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The Key to Improving Contact Center Efficiency

When it comes to operating a call center, there are many metrics to manage for success. Volume, average handle time (AHT), shrinkage and occupancy are the four metrics used in determining how many agents are required to service your customers within your service level objective. Analyzing the drivers of these metrics provide a wealth of data and insights surrounding the efficiency of your center. 

The Efficiency Challenge - Channel Proliferation 

The challenge, however, is increasing efficiency with the multitude of channels workforce management teams must monitor, manage and track. When I worked in the financial services industry in the mid-’90s, there were just a few channels to handle such as inbound phone, outbound phone, and mail. Fast forward to today and contact center operators are managing up to 10 different channels, including chat, email, and social media inquiries. 

Improve call center efficiency

Channel proliferation lowered the pain threshold for customers to access information and contact the company. Think about mobile access to credit card statements. Back in the day, you would have to wait for your monthly statement. Now, you can go out to lunch, check your statement, see a charge pending and call the company immediately. Easier access to data makes it tougher to predict what might cause people to call. 

With customer expectations continuing to rise, the channels in which they want to interact will only become more complex. The underlying technology used today, however, just isn’t geared to handle real-time supply and demand.    

Real-Time Decision Making

Real-time decision making is critical for protecting the customer experience and increasing efficiency in this omnichannel environment. Customers want timely and knowledgeable support via any channel they choose.   

Many global contact center leaders are now using contact center automation to help their people become more efficient in their roles. Rather than manually monitoring and processing WFM and ACD data, this process is automated and making decisions based on business rules.  

WFM teams can set up rules to address the most critical call center metrics. For example, call center automation should reduce prescheduled training and find natural periods of downtime for off-phone tasks. Talk time and After Call Work (ACW) can be monitored to ensure agents are staying productive and meeting customer demand.  

WFM teams can also leverage a break/lunch assistant to help agents remain on schedule throughout the day. Instead of having to key in exceptions manually, the schedule is updated automatically, streamlining the process. Agents are meeting adherence goals, and WFM teams can think more strategically.  

The Differentiation Factor 

In addition to addressing the key efficiency drivers, a true contact center automation solution should be easy to implement and simple in many ways. A simple rule writer through the user interface eliminates the need to bring in a consulting firm and write out your processes.  

Business rules are a combination of triggers and actions that fire when pre-determined conditions are met. For example, if your agents have exceeded the amount of time appropriate to be in ACW, then an alert will be sent directly to their desktops to return to assisting customers. WFM analysts can easily create the rules your center wants to automate.

Increasing efficiency in the call center today is a challenge without the proper technology in place. Contact center automation not only helps to meet rising customer demand, but it also helps the entire operations to become more streamlined. Leading enterprises around the world are using automation to address their most critical call center metrics.  

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