Minimizing Mistakes at Call Centers Pays Dividends for All
October 22, 2013
Many entrepreneurs attribute their success to learning from the mistakes they made early on in their careers. While these lessons can be beneficial for the initial growth of a business, established organizations governed by governmental regulations and compliance laws can ill afford to make mistakes. Such mistakes have resulted in fines and lawsuits amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. The fines will undoubtedly increase after the passing of the new Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) update that went into effect on October 16, which has more strict guidelines.
Although mistakes take place even in well-oiled organizations, the key is to minimize the damage and to not repeat the same mistake (another piece of advice often given by entrepreneurs).
Call center operations are driven by human interaction and many times these interactions are hostile, which could result in mistakes being made by the agent. The biggest mistakes call centers make is not training the agent properly by not spending the right amount of time to deal with problems that are specific to the organization. Hiring an experienced call center agent from another organization with extensive experience is OK, but if they are not made aware of how your company operates, it opens a lot of room for very costly mistakes. Proper training and a supervised trial period is one of the best preventative measures call centers can make in order to decrease the mistakes they make and ensuring compliance regulations are followed to the letter.
The next error is not taking advantage of the data being tracked by the metrics that call centers use. Complacency is oftentimes responsible for ignoring the data, which can result in an ineffective call center. Average handle time, cost per contact, schedule adherence, and active and waiting calls are just some of the metric examples used by call centers. Most call centers track more than 25 metrics, and keeping an eye on the ones that matter to your organization is critical. Depending on the type of service you offer, only five of the 25 could be relevant for your organization, and going over the other twenty is time that could be better spent. Metrics that are important to every call center are customer satisfaction, agent utilization, cost per call, and first contact resolution rate.
One other critical mistake is ignoring your most valuable assets, your agents. If you spend the time and money to train them, don't ignore their input. A call center agent probably knows more about the customer than anyone in the organization. Having a policy for encouraging input from customer concerns can go a long way in creating better products and services.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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