The past two years have been a particularly challenging time for contact centers.
Catering to relentless and ever-shifting consumer demands amidst a global pandemic has been a struggle for all industries.
As such, the need for successful contact center performance management has never been greater.
In fact, it’s essential for ensuring profitability, efficiency and customer satisfaction.
With this in mind, you may be searching for the best strategies to perfect performance management for your contact center. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- The importance of successful contact center performance management
- How to track contact center performance
- Top tactics for improving your contact center performance management
Let's get started.
The importance of contact center performance management
Contact center performance management is the process of calculating, tracking and improving the performance of your contact center teams.
This process is crucial because the performance of your agents determines contact center efficiency, productivity, and conversion rates.
It also has a direct impact on customer service and thus the customer experience.
Providing positive experiences is essential for retaining customers.
And there’s certainly room for improvement in this area.
Research indicates that 50% of customers feel that there’s a major need for reform in the customer service and support offered by most contact centers.
So how do you go about improving contact center performance?
And how can you use performance management to optimize your contact center and meet customer expectations?
Well, it all starts with tracking the right metrics.
How to track Contact Center Performance
Contact Center Performance Management is best tracked using quantifiable metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). These can include:
- Customer satisfaction scores
- First contact resolution rate
- Average response times
- Average queue wait time
- Average resolution time
- Conversion rate
- Abandonment rate
- Number of customer interactions and escalations
By analyzing and monitoring these performance metrics, you can ascertain how your contact center is performing overall.
You’ll also be able to identify the areas in which you excel and those that require improvement.
Once you’ve collected this information, you can start to implement the strategies detailed below to help boost performance across all metrics.
How to improve Contact Center Performance Management
Managing contact center performance can be a challenging endeavor.
But as we’ve seen above, it’s essential for both business success and customer delight.
Luckily, we’ve compiled some of the top tactics and strategies for you to utilize.
With these, you can revamp your management style and elevate the performance of your contact center agents.
1. Set the right goals
The first step to improving your contact center performance is setting out measurable targets and business goals.
You should start by using the metrics listed in the section above to gather data on how your contact center is performing currently.
Then, you can establish how much you need to improve across the board. You can also identify the KPIs needing the most attention.
Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to create your future goals for each metric.
Make sure you include a plan for how you’re going to achieve these targets within a specified time frame.
And remember, each goal should be specific to a particular metric and/or contact channel.
Example: By the end of next quarter we will decrease our live chat average response time to a maximum of 20 seconds. To achieve this, we will implement the use of canned responses and provide staff with updated training.
Remember to schedule regular performance reviews and keep track of your metrics.
That way, you’ll be able to monitor your progress and ensure that you’re heading in the right direction.
2. Train your agents effectively
In order to maximize contact center performance, it’s vital that your agents are empowered with exceptional training.
This will lay the groundwork by increasing your agents’ knowledge, efficiency, and confidence in their capabilities.
Consequently, they’ll be able to handle a higher number of cases independently, and with more speed.
When devising your training strategy, you should aim to do the following:
- Make your agents experts in the products / services your business offers
- Teach your agents effective time management, multitasking, and case prioritization
- Create a comprehensive internal knowledge base for employees to refer to
- Arm your agents with advanced communication and customer service skills
- Offer individual training where possible
- Provide regular, updated training and refresher courses to all agents (not just newbies.)
- Use your top-performing agents as examples
With the above in mind, you should aim to keep training courses as practical and engaging as possible.
You might consider incorporating activities like workshops, webinars, and team-building exercises into your training days.
And don’t forget to make the most of any recordings of calls or video chats with customers that you have access to. These can help demonstrate the training theory in practice.
At the end of the day, agent performance is the foundation of contact center success.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you equip agents with the skills and knowledge necessary to be the best front-line ambassadors for your business.
3. Create a positive working environment
If you want your contact center agents to perform to their best ability, you must provide them with a positive and supportive work environment.
Creating this employee-centric space will increase happiness, motivation and productivity throughout your contact center teams.
