Archive for November, 2010

Flexiable Shift Model for Better and Effective Scheduling

flexiable timing for call center better schedulingAs we all know, the number of calls and the arrival patterns vary from day to day. Despite this, starting times, lunch breaks, end times, etc. are often fixed over the week, resulting either in over-staffing (higher costs!) or under-staffing (lower service levels and revenues). That’s why more and more call centers are switching from a fixed to a flexible shift model. The advantages are obvious, but how do you implement and manage a flexible model?

 

  • Ask and inform your agents. Survey about preferences and personal needs. Work with them to match their needs with needs of the business
  • Gradually implement a flexible shift model by introducing it to some of your agents (existing and/or new hires) first
  • Offer a bonus program. Provide financial incentives for “start-time flexibility”
  • Gradually add new agents that are flexible
  • Over time move the whole center to a flexible shift model.

This change can increase your service levels by 1 to 2 percent and result in a similar percentage of savings in personnel costs.

The Important and Performance Deciding Metrics of Call center

Contact center metrics are often a cause of concern and controversy. Call centers metrics have some kind of myths and air of questions around them and certainly, are much talked about issues in any industry events.

three metrics for call center performanceSome of the most critical and important call center metrics are service level, C-sat, FCR, forecast accuracy, adherence to schedule, contact quality, E-sat, and agent attrition but here we are going to discuss three of the most significant and traditional call center metrics which are seen as more than critical to adjudge the quality and performance of call center agents and call center.

1) Average Speed of Answer

It is also termed as ASA. The term is referred to the tracking of the time spend by caller on phone for waiting to reach LIVE agent or rather, we should say forced to be on- line waiting to get an answer from a human being whom he could interact with and resolve his queries. However, it has been unable to make to the ‘A’ list of call center metrics. Service level got the lot better of this metric.

What makes the ASA trumped by Service level is the “X percent in Y seconds” which means ASA is unable to report accurately about the experience of caller trying or waiting to reach an agent. For instance, when we say that ASA time is 40 seconds it does not mean sharp 40 seconds. ASA time could be more or less than 40 seconds. So, while looking for an accurate measurement and performance metrics to know the real time of waiting, we suggest to keep Service level as main and most significant.

Key Performance Indicator otherwise just adhering to and relying only on ASA will conceal many of irate customers who have had to wait for long.

2) Abandonment Rate

This is one of the accessibility metric which indicates the percentage of the callers who hung up before their call is reached to an agent. Abandon rates can be determined by ACD or Automatic Call Distributor report.

The formula which is used to calculate Abandonment Rate is:

Total # of calls abandoned ÷ (total # of calls abandoned + total # of calls answered)

It is an important metric and call center outsourcing services providers should track it on regular intervals. However, its again, not completely reliable. Abandonment rates can be high because of many things such as insufficient staff, lack of management skills or coordination but sometimes, the reasons can be beyond the power of call center management.

There are also numbers of factors which make relying on abandonment rate dubious. For instance, you may never know why customer has hung up? Is it because he has to wait a way too long or its just because call center lacks smooth operational skills.

There is another thing you may want to consider. Typically 1.5 percent of abandon rate is treated as an OKAY within call center one day but if on second day, there is some promotional activity going on for specific time of the day, there may be less percentage of customers who would hang up because they are expecting to get some reward or freebie in lieu of this waiting but still, in any terms it does not imply that service level of call center is fine and customers are happy with its services.

3) Average Handle Time

Average Handle Time (AHT) once ruled and topped the list of call center metrics when the only concern of call center was saving and reducing costs but now when call centers have evolved and customer services have grown to new levels, AHT has lagged behind. A call center is now not only expected to reduce and save costs but also to keep track of quantity while maintaining quality and focusing on customer satisfaction and quick resolution.

