement and problem anticipation.
Implementing an effective combination of tools can help foster a collaborative environment. A synergy between your call center and product teams can improve problem-solving capabilities. It can also highlight product issues for correction.
Integrate call center software with other tools like customer service software. Typically, a full-featured CRM platform comes with team collaboration tools. They establish a robust connection across departments, allowing secure information sharing and easy access for all team members.
📊 Connecting your sales, support, and marketing teams allows them to share data and insights. This eliminates data silos and empowers your agents with comprehensive product knowledge.
Empower your customers by giving them the opportunity to solve their issues independently and voice their opinion.
Providing self-service resources reduces the number of customer calls. This frees your call agents from attending to basic queries so they can focus on more complex issues. Proactive customer feedback collection can highlight potential improvement areas in your call center.
Use customer feedback to refine training programs and identify any product or service issues. Email surveys are one of the easiest and most affordable ways to prompt your customers to share their thoughts and impressions with you.
💻 Encourage customer independence with resources like FAQ pages, product guides, and community forums.
The agent turnover rate in call centers reportedly averages 38%. In some extreme cases, it reaches 200%. Therefore, offering a healthy work environment is critical. In addition, balancing workloads and schedules can ensure consistent service quality by minimizing agent burnout.
Use workforce management solutions to manage shifts and maintain a healthy work environment. Good options to consider are Connecteam, Justworks, and Wrike.
Customer service platforms with robust task management and collaboration functionalities can also help your team with time-saving features like:
🤝 These features enhance productivity and boost transparency and accountability. You always have the big picture to keep track of your teams and their tasks, ensuring even workload distribution.
It’s vital to be aware of all laws and regulations at local, state, and federal levels that pertain to your operation. Taking them into account when setting clear standard operating procedures (SOPs) helps stay on the safe side.
This includes observing databases like the U.S. National Do Not Call Registry. It contains a list of individuals who have asked not to receive calls from telemarketers.
If you’re uncertain about your area’s laws, seek legal counsel to evade hefty fines. Regular reviews of call center guidelines will safeguard your agents from accidental violations and protect your organization.
📝 Keep your SOPs updated as company policies and regulations evolve. This will guide agents, optimize workflows, and set performance expectations.
During service interruptions, the influx of customer queries can overburden your agents.
A viable solution is to use prepared voice prompts. This practice can help reduce the overload on agents and assure customers that the situation is being addressed.
🗣️ The call center can play the recorded message corresponding to the caller’s problem.
When call volumes are high and agents are busy, customers are often put on hold for extended periods, leading to frustration and negatively impacting their experience.
Offering a callback option is an effective way to mitigate the issue. The callback system allows customers to request a callback instead of waiting on the line. Moreover, they can choose the time of the call – as soon as possible or later.
📞 Prepare a voice prompt informing the caller that all agents are currently busy and they will return the call as soon as they are available. Ensure the call center software you are using automatically saves the caller number and their place in the queue.
Active quality management involves periodically listening to randomly selected calls and evaluating the agents’ performance. This dual-benefit approach enables you to better understand real customer issues while assessing your agents’ responses. The feedback loop drives continuous customer service improvement.
Notify agents that random calls will be recorded to review their performance. More experienced agents can also help supervisors and managers with call reviews.
🤔 Recurrent problems multiple agents face indicate the need for revising the standard operating procedures, agent training, and call center policies.
Polite customer service enhances a brand’s image and customer satisfaction.
Set etiquette guidelines to ensure your agents maintain high decorum with customers. Create a unique customer experience by leveraging your call center’s strengths.
🚀 Tailor your services to reflect what sets you apart from the competition.
Here are the most common challenges call centers encounter and how to solve them.
High turnover rates in call centers can drastically affect operational efficiency and profitability. The cost of replacing an agent averages $14,113.
The most common reasons for leaving the job include:
To reduce agent turnover rates, take the following measures:
Accurately predicting call volumes and having the right number of agents on duty is crucial. Inadequate workload management often leads to longer wait times for customers and overworked agents.
Adopt the following strategies to improve workload management:
It’s well-established that insignificant, low-value activities take 51% of the working day of an average employee. Common causes of low productivity from call center agents include:
To improve agent productivity, adopt the following approaches:
Chronic absenteeism burdens engaged agents and may indicate dissatisfaction among employees. Statistics show that the absenteeism of call center workers averages 8.2 days a year and can result in about $3,600 going down the drain per agent yearly. Just for comparison, the average for other industries is 7.4 days.
