Productivity is one of the most significant challenges that a contact centre faces. Taking on the challenge of enhancing contact centre productivity enables the organisation to plausibly increase revenue, improve service levels and deliver higher customer satisfaction scores. Various factors can impact contact centre productivity, such as customer demand, staff turnover, outdated technology etc.

By making small changes, you can overcome the mammoth task of increasing productivity and see the broader positive impact on your organisation’s contact centre.

Below, I take a look at technologies you can implement in your contact centre to see an increase in productivity.

 

Measures of productivity

Within a contact centre, measurements or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are the benchmarks used to understand whether a team is performing or underperforming. When it comes to productivity, service levels in a call centre traditionally utilise the following three measures:

  1. First Contact Resolution (FCR) is a measure of how frequently the contact centre solves the issue on the first interaction so that clients do not have to call back. 
  2. Average Handling Time (AHT) — measures how long, on average, a specific interaction takes. AHT needs to account for the client hold time, talk time, and after call time involved in that interaction.
  3. Occupancy Rate (OR) is a calculation of how busy your agents are. If it is too low, they will have too much time between calls, and you are paying for resources you do not need. Too high, and you are making your clients wait, causing frustrations and also making your agents feel overwhelmed.

Concerning these three KPIs, leaders need to consider that they want a high FCR and OR but a low AHT to build a highly effective and functional team.

Various operational analysts and management consultants have arrived at target ratios based on all these numbers. First Contact Resolution should generally be better than 70%; Average Handling time around 6 minutes; and occupancy rate, greater than 80%. 

These might be reasonably accurate for a phone-only contact centre. However, omnichannel introduces new ways of communicating and working. With this technology becoming ever more popular in contact centres, questions arise as to the validity of the metrics in a mixed environment. 

 

Leveraging Chat lifts both CX and productivity

In Australia, in the 2020s, we still have numerous enterprise and government call centres uncontactable by chat or social media. This is at odds with what today’s consumer expects and wants. An industry study pointed out that consumers rate online chat as one of the top methods for satisfaction, ease of use, and likelihood to recommend when it comes to business. This survey also analysed responses from 900 B2B organisations in the US, UK, and Australia. Responses pointed to a preference for chat for B2B customers in comparison to phone and email in terms of communication.

Let us assume we transform our contact centre in line with what our customers want, and the majority of people get in touch via chat. Looking again at the traditional measures of productivity we have already discussed, FCR may or may not change when we allow customers to get in touch over chat. However, AHT and OR are going to be radically transformed. Chat can move at a slower pace than a call, impacted by the device a customer uses and even how quickly a customer types and responds. OR calculations become even more complicated as staff gain the ability to handle multiple concurrent chats.

This is where technology becomes increasingly important as we leverage chat more and phone less. Chatbots do well at starting a conversation. They are instrumental in resolving simple issues through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and can be helpful with case deflection by pointing customers to other resources. Chat tools can also support agents in finding the right information and responses for a live chat, helping speed up responses and overall resolution.

 

Technology driving productivity

These are our ‘top seven’ technology recommendations for improving contact centre productivity. Companies need to use technology in new and innovative ways today to look after their customers. From the point of view of customer experience, we cannot stress enough the importance of integrating CRM, voice analytics, and AI into your contact centre.

  1. Integrated CRM

Your contact centre system and CRM are the left and right hands of a customer-facing operation. They each need to be informed and aware of the actions of the other, at all times. Getting CRM integration right is your single biggest contact centre productivity win. 

  1. Contact Centre Analytics

Core contact centre analytics manage a mix of structured and unstructured data generated by your people and customers, to arrive at better decisions which improve CX and profitability. Technologies such as AI and Big Data are responsible for obtaining data and information. The analytics group examines the information to understand how it can impact a business. Within this team, individuals with experience and training need to translate data into business insights and decisions. These decisions help drive strategy and planning and capture the right data.

  1. Artificial Intelligence

In a contact centre, AI is essential for helping with real-time speech or voice analytics and assisting chatbots or live chat agents. AI and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms are becoming ever more complex and intelligent, but AI is still incapable of solving all problems. AI works best in combination with humans so that simple issues can be deflected, letting humans solve the more complex problems that require oversight and ability. 

  1. Customer Self-Service tools

Today’s consumers are used to searching the web for solutions. Waiting in phone queues is a customer’s last choice in many cases as they want a solution, fast. In many instances, individuals prefer solving the issue without assistance so that they know how to solve it in the future. As you add improved self-service features, you reduce the number of mundane service requests and increase productivity all around.

  1. Intelligent Contact Routing

Technical systems can play matchmaker by identifying the best possible agent to handle the customer and issue in question. Intelligent, skill-based routing systems should take into account languages, skills, training, and track record, as well as customer sentiment and reason for the contact, to route a contact optimally. Skill-based routing helps ensure that the client connects to the right agent in a timely manner, ensuring they do not have to repeat the same problem over and over to multiple agents.

  1. Big Data

Not to be confused with either AI or speech analytics — a big data approach looks at external data, customer data, and internal data points, to uncover trends and drivers. A concrete example is incorporating weather forecast data into workforce planning. Weather can have a profound impact on a customer and can help organisations make predictions on staffing levels based on past data, and if customers have previously experienced issues or not. Big Data can also be used from a sales point of view to help businesses understand the circumstances behind customer purchasing behaviour.

  1. Customer Data Platforms (CDP)

Enterprise contact centre personalisation in an omnichannel world hinges on your CDP. Each vendor has a different definition of ‘customer data platform’, and unsurprisingly, this definition seems to align with their product or service.  The main purpose of your CDP is to align your customer’s journey with your marketing, service, and sales activities — and is a contributor to both productivity and the ‘effortlessness’ concept discussed in a previous blog.

 

Increase contact centre productivity with CCNA

For productivity to increase, you must first enhance the technology that your agents leverage and streamline business processes.

CCNA can help you implement technologies such as chat, analytics, contact routing and AI to boost contact centre productivity. To learn more about our contact centre solutions, please visit our CC Experience page and get in touch.

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