09 July 2015

How To Conquer Operational Inefficiency In Your Business

What are you making your customers go through in order to give you business?

Have you ever thought about how much work your customers must put in before they can give you a dollar? If you’re making them deal with your company’s operational inefficiencies, there’s a big chance you’re pushing their business away. Simply, that risk is just not worth taking. So what can you do?

By eliminating operational inefficiencies, you can make sure your customers aren’t dealing with frustration and considering taking their business—and their dollars—elsewhere. Here is what you can do to correct your business’s bad habits and ensure that your customers are happy to be working with you.

1. Learn what operational inefficiency culprits are.

In the article, Four Performance Metrics to Improve your Call Center, the author shares how four key metrics—customer satisfaction, operational inefficiency, business value, and employee management—determine your outcomes with customers and employees. In the section about operational inefficiency, three key performance indicators (KPIs) stand out:

  • Agent occupancy: The time it takes agents to answer or deal with calls. This KPI may indicate overstaffing and high operational costs.
  • Aver—age handling time: How long it takes agents to handle individual calls. This KPI may reveal agents who need more training or broken processes.
  • Call transfer rate: Whether calls are routed to the right agent the first time or redirected several times. This KPI may indicate infrastructure inefficiencies.

The author contends that by managing these three factors, most call centers can stifle operational inefficiency as it relates to call centers and over-the-phone business. However, these aren’t the only factors, so make sure you’re taking a look at any other potential inefficiencies in your business. (If you don’t know where to start, keep reading!)

2. Pinpoint where the inefficiencies are in your business.

Once you’ve figured out what operational inefficiencies you should be looking for, make sure you identify them in your company. If your business has more than a handful of agents, you’ll need to figure out a way to monitor all of your agents even when you aren’t there. The best way to identify where operational inefficiencies are in your call center is to monitor every inbound phone call. With call monitoring, you partner with an unbiased third party to listen to your employees’ phone conversations with customers and monitor data that directly impacts how happy your customers are in real time.

One quick, important note: Choosing to partner with a neutral, third-party partner is important because it protects the integrity of your data; there is no bias or favoritism with third-party call monitoring, so you get the truth about how each employee is performing.

When you implement call monitoring systems, you get peace of mind, because you know that employee interactions with customers are being carefully watched. There’s no “he said, she said” about any conversations that happened between your front line and a customer on a call, because the conversations are available for review in near-real time.

3. Implement changes based on your findings.

After you begin monitoring your calls, you’ll get data that shows you your call center’s agent occupancy, average handling time, and call transfer rates—the big three KPIs for operational inefficiencies in call centers—and that isn’t all.

In the short term: Immediately, you’ll get data from call monitoring that tells you hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly metrics about individual employees and your call center as a whole. When paired with call evaluation, call monitoring can even help you catch any potential customers who may slip through the cracks by alerting you in real time when a lost business opportunity occurs. Call monitoring and evaluation provides insight into what went wrong and how to correct it. With this insight, your business can rescue that potentially lost sale from the hands of a competitor by calling your customer back and overcoming their objections before they have time to give their money to someone else.

In the long term: Over an extended period of time, call monitoring can shed light on your company’s seasonal trends (do you need to add or scale back on agents during certain seasons?), training and onboarding trends that help or hinder your agents’ success. If you’re implementing changes based on your short-term findings, you’ll likely notice an increase in customer satisfaction, because you’re taking the data call monitoring provides and putting it into action to improve your call center or front line.

4. Continue monitoring to keep quality high.

Continuous call monitoring gives you an edge—you can see what, if anything, your customers are going through, then you can adapt or train your employees, which leads to more satisfied customers. With call monitoring, the process refines itself more the longer you do it—as your company and customer base grows, keep monitoring calls to ensure the highest level of operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.