How to Optimize and Maintain Contact Center Performance, Part 1

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In a previous post, we discussed the importance of understanding total cost of ownership (TCO) when evaluating contact center solutions. Organizations must look beyond upfront costs for hardware, software, licenses and implementation to consider operational costs for staffing, management, training, certification, equipment maintenance and third-party vendors. Unlike capital expenses, which are fairly consistent and negotiable, operational costs can vary greatly.

The ability to optimize agent performance can directly impact both the operational component of contact center TCO and the customer experience. However, maintaining a high level of agent performance is difficult. Contact center managers struggle to carve out enough time to develop new agents and effectively manage remote agents. Burnout is common among contact center agents and typically leads to a decline in performance. Many top-performing agents who earn the right to work remotely tend to become disengaged and complacent, causing performance levels to drop.

Organizations that follow best practices for optimizing contact center performance can maximize the value of the contact center, dramatically improve the customer experience, and increase loyalty. These best practices include:

  • Document customer service standards and processes. Define specific, measurable standards for setting and meeting customer expectations, and the processes for achieving those standards. This will help you improve contact center operations and evaluate the performance of individual agents.
  • Be aware of ROI. The longer it takes to resolve an issue, the more it costs, and the less likely a customer is to do business with your company again. Understand how performance affects your bottom line and develop strategies for solving problems on the first call.
  • Maintain a customer-centric focus. Contact center managers, agents, processes and technology must be developed with the singular goal of better serving the customer in order to improve performance and the customer experience.
  • Empower, engage and motivate agents. Give your contact center agents the power to take control of customer issues, and make sure they’re using this ability to solve problems quickly. Collaborating with agents, encouraging feedback and offering incentives can help you achieve your contact center objectives.
  • Share quality assurance (QA) data with agents. Customer surveys and recordings of feedback and full calls can help managers and agents assess and improve their approach to customer service.

In the next post, we’ll discuss the importance of gathering and analyzing data for performance optimization, as well as the business value and benefits of contact center performance management tools.