How To Improve Call Center Service Levels

Service level is the one metric from which most other metrics flow. Nearly every decision that is made by call center management, from forecasting to scheduling to agent training, is motivated by the objective of making sure every call center customer receives the highest service level possible. Here are five key factors to consider when it’s time to assess service level and how it can be improved. 1. Improve Forecast Accuracy When the right number of agents are at their desk and can handle call volume without long wait times, customers are more likely to provide positive feedback. Forecasting through workforce management data should make certain that the workload (calls, emails, chats, etc.) gets forecasted as accurate as possible and the required staffing in in place throughout the day (and help eliminate instances of overstaffing as well). 2. Flexible Schedules When agents can work the hours that work best for them, it will improve their performance. While it is not always possible to accommodate every request, especially when some agents work part time and others work from home, every time a day off request can be granted or an exception approved without impacting service level, the better the likelihood that agent job performance will reflect their satisfaction with the company. Employee turnover will be reduced as well. Other other hand, this flexibility for agents, also allows call center managers to ask for flexibility when the center needs more or fewer agents at a certain time. Flexibility should be a win-win for both. 3. Intra-day Adherence Tracking Tracking schedule adherence for a shift or a day after they have ended is a missed opportunity to correct an issue more quickly. Monitoring intra-day activities, such as lunch breaks, training sessions and changes in call volumes helps to maintain service levels. 4. Call Recording and Quality Monitoring Call recording is a key component in quality management, and can result in more efficient call handling. Recordings can be used in training sessions for new agents to bring them up to speed on best practices, and in ongoing coaching programs so agents can be sure they are “sticking to the script” and delivering the service level expected of them. 5. Improve Training Programs Are new agents “getting it” right away? Are your trainers outsiders, or former agents who know what it’s like to perform that task correctly? How often are agents re-trained after a below-par assessment? Look for ways to improve your training programs, and an improved service level will follow.

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