Even in our increasingly digital world, contact centres are the backbone of customer service. Chatbots are great and self-serve options are must-haves, but when things go wrong (and they will go wrong), customers often want to know there’s a friendly person at the end of the phone (or chat) to help sort things out.
Therefore, it’s imperative that contact centres run as efficiently and effectively as possible. Because if your service levels fail, so does your business. 96% of people say customer service is a critical factor in their brand loyalty, and 90% use customer service as a factor in deciding whether they do business with a company at all.
One way to improve your contact centre (and thus your customer service) is to leverage the vast swathes of data you already have. In this blog, we’ll look at what data you can get from your contact centre – and how you can use it to transform your customer service.
Call centre metrics: An overview
Contact centres are an absolute gold mine for data. As well as the huge amounts of qualitative data you can get from listening to calls, there are several key metrics you can track to see how your contact centre is performing. These include:
- Average Call Abandonment: Percentage of callers who hang up before they even get through to an agent
- Service Level: Percentage of questions answered within a certain number of seconds or minutes; used to measure agent productivity
- Average Wait Time: How long it takes for customers to speak to an agent
- Maximum Wait Time: The longest time a customer had to wait to speak to an agent in a given period
- TMC IN: Average call length for inbound calls
- TMC OUT: Average call length for outbound calls
- First Call Resolution: Percentage of issues resolved on a customer’s first call, without any follow-ups or transfers
Now that you have a better idea of the kind of data you should be tracking, here’s how to put it to best use for efficient continuous improvement.
1. Improve staff training and satisfaction
No matter how digitally advanced your organisation is, there will always be customers that need to call. A key focus for contact centre optimisation should therefore be First Call Resolution (FCR). If customers have to call, you want to ensure they only have to call once.
Ideally, your FCR should be over 90%. If it dips below 70%, you’ve got work to do. And if it’s below 40%, it’s time for a serious overhaul.
There are several ways to improve FCR, but agents should be your starting point. Speak to people on the frontline to understand the challenges they’re facing. For example:
- Maybe they lack the technical knowledge to help customers, in which case you need to look at your training plans
- Maybe the wrong type of customers are being routed to them, in which case you need to improve your IVR and call routing systems
- Maybe they’re feeling burnt out and demotivated, and are simply passing the buck to their colleagues – in which case, it’s time to invest in your employee satisfaction, wellbeing and retention programmes
Once you’ve taken the time to understand (and fix) the problems plaguing your agents, talk to your customers to understand what’s driving them to call in the first place, and what frustrations they have with the service they’re getting.
If you find frustrated customers, it may be time to use Engage Hub’s omni-channel support strategies to provide service to customers via a wide variety of platforms, helping to meet each customer where they are and improve overall FCRs in the process.
2. Boost agility
Contact centre demand can vary greatly, so it’s essential to understand how agents perform during peaks and troughs. For instance:
- Do your agents get overwhelmed and bogged down when there are high call volumes?
- Do they drive up wait times during low-volume periods by spending longer on each call?
Once you understand how your agents work during these fluctuations, you can improve processes to help maintain agility – and continue to monitor the data to see how your improvements affect your metrics.
3. Align operations with strategy
Call centre data doesn’t just tell you how your call centre is performing: it gives you insight into overall business performance, too. Delving into the reasons behind high call volumes on a Wednesday lunchtime, for example, could reveal an issue with your website that’s forcing people to abandon digital self-service. Repeat calls about a new product could unearth problems with your marketing messages.
By taking time to understand what’s behind your call centre metrics – and collaborating with other departments to interpret the data – you can create a more holistic view of your business and customer experience (CX). This allows you to stop problems in their tracks, identify opportunities for optimisation and make sure your whole operation is working toward the same overarching strategic CX goals.
4. Keep learning
The best way to use data to improve your contact centre? Embed analysis into your ongoing processes.
Data isn’t static; it’s constantly changing due to evolving customer demands, agent needs and even the weather. To get the most out of your data, and in turn your contact centre, continually review data and adapt as you go.
That way, you move beyond one-off fixes and sticking plasters – and deliver a continuous, collaborative service experience that benefits both customers and staff.
For more ways to improve your contact centre experience and operations in the digital age, download our latest guide: Contact Centre Metrics & the Customer Experience: How to measure, visualise and optimise contact centre performance.