ProTips: 5 proven methods to increase call center agent productivity

This is a guest post by CallHippo.

The topic of call center efficiency and agent productivity may sound overwhelming for many business owners, but it's too important a topic to ignore. Let's take a look at a few facts and figures from Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report.

  • 58% of customers prioritize customer service when choosing a brand.

  • 61% of consumers have stopped dealing with a business after a poor service experience.

  • 59% of customers have higher expectations for customer support from their preferred brand than the previous year.

As you can see from these statistics, giving your customers the best customer service experience possible is proven to increase your returns. One of the ways to do this is to give your call center agents the support and environment they need to contribute their best. After all, happy agents are usually more productive and exceed their manager’s expectations.

To do this, we're offering some of the most effective tips for optimizing your call center and improving agent productivity.

ProTip #1: Give your agents autonomy

We cannot deny the fact that working in a call center may become monotonous for agents. Many call center agents are required to follow a complex set system of rules and processes that can take a toll on their mental health and reduce agent performance. 

To avoid this issue, give your agents a certain degree of autonomy in their approach with customers. According to a 2004 study, autonomous agents can address customer needs in a more responsive and personal way. This can improve call center productivity and also allow managers to focus on more pressing issues.

Last but not least, reasonable independence boosts agent morale and helps them engage with team members more efficiently.

ProTip #2: Encourage the use of the latest technology

Cloud-based technology such as VoIP has evolved significantly over the past few years. Support your agents with the best available technology to help motivate them and give them what they need to succeed.

a) Wireless headsets

Untether your agents from their desks using wireless headsets. They can experience productivity improvements such as: 

  • A decrease in the transfer of calls to other agents results in better First Contact Resolution.

  • A lower number of calls put on hold improves customer satisfaction, as agents can physically visit colleagues or locate other information or files.

  • Agents can enjoy their job more as when they are not confined to their desks for most of the day.

These improvements also reduce talk-time per call, allowing agents to handle a higher number of calls per day.

b) Omnichannel experience

Many businesses still operate with separate teams for email, telephone, and chat support. This division often leads to poor optimization of agents’ time and duplicated responses.

For example, an agent receives a call from a customer who has already sent two emails. In a traditional call center, the agent does not have access to these emails, so the customer has to relay the information a third time before the agent can begin resolving the issue.

In modern contact centers, call center software can manage all support channels and also forward calls automatically to the next available agent with the appropriate skills.

Thus, the omnichannel approach increases call center efficiency as agents can deal effectively with customer inquiries across all channels.

c) Systems integration

According to Contact Babel, 86% of contact centers involve agents using multiple applications within a single customer call. 49% of them require agents to access three or more applications in the same call.

Thus, agents spend around 40% of their time sorting through different back-office systems while the customer is on hold.