In today’s world, competition is an inseparable part of our life. Every contact center is trying to look for different ways to increase the productivity and efficiency of their call center and at the same time deliver a great service experience to their customers.
But, the problem is that most of these techniques require the use of latest tools and a lot of time and investment. Due to these constraints, it is not possible for every contact center to follow those approaches for providing exceptional service experience.
So, does that mean that great customer-service comes at the cost of huge investment in various tools and technologies such as best call center software?
If you think that’s true then you are wrong. There are certain ways that can help the contact center in reducing the overall operating cost which will be discussing same in this article.
Ways to reduce call center cost:
1. Analyze expenses: This is the first step to take when looking for ways to reduce the operating cost of a call center. By thorough and detailed analysis the call center management can finalize on essential and not so important expenses and can act accordingly.
Some of the essential expenses includes training of agents and giving them competitive salaries to have employee engagement and satisfaction whereas the number of agents required, additional services like investing in secondary tools for task management can be reduced to cut on the operating cost.
2. Introduce remote access support: Providing customer with an option to allow agents to gain remote access to their system or product for resolving their query and also to get a better understanding of the problem will help the agents in fixing customer’s issues in a much faster and better manner.
This will increase the count of total campaigns closed and that too in a short duration of time which in turn improves the SLA score.
Along with that adding remote access support option gives an opportunity to the contact center to have agents that can do work from home which increases the queue availability and reduces the resource and infrastructure cost of a contact center.
3. Detailed FAQs: This is probably one of the most successful and effective ways in which a contact center can not only reduce their cost but also reduce their call volume and gain productivity.
By analyzing and publishing a list of most frequently asked questions along with the correct process of resolving those issues helps a contact center in reducing the operating cost to a great extent.
This also ensures increased availability in queues which in turn reduces the call wait time which is a critical performance indicator for any call center.
4. Reduced turnover rate: Most of us will agree that majority of the call center operating cost is applied to training and hiring of agents and then on infrastructure of the contact center including software and systems like the call center software solutions.
Thus, reducing the attrition rate of employees is a big factor that can affect the operating cost to a great extent. Not only does it enable the call center management to save on hiring and training of new agents, it also gives an advantage to the call center when compared to their competitors as your contact center can have experienced agents and they are already aware of the techniques for delivering extraordinary service experience.
5. Proper Hiring: A lot of people do not consider this as a method of reducing the operating cost of a contact center. But if thought properly the skills and experience of an agent in the field of customer service also play an important role in lowering the cost.
As an agent with superior customer handling skills will require less training and will give better results in a short period of time when compared to a less competent agent.
6. Increased FCR: FCR stands for First Call Resolution. It indicates the number of issues resolved in the first call. When talking in terms of call centers it is one of the main metrics that affects all the other major metrics.
Also, it directly related to the running cost of the call center as it reduces the demand for the service and builds a good reputation for your contact center.
Since the customer had a good service experience there are high chances that they will hear the agent through the up sell or cross sell activities which open the door for new business opportunities.
7. Schedule adherence: Improved schedule adherence enhances the floor coverage and call management at the same time reduces staffing cost. Some basic points that should be considered to increase schedule adherence are proper usage of workforce management software to keep a track of every agent’s login, logout and break schedule.
Also rewarding agents with maximum attendance and most punctual will motivate other agents to adhere to the schedule.
8. Effective training: One of the best ways of decreasing the cost of contact center costs is by providing agents with various marketing strategies and giving detailed product knowledge.
Agent training plays an important role in increasing the productivity as multiple call center KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) depend on agent’s knowledge and the strategies they adopt for providing customers with an excellent service experience.
Giving agents constant feedback and training to improve their performance will not only help the contact centers in reducing their operating cost but will also help agents in their personal growth which will indirectly allow the company to gain better results.
9. Elimination of problems: Call center managers understand that customers call on their support number for numerous reasons which includes everything like maintenance request or solving an actual technical problem. However, with the help of call center management software, tracking of similar issues from several campaigns and customer feedback it is possible to find out the cause of these common problems.
Once the management has identified the area which needs improvement they can publish KB (Knowledge Base) articles on their website that contains fix to those issues. This will reduce the incoming call volume and reduce the cost on calling services.
10. Call monitoring: Building and maintaining an excellent team requires them to deliver consistent performance. With the help of call monitoring feature of their call center software, the management can keep track of every agent’s performance while interacting with a customer.
This will ensure enhanced customer satisfaction level and thus increase chances of recommendation from their existing customer so they can gain new business.
11. Promote self-service: We all know that many customers do not like calling support lines and interacting with agents they look for ways to fix their problems on their own.
For such customers, it is essential that call centers invest in tools and technologies that promote self-service like chatbots, SMS or text support. Investing in such technologies not only helps the contact center in increasing their customer base but also cut on the cost of staff hiring.
In today’s case study we will consider a contact center called JPM Pvt. Ltd set up in 2008. The contact center provides support to their customer about various services (like pay television, pay per view, satellite television, direct broadcast satellite etc) that their digital DTH can offer.
They have their contact center in multiple cities of India and head office in Mumbai. The contact center uses the latest tools and software for their daily activities.
With the increase in demand, they need more tools, infrastructure, and workforce for better call handling and continue with their good performance which was not possible for the organization. Due to this limitation, they needed an alternate method to successfully fulfill customer needs in a cost-effective manner.
To overcome this problem the management adopted following techniques which were economical as well.
1. To reduce the operating cost the contact center management decided to hire remote staff instead of in-house agents as they were able to get the resources at a low cost and was able to successfully increase the queue coverage for better call handling.
2. This also aided them in cutting on extra cost on resources such as telephone handsets, computers, and headphones for new agents. Since they will be working from home they will be using their own resources to fulfill the needs of contact center.
3. To reduce the number of incoming calls which will affect the queue coverage and agents availability they segregated common issues with the help of call recordings and previous campaigns. Using that data they published solution to those common issues in the form of Knowledge base articles on their support website.
4. With the money they saved on hiring additional workforce they invested in technologies that allowed them with a way for providing a faster solution like remote desktop sharing tools and chatbots.
Introducing these features along with the call center solutions helped agents to perform better and provide quick solution to their customers. This, in turn, resulted in more productivity for their contact center.
5. For the purpose of improved schedule adherence the contact center management introduced various reward programs for their agents across all their branches.
The rewards were based on performance and sticking to the schedule which brought a sense of responsibility and competition between the agents to deliver better results.
6. This also motivated the agents to give their best performance which resulted in increased employee satisfaction and engagement. Thus reducing the turnover rate.
• By making all these modifications in the process followed the management was able to reduce the operating cost by 4%
• Due to reduced operating cost and increased demand in service, they noticed 10% increases in their productivity.
• Along with that, these methods helped them in serving their customers in a better way as they were getting fast response and also gaining knowledge about solving multiple issues on their own using the KB articles.
From this article, we can see how a contact center can increase their business without huge investments in any additional software.
With proper planning, management and limited use of software, it is certainly possible to showcase a great service experience for your customers.
Taking help of various reward programs and using different methods for effective workforce management a contact center can easily gain good reputation for their services in the market in a cost-effective manner.
So, it’s a win-win situation for you if you decide to implement these methods in your contact center.