A call center should not just feel done with AHT as it is still the most reliable tool to assess the productivity of an agent. The call center of-course needs to know how many calls are handled by an agent and what they can do better in terms of training, or technical adjustments to make the number any better. Again, a call center should not be ‘strict’ with AHT objectives anyhow. There are so many of factors that can influence handling times such as complexity level of calls, mood of caller and other physical or psychological reasons or else, if there are strict AHT targets, agents would opt something which can deteriorate the quality of the calls such as rushing the calls, and making mistakes knowingly.

So, to overcome this problem and securing the interest to put quality with the work, call centers managers set an acceptable range of AHT and only focus when an agent is continuously falling behind on them which could be because of numbers of problems such as lack of staff, agent compliance to work and lack of skills or knowledge in agents.

Best Use of Call Center Outsourcing for Business Growth

business growthCall centers offer businesses an effective method of interacting with present and prospective customers, handle their telesales, telemarketing and their customer service needs. Thanks to modern technology, call center outsourcing is possible and this has led to the birth of many offshore outsourcing services.

Virtually every business is searching for ways to cut down expenses and overhead, maximizing their profits and expanding their capabilities. By employing the services of a reputable call center outsourcing service provider, business owners can focus on their core competences. Many offshore call center outsourcing companies know their onions; this simply means that you will not be compromising on the quality of service that your customers and prospective customers expect from you.

The real advantage of offshore contact center outsourcing include the money savings that can be gotten from the cut in overhead and labor cost that is needed to host an in-house contact center. Call center outsourcing not only allows businesses to cut down on the labor and infrastructure costs, it also helps them avoid the associated expenses connected to running an in-house contact center.

Offshore outsourcing companies offer business the opportunity to take advantage of their state of the art technologies. Modern technologies that make use of the internet are mostly used by outsourced contact centers – this gives business owners a competitive edge over their competitors. State of the art technologies offer better interaction between businesses and their clients/customers and it also allows businesses to reach new clients/customers and get greater market penetration.

Taking advantage of call center outsourcing is really great for businesses that do not have the resources to run an in-house contact center. This also means that a small business can also:

• Gain a bigger share in the marketplace

• Reach a much wider audience

• Provide better services to customers

Thanks to the wonderful power of the internet and other technologies, offshore outsourcing is no longer an impossible goal. For new businesses, offshore outsourcing offers an immediate entry into the marketplace and offers them the opportunity to have a ready-made support team.

Manager Roles and Responsibilities in Running a Call Center

Titles do not mean much without a job description, although I can make assumptions about what the task manager process is it can vary between employers. In general, the operations would be to manage the supervision of call center agents. That would mean the implementation of enterprise policy on programming, scripting, expectations of customer service, etc. It can also mean the generation of reports on statistical data concerning calls to included, the average speed has responded, the average call time, percentage of time on appeals officers, etc. Although the above is what I assume, operations Manager may also be a technical position involving the maintenance of equipment for call centers.

How to Boost Business via Call Center Services

call center outsourcing services indiaCall Center Outsourcing offer wide range of wide range of benefits to the customers. Many foreign companies prefer call center in India for outsourcing their services. A call center would provide you a range of services which includes inbound, web-enabled as well as outbound call center service as per the requirement of the organization. Inbound calls of a firm would be received as well as the outbound calls would be made. Inbound call center services are is an essential component of the BPO setup that provides services through toll free phone service promotions via their own websites. The employees of the inbound call centre attend calls from customers. There are many toll free numbers that help in solving queries of the customers.

Call centers are often big offices staffed with representatives who either make or receive phone calls. Depending on the size of the call center, a single office could have anywhere from a few to thousands of staff. Depending on the needs of the firm, call centers can make either incoming or outgoing calls.

By opting for Call Center Service you can immensely save on time and money. They help in drawing more and more customers and strengthen the customer base of the organization. Nowadays, there are many call centers in India that render outbound telemarketing services at a very nominal cost. Different skills are involved in the functioning of inbound and outbound call centers. In inbound call centers the employees need to be always available for customer services, the outbound call centers have option of choosing their operating times according to the need of their clients.

