The modern contact center is a complex and evolving business—not that you need to be told twice.
Of course, with complexity comes opportunity. With the right technology and strategies, contact center managers can identify areas to improve and drive growth in today’s competitive environment.
With this guide to contact center optimization, we analyze how to scale your call center. What you’ll learn:
- Why call center automation is key for delivering scale
- The three call center efficiencies that are key for performance and growth
- Our top 5 strategies for scaling contact center operations
- Examples of businesses that have successfully achieved scale
What Is Contact Center Optimization?
Contact center (or call center) optimization is the process of improving all aspects of a contact center’s operation using digital technology. The goal of call center optimization is to deliver maximum efficiency by leveraging next-generation contact center technology like automation, artificial intelligence, and more. And, naturally, this greater efficiency makes it possible to quickly scale your business.
You’ve heard the phrase “fine-tuned machine.” Optimization is like a full-on tuneup—or sometimes a complete rebuild—for your call center operations. That”s because in order to truly optimize a contact center, improvements must be extended to every aspect of the call center: from how you contact and connect with prospects and customers, to the ways agents and managers get their jobs done.
Technology is at the heart of the optimization process. With the right contact center software solution and strategies in place, businesses can deliver much-needed automation, efficiency, and productivity— which, as we’ll see, is a recipe for scaling call center operations at speed.
How to Scale Your Call Center Using Automation
The days of running a highly manual call center are over. You can no longer expect to compete by simply loading up a hopper full of leads and dialing to your heart’s content. Likewise, if you’re running an inbound or blended call center, your customers expect personalized experiences that seamlessly deliver the support or conversions they desire—and that’s not likely to happen if your business is still relying on cumbersome manual processes.
The upshot is that, in today’s day and age when every second counts, automation is absolutely essential to call center growth. As Nima Hakimi, CEO and Co-Founder of Convoso, puts it: “Scale without automation doesn’t exist.”
That’s because the latest automation capabilities can transform the way your entire call center functions:
- Autodialer software can connect agents to more prospects or customers at the right times, increasing speed-to-lead, driving down costs, and boosting ROI.
- AI-powered call center QA tools can support compliance, quickly improve agent effectiveness, and manage risk.
- Meanwhile, automated real-time reporting and call center analytics can give managers much-needed transparency to make game-changing decisions on the fly.
All of these automation solutions give call centers the power to do less with more which, in turn, can help them achieve lightning-quick scale.
How Call Center Efficiency and Productivity Deliver Scale
Achieving contact center optimization isn’t as simple as just acquiring the right technologies and waiting for the results to come in, though. “Sometimes it’s a bit challenging. Technology isn’t always easy,” says Hakimi. However, once your teams buy into the new approach and get the hang of new capabilities, you’ll be well on your way.
To help focus your efforts, train your automation and optimization efforts on three key call center efficiencies: agent efficiency, manager efficiency, and lead efficiency. Once you make tangible improvements in these important and interrelated areas, your call center operation can increase productivity and profitability to incredible new heights.
See what these key efficiencies are all about, and then explore call center improvement strategies that can accelerate overall contact center operational efficiency.
Improving Agent Performance
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: your agents are the lifeblood of your business. So, if you’re not delivering agent efficiency and enabling their effectiveness, you can hardly expect to grow your call center.
And when it comes down to it, agents simply want to be effective. Talk to anyone who’s worked the phones, and they’ll tell you they would much rather be talking with customers and making sales than dealing with blocked calls and voicemail messages. By focusing on supporting your agents, you’ll make it easier for your agents to support your business.
Besides this, from a business perspective, you need to be thinking about agent performance in terms of costs. Payroll, after all, is likely your biggest call center cost. So if your agents are not—or cannot—make the most of their time, that’s just outgoing expenses that your contact center will never see a return on. As industry veteran Heather Griffin sums it up: “If you’re not looking at this word ‘utilization’ in your call center, you’re in trouble.”
Improving Call Center Management
Of course, poor agent performance and inefficient utilization can’t be separated from call center management. That’s why call center operations also need to focus their improvement efforts on making life easier for managers.
This area of efficiency is all about delivering complete transparency. Today’s contact center managers need to be equipped with the right information at the right time. That means having customizable dashboards that offer easy access to both real-time and historical performance data, so that they can make correct, data-driven decisions at speed.
Improving Lead Management
Manager efficiency is, of course, closely related to lead efficiency as well. After payroll, data is typically the next highest call center cost. That means that call centers looking to optimize their businesses can’t afford to let costly leads go to waste. Once again, a call center technology stack that informs data-driven decisions, improves contact rates, and supports effective agent communications is the key ingredient for success in this area.
Increase Contact Center Performance with 5 Top Call Center Improvement Strategies
So, we’ve discussed contact center optimization from a more theoretical view. But how does it look in practice?
