Improving call centre performance isn’t a one-time challenge. Customer experience is a perennial micro-climate of change, adaptation, and flexibility, call centre improvement ideas are a vital and ongoing service process. They let you adapt responsively to modern consumer needs and stay attuned to the voice of the customer.
Service quality is the make-or-break point for brands in a competitive and rapidly evolving support market. And top-class service makes all the difference to business growth.
With it, you can develop loyal customer relationships, respond dynamically to changing consumer expectations, and continue to deliver fantastic customer experiences (CX).
Call centre management best practices are also crucial for helping you run support operations smoothly. As a result, you can maintain effective workflows, boost team productivity, increase collaboration, and improve your resolution rate.
Finally, many performance improvement strategies aim at reducing attrition within your call centre. Due to the high-stress factors of the job, this sector is particularly vulnerable to large-scale turnover. But implementing call centre management best practices to improve the agent ecosystem health can stem the bleeding.
Let’s look at how these practices help you do all of this and more.
What are call centre management best practices?
Call centre management best practices are an instruction manual for running your daily customer support operation. To define them, first consider what works best for your business. Then draft your strategy handbook accordingly.
It would be best to have clear standard operating procedures (SOPs) to recruit and onboard agents, distribute workloads, schedule training sessions, analyse customer behaviour, improve technology, and so on.
By making your call centre management best practices worker-friendly, you can build and lead a service team full of motivated, productive, and happy agents.
And by focusing call centre management best practices on your audience, you can set the right goals, metrics, and strategies crucial for generating satisfied, loyal customers.
The value of call centre management best practices
Customers are the fuel businesses run on, so keeping them engaged and satisfied is worth your time.
Handle an upset customer poorly, and you’ll lose them to a waiting competitor faster than you can say, ‘I’m sorry for your experience with us.’ And let’s face it, upset customers tend to be a large proportion of daily dial-ins. Mostly, people reach out when something’s wrong that shouldn’t be.
Improving call centre performance results in happy customers that grow your business through repeat purchases, social media reviews, and word-of-mouth referrals.
On the backend, your agents pacify angry customers daily, taking an understandable toll on their mental health. Neglecting agent well-being or overburdening them will make even your best service reps burn out or quit. As a result, this puts you in an expensive cycle of attrition and recruitment.
It also increases your risk of losing customers due to poor handling or new agent errors. None of which is conducive to customer loyalty or profitable overheads.
Another reason it’s imperative to regularly review your call centre management best practices is the expanding market share of call centre services worldwide.
The internet connectivity boom, retail sales, and soaring ecommerce has made businesses increasingly dependent on call centres to manage the surge in customer queries.
And the stakes and standards of call centre support are climbing higher each year. Customers expect top-class service when they call any business for help, and you are no exception. If you can’t meet the high standards of service leaders in the international arena, you’re unlikely to enjoy an expanding customer base.
Here are the healthy parameters call centre management best practices must adhere to in 2023.
Call centre management best practices for agent happiness and loyalty
Your service is only as good as your service team. Knowledge and training matter greatly, as does keeping your agents satisfied and happy. It’s equally as important as customer satisfaction because happy agents make happy customers.
The following call centre management best practices may come in handy to ensure your support reps are doing their best to serve your customers.
✅ Hire the right people
Begin at the beginning by hiring the right talent. Your staffing process should help you find the best fit for the job. Customer service is a people-facing role, so a take-charge personality type that also rates high on empathy and intelligence is best.
Hiring right supports retention and reduces your turnover rate, as people who love what they do tend to stick around.
The downside of hiring wrong is quicker attrition. Agents lacking the right skills and motivation are likely to quit sooner, leaving you with constant new shoes to fill and train.
✅ Great onboarding
First impressions are often lasting impressions. So give your new agents an excellent onboarding experience; it can make a crucial difference in your call centre management best practices.
Introduce new hires to the important processes and people that affect their work. From legal compliance and work etiquette to company culture and who to contact in case of what.
Making new hires feel at home from the get-go is essential. Nearly two-thirds of employees in a survey said a good onboarding experience made them likelier to stay at a company.
Group onboarding also helps new agents forge connections faster. So don’t undermine the value of healthy interpersonal relationships; they’re one of the primary reasons employees stay loyal to their places of work.
✅ Solid training and quality assurance
Most people enjoy doing work they’re good at. To improve call centre performance you must include quality training and assessment to help agents build skills.
In training sessions, include as many scenarios for customer interactions as possible. Prepare your reps for every contingency. It’ll mean less stress when they’re managing live queries, no matter how sudden or unusual they might be.
Encourage assessments through call monitoring with older agents shadowing newer ones. It can refine their skills in real-time and help inexperienced agents gain confidence and satisfaction in their abilities.
