Service levels at a call center refers to how long callers will wait for their turn before they are able to talk with an agent. High service levels means shorter waiting time for callers, thereby increasing client satisfaction. This would also improve the job quality of the agents themselves, as this would mean more time in between calls, and being able to resolve a caller’s dilemma in as short a period as possible. Here are some of the best ways to improve service level in a call center:
- Hire more agents. This is probably one of the easiest things you can do to ensure that your call center will be able to take in more calls and improve service as well as quality on the whole. However, it’s very important that the recruiting team be very focused on getting the type of agents that your center needs, and that the training team be able to strengthen the training program (see number 4) to best equip the incoming agents to handle the type of calls that comes in.
- Take care of your agents. Remember, the best agents are typically those who have been taking calls for a year or so; that’s because they’ve likely heard every kind of complaint there is and would best know how to handle them. Taking this in mind, it’s very important that you make it a point to provide incentives to agents to make them consider staying on the company for a long time.
- Determine the days and hours when your center receives the most calls. When planning the schedules of the agents, it’s very important that you consider the volume of calls per day and per hour. The number of agents that you assign to come in should be able to cater to this demand.
- Strengthen the training program. It’s best that the trainers had experience as agents themselves, so that they would be able to relate to the actual experience of agents. They should continuously have assessments of the typical needs of callers, and they should be able to train incoming agents about how to resolve these issues right at the onset. Retraining for agents who are performing below-par should also be done regularly.
- Make it a point to improve the quality of agents’ calls. One of the main reasons for customers calling in is because their problems were not adequately resolved the first time. To limit these occurrences, it’s very important that agents would know how to thoroughly address the caller’s needs so that they wouldn’t need to call back right away. This would mean putting premium not just on service but on call-handling quality as well.
There should be team managers who would be able to focus on their agents’ call handling strategies and statistics, so they would be able to do interventions and retraining as necessary.
Remember, the thing about improving service level in a call center is that it should be done holistically, taking into consideration not just the call handling time but the call handling quality and the job satisfaction of the agents as well. With all these factors coming into play, the service levels would naturally go higher.