6 Ways to Boost Your Outbound Call Centre’s Productivity… Today.
6 Ways to Boost Your Outbound Call Centre’s Productivity… Today.
Balancing the expectations of your customers with the motivation and happiness of your agents – while hitting your targets – can be crazy. Forget about developing your own skills and management techniques, you’re way too busy firefighting, running reports, delivering said reports to management, and recruiting for staff that continuously leave on you. The job of an outbound call centre manager, or any call centre manager is hectic, certainly not for the faint hearted.
If boosting your outbound call centre’s productivity is something that is always on your ‘to-do’ list but one of those massive, ‘nice to do but where would I find the time’ kind of situations, don’t worry. Improving productivity doesn’t have to be a massive knock-down rebuild of every process you have.
A fresh coat of paint here, a new piece of furniture there can boost the value of your home considerably, so take the same approach to your outbound call centre. Tweak a few areas to make sure they’re ticking along nicely and you should see a nice improvement when you look at your productivity.
- Get blending
Hiring and training some agents to be outbound call centre operators and others to be inbound can make total sense. Often, though, the size of your business and the types of calls you receive mean that your inbound guys will spend a lot of time waiting for calls to come in. Likewise, the number of leads you have and the quality of your lists can mean that your outbound staff get through their calls pretty quickly. Then what? You pay them while they’re checking out Facebook?
Get blending. Have your agents ready to receive inbound calls and make outbound calls from your dialler, at the same time. Your productivity will be boosted simply by having down time filled with your agents making and/or receiving calls.
- Healthy competition
Give your agents an opportunity to compare themselves with their colleagues. Run reports in real-time and provide regular updates to your agents on how their co-workers are performing. This will give your agents a natural incentive to do better – they will understand how they are performing relative to others so immediately see where the benchmark is.
If this doesn’t light a fire in their belly then maybe they’re not the right people to be making your outbound calls. Having the energy and motivation to get results are pretty key attributes in an outbound call centre agent.
Your agents are seated for most of the day staring at their computer screen making calls. This doesn’t mean that their environment doesn’t need to be comfortable. Integrate your call centre with the rest of the business – open plan is great for this. Let your agents feel part of the business and see what’s going on in departments around them.
Conversely, let the people in other departments see your guys work – so they understand what their customers are saying, what the hot topics are. There is no better way to learn about your customers than straight from the horse’s mouth.
Healthy morale is essential to any productive team, and feeling isolated isn’t a great way to foster this. Surrounding your team with other humans to have a chat to, or to just look up and roll their eyes at when on the phone to a particularly difficult customer can help them feel supported, without them having to do much besides be there.
- Location can be everything
If you have agents who you trust, and you know will perform wherever they are, consider the benefits of letting them work from home. A cloud-based system allows agents to work from anywhere with an internet connection. The energy your outbound call centre agents bring to a phone call is essential in building rapport, and this can make a call a success or a total disaster very quickly. It’s important they feel comfortable to have a conversation, not just read a script. This could mean offering some or all of your staff the option to work from home.
Remote working can be used as an incentive for high-performing agents, who must maintain a level of productivity to maintain the privilege. It can also be a great recruitment tool – you open up your candidate pool to include highly qualified agents who, because of life, simply cannot be in the office for their shifts.
- Training when needed
Reviewing a campaign when it’s complete will tell you a lot – did you meet your targets? What were the key metrics and how did your team perform on these? If you have fallen short of expectations then that’s important to know, and of course you can apply your learnings to the next campaign.
To boost your results and productivity, what you really need is to be able to course correct when the campaign is live. With the right system, you can follow any agent’s progress on any call, from any location.
Don’t like the numbers your seeing or the conversation you’re hearing? Coach them live by instant messaging – give them pointers to implement there and then.
- Monitor transparently
Monitoring calls can not only give you the opportunity to coach in real time, it can also be used as a tool to embed quality as a key priority. Let your team know you’re listening, running reports constantly and are across every call.
For strong performers, this probably won’t be an issue. For those agents who struggle, this might have them running for the hills. Don’t worry – the impact this has, good or bad, largely comes down to how you frame it. When talking about the call monitoring, let your team know this is to help everyone improve in whatever areas they need, and that no one is perfect. Use the learnings from your strong agents to train your weaker ones. Ensure your agents know that you monitor them to support them, not to punish them where they may struggle.
Boosting productivity doesn’t require a complete overhaul of staff, systems and processes. If it did, the status quo would never be challenged, we’d all be doing the same things, day in day out, because who has time to change everything?
Sometimes little tweaks in a few areas can add up to a pretty decent leap in productivity. One extra staff member maintained this quarter. Two more calls made this shift. Three percent rise in customer satisfaction this campaign. Little shifts, but they add up, and set you on a path to make further gains in future campaigns by keeping the focus on improvement, and staying the course on the changes you implement. It makes change extremely palatable – tasty even.