Update all your modules regularly, so agents aren’t frustrated by irrelevant or erroneous information.
✅ Detailed SOPs and knowledge resources
If there’s a particular way to do something, create an SOP for it. Structure your list of SOPs methodically and make the information easy to access for your agents. Stick to a simple rule of thumb: critical data shouldn’t be more than two clicks away.
Clear documented procedure is the best way to avoid mix-ups, mishandling, and mistakes. And on the flip side, it helps agents work accurately and confidently.
Finally, maintain a comprehensive knowledge base and keep it updated for immediate reference. You can’t expect agents to rely on memory alone. While the human mind is a miraculous organ, it can’t remember everything.
✅ Use the best tools
Research the latest developments in call centre software and workforce management tools so you can bring in the best tech for your team to work with.
If you’re using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) software, or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, work with the best brands, so your agents aren’t struggling with poor user experience when talking to customers.
Minimise the number of apps your agents juggle between and use a solid customer relationship management (CRM) platform to unify customer information in one place.
❎ Avoid unrealistic workloads
Reducing call volumes might be the focal point for a call centre but agents are human beings, not bots. They need time off between each call to recharge and refresh.
To answer questions and appease people every day is a stressful job. Expecting agents to manage a high number of calls per hour without healthy breaks is a measure of productivity that will only result in burnout and churn.
Sadly, burdening agents with unhealthy workloads is a regular practice. For example, 87% of call centre workers report high or very high-stress levels at work, a key driver of call centre attrition.
✅ Use AHT the right way
Average handle time (AHT) is a key performance indicator (KPI) in call centre management best practices, even though it often works against agent longevity and health. In theory, AHT should help agents serve customers better, but in practice, it can get in the way of quality and satisfaction.
AHT forces agents to end calls in a fixed number of minutes, performing under stress with one eye on the clock, resulting in poor or hasty service while taking away from work satisfaction.
A better use for AHT is to understand and predict average schedules and distribute agent calls for greater time efficiency instead of as a KPI metric.
✅ Schedule regular team meetings
Service teams mainly use their time to resolve customer queries and issues. However, setting some aside for employee engagement matters.
Agents need to feel connected to their team members, co-workers, supervisors, and the workplace, if you expect their loyalty. And an easy way to boost a sense of belonging is through regular team meetings.
In daily or weekly team sessions, agents can discuss their difficulties, brainstorm call centre improvement ideas, and discuss where they might need help.
✅ Initiate mental health initiatives
To help your frontline staff deal with the high-intensity stress from their job, look into how you can help boost mental health within your service team.
An easy way to do that is by sponsoring corporate memberships for meditation, yoga, or other alternative health practices. These can be online modules or in-office ones; as long as everyone can participate, it’s all that counts.
Supporting healthy lifestyle initiatives can go a long way in making agents feel cared for and supported by their workplace.
✅ Be generous with leisure time
The human mind’s ultradian cycle allows it to concentrate on any task for a maximum of 90 to 120 minutes, depending on the person. So for every hour and a half of focused work, your agents need at least a 30 minutes long break to recharge.
Including a generous amount of leisure breaks into agent shifts can go a long way in maintaining their health, happiness, and productivity at work.
✅ Incentivise agent performance
Hard work isn’t really its own reward at work. Appreciation, on the other hand, inspires people to work harder, and incentives are key drivers of agent performance.
To sustain a team of high performers, reward agents with salary bonuses, recognition awards, and official kudos to keep those spirits up.
✅ Offer upskilling & career opportunities
One of the biggest factors behind call centre agent churn is the lack of growth opportunities on the job. But this is easily correctable. Upskilling agents to work their way up within your organisation benefits them and you.
Promote experienced agents to bring their customer experience to new roles in leadership, quality assessment, product development, or market research. It’s a win-win as agents are motivated to stay and grow while your in-house talent remains in-house with layers of added skills to their roles.
Call centre management best practices for customer happiness and loyalty
Now that you’ve got motivated, happy, loyal agents on the job, what call centre improvement ideas can you introduce to boost customer loyalty and satisfaction? Here are some that should give guaranteed results.
✅ Make it easy for customers to reach you
People shouldn’t have to try and find ways to contact you. Put your contact details and support phone number boldly and plainly in a prominent place on your platform — don’t bury it within inner pages or subtext. Mention its operational hours and keep the lines clear for customers to reach you.
It’s a pretty joyful thing to provide simple, intuitive support software that doesn’t put callers through bells and whistles before they can speak to you.
✅ Simplify phone menus
Our time on earth is limited; it’s a finite and precious resource. Try not to waste it with inefficient phone menus. Your customers should look forward to calling you back in the future, not dread it.
If you’re using an IVR system with several self-help options, include an option for customers to connect directly with human agents in the main menu itself. And pare down your automated choices so everything gears toward efficiency instead of multiple confusing options.
