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Call Centre Profitability: Improving call centre efficiencies

Don’t lose out on providing the most efficient best practices to ensure that your call centre agents prioritize the most efficient processes to boost your call centre’s profitability.

When all is said and done about call centres and successful enablement of the people elements involved – your contact centre agents, support and management staff, and also client-focused measures – a successful call centre can hardly carry the descriptor when it loses not just money, but efficiency.

 

While people are your most important focus in any kind of call centre environment, those people will not amount to much if their efficiency is hampered in any way. Disregard the people element for a moment, and imagine a call centre capable of operating without the technology integral to said operations: it’s a bleak, messy image of failed investment and zero profits. Technology underscores the efficiency of any call centre, and technology often adapts and improves more rapidly than the spin and rush of a well-run centre. To provide the best service to customers, investing in better-than-average equipment and tech, while costly at the start, will also have a higher degree of successful operational efficiency. Industry experts have weighed in on several occasions to provide personal experience in support of this technological paradigm shift.

Implement adaptive technology
When asked what could make call centres more efficient, Alex Tebbs, Sales Director of the UK’s largest hosted Skype-for-Business solution, established that call centres needed to work on being “more adaptive” in implementing up-to-date technology and equipment1. Practically every means of communication between people – barring face-to-face interaction – is facilitated these days through online connectivity. He posited that cloud-based tech solutions are far more cost-effective and efficient than on-site, PBX-style hardware devices. Said traditional systems are logistically cumbersome, and more often than not lack the backward- or forward-compatibility that more modern systems facilitate, making overall systems integration more challenging than it has to be. Outdated systems can end up being more costly to maintain than switching to younger, hotter models. Logically it follows that sticking to traditional tech is ultimately an inefficient choice in a business that thrives on continuous improvement and break-neck efficiency. It is a safe bet to say that the majority of the world has some access to the online world: you don’t need another landline to contact a landline anymore. It’s all – literally and figuratively – up in the air now. Add to this the fact that cloud-based solutions are intrinsically cheaper and more effective to update, and you have the makings of a unified communications network that services calls to clients as readily as it does the internal communications needs of the centre itself. Newer tech also scales upwards: when running multiple call centres under the same business banner, having a uniformly integrated, hosted solution facilitates inter-centre communications much more efficiently than having centres misaligned through non-standardized facilities. Lastly, this kind of tech allows for remote access: you can increase the capacity of your contact points by allowing agents free access to their tools and daily processes, even when they are not physically working from the centre premises, and without losing out on efficiency and productivity. In fact, you could possibly increase your workforce itself, when you don’t have to worry about everyone having a seat in your centre. Focus on giving controllable remote access to your agents, and they can bring in your sales from the comfort of their own homes. Simply put, hosted solutions increase your efficiency, reduce your resource overheads, and thus lead to higher levels of profitability.

 

Make it look nicer
If “God is in the details”, then the details should look and play their part. In between acquiring contemporary or even bleeding-edge technology to solve your efficiency issues, and ensuring that staff remain skilled and motivated, the small things are often overlooked. If you are running a call centre, then you have to realize that physically, it is a static-looking environment. Something as simple as the colour of the paint on the walls could actually limit your workforce’s productivity. If your centre-based agents are always seated in the same spots, or they have to stare at the same blank, buttercup yellow walls day in, day out, then you can eventually expect a dip in concentration: faces become as blank and sallow as that wall, and focus shifts from the client to a thousand-yard stare and agents simply going through the motions. There are actually easy solutions, and arguably cost-effective ones. Spruce things up! Go with basics like:

  • Add ‘lived-in’ elements to your walls and physical spaces. Productivity and performance can increase by up to 33% when you have office space that does more with walls than a fresh coat of the same colour paint, or adds indoor plants and pictures.
  • Speaking of pictures: invest in motivational posters, posters with punchy business captions and slogans, and wall art. Your agents might be struggling with difficult clients, and what better way to boost their focus and efforts than a morale-boosting quote, eye-catching and right there when they might need it most?

 

Train, train, train
Your training methodology should adapt even more rapidly than the speed of technological improvement. It is illogical to expect that training your agents once will keep them efficient and up to speed on the latest trends and market developments, and how to adapt their approach to clients. Yesterday’s attitude and phrasing won’t necessarily carry the same weight and results as tomorrow’s efforts. Combine your tech solutions with your training approach. Don’t spring improved equipment on your agents, using only a detailed email that can be interpreted every which way: introduce your new tech solutions via specialized training thereon, and make sure your people don’t just sink under a mountain of theory and information: introduce and show; demonstrate and repeat; test their basic grasp of the new mechanics, and then test their ability to use updated technology or systems, so that you can ensure that your agents are uniformly on board and capable. Keep in mind that the best training is ongoing training. A week from tech implementation and proper training, your initiative-driven agents might even come up with novel ways of hybridizing their approach to sales, based on their grasp and mastery of new systems versus client-cantered, positive outcomes. The results can be astonishing: efficient tech, adaptable agents, and wider scope can do wonders for your centre’s profitability, and also plays right into the areas where you can recognize and reward. All you have to do is to ensure that your training methodology stays one step ahead of your tech solutions, meaning that materials and means need to rapidly assimilate and incorporate the scope and range of new tech. When your updated or outright-new tech is rolled out, your agents should already know how to adjust their approach, and not be slowed down by the speed bumps of ignorance.

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