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Contact centers are stuck in the middle of a talent crisis. Some 72% of customer-facing agents are sick of the contact center grind. They’re burnt out and worn thin. Another 84% say they feel pressured to deliver quantity rather than quality in their daily support interactions. And 52% think their workload has increased since the pandemic.

Managers and agents alike face high customer expectations, with many working long hours under high pressure to meet narrow KPIs using outdated tech. And, let’s be real, customer service teams don’t exactly get company-wide recognition. Yet, they’re the last line of defense with customers. Their work can make or break the customer experience, determine customer retention, and encourage (or discourage) customer loyalty.

And it all starts with you, the manager. What kind of workplace are you cultivating? Who are you hiring? How efficient are your processes? Are you advocating for better tools for your agents? Let’s consider some best practices you can put in place to be successful and drive your bottom line up.

Managing Your Contact Center Effectively in 2024

What does contact center management need to focus on in 2024?

AI is transforming the contact center industry and the state of customer service. With the increasing popularity of AI and automation, it’s crucial that you’re more intentional in your communication strategy. What’s more, now you must build a cohesive customer experience that can be scaled or altered at the whim of a trend and you add omnichannel to your growing list of capabilities.

A recent report from Gartner on the future of customer service found that customers want value over anything else. But what does it mean to be a value-driven organization? It calls you to break down silos and build a cohesive customer experience. It means leaning on data and analytics to identify where you can personalize experiences. And it also requires balancing machine and human interactions to offer a great customer experience without jeopardizing personal touch.

Here are 15 best practices to help you stay efficient and on-trend with your contact center management.

Want to learn more about how you can boost your operational efficiency with the help of AI? Check out our blog.

15 Best Practices for Efficient Contact Center Management

1. Hire the Right People

With the increasing popularity of AI in customer service, the human agents on your team matter more than ever. High customer expectations mean you can’t risk hiring agents who’ll be sloppy or impatient with customers. Be intentional in your hiring process. Look for agents with the soft skills to handle customers well and the technical experience to navigate a fast-paced environment.

2. Improve Your Onboarding

The first 30 days on a job are critical for success. In fact, nearly 70% of employees are more likely to stay with an organization for at least three years if they have a great onboarding experience. Ensure a robust onboarding experience with proper training, a cultural introduction, and intentional face-to-face time with new agents.

3. Use an Omnichannel Approach

Customers expect a seamless omnichannel journey across every touchpoint. They won’t tolerate repeating themselves over and over (and over). They want compliant, shared data for a personalized journey from the first sale through support. Focus on processes, automation, and omnichannel tools that make your customer experience as effortless as possible. If you’re not already delivering omnichannel integrated services, it’s time to get started.

4. Focus on Employee Engagement

According to Gallup, companies with high employee engagement see an 81% drop in absenteeism, a 10% increase in customer loyalty, and a 23% boost in productivity. As contact center management, focus on these key drivers of engagement to improve your agent experience:

  • Give agents a clear purpose in their work assignments
  • Offer clear opportunities and growth paths for career development
  • Focus on the strengths of your team and use them often
  • Coach your employees and offer clear, frequent feedback

5. Collect (and Act On) Customer Feedback

As many as 71% of B2C customers and 86% of B2B customers expect customer service to be well-informed about their preferences and history. They want personalized service. But if you don’t talk to them, how do you know what they want? Customer feedback is key to gaining insight into customer satisfaction and expectations.

You should collect feedback regularly and then use it to drive coaching and training conversations with agents. Share it across the company to increase qualified sales and improve your products and services.

6. Provide Continuous Coaching and Training

Even the most experienced agents need support to learn your products and processes. Coaching and training help improve engagement so your agents can go the extra mile and deliver excellent results. In fact, companies that offer their employees effective and frequent coaching improve their business results by 21%. To start, set your team up for success with customized scripts, track analytics for data-driven feedback, and monitor call recordings to identify knowledge gaps.

7. Highlight Quality Over Quantity

It’s easy to equate a high quantity of customers with efficiency. But if you’re sacrificing quality for speed, you’re doubling your workload and still leaving customers unsatisfied. It’s tricky finding the balance between quality and quantity, but ultimately, giving your customers a high-quality service experience should take priority.

High-quality interactions often result in fewer follow-ups and a higher FCR. Use call recordings and agent scoring to track the quality of your agents’ performance before looking at the number of customers they’ve talked to. Chances are, the extra time they took with a customer results in a higher CSAT score.

8. Add AI and Automation

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of customer service and support organizations will use some form of generative AI to improve agent productivity and the customer experience. AI and automation are key investments for contact centers that want to stay competitive. Work with your ops team to find processes that can be automated. Consider how AI tools like chatbots or IVAs can reduce call volume and drive efficiency this year.

9. Create Clear Goals for Your Team

To support agent engagement, set clear and concise goals for your team. Daily, monthly, and quarterly goals can help agents understand their purpose and track their progress. Think of it like training for a marathon: the small wins along the way are incredibly motivating and rewarding. Use a SMART goals template to create specific goals for each team member and provide a framework for feedback, performance standards, and success.

10. Track KPIs

Data is your center’s best friend. When you track contact center metrics, you have the hard facts to back your decisions. You can track KPIs to give agents data-driven feedback during your 1:1s and use metrics to advocate for better resources in your next meeting with the executive team. Or use them to show off when your team deserves some recognition. Ultimately, KPIs are instrumental in improving your performance and offering an unforgettable customer experience.

11. Reward Top-Performing Agents

Your agents want to know that their work is seen and appreciated — I mean, don’t we all? In fact, nearly 70% of employees would work harder if their efforts were recognized. Use your goals and KPIs to establish a reward system for the top performers on your team. Maybe they win a cash gift in their next paycheck, a Starbucks gift card, or an extra PTO day. Whatever you decide, taking time to recognize your employees will drive better work.

12. Break Down Silos with Other Departments

Siloed contact center agents spend 15% of their time navigating communication hurdles to get the information they need to serve customers. Organization and communication silos impede growth and collaboration. And who gets hurt the most from this? Your customers. Using consistent communication and better collaborative tools, you can help break down silos within your org.

13. Communicate with Agents

Being a good manager doesn’t just mean taking care of customers. It’s your job to ensure your agents have support and care, too. Be there for your team members and check in with them throughout the day. Communicate with them regularly to share updates and success metrics, and let them vent when needed. This kind of consistent, open communication builds trust, encourages collaboration, and can significantly boost team morale.

14. Upskill Agents

Upskilling is becoming more important by the day. With increasing automation and AI technologies, agents need more soft skills and technical skills to grow in their careers. Contact center management can delegate tasks and responsibilities to upskill agents. Plus, doing so lightens your load, giving you more time to invest in strategy. Identify work you can pass off to top performers to give them a chance to develop professionally.

15. Invest in the Right Tools

None of this will be successful if you don’t have the right technology. Your contact center’s digital transformation will make or break your ability to meet customer expectations, sustain operations, and scale with the times. Maybe this looks like moving your contact center platform to the cloud or finding areas to boost operational efficiency with automation and AI.

Add chatbots and IVAs to reduce call volume and increase FCR. Look for robust reporting and analytics that enable more personalized customer care. And be sure to partner with a vendor who can offer it all (ahem…like Broadvoice) so you can provide the best support to customers and agents.

Our contact center platform makes it easy to manage your contact center. Learn more about Broadvoice CCaaS by scheduling a demo.

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