First impressions matter! And, for most businesses, a call center is the front line of client interaction. At the same time, unmatched service lies at the heart of customer satisfaction and retention.
Call centers are the key to success, but they come along with their own set of intricacies and hurdles. Implementing effective call center management practices can resolve these challenges, transform customer experience, and improve brand reputation. Let’s look at how you can master them.
What is call center management?
Call center management is the process of optimizing the performance and efficiency of a call center or customer service operations. It involves the management of your employees, implementing tools to boost their productivity, and setting up automated workflows to scale up operations.
Though call centers have proven beneficial for almost every industry, telemarketing firms, insurance businesses, healthcare help desks, online merchants, and mail-order organizations use them extensively for their day-to-day activities.
All call center operations depend on their representatives, also known as agents, who interact with customers over email, chat, and social media. To manage customer interactions, businesses need to equip their agents with the right technology, such as phones, computer systems and customer databases.
Managers at a call center also have a lot on their plate! They need to coordinate various tasks for smooth and effective operations. These tasks include:
- Training and supervising customer service agents
- Making optimal use of technology and communication platforms
- Monitoring call center KPIs to ensure high-quality customer interactions
Effectively managing these operations makes your teams efficient, streamlines engagement processes, and highlights trends that can be analyzed to improve agent performance.
Ultimately, the goal of call center management is to create a well-functioning environment where agents can provide exceptional customer service while meeting business objectives. Let’s look at how highly productive call centers operate.
How does a call center work?
While streamlining and automating call center operations is highly rewarding, businesses fall short as their operations get out of hand. In this section, we break down the tasks carried out by inbound and outbound call centers to understand them better.
Inbound call center
As the name implies, an inbound call center handles incoming calls from customers seeking assistance or information. These calls are initiated to understand a company’s products, services, or operations. The desired output of an inbound call center is to provide high-quality customer service, resolve issues, and address customer requirements.
Outbound call center
On the other hand, an outbound call center focuses on making outgoing calls to customers, prospects, or other contacts. These calls are initiated by the call center agents to achieve specific objectives, such as sales follow-ups, cold outreach call, marketing new products, or collecting surveys. Outbound call centers are often associated with proactive customer engagement and sales efforts.
For the proper functioning of the system and the above-mentioned tasks, there are well-defined roles within each organization. However, there are three main roles within a call centerCall Center Manager, Supervisor, and Agent.
Roles and responsibilities in a call center
Call center manager:
- Develops strategies and goals to be met for the call center.
- Oversees the entire call center operation.
- Manages budget, staffing, and resource allocation.
- Analyzes employee performance and implements training programs for improvement.
- Addresses certain customer issues and resolves them.
Call center supervisor:
- Oversees the team of call center agents.
- Monitor and evaluate agents’ performance.
- Provides coaching and feedback to agents.
- Escalate complex or unresolved issues to higher management.
- Analyze data and metrics to identify areas for improvement.
- Set performance goals and targets for the team.
- Ensure team meets quality and productivity standards.
Call center agent:
- Handle inbound or outbound calls.
- Provide assistance and information to callers.
- Address customer inquiries or concerns.
- Follow scripts and guidelines for consistency.
- Maintain a positive and professional attitude.
- Strive to meet or exceed performance metrics.
The roles and responsibilities of each of these employees are linked to meeting certain expectations such as better output or improved productivity. On an organizational level, businesses can modify their operations by adopting the best practices for call center management.
Best Practices for call center management
1. Invest in training call center agents
The crux of an efficient system lies in human intervention. The agent needs to lend a compassionate ear, resolve complex issues, and create meaningful connections that resonate long after the call ends.
Thus, it is very important to provide comprehensive training programs to equip them with mandatory skills and knowledge. Employee enhancement and sales enablement programs can also be provided to boost their confidence.
2. Build a positive workspace
Encouraging a positive work environment, investing in skill development, and providing regular feedback can work wonders in boosting agent morale and performance.