To help you discover how to scale your call center, we’ve zeroed in five of our top strategies that can help drive targeted improvements in the three critical efficiencies described above.
Implement Automated Omnichannel Workflows
Efficiencies Targeted: Agent, Manager, Lead
To scale your call center operation during a time when it’s harder than ever to get even high-intent, opt-in leads on the phone, you need to use all available outreach channels. However, just like the outdated “dial and hope” strategy, you can’t just set up separate workflows and wish for the best. Instead, you need to adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy where these channels work in tandem with each other.
With omnichannel, you can create and fine-tune automated workflows that incorporate SMS and email at the right times—and that rest leads after a certain number of attempts, rather than burning them out. Best of all, these workflows can go on working in the background while your agents continue making connections with customers on the phones.
Use Intelligent Routing to Get the Right Agents on the Phone
Efficiencies Targeted: Agent, Lead
In a sales master workshop, Convoso CEO Nima Hakimi and sales expert Jason Cutter discussed the top reasons that call centers’ cost per acquisition (CPA) is too high. One of these is that call centers lack intelligent routing—or have failed to utilize this capability to the fullest. Done correctly, implementing skills-based smart routing technology is a key strategy that can deliver call center scale.
Importantly, though, as Jason Cutter noted, smart routing doesn’t have to be about equal opportunity. “A lot of the companies I see that struggle with their CPA think, ‘Alright, I’ve got to give the same amount of leads to everybody.’”
Instead, Cutter says that managers need to have technology that allows them to keep feeding agents who are performing best, whether that’s with certain lists or more generally. “The reps who aren’t doing well obviously are going to be unhappy with that,” he says. “But at some level, it’s just business. You’ve got to make sure you’re profitable—and you can’t have a low-performing rep chewing through your data.”
Upgrade Your Answering Machine Detection
Efficiencies Targeted: Agent, Lead
When you’re trying to keep agents in rhythm, nothing is quite a momentum killer like voicemail messages that leak through. Not only do answering machines interrupt the flow of successful conversations, but they also sap agents’ productivity by forcing them to spend the time dispositioning these calls.
That’s why upgrading to a highly accurate answering machine detection (AMD) solution is crucial. By more precisely detecting answering machines, agents can spend more time on the phone with prospects and customers and have more opportunities to drive the revenue that’s essential for scaling your call center operation.
Discussing his organization’s experience after switching to Convoso’s AMD technology, Get Health-E’s David Zamani said, “The representatives were visibly much happier. They were sharper, and they were much more engaged, upbeat, and in the zone. Coupled with the right amount of data and a dialing system doing things properly, AMD creates a world of efficiency.”
Combat Blocked and Flagged Caller IDs
Efficiencies Targeted: Agent, Manager, Lead
“Spam Likely” labels can be a huge drain on call center contact rates. And if you’re not getting leads on the phone and creating opportunities to convert, then your business is going to struggle to achieve greater scale.
A comprehensive approach to caller ID reputation management is key to avoiding call blocking, boosting contact rates, and delivering growth. For instance, Convoso’s ClearCallerID™ platform gives managers the ability to understand which of their numbers are being blocked or flagged—and by which carriers. This way, they can take action and replace bad numbers before it hurts their bottom line. Plus, agents will make better use of their time and good leads won’t go to waste.
Make the Most of Your Data and Time with the Right Predictive Dialer
Efficiencies Targeted: Agent, Manager, Lead
A powerful predictive dialer is an essential tool for any outbound call center looking to make every second count.
Predictive dialing software offers an outbound dialing system that automates the process of initiating calls. Leveraging an intelligent algorithm, predictive dialing anticipates agent availability, automatically calibrates a dialing rate, and only connects agents to live prospects.
Rather than devoting management time to watching your dialer or monitoring agent idle time, let the automation of your dialer do the work for you.
Real-Life Stories of Call Centers that Successfully Scaled
These technology-backed strategies really work. But you don’t just have to take our word for it. Convoso has helped contact centers in a wide range of industries evolve their operations and achieve scale—often in just a matter of weeks and months. For instance:
- Solar Direct Marketing leveraged Convoso’s caller ID reputation management solutions and powerful dialing software to boost contact rates. As a result, the solar lead vendor was soon planning for a 200% increase in headcount.
- GetHealth-e quadrupled contact rates after switching to Convoso while lowering lead costs, and in a short time added an additional 40 agents at greater operating efficiency.
- Top Healthcare Options switched to Convoso and grew their staff from 5 to over 90 agents in less than a year, thanks to reporting transparency, omnichannel features, and more.
- Likewise, clean energy SaaS startup Dvinci nearly quadrupled its employees on the back of its call center’s success, which was driven by improved management processes, dynamic scripting, and Convoso’s ClearCallerID™.