ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Improve Call Center Performance without Spending More

Updated on January 8, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

Introduction

Call centers tend to be minimum wage positions. However, their profit margins are also low. These jobs have high turnover, with some organizations seeing 400% turnover - facilities where most employees leave within three months.

How can you improve call center performance and morale without spending a lot of money?

Call center employees tend to be poorly paid, one reason why the industry turnover is so high.
Call center employees tend to be poorly paid, one reason why the industry turnover is so high. | Source

Methods to Improve Call Center Performance

  • Reduce turnover by giving realistic previews of the job to applicants. Provide a realistic job description and the odds and opportunities for advancement.
  • Provide a flow diagram for how support calls are to be referred if they are not in the call agent's area of expertise.
  • Provide detailed scripts for the questions support staff are to ask. If users cannot answer the questions, provide instructions to the call center representative on how to help users answer that question. For example, if the user cannot give their IP address or computer name, include in the script a reference on how to perform an ipconfig/all query to get that information.
  • Plan additional coverage during software outages, maintenance windows and after new product releases.
  • Permit call center staff to take short breaks after dealing with a very difficult customer. The quality of their service will rarely improve if pressed into immediately taking the next call while upset or angry.
  • Ensure that call center employees have the language skills to support their customer base. Even employees who speak the language of their callers need to know the technical terms and industry jargon they may come across.
  • Revise expectations for experienced staff that mentor new hires. Don’t judge their performance against those who do not mentor new staff. They are taking on additional work that will affect their metrics. Evaluating those training new hires or taking fewer calls to help mentees based on full time call volume quotas is unrealistic and will result in mentors failing to help new hires or cutting the quality of their service in order to fill both jobs.
  • Ask your best customer service representatives how they do it. Then determine if their methods can be copied by the rest of the call center.
  • Provide small bonuses to employees with high customer satisfaction ratings. This helps retain your best talent without the additional overhead commitment of pay raises.
  • Reduce turnover with bonuses for staying with the company. Automatic pay raises may not be appropriate, since productivity and quality may not improve for all customer service representatives over a six month or one year time frame. However, giving modest bonuses to those who stay that long can reduce costly turnover.
  • Use the secret shopper method to measure the quality of customer service. Hire through secret shopper services or crowd-sourcing websites individuals to call in to your call center with a set of specific questions or concerns. When done, the secret shopper can enter their own opinion of the service. This adds variety to the call volume, allowing you to test customer service representatives with customers of different accents and expertise. It also prevents call center employees from recognizing a manager or secretary's voice and acting with extra care on what should be a general test of their customer service skills.
  • Assign neutral parties to ask quitting employees why they are quitting. Given the high cost of training new call center employees, unbiased exit interviews with those who will not provide negative references to future employers can provide valuable insight to management dysfunction or employee conflicts that would not be revealed to their direct report chain.
  • Avoid penalizing call center employees for escalating complex technical calls to subject matter experts. Early in their tenure, this prevents call center staff from making incorrect calls. If escalation rates are too high for one individual, use it as an indicator for more in depth training. If escalation rates are high for a specific group, research the root cause. They may not have the right information to help users, updated scripts for new products or be the first sign of problems in the field.
  • Break down customer service surveys by users into dissatisfaction with the product versus the call center representative. The person answering the phone should not be penalized for long wait times on hold or for customer dissatisfaction with a faulty product.

  • Do not modify incentive structures retroactively if it in any way decreases employee payouts. You may save money by lowering the bonuses employees get, but you'll see deteriorating performance and distrust in management.
  • Re-train those whose performance is lagging so that they have a chance to improve. This is usually cheaper than firing them and hiring new people who must be trained from nothing.
  • Watch the employee turnover metrics. The average turnover for those in a call center is 300% (tenure of 4 months). By reducing turnover and thus improving experience levels of your staff, you should see performance improve.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)