Call centre management tips- small changes with big impacts

Jul 16
call centre management bike winning

Call centre management tips- small changes with big impacts

When you want to sell your house, you’re obviously looking to get the most money into your pocket as possible. If you live in a place that’s a bit on the ‘shacky’ side (or shall we say has a lot of ‘character’), then it’s going to take a bit of work to get it to where it needs to be to get the return you need. A full renovation is out of the question though. Who has the time and money to invest in such a mammoth job? No one who has other priorities (like a job).

The good news is, a little tweak here and there can add up to a lot. Spray paint your tiles. Pull up your carpet. Hire a polisher for a weekend. New taps and bathroom finishes. None of these are going to break the bank but they will have a huge impact on the impression your house gives to prospective buyers to get you the price you want.

The same can be said for call centres. Call centre management can be overwhelming. To manage the day to day needs of your team, hit your targets, fire fight issues with customers, it often takes more than full time hours to just keep your head above water. But, like the house reno, making a few minor changes across a number of areas can add up to a pretty sizeable increase in productivity.

The Theory of Marginal Gains

Sir Dave Brailsford became the head of British Cycling in 2002, when the team were pretty much at an all-time low- only one gold medal in 76 long years. Along came Sir Dave and took the team to an incredible seven out of ten gold medals in track cycling at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and managed to sustain that level of competiveness and match that performance 4 years later in London.

So, Sir Dave did a pretty good job you could say. He did it by breaking down everything the team could collectively think of that contributes to success on a bike and improving each by just 1%. All these little increases, he thought, would lead up to a significant aggregated increase in performance.

Sir Dave says, ‘forget about perfection; focus on progression, and compound the improvements’. There is a Japanese word for this: kaizen. It means continuous improvement.

How did he do this? Well, he noticed the floor where the bike maintenance was carried out was dusty, undermining bike maintenance. He painted the floors white so dust could be seen and cleaned. He implemented a hand washing mandate to reduce time the athletes were down with illness. 1% here and there.

So how can you apply this to call centre management?

Set Targets

Don’t give your agents a vague target. Get specific and get exact. Give them a number to achieve every shift, and preferably this number will be anchored in achieving, not trying. For example, they need to convert 60 prospects out of 100 every shift, not just make 100 calls. If you’re a call centre agent, and you are at 55 conversions, if you don’t have a clear target of 60 in your mind you might settle back and assume you’ve done enough for the day. Have a number to hit can make an enormous difference in motivating your staff to push harder.

Reduce Down Time

Did you know that if staff wait just four or five minutes between calls, this can add up, for a team of 10 agents, to 26 hours per day, and $158,000 a year in unproductive time. That’s a lot, right?

What would Sir Dave do? Reducing waiting time to just 10 seconds between calls, using a power dialer, means you’d be spending only $13,200 a year in unproductive time. Your Finance Manager will love you.

Improve Motivation

Call Centre Management doesn’t have to be all about the numbers. Make your staff feel good about their jobs. Again, think about the 1%. Offer those who need it flexible start or finish times. This can have a big impact on their lives in terms of stress reduction- they can make it in time to pick up or drop off the kids, without having to hurtle at breakneck speed across town, more often than not arriving late. Less stress, happier home life, both pretty important when it comes to motivated, productive staff. If this works, think about embarking on a flexible working structure for staff. It will take a commitment and investment from the business, but the rewards in motivated, qualified and productive staff are plentiful.

Focus on Communication

As a leader, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day at the expense of keeping your team in the loop. Call centre management doesn’t have to be complicated, sometimes it’s as simple as communicating key information to the people who need to know it. Your agents need to have the information necessary to do their jobs effectively. So, what’s the 1%? Try having a team meeting once a week where you bring your team up to speed on developments in the business, how the campaign is going, and how their colleagues are performing. Celebrate strong performances, and take some time to bring your team together to just chat. There are so many things going on in a business at any one time, you can easily forget to relay information to your team. But bring them into the fold, let them know what’s going on and they may just start feeling more connected to the business and more motivated to achieve the targets it demands.

Small, bite-sized improvements can be relatively easy to identify and implement and go a long way in improving your productivity. It doesn’t have to mean a knock down rebuild of all your process and systems. Take some time to figure out what success looks like for your team, and what are the drivers of this success. Then do what Sir Dave did, take each element and improve each by just 1%. See what happens to your team and how they work. You will be surprised at how much of an impact small changes can make.

 

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