5 Ways to Improve Call Center Agent Performance
A thriving call center requires a number of tools and robust software to support call center agent performance and help managers track and optimize workflows. Whether you’re a small team fielding customer calls or a 300+ agent call center, keeping up-to-date on the tools your team needs to maximize productivity and performance requires regular industry research and occasional software upgrades.
Technology continues to advance at unprecedented rates. Being able to employ the most advanced tools, to help support and streamline tasks for call center agents as well as sales and marketing teams, is vital if you want to stay competitive.
With so many tools to choose from today to help improve your call center agent performance, it’s important to know which are most helpful to boost performance and keep your call center running smoothly. Check out this list of the five best software features you can adopt for better call center agent performance.
1. Call Scripts for Call Center Agents
One of the simplest ways to improve call center agent performance is to streamline their workflows with call scripts. A call script is a pre-written series of data points and phrases that an agent can use and reference throughout a call to help the caller more efficiently. With 80% of consumers rating their interactions with a company as equally important to the company’s products and services, businesses cannot afford to underestimate the importance of live call interactions.
A call script might include a wide range of data, from detailed caller information and identification to preset introductions, questions, answers, solutions, responses, and/or suggestions that help agents respond to their caller’s queries quickly and professionally. From the first greeting and preliminary questions to offering solutions and saying goodbye, a call script provides agents with an easy, brand-compliant method for addressing concerns and resolving problems.
With improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, agents no longer have to rely solely on their own quick-thinking or encyclopedic knowledge of the product while trying to help a customer. Rather, a call script can help guide agents, no matter their experience level, through a series of answers, solutions, and responses that are brand compliant. A good call script has built-in flexibility with input and output fields, designated workflows, and variables that can significantly improve agent performance and customer satisfaction.
Call Script Tip: Follow up each call with a survey. Your agent can let the caller know that they’ll receive a quick survey via text or email after the call. This way you can continue to perfect a natural and efficient call script with regular customer feedback.
Check out how CTM helped improve this call center answering rate by 20%.
2. Real-Time Agent Dashboard and Analytics
Helping call center agents achieve consistently great performance is best facilitated with a real-time agent dashboard and analytics. An agent dashboard is a visual representation of agent(s) activities, including:
- Live calls
- Missed calls
- Queued calls
- Available agents
- Inbound and outbound calls
- More with certain platforms.
Ideally, this software will also generate detailed reports and data on those activities. This granular view helps call center managers and directors identify areas for improvement, such as:
- Number of call center agents available
- Agent pain points
- Customer pain points
- Product or service growth opportunities.
Immediate access to this information will help you streamline and improve your call center processes for agents, no matter how small or large the team is.
Agent Dashboard Tip: Always look to adopt an agent dashboard with real-time updates, ideally one that integrates with software you’re already using. The ability to see time spent on phone calls (and even in Zoom meetings) can give you radical insights that will help you optimize your team’s workflows.
3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
When your call center agents are experiencing a high volume of calls or there are limited agents available, having a developed IVR setup can be the difference between a satisfied customer waiting for the next agent and a lost sales opportunity. An IVR relies on a voice menu that helps a caller successfully navigate to an agent that’s best suited to their need or situation, either via keypresses or a series of verbal questions and responses.
All this happens as soon as they call in and before the caller speaks to a live agent. Alternatively, an IVR might let the caller know that they’re in a queue, when the next agent might become available, or if they would like a callback.
An IVR helps call agents by presetting exactly what kind of question the caller wants to ask, what information they’re looking for, or what solution they’re seeking before they even speak to a call center agent. Armed with this information, each agent can be prepared to help that exact customer, rather than transferring them to a different line, department, or representative more suited to the caller’s needs. A successful IVR will help sort the caller and direct them to the appropriate agent with the knowledge they need to resolve the caller’s issue.
As an added bonus, IVR is a cost-effective way to satisfy customers; while live customer service calls and chats can cost up to $12 per contact, IVR can cost $1 or less per contact.
IVR Tip: The more information you give a caller, the better! A well-informed caller will be more patient when waiting for the next available agent. Provide your caller with any details you can on estimated wait time, their position in the queue, current product promotions, etc. to create a pleasant experience for your callers. Some IVR systems come with fun options, like choosing accents, recording your own message, and more.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integrations
Integrating your call system with an efficient CRM platform is crucial to efficiently tracking your calls and improving customer experiences. A CRM platform is a software tool that stores and relays customer information, account history, past call activity, and more in a centralized, digital location that can be easily accessed by your agents.
There are many great platforms out on the market for businesses of any size that can help your agents track and engage with customers, follow up on leads, document resolved issues, and more. Integrating with the right CRM gives agents a holistic view of:
- Caller’s journey
- When and why customers called in the past
- Invoice histories
- Issues the caller may have experienced before
- Call center colleagues who have worked with the customer before
- Much, much more.
A CRM is essential to helping your call center agents give callers a great experience because, much like call scripts, CRM platforms give agents information to work with as they handle a large volume of calls. The more information agents can access means fewer questions and more efficient problem-solving, equalling an improved customer experience.
Not only are no-code integrations helpful to connect your CRM and other software but having software providers with open APIs helps developers seamlessly integrate almost any type of software making for endless customizations.
CRM Integration Tip: Make sure you select a CRM appropriate to your business size. CallTrackingMetrics integrates with a host of popular CRMs including Salesforce, Drift, Mailchimp, HubSpot, Pipedrive, and more. Whichever CRM you choose, make sure that your agents are well-trained and onboarded to maximize their performance.
5. Intelligent Call Routing
One of the best ways to help your call center agent improve their performance is to play to their professional strengths by routing calls according to an agent’s knowledge, skills, and availability. This kind of routing logic is determined via predetermined conditions and data.
Intelligent routing automation can help you do things like automatically routing a callback to the same agent that had helped a caller before via historical caller data, or putting a caller on hold until the agent with the right skill set is free to talk based on current data. Intelligent routing can ensure that a caller is connected to an agent and a department that can solve their problem, without having to repeat themselves and the issue they’re facing over and over again to multiple agents.
There are a few different types of intelligent routing available. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Skill-Based Routing
Callers are routed to agents based on preset conditions i.e. agent skills. This could include professional specializations, spoken language, and more.
- Caller Input
Callers can use keypresses or verbal responses to express their issues, which will then route to an agent best suited to their needs. IVR (listed above) is an example of caller input-based routing.
Often, a call center with dispersed agents would do best to use Georouting. This dynamic routing form sends callers to a call center agent that shares a similar geographic location, which helps not only reduce the number of transfers but may help callers access services closest to them with greater ease.
Intelligent Call Routing Tip: Setting the right conditions to ensure a smooth routing process is crucial to effective routing. Make sure you carefully determine the logic and set up your agent schedules in your system to reduce wait and transfer times. If you’re ready to adopt a great tool that will give you several options to intelligently route your calls, check out CTM’s powerful Smart Router.
Better Tools for Improved Call Center Agent Performance
A high-performing call center relies largely on the effectiveness of its agents. A call center agent cannot perform their jobs effectively without the software, tools, and information needed to answer calls and provide customer solutions. Agencies, contact centers, and businesses of all sizes can increase profits and productivity by embracing new tech in the call center sphere, including dynamic call scripts, IVR menus, integrating with today’s best CRMs, using call data and analytics to refine customer management processes, and intelligently routing calls.
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