3. Monitor upcoming trends in the market
It is also important to keep an eye on the emerging trends, customer preferences, and industry shifts. It will help you adapt to the current scenario by refining your strategies.
4. Track performance metrics and KPIs
Establish call center key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure agent and call center performance. Monitor KPIs in real-time and use them to make data-driven decisions.
5. Implement advanced technology for productivity
Invest in advanced call center technology, such as call center CRM systems, to streamline operations and improve agent productivity. Ensure that your technology stack supports various omnichannel marketing platforms to meet customer preferences.
6. Effectively manage your workforce
Use workforce management tools to forecast call volumes and schedule agents accordingly to ensure adequate coverage during peak hours. Implement flexible scheduling to accommodate agent preferences and optimize efficiency.
7. Set a cadence to handle escalations
Develop clear escalation procedures to handle complex or unresolved issues. Ensure that supervisors and specialized agents are available to assist with escalated cases.
With these best practices in place, you will definitely see an upward trend in call center outcomes. But how do you continuously monitor and improve performance? Using call center KPIs!
Essential call center management KPIs
1. First Call Resolution (FCR): The FCR rate shows how many issues were fixed in the first call.
There are two ways to measure FCR:
The first one is by calculating the Gross FCR.
Of course, not every issue can be addressed in the first call. For the very same reason, companies prefer to use Net FCR.
2. Average Handling Time (AHT): It refers to the average time an agent spends on handling customer issues. It also covers the amount of time an agent holds the call as well as the after-call time, which is the time an agent spends doing administrative tasks.
3. Net Promoter Score (NPS): To assess customer loyalty, call center agents ask a simple question: how likely are you to recommend the company or product to a colleague or friend?
Based on the responses, customers are classified into three categories:
- 0-6 (Detractors) – They are unhappy customers who might share negative feedback about your company with peers.
- 7-8 (Passives) – Satisfied but your company has not gained their trust. They can be easily swayed by offers.
- 9-10 (Promoters) – Loyal customers who will repeat purchases as well as recommend to others.
To calculate NPS, you need to subtract the percentage of detractors from that of promoters.
4. Customer Satisfaction Score – The Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score is used to determine how happy and satisfied your customer is with the company and product.
It is measured by asking customers a question such as “How satisfied are you with this interaction?” or “Was your issue resolved by this interaction?”. Based on the customer’s response, a score is assigned. The CSAT score is then calculated by adding all of the scores an agent received by the total number of surveys.
Despite knowing about essential KPIs and practices to cater for call center efficiency, every call center faces challenges, as they are an inevitable part of business. A company’s success lies in how well you are able to overcome these challenges.
Challenges faced while managing call centers
Like any other workspace, a call center too has issues that can hinder its smooth operation and customer loyalty. Preventing these issues is essential for maintaining the brand name, efficiency and customer satisfaction. Here are the challenges that you need to look out for while managing call center operations:
- Outdated or inadequate technology with manual interventions slows down processes and hinders productivity.
- Setting unrealistic targets can lead to agent burnout and compromise customer service. Unrealistic targets don’t account for call volume, complexity, and other factors
- The lack of adherence to security and privacy protocols causes data leaks. It comes with legal implications and customers losing the trust they have in your brand.
These challenges are common and critical to the working of a call center. But, implementing call center management software can help you overcome them to boost your sales outcomes.
Top 5 call center management software for 2023
Though we are all part of a digital world, when it comes to customer service, we prefer talking to humans instead of emails or automated chats. It has proven to be effective but it’s still very time-consuming and rarely cost-effective. This is why you need a call center software for maximum output and better efficiency.
Here are some of the best call center management softwares that you can choose from:
LeadSquared, primarily known as a sales and marketing automation CRM, works very well for call centers. The tool’s sales-oriented features, such as productivity tracking and performance management, transform call centers completely. The other features that make LeadSquared a good fit for call centers are:
- Smart Views allow call center agents to prioritize their tasks. They know which leads to call first and can view all the pending tasks and follow-ups in a single view.