❎ Avoid robotic scripts
We’ve all endured the pain of human agents delivering robotic, scripted replies. But to handle support calls in this manner is dehumanising. People want their issue resolved, not repetitively acknowledged, and monotonous apologising sounds insincere.
Offer crisp service by setting the right tone for agent interactions in a way that speaks to modern customers. Let go of outdated call scripts and instruct your frontline staff to talk naturally, like humans do. Don’t be afraid to cut the frills; give people the help they need.
✅ Offer self-service
Wherever you can incorporate automation, self-service, FAQs and DIY solutions for your customers, do so — especially for simple or routine issues that don’t need an agent’s expertise to solve.
Modern customers increasingly expect self-help options from support. Therefore, offering self-service can simultaneously increase customer satisfaction (CSAT) and service efficiency.
✅ Reduce wait times
Look for ways to improve the customer service experience by decreasing escalations, transfers, and long hold times.
Using an automated call distributor (ACD) or skills-based routing tool helps connect customers with available agents who possess the skills needed to handle their queries. ACD and SBR save time and effort in transferring customers to various departments while increasing CSAT with quick issue resolution.
✅ A culture of positivity
There’s a difference between fake positivity and a positive mindset. What customers want from your service is a ‘can do’ attitude versus a ‘sorry we can’t’ one. So your call centre training should prepare agents to help customers with ‘Here’s what we can do for you’ instead of ‘We’re not able to do that.’
Even if nothing can be done to fix a particular issue, find an alternative offering to show customers your commitment. There’s always a way to make things better: a generous discount, a bunch of freebies, or a goodwill gesture.
✅ Empathy + empowerment
Keep empathy at the forefront of your agent training so support reps can see things from the customer’s perspective without taking things personally in a tense conversation.
Take a customer-first mindset by empowering your agents to do whatever it takes to save relationships, especially with angry or upset customers. Whether scheduling follow ups, goodwill gestures, or going all out to solve a customer issue, your customers are worth the time and effort.
✅ Use the mirroring technique
Train your agents to read the room. Modern support reps should use mirroring techniques when talking to customers, i.e. respond appropriately to social cues by observing the customers’ mood.
For example, a burst of agent positivity would feel annoying and out of place to an angry, complaining customer. However, being addressed calmly and factually can soothe their frazzled nerves. On the other hand, addressing a disappointed customer with a more upbeat and cheerful response can make them feel better.
✅ Own up to errors
As a service policy, offer transparency and truth at all times. Acknowledge when things go wrong. Customers appreciate honesty and are willing to forgive errors when they know you’re prepared to fix them.
✅ Track meaningful metrics
How do you know if your customer service team is serving your customers correctly? Is there a way to identify happy customers from at-risk ones? How can you find and plug any holes in your product or service?
Luckily there are several helpful call centre metrics to help answer these questions.
Agent utilisation & occupancy rates help you optimise your call centre performance. A service level agreement (SLA) can determine if there are snags with inbound calls being handled on time. And first call resolution (FCR) is an all-important metric showing you how efficiently customer issues are being resolved.
Finally, surveys like net promoter score (NPS), customer effort score (CES), and customer satisfaction (CSAT) point to the overall health of your customer ecosystem by asking them directly how they feel about your products and services.
✅ Exercise survey restraint
While it is imperative to keep your finger on the pulse of customer emotions with popular surveys like NPS, CES, and CSAT, don’t do it repetitively. Instead, plan the frequency of surveys sent out to avoid annoyance.
For instance, asking first-time callers about their experience is a good idea, but frequently spamming customers with the same surveys may end up causing survey exhaustion and frustration.
✅ Respect customer feedback
What’s the point of asking for someone’s feedback if you don’t consider it when planning improvements?
Customers are happy to tell you what they want from your products and services. Review feedback surveys with due diligence: it’s valuable market research coming to you for free. Work things around to incorporate what you’ve learned.
Improving call centre management step by step
While phone calls have been the backbone of call centre operations worldwide, change is here. The digital era makes omnichannel support imperative in your call centre operations. Social media and chatbots, email and messaging, multilingual service, and remote support are all seeing high demand as the world gets increasingly connected and the surge in ecommerce continues.
Your service could be a call centre or contact centre or even provide in-house support but the hour’s need remains the same for all. Customer service today depends on quick responses, expert support, and native language fluencies. It also needs a scalable service model to support seasonal surges or growth spikes.
That’s where we come in.
The Cocoroco platform helps you recruit high-quality customer service talent from an unlimited global pool. Our candidates are pre-vetted, professionally qualified, language-specialised, and highly motivated to work for you. We look after the paperwork; you look after the people.
Interested in knowing more? Book a free demo with us to see how the Cocoroco platform works.