Between Scam Likely call labeling and disappointing contact rates, costly agent turnover and growing restrictions of TCPA compliance, today’s contact center leaders have more than their fair share of things to worry about. With so many overlapping challenges, it can sometimes seem a wonder that anybody’s able to drive real growth.
Of course, many organizations do successfully achieve the scale and success that so many others are after. So, what ARE their secrets?
In this guide to contact center performance management, we dare to spill the beans.
Below you’ll find eight top call center improvement strategies. Get our insider knowledge here, and then get on with the business of growing your contact center!
Key Areas of Contact Center Performance Management
Modern call centers are complex organisms, with a huge number of team members, tools, and processes all (ideally) working in tandem. Because of this, the challenge of contact center performance management is to improve productivity and efficiency across a variety of areas:
- Dialer: The foundation for contact centers making calls, texts, and more, getting your software solution “dialed in” with the right settings and options is crucial to success.
- Leads: Without quality data, you’re downright doomed. Analyzing list performance in detail is an essential part of every manager’s job—or should be.
- Managers: Decision-makers are obviously essential in making tweaks and improvements to the above areas of contact center operations. But the day-to-day performance of managers also needs to be managed and improved. Identifying ways to simplify their work and make their jobs of analysis more effective are key to overall growth.
- Agents: Getting the most out of your organization’s talent is no easy task. On the one hand, it requires meeting agents halfway to set clear expectations, plus equipping them with the right tools, leads, and even incentives. On the other, evaluating the work that they do on the phones (and in between calls) is part art, part science, and all-important.
How to Evaluate Agent Performance
This aspect of overall operations is so important it bears a bit of an extra look. To effectively evaluate your agents’ performance in sales and lead gen, hone in on these five metrics offered up by dialer manager expert Michael Velardi:
- Overall sales
- Call time
- Wrap-up or disposition time
- Pause time
- Number of calls taken
Using real-time and historical data, you can analyze these KPIs within either a single day or across an entire sales period. Comparing on an agent-by-agent basis, you can identify opportunities to deliver coaching and feedback and make necessary improvements.
8 Call Center Improvement Strategies Often Overlooked
1. Take a Look at Your True CPA
It’s important to get granular with your reporting and understand the finer points of your call center’s performance. Nevertheless, at an outbound contact center, you need to be able to get a clear picture of things from that 10,000-foot view, too.
There’s no better way to understand your overall sales and lead gen performance from the top down than by analyzing your cost per acquisition (CPA)—instead of simply looking only at cost per lead. As Convoso CEO Nima Hakimi puts it in our guide to boosting call center efficiency:
“If I opened a restaurant and set menu prices based on the food costs, but didn’t take into account what I pay the chef, the cooks, the waiters and waitresses…I’d be out of business.”
Without the right software and reporting tools, however, this is easier said than done. Be sure that your tools are able to take into account all of your contact center’s biggest expenses so that you can understand your true costs and ROI.
2. Zero in on Morale
Sometimes, what gets overlooked in the contact center are not necessarily the KPIs but their underlying causes.
For instance, when Dynamic Insurance Solutions switched to Convoso, they saw massive boosts in their contact rates. But this wasn’t the only thing that was key to their change in fortunes. Dynamic VP of Operations, Matt Bowers, says that by focusing on driving down agent wait times, his sales team was, in turn, able to massively improve agent morale.
And with better morale came more conversions, more revenue, and lower acquisition costs:
“It really doesn’t take long to figure out that if you’re talking to more people consistently, your agents are better prepared to take a transfer, and in a better mood to sell, your acquisition cost goes way down.”
3. Send Your Top Leads to Top Agents
While agent performance improvement strategies should target your whole sales floor, there’s no escaping that some members of your team will contribute significantly more to your bottom line.
Using intelligent skills-based call routing can ensure that those top agents are matched with your most important leads.
“When certain reps are doing well, you want to keep feeding that hot hand.”Jason Cutter, Cutter Consulting
Call center and sales leader Rob Bayer says this is one of the most important things to ask of your dialer manager. Without the ability to segment leads and differentiate between agents, you won’t be able to make the most of every call. So, ask your managers—and your software provider—one simple question: Can we send my top-performing leads straight to our top-performing agents?
4. Plan Omnichannel Cadences
Customers and prospects today expect to be able to contact businesses—and be contacted by them—however they prefer. Over text, email, phone, chatbot, social media, you name it: if you’re not using their most preferred channels, you’re simply losing out on revenue opportunities.
For contact centers trying to reach out to leads, that means you need to deploy a mix of approaches that all work together to maximize contact rates. Ultimately, that comes down to having dialer software that offers integrated SMS, email, and more as part of a strategic outreach cadence.
5. Leverage Conversational AI
To scale up the number of leads you’re contacting with an omnichannel approach, you don’t even necessarily need to rely solely on your human agents.
That’s because a conversational AI–driven intelligent virtual agent (IVA) software can provide much-needed support. Leading software like Convoso’s omnichannel IVA can conduct fluent, automated conversations with customers and leads over text- and voice-based channels. Deploy an IVA and unlock a range of call center improvement strategies, including:
- Reviving old leads: Reach out to and derive value from aged leads by leaving it to your IVA to contact them. Meanwhile, let your agents handle warmer, more conversion-ready leads.
- Lead qualification: Use an IVA to contact and pre-qualify fresh leads at speed, then transfer them over to a live agent to seal the deal.
- Self-service: Compared with older IVR solutions, IVAs can deliver significantly more complex and more personalized customer service. Rather than tying up your human agents, a well-developed IVA can address customer issues and improve handling times.
6. Analyze ALL of Your Calls
That’s not the only way that artificial intelligence can be used to manage contact center performance, of course. Integrated within your dialer software, AI-powered QA solutions like Balto and Observe.ai can analyze the contents of all of your calls.
By analyzing patterns in your agents’ conversations, these solutions can offer up strategies to improve your call center’s performance before you (or your dedicated QA staff) even lift a finger. Rather than simply review a few of each agent’s calls each month, suddenly AI gives the ability to see and understand virtually every single call that unfolds at your organization.
7. Get Proactive About Compliance Support
You could implement each of these contact center improvement strategies, and it would potentially all be for nothing without the right approach to TCPA compliance.
Don’t just manage contact center performance, maintain it. Take a proactive stance on compliance support by:
- Educating yourself on the latest compliance news
- Seeking outside help from external counsel to assess and improve your compliance position
- Utilizing compliance tools to streamline processes like DNC compliance, caller ID reputation management, and more
- Abide by ever-evolving regulations and calling restrictions at the state level
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8. Invest in the Best Technology
In 2023, your contact center is only as good as the solutions in its technology stack. With options available to help improve contact center performance management in each stage of the customer lifecycle and sales funnel, there’s no shortage of ways to improve efficiency.
However, for outbound contact centers, blended call centers, and sales and lead gen teams, there’s no overlooking the importance of your dialer. As the engine that powers your entire approach to customer contact, engagement, and conversion, contact center performance all starts with investing in the best available dialer.
Convoso’s leading dialer platform not only delivers the scalability and speed to lead you need to maximize contact rates over multiple channels but offers a full suite of powerful features and third-party integrations. It’s a one-stop-shop solution for managing and optimizing every aspect of your outbound operation.
Learn how Convoso is the best technology partner for your contact center’s sales and lead gen strategy. Schedule a free demo and see our dialer’s game-changing capabilities for yourself.