5 powerful and easy ways to boost agent efficiency

February 28, 2024

Efficiency plays a crucial role in reducing call center expenses and maximizing profits – but it’s not that easy to achieve.

Sudden spikes in customer inquiries, agent turnover and the lack of adequate tools can all affect efficiency, productivity and engagement negatively. Therefore, it’s recommended to take a holistic approach and enhance efficiency through proper training, a well-built retention strategy and robust contact center software that contributes to better results.

In this blog post, you can read more about the latter; how technology can help bring the most out of your operation.

Maximize time spent on productive activities

Take a look at how your team spends their time at work regularly. What you consider effective time will greatly depend on your business and workflow, but let’s assume your agents perform multiple tasks, blending inbound and outbound call handling, responding to emails and chat conversations from multiple social media platforms. In that case, it is worth double-checking how much time they effectively spend on those activities within their work hours and establishing target KPIs that you would like them to reach.

Technically, the total time spent on each of the above-mentioned activities can be summed up by adding the time spent in each user status, such as Call, Email, Chat, and so on. This will help you pinpoint areas that need improvement. Maybe there is too much time spent waiting for another call and you should boost your dialer speed or let agents handle other channels in the meantime to limit their idle time. But that is not the only important measure that should be followed. Does the time spent on those activities matter that much if the results of it are poor?

That’s why it is worth looking into resolution time, the percentage of First Call Resolution and other related KPIs. In other words, how much time does it take to resolve a single case or what percentage of the inquiries can be resolved within the first contact? The more requests can be solved immediately, the more time agents have to handle the next cases or work on new leads.

Monitor agent break times and frequency

Pause times include personal breaks, lunch, training sessions, meetings, and similar intervals off the system. Improper management of these periods can negatively impact productivity and efficiency. Reduced work time resulting from breaks may hinder your team from meeting daily goals and lead to decreased performance. Additionally, prolonged, unlimited breaks or break status misuse negatively impacts predictive dialing, making it less accurate in estimating the number of available agents.

Look into break statuses available for your agents and make sure they only have access to the necessary ones. You can also limit the number and length of break statuses they can use per day. This can be done using automatic, administrative tools on the supervisor side. Your team will also be able to monitor the summary of their break time and frequency on their side and plan their days accordingly.
System notifications help identify excessive unscheduled pauses, offering insight into potential issues like agent burnout, and giving supervisors a possibility of timely reaction to eliminate similar situations.

Enhance agent knowledge and autonomy

Long wait times, hold times and multiple call transfers all hinder efficiency. What’s even worse, it frustrates customers, which may lead to negative reviews and overall bad reputation.

To avoid this, it’s important to connect queries to the person who’s most qualified to handle them immediately. It maximizes the successful calls handled in a day and contributes to great CX, as it reduces wait and handling times while also eliminating the need to transfer callers to multiple agents.

To further improve resolution times, consider building a detailed knowledge base and give your agents easy access to customer data, so they can quickly find the best solution possible.

To detect which areas your agents may need to improve in, you can utilize features like real-time monitoring with a listen-in option and relevant QA processes. This will help you offer the most suitable possibilities to improve skills, which will further enhance your efficiency. Initial training is important, but based on what I’ve seen in the industry, continuous training and coaching practices significantly increase efficiency in contact centers. These can minimize the risk of substantial financial losses – underdeveloped skills and unspotted errors can quickly add up to thousands of dollars of losses in just a few months.

Save time on administrative work

Administration is an inevitable part of call center work, but without the proper tools in place, your team may end up spending too much time on these tasks. Luckily, there are easy ways to ensure that post-call wrap up activities or email replies don’t take up too much time. For example, you can limit how much time your team can spend in Afterwork status or how much time is allocated to answer an email.

If your team needs to spend more time on administrative tasks, try to automate the task at hand instead of increasing the allocated minutes immediately. For instance, one of your team members may require more prep time, because they need to send an attachment to an email. Automatic attachment generation by the system based on customer data is a great way to handle this issue. This functionality can be used for various purposes, such as sending personalized offers or contracts.

Equipping agents with the right tools – such as a strong knowledge management system or useful integrations – will also save time and boost productivity. On average, an agent must access 4+ systems to effectively assist a caller. However, if they have everything they need in guided workflows and well-built, personalized scripts, searching for information won’t be a problem anymore.

Additionally, your customer data can also be seamlessly updated in your CRM or other systems directly based on call status and data provided during the call inside the contact center software, with the use of Webhooks and automated Database API connections.

Keep your software up-to-date

Embracing more adaptable tech, particularly cloud-based contact center solutions can play a large role in increasing efficiency. Traditional on-site systems, such as those from traditional PBX setups, tend to be bulky, necessitating additional hardware for business expansion.

A streamlined business requires an infrastructure that gives you the tools to reach maximum efficiency. This comes in the form of functionalities like proper real-time monitoring capabilities or powerful solutions like dynamic email attachments, Webhooks or Database API like mentioned above.

Additionally, powerful contact center software can help you make the most of the time your agents spend at work through various automated actions that improve the overall workflow. Here are a few examples:

  • Do you have a limited workforce but need to handle a lot of inbound calls? Try an automated IVR where clients can use self-service options or where AI handles most of your clients needs, without agents assistance.
  • Need to navigate between multiple systems to reach client information and update it? Rely on a built-in or API connection to external systems instead.
  • Do you need to reach a high number of customers with a new offer? Try automated robocalls (outbound IVR) first and continue with personal contact only when the client expresses their interest.
  • Need to incorporate mass SMS or mass email actions into your workflow? No problem, you can even base further workflow on the result of those automatically sent messages. Utilize complex monitoring features using built-in or custom made BI solutions (eg. Looker).

All of the mentioned possibilities can make your agents’ daily work easier, more mistake-proof and help focus their time and efforts to more complex queries where their input is really needed, taking the efficiency of your contact center to the next level.

Beyond technology

Keep in mind that personal motivation also plays an important role in how your agents perform on a daily basis. Check out these posts to learn more about motivating your team:

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