Many centers providing services encompass an innovative call center infrastructure in order to meet various requirements and needs of their client. Most of the service providers have team of well trained professionals that are well equipped with the advanced tools and techniques that help them to make successful marketing calls for your services and products thus adding face value to your enterprise. Every outbound call in such call centers is recorded in order to ensure that the calls made to your client are the quality calls. Outbound calls are very important for any business undertaking as they refer to the ongoing conversation between the prospective customer and the customer care executive.

Outsourcing outbound call center service includes range of services some of them are appointment scheduling, mortgage lead generation, service promotion, market research, survey, email follow up, sales, marketing to name a few. Every outsourcing service undertaken by the call centers for sales and marketing is treated as important and given the best services in all respect.

Inbound call centre are basically meant to receive calls for you, in contrary outbound call centers are meant to make calls for your business. Inbound call centers
majorly deal with the services such as technical support and customer service and outbound call centres deals with the cold calls and do telemarketing service.

It is very important to have experience in handling the outbound call center services as they are made for accomplish certain project for the organization. Nowadays, Call Center in India has professionals who are well trained and skilled for undertaking the project and accomplish the given task in the best way possible.

Top 3 Must Require Benefits for Call Center Agents

Necessary Benefits for Call Center AgentsMany of us are not aware of the repercussions of working in a call center company. Being a call center agent is not a simple job. Some people took it lightly as the easiest job nowadays because a bachelor’s degree is not a requirement. Nevertheless, if you take a deep look into the real entity of a call center agent, you would realize how arduous and challenging their work can be. Not to mention the health risk that one gets from this nocturnal job and the danger of traveling to the office at night or at wee hours in the dawn.

This type of career is a good opportunity specially for the young professionals. However, these Call center services providing companies do not want to admit that employee retention is now a common problem in the call center industry. The commencing salary of the newly hired agents today is getting low, the incentives of a regular agent is disappearing, and the poor mentoring of the basic telecommunication skills to novices, are just some of the issues that these companies are facing. Thie attrition rate indicates that there is a demand of these agents for an increase in the cash component of their remuneration.

The parameters of providing a high salary rate for these agents should be administered by the human resource department, and they should implement necessary measures of setting up a high standard rate. The necessary benefits should be provided by every company in order to avoid future mass resignation and tardiness, and most importantly, to maintain complete daily head counts. The number of agents in a team per day would greatly affect the workforce specially for the commission based projects.

Working at night shuts down the body system of an agent during day time and keeps them alive during sundown. This extraordinary work hours can cause various health problems such as eye strain, voice strain, hearing problems, and musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). The drastic change of one’s natural biological clock can also contribute to some health problems such as insomnia and anemia. To compensate for this common health problems the management should provide health care coverage through Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) once these agents become regular employees or when they have tenured for at least 3 months. It is also best to have nurses on duty for 24 hours since these companies operate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and a doctor for a regular consultation at least once a week. A daily dose of vitamins maybe supplied and healthy meals should be given rather than cups of coffee to keep them physically fit.

Social Media Integration in Call Center Services

social media integration in call center services and business developmentGone are the days when call centers depended primarily on voice calls. Voice calls are still on the menu, though there are other options waiting in the wings. For example, BPO units are using social media like never before. Till a few days back, it was touted as a medium that was not necessary, but wouldn’t harm to have on board. Today, it’s a necessity for call center units. Consumers like to be approached through different media lines as well. Emails and newsletters have long become the favorite for lead generation, as opposed to telemarketing calls which were always the norm.

These new media of call center services need to be integrated on a singular platform. Today’s BPO Services providers has the benefit of using any of these media for our telemarketing projects.We go by the client’s preferences during these cases. We assure the client that we are equally comfortable handling sales lead generation through telemarketing calls or through emails/newsletters. Similarly, our customer service department can answer customer queries made over the telephone or through comments and emails written to the client’s website. It’s all in a day’s work for us. Our experienced and trained BPO agents make the best effort to work seamlessly across the different media and sometimes blend them together to achieve greater success.