Operational efficiency happens when you complete more work with less money and effort. All while maintaining the same high results. It’s the ratio between the output (profit, revenue, cash) and the input (operating costs, people, and time/effort). And to have successful customer service, call center efficiency is vital.
As technology advances, so too does the demand for excellent customer service. Salesforce recently reported that 65% of customers expect companies to adapt to their needs. In a different poll, 58% of consumers noted that their service expectations have increased over the past year.
So what’s at the root of these high expectations? Usually, it’s convenience, speed, and accuracy. These metrics depend entirely on your call center’s efficiency. Ultimately, your customers’ happiness relies on your team’s ability to help them quickly and effectively. This makes operational efficiency critical for your success.
The Connection Between Call Center Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction
The heart of your success as a service organization lies in your customer satisfaction (CSAT). Your CSAT scores provide essential insights into customer loyalty. It notes the likelihood of churn and helps you identify issues with your products or services.
Let’s consider what happens when operations aren’t efficient.
Imagine there’s a customer — let’s call her Amelia. Amelia contacts her cell phone company’s call center because she sees an unusual charge on her bill. She finally connects with an agent, but the call quality is poor, making it difficult to understand him. Frustrated, she politely asks if he can speak louder, but he seems indifferent.
Amelia explains her billing issue, providing all the necessary details. But the agent repeatedly asks for the same information. It seems he’s not paying attention, or he’s unable to access her account. As the call progresses, he puts Amelia on hold multiple times to consult with a supervisor or access information. Each hold lasts several minutes, and Amelia is frustrated by the long wait times and lack of progress.
After 45 minutes, the agent tells Amelia they need to escalate the issue to another department, and someone will contact her within 24–48 hours. Amelia hangs up, feeling dissatisfied with the inefficient and lengthy process. She’s also unsure if her issue will be resolved. So, she goes to her phone and finds a review platform where she shares her bad experience and begins looking for a new cell phone company.
Think about how this situation would have played out if Amelia’s experience had been more efficient. She’d be satisfied, having received the help needed. Perhaps she’d be raving about the business, winning over more customers in the process.
Call center efficiency means customers are happier, more satisfied, and more loyal to the brand. Think about your team. How can you help them be the kind of team customers rave about? We’re here to help get you started.
Learn more about how to improve operational efficiency here.
5 Ways You Can Boost Customer Satisfaction in Your Call Center
1. Empower Agents with Comprehensive Training
I’ll never forget when I attended a meeting with a customer without sufficient training and hardly any context. After a mortifying 30 minutes of fumbling through my words, the customer ended the call in frustration. She called back later, angrily expressing that my company had failed me by not giving me the necessary training to handle that meeting. She wasn’t wrong.
Onboarding and consistent training are an essential part of successful customer service. But, only 21% of employees feel like they have the performance management they need to do outstanding work. That’s just not enough.
Well-trained agents tend to resolve issues more effectively (and efficiently) because they know what they’re doing. Inevitably, this kind of efficiency positively impacts CSAT. Training also helps improve other key metrics, like first contact resolution (FCR), by ensuring agents have the knowledge to address issues without seeking help or escalating an issue. When agents know the answers from the start, it reduces the need for any follow up interactions. Hello, lower average handle time (AHT).
2. Implement Skills-Based Routing
Think of the earlier example with Amelia. If she was routed to an agent who could help solve her billing error right then and there, none of that delay or waiting would have happened. Skills-based routing helps boost call center efficiency by sending customers to the best possible agent to resolve their issues. This improves the quality of the interaction, which then boosts customer satisfaction.
But that’s not all routing helps with. When you reduce call transfers and delays, you increase FCR and decrease overall AHT. Not to mention, this makes for a better agent experience by giving agents tasks that allow them to use their strengths. It’s a win-win!
3. Create Quality Agent Scripts
Optimize every interaction in your call center and support efficiency using agent scripts. We all can go on tangents, but when an agent goes off script, sometimes this can add confusion, escalate a conversation, or it can simply take too much time. Scripts offer agents a guide to stay on track, ensure consistent and accurate delivery of information, and reduce your average idle time (AIT).
When agents deliver information accurately and consistently, customers get help faster, boosting your CSAT. And with Smart Scripting technology, management can intelligently guide conversations, promote cross-selling, and train agents in real-time.
4. Improve Self-Service Options
Self-service helps to ease the pressures on your call center by offering customers another avenue to get help aside from actually picking up the phone or emailing your team. This then reduces the volume of incoming requests and gives customers a convenient and speedy route to resolutions, which improves their overall experience.
The reality is that customers want self-service. In fact, today, 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a representative. You can update your knowledge base and make FAQ articles easy to find. Or you can add chatbots and IVAs to ensure agents can give attention to customers with more complex issues. Self-service can also decrease AHT and hold time and improve FCR.
5. Focus on Agent Well-Being and Engagement
I can’t stress how important it is to invest in your agents’ engagement and happiness. McKinsey & Company reports that engaged and satisfied call center employees are 3.3 times more likely to feel empowered to resolve customer issues. Plus, engaged and satisfied agents tend to provide better service, which directly impacts CSAT scores. When agents are happier, they care more about their day-to-day work and impact.
Improved agent satisfaction also leads to lower turnover rates. And lower turnover means more experienced staff handle interactions. This, in turn, enhances FCR and decreases AHT and abandonment rates since experienced agents are often more efficient.
Having a great call center platform is the first step in improving your efficiency. Chat with one of our representatives to learn more about our best-in-class platform.