How to scale your contact centre sustainably
How to scale your contact centre sustainably
As Dr Seuss would say “Congratulations! Today is your day, you’re off to great places, you’re off and away.”
Your business is growing. You’re pulling in more customers or clients than you’ve ever had before. Of course with the increase in numbers comes an increase in your contact centre requirements. You need more sales calls to go out (“Business is business and business must grow”, thank you again Dr Seuss). You also need more ears on phones servicing your growing customer base.
The simple and obvious solution is to hire more agents but to that we say, “Hold your horses, put down the recruitment ad and let’s look at other ways to scale for whole lot less money.”
Hiring staff is an expensive exercise, and if your fortunes turn you’ll find yourself simply scaling back your staff again. A more affordable, and controlled method to scaling your contact centre is to invest in software that easily scales with you.
You don’t necessarily need more staff, you need better systems.
You need contact centre systems that allow you to scale calls up or down based on demand. A system that allows more lines to open instantly as demand increases and link calls automatically through to a whole network of agents; and also scale down as volumes reduce.
Get the most out of the staff you already have.
Before you recruit spend time tightening up processes. Find out where the gaps are that your current team are covering with their skills. Then look at which tools are available to help fix the holes, such as – diallers, IVRs, better call delivery to the correct people, improved workforce management.
In a nutshell diallers mean less time dialling and more time talking. Power diallers can dial multiple numbers at once and connect your agent to the first that answers, instantly.
A predictive dialler predicts how many calls will be answered, how long it takes a prospect to answer, the average length of phone calls and your agents’ availability. Using this data it dials multiple numbers at the same time on different lines. The end result is less downtime for your agents.
IVR is the silent workhorse of efficient contact centres. By automating common customer/agent interactions such as payments, surveys or tracking orders, both your customers and your bottom line can win.
Customers appreciate the ability to self-service and find answers to their common questions without the need to queue, hold and speak to a person. They can get in and out, job done.
IVR allows your agents to be put to better use as well. Instead of dealing with easy transactions they can be put to better use on more technical calls, reducing wait time on your customer support lines.
So how do you know how efficient your agents are? Contact centre software can give you insight and control over your workforce management. Real-time reporting allows you to track the status of every agent. Forecasting tools can also help you predict when staff are more likely to be required and roster staff accordingly.
Grow in batches
Experiencing growth is exciting, but there is danger in growing everything – staff, dialler and CRM software.
Start with one; assess it’s impact and then move on to the next, or you could find your outgoings are surpassing your new found incomings.
By making multiple changes at once it will be difficult to see what is impacting on your efficiency and your bottom line.
How do you know it’s time for more staff?
It’s a question of timing. If the quality of the service you’re providing your customers is excellent, your agents are working efficiently, intelligently and knowledgeably but your queue times are getting longer and longer, it’s time to expand.
Key signs it’s time to increase staff. You’ve introduced call centre technology, you’ve integrated your CRM, your agent productivity is maximised but:
- Customer service levels are dropping
- Queue times are increasing
- Average handle time is increasing
Consider Hosted PBX
A hosted PBX system means that no matter how small your business starts as you can keep up with growth and the addition of new staff easily. Hosted PBX is cloud based and can be run from anywhere at a fraction of the price of a traditional business phone system. It is quickly and easily scalable to support new staff within your office and can link between offices anywhere in the world. Even if that office is your agents home office. Noojee hosts and supports the system meaning you don’t require internal IT staff to set it up and maintain it.
A virtual PBX makes it possible to scale up and down in minutes to suit the needs of your business, without having to add a separate phone system.
So can you do more with less?
A recent customer came to Noojee because they were expecting to grow. They had 10 agents working for them, but were manually dialling numbers. Instead of hiring more staff to make more calls they instead implemented a dialler. In the following weeks they let four staff, who did not have the right skills for the job. Even so, with less staff they found they were making more sales than ever before. Staff were more productive and with single screen, easy to use customer details to hand able to create a better customer experience.
They were achieving more, with less. In fact Noojee’s outbound call centre software has been shown to reduce staff costs by 40% more.