The most frequent reasons for absenteeism among agents are:
The following measures can alleviate the problem:
Identifying the real problems and the root causes behind them can be challenging. The inability to clearly see what issues your call center is struggling with can prevent you from finding the right solution.
To gain a precise and true picture of the challenges you need to address, take the following measures:
More than 60% of consumers will leave a brand after a single poor experience. Therefore, ensuring customer satisfaction is one of the most difficult challenges for the vast majority of call center managers.
Poor customer experiences with call centers result from issues like:
To increase customer satisfaction, implement the following strategies:
Successful call center performance management involves monitoring and analyzing a selection of key performance indicators (KPIs). These metrics provide insights into your call center operation efficiency, effectiveness, and overall customer satisfaction.
First call resolution (FCR) refers to the percentage of customer issues resolved by an agent during the initial interaction over the phone. Monitoring FCR provides insights into the efficiency of your support team in solving customer queries on their first contact with the customer.
Even though self-service methods such as chatbots and information repositories assist customers in resolving minor issues autonomously, a direct conversation with an agent is often required for more intricate matters. Customers expect their concerns to be addressed promptly and competently during such interactions.
📈 A good FCR rate is between 70% and 79%.
The average wait time (AWT), or average hold time, reflects the duration a caller spends unattended before connecting with an agent.
Excessive wait times can cause callers’ dissatisfaction and potentially damage the company’s reputation. AWT serves as a helpful determinant for staff allocation in a call center. Measuring and analyzing this metric can identify problem areas and inform strategies to reduce waiting times.
📈 Typically, the acceptable AWT is 20 seconds. Most callers will abandon their call after 2 minutes.
The average handling time (AHT) represents the mean duration an agent spends on a single interaction. It includes the wait time and the related post-call activities. By monitoring this metric, you can establish benchmarks for various call categories and define expectations for your team.
Striking a balance with this metric can be challenging. It involves the right combination of quality and speed without compromising on either.
📈 A good AHT is 6 minutes per interaction.
The call abandonment rate measures the percentage of incoming calls that end before a conversation begins. It is a critical metric for call centers indicating customer frustration due to long hold times.
📈 The acceptable call abandonment rate is between 5-8%.
The cost per call (CPC) is a key performance indicator that gauges the average expense related to each call an agent handles. This metric sheds light on the economic efficiency of your call center activities. It’s important for making resource distribution decisions. It also aids management in assessing whether resource allocations need modification.
📈 The accepted industry standards specify $2.70 – $5.60 as a reasonable CPC. This amount includes direct and indirect labor costs plus operational costs.
The net promoter score (NPS) is a measure of customer loyalty, focusing on long-term satisfaction. It is typically calculated through a survey sent every quarter or half-yearly.
The NPS survey poses a single question, “How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” It offers a scoring range from 0 to 10. It’s also crucial to include a comment section for customers to explain their scoring.
Based on their responses, customers are divided into three categories:
📈 A score of more than 50 is good for call centers. It suggests that promoters outnumber detractors by 50%.
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a performance metric that indicates the percentage of customers whose needs and expectations were met by your call center. It’s the ultimate evaluation of your effectiveness in fulfilling callers’ expectations.
To determine the CSAT, you’ll need to conduct customer satisfaction surveys. You can use questions like:
📈 An acceptable CSAT score exceeds 25%.
To help you further enhance the effectiveness of your call center management, we’ve compiled an extensive list of the practices you should avoid.
Successful call center management entails proactive planning, balanced reliance on human agents and automation, and the use of comprehensive tools. Optimizing call center operations demands the strategic use of tested call center best practices. Monitoring KPIs and avoiding common pitfalls lead to improved employee and customer satisfaction.
Customer service software is instrumental in streamlining call center operations. Touchpoint, for instance, offers an integrated solution. It combines omnichannel communication options, collaboration tools, advanced AI, and automation features that enhance agent productivity and improve customer experiences.
Allow Touchpoint to consolidate your call center and boost your support reps’ productivity starting today.
Iustina is a curious copywriter with an analytical mind and a demonstrated history in the advertising industry. She likes mixing words with data and is passionate about human behavior. When she's not at her work desk, you'll probably find her enjoying refreshing tea flavors, spilling stories on paper, or binge-watching true-crime documentaries.
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