The small business contact center is the heart of any small to medium enterprise (SME). It’s usually the place where leads are generated, business relationships are grown, and prospects are converted into customers. And once you’ve built a business relationship with a customer, it’s the SME contact center that’s most important to customer retention as you continue to offer an excellent customer experience.
Every small business call center or contact center can be optimized. Improving the performance of a contact center is an ongoing battle, yet every extra percentage point of efficiency and productivity you can get from a contact center can mean massive cost savings and improved performance for your business.
In this guide, we’ll detail what to consider when optimizing a small business contact center.
Your Call Center Key Performance Indicators
Your key performance indicators (KPIs) are important metrics for deciding how well your call center or contact center is running. Call centers that focus on inbound and outbound calls will have slightly different KPIs than contact centers that take a multi-channel approach. But some of the KPIs to consider, depending on your business, are:
- AHT (average handle time) – The average combined time it takes one of your agents to handle a call
- Average speed to answer – The average amount of time it takes from a customer’s first contact to when they get a response from one of your agents
- FCR (first contact resolution) – Percentage of issues that were resolved on the first contact with the customer
- NPS (net promoter score) – The loyalty a customer has to your business
- CSAT (customer satisfaction score) – How satisfied a customer was with a particular interaction
These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are a few important things to consider about KPIs when optimizing your operations:
- Which KPIs truly matter to us?
- How do we measure these KPIs?
- What steps can we take to improve performance on our KPIs?
For some KPIs, judicious use of smart small business call center software offers you immediate feedback on how each element of your call center or contact center is operating. Thanks to advanced SMB call center analytics, you can see at a glance how each of your agents is performing and find bottlenecks where the sales process can be improved.
How to Improve Contact Center Performance
Once you’ve established the KPIs that can be improved, you can look at ways to optimize and streamline your contact center operations.
Multi-channel and Omni-channel Service and Support
Increasingly, customers expect companies to be able to offer service and support through various channels, whether that’s phone customer support, support by ticket, social media, or email. Offering service via the channels your customers prefer can improve KPIs like NPS and CSAT.
Your contact center operations should be built to be able to handle as many of these channels as possible without stretching your team too thin.
Test to see which channels are the most important to your customers and which bring in the most business. Focus on the channels vital to your business. You can also include those which may not have much traffic but also don’t cost much time or money to maintain.
Consider Self-Service Options
A significant percentage of customers like being able to get service from your company without needing to interact with a human at all. Perhaps they want to order goods via your website, use your app to manage their subscription, or choose to alter their plan through the use of an interactive voice response (IVR) system.
Remember that not all customers like self-service, and in many cases prefer talking to a human for SMB call center support. Research what’s most important to your customers but try to give them a self-service choice when possible. Not only can this improve FCR and CSAT, but it can also lower your operating costs as your inbound call center team is no longer fielding questions the customer can answer on their own.
Coaching and Training
Your contact center performance is only as strong as your agents. Customers hate it when they feel their call is being ignored, they’re being put on hold too often, or the agent they’re speaking to doesn’t have the knowledge or power to help them.
Training your agents in the products and procedures of your business goes a long way to making them stronger on calls. You need good call quality monitoring software to understand where agents are struggling. The information you get here is useful in one-to-one training sessions, but should also inform the types of training you give all new hires and will help you decide on changes you need to make to your sales processes overall.
Automation and Software
Perhaps the most profound improvement to contact center performance comes from using the right call center automation software to make your agents’ lives easier.
For example, instead of manually calling hundreds of leads, your agents can power through a list of leads at the touch of a button through the use of an autodialer. All the relevant information on the lead is displayed on their screen when a call is placed or received to make selling easier.
Similarly, instead of leaving hundreds of voicemails each day, with automatic texts and voicemails, agents can leave a pre-recorded message and move on to the next call immediately, greatly improving outbound sales call performance.
Most repetitive tasks in the contact center can be automated with contact center automation software. Every time your agents are performing a task over and over, consider how you can automate this task for them so they can focus on what’s important to your business.
Continue to Optimize your Small Business Contact Center
Optimizing a contact center is an ongoing process. Identify the KPIs most important to your business and monitor them. Test new ways to improve your KPIs by offering additional service options and channels, better sales processes, and automated tasks.
Give your agents everything they need to perform their job well, and they’ll return the favor with higher performance and better efficiency.