- Phone number masking and click-to-call buttons protect customer data while enhancing productivity simultaneously.
- A workflow builder feature lets the agents customize and automate call center processes. Here you can seamlessly define the frequency and number of calls, emails and text messages to be made.
- Lite at $25 per user/ month
- Pro at $50 per user/ month
- Super at $100 per user/ month
“The migration from an old software to Leadsquared was smooth and all the exiting data was captured perfectly. Integration to different online lead generation platforms and lead capture work perfectly.”Santhosh. V (Via Capterra)
HubSpot’s VoIP software is easy to use and stands apart for its call logging and analytics. It covers most of the features you need from a call center CRM but it’s not an end-to-end tool for businesses, owing to its inclination to marketing functions. Some of the key features are:
- It lets you call customers directly from the platform records lead details in the CRM.
- The customer support offered by HubSpot is fast and efficient.
- It is a good tool for call log management, call prioritization, reporting and integration.
- Dashboard and reports with call center metrics are intuitive and easy to understand.
- Starter – $20/month
- Professional – $890/month
- Enterprise – $3,600/month
“Best user experience for using a CRM that is ready to scale no matter your company size and business.”Fernando. P (Via Capterra)
3. Dialpad Ai Contact Center
The best part about Dialpad Ai contact center is that regardless of the channel a customer uses, the software lets you access all customer interactions from a single app.
- Since it’s an AI operated tool, it has built-in features like hyper-accurate voice transcription, agent coaching, and chatbot self-service functionality available in real-time.
- You can add/remove agents and manage contact numbers directly from your Dialpad account.
- It is known to be the best for workforce engagement management, sentiment analysis, call routing, and outgoing calls.
- Standard – $15 user/month
- Pro – $25 user/month
- Essentials – $95 user/month
- Advanced – $135 user/month
- Premium – $170 user/month
“DialPad has been a great service for our business”– Rick K (Via Capterra)
Nextiva eases communication by bringing in applications, intelligence, and automation together. The tool is very useful for businesses that need a robust, secure, and reliable phone system.
- It works across every device and comes with many advanced features like IVR, automatic call routing, mobile app, video conferencing and much more.
- The tool is best for interactive voice response, call recording, cloud-based calling, call routing, and reporting.
- Essential – USD $18.95 per month
- Professional – USD $22.95 per month
- Enterprise – USD $32.95 per month
“The customer service is outstanding, and they have a team of technicians that understand the ins and outs of the products. They really care about your own personal success.“Jared. K (Via Capterra)
Aircall is a cloud-based call center providing a whole new level of customer experience. The software has some of the latest and unique features catering to customer needs as well as easing agent work.
- VoIP Number that can be dialed from anywhere.
- Software Pairing allows the tool to be integrated with your existing technical deck.
- The call whispering feature lets managers advise teammates behind the scenes at the right moment. This will impact the call and is a great feature for agent training and customer experience.
- Essentials – $30/ license
- Professional – $50/ license
“Aircall is the easiest system as well as the best value for money”Daniel.C (Via Capterra)
Call center management is not merely a support function but a strategic asset that can significantly impact your bottom line. Effectively managed call centers play a pivotal role in delivering exceptional customer service, driving customer satisfaction, and ultimately, fostering business success.
If you’re looking for call center management software that’s ready to deploy and customizable to your requirements, LeadSquared is the perfect solution. It has helped businesses such as Practo improve call center efficiency by 60%!
Get in touch with our team today to improve your call center’s outcomes.
As a manager, especially in a call center, you need skills to attract, retain, motivate and train your employees.
Exceptional listening, patience, and profound verbal communication are very important while dealing with customers of different issues and queries.
Call center capacity refers to the number of advisors a call center needs to meet incoming contact volumes.