To build a positive work environment, contact center managers should aim to do the following:
- Encourage your agents by rewarding good performance and praising hard work
- Give insightful and productive feedback
- Introduce award schemes and incentives (e.g. employee of the month)
- Provide employee benefits such as bonuses, extra holiday days or private health care coverage
- Allow for work flexibility where possible
- Promote a healthy work-life balance by managing workloads and work distribution effectively
- Organize team outings and social work events
- Be a supportive and approachable manager who makes your agents’ mental health and wellbeing a top priority.
With these practices, you can make your contact center a workplace where employees are able to thrive and reach their full potential.
4. Implement omnichannel contact center software
A crucial part of managing a successful contact center is implementing the right software.
After all, how can you expect your employees to perform highly if they don’t have the tools and technology to facilitate them?
In today’s era of digital transformation, dated technology and clunky phone systems are no longer enough for contact center success.
Nor are they acceptable from a customer point of view - 67% of customers find it difficult to navigate call center phone systems and are often unable to reach a live agent.
That’s why more and more contact centers are choosing to implement omnichannel customer engagement software.
This enables you to provide a seamless, consistent, and contextualized customer experience at every touchpoint.
And you can easily escalate any customer conversation too.
Going omnichannel makes all interactions smoother for both your contact center agents and your customers.
Plus, businesses attain on average a 90% higher customer retention rate through adopting omnichannel communication.
5. Utilize automation and time-saving features
A great strategy for boosting contact center performance is to employ progressive features designed to save time and streamline processes.
For example, you could make use of automation by deploying Talkative’s AI chatbot to handle simple queries, leaving your agents free to handle more complex issues.
This will shorten queue wait times and drastically improve your average response times.
Chatbots are a popular option for customers looking for a fast and easy resolution.
In fact, 43% of customers prefer contact centers that offer chatbots to simplify customer service.
You can also save your contact center time by utilizing our dynamic canned responses.
Agents can send these pre-written messages automatically during live chat sessions, thus giving customers the prompt responses they crave.
Live chat itself is another invaluable feature for optimal contact center performance.
Research suggests that 90% of businesses who have integrated live chat have found it helpful in streamlining contact center operations and improving customer support.
Talkative’s customer Healthspan, for example, has seen a 500% increase in customer interactions since launching our live chat - plus a direct uplift in online sales.
With the above example in mind, it’s easy to see how you can effortlessly improve your contact center performance.
You just need to make use of the right tools to maximize efficiency.
6. Pay attention to customer feedback
A key element of successful call center performance management is listening to your customers.
Your agents should be taught to actively encourage customers to share their feedback, both positive and negative.
This gives you the opportunity to truly discover your customers’ perceptions, as well as your customer service strengths and weaknesses.
It can also lead to increased profitability.
Case in point, research by Hubspot found that 67% of businesses experience exponential growth from collecting and acting on customer feedback.
So, make sure that your contact center teams are asking customers questions like:
- How was your experience contacting us today?
- Did we meet your expectations?
- Is there anything we could do better in the future?
- What do you like or dislike about our brand / products / customer support?
This practice of actively searching for ways to improve emphasizes that your business cares about customers and their experiences.
It will make them feel valued as well as increasing the likelihood of brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
Ultimately, excellent customer feedback plays a fundamental role in enhancing any contact center’s brand value - so don’t disregard it.
From setting the right goals to implementing the best technology, successful contact center performance management involves a range of tasks and strategies.
And optimizing performance won’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process that takes time and effort.
Nevertheless, it’s undoubtedly a worthy task to undertake. Because when it's done well, performance and productivity will improve across the board.
Not only that, but you’ll see a significant increase in customer delight.
But what’s the best way to help you on your journey to optimal contact center performance?
By using the right software solution.
And that's where Talkative comes in.
Our platform provides a complete suite of contact channels that'll empower your customer advisors to connect instantly, and effortlessly, with your digital customers.
With enhanced live chat, video chat, cobrowse, social media messaging, and more - all seamlessly connected into your contact center workflows - you can start reaching more customers than ever before.
In turn, you can give your team the tools they need to boost sales, satisfaction, performance.
Want to see for yourself? Book your Talkative demo today, and you'll discover how to get the most of your contact center team.