Call center performance improvement starts with setting realistic goals, then examining your staff, processes, equipment, software, and facilities.
The success of your inbound marketing campaigns still depends on your staff, processes, equipment, software, and facilities. You may be using toll free phone numbers and advanced features like time of day routing, but staff and how you manage, train, and supervise that staff, is still the key ingredient in your potential success.
Imagine Great Results
Call center performance improvement starts with setting realistic goals that can be achieved within your budget, with your existing or future staff. The question is, “how good can we be?” At this stage you should consider and envision an efficient contact center operation with your well-trained staff fielding calls and converting leads to customers. In your vision, your staff have the knowledge, training, tools, communication, and supervision to get the job done.
Its worth your time here to open a spreadsheet and start listing the salient features of the call center you’d like to have in one column, and perhaps in a second column listing assumptions and notes.
Don’t envision a utopian world, leave that to politicians who claim government can solve every problem. Instead, imagine your call center achieving great results within your budget and assigned campaigns. Write up your vision in the rows of your spreadsheet.
Assessing Your Staff and Staff Training
When we mention “staff”, that always means staff, staff training, communications, culture, motivation, and supportive supervision. A happy, engaged, trained, and fully motivated staff will close more business and provide better assistance for your customers.
A recent article on call center performance improvement by AVOXI points out that “a knowledgeable staff makes happy customers” and points out that transactions go smoother and customers are happier when the staff know what they are doing.
So, the next step in your call center improvement program should continue with listing, in your spreadsheet, all the things your staff members need to know to use their call center software, what they need to know about your products, services, pricing, campaigns, and upsells. Your list may also include knowledge of how to use your CMS software to manage leads and opportunities.
Once you’ve listed the 10 or 20 key broad topics your staff need to know, connect that in your spreadsheet to the training that you are actually doing, and what that training covers. At this point, call out separately with comments or notes, all the training topics that you do not cover. In other words, let’s call out here the missing training ingredients.
Follow up by meeting with your staff to verify or extend your list of missing training ingredients. Also ask open-ended questions to learn more about supervision needs, problems with your facility, with your processes, and with the organization of the campaigns you are handling. No one is going to have the same perspective of your campaigns that your call center staff members will have.
Call Center Performance Improvement – Software, Equipment, Facilities, Processes
Using your call center performance improvement spreadsheet, add new tabs for
- call center software
- performance measurement
As you did with the staff and staff training, for each tab, build your first column with the key ingredients you need to enjoy the performance you want. Then, for each tab, fill out second and third columns that call out the good things you have in place, and the issues or shortcomings that you need to overcome.
Meet with your staff, your marketing director, your SEO, your fulfillment team, your VP Sales, and other stakeholders to review and tune-up your list of findings. Your goal here is to improve your list to the point that it has all you need to make a plan of action. A secondary goal, still important, is to get your other stakeholders to commit to the list by offering their own tweaks and getting involved.
Make a Plan
With your spreadsheet updated and reorganized, you have all the information you need to build a plan of action for call center performance improvement. Put on your project manager hat and make a project plan that starts where you are, and ends with all the shortcomings, issues, training needs, and process changes completed.
Your project plan should move training and process fixes to the front. If new call center software is needed, move that to the front as well. No sense training with the old stuff if you are moving on to more feature-rich call center software.
Walk your project plan around and meet with your stakeholders to gain support and to set expectations. Then implement your plan, as you have designed it. As you go along, communicate the changes you’ve made each week to let everyone know things are moving forward. Your staff and your company will be aware of the improvements and you’ll build momentum for your team.