Call centers are still perceived as cost centers, even though they are not. You can turn it into a profit center if you minimize your extra cost.
The top management is reluctant to pump more money in call centers, since they see no revenue value, placing call center managers in a tough spot. This increases the pressure to identify venues to reduce cost. The managers are demanded to pay more attention to the operations which are high cost recurring. So, they can take necessary measures to implement methods which would reduce the cost of the call center, without compromising on the level of customer support and customer service quality.
As a customer service manager you can implement these 5 methods to reduce the cost of the call center:
1) Enhance hiring, training, and coaching of your rookies:
One of the best methods to bring down your call center’s cost would be improving customer service quality. Although recruiting, training and coaching have cost recurring, but for the long run, it will be highly beneficial for the company. Training and coaching make your agents highly proficient and efficient and gives them full-fledged knowledge about their respective jobs. However, it can be accomplished only by hiring the suited one for the position and training them to excel can help you achieve your desired goals. Having a team of excellent agents would help to improve first call resolution, decrease average call handling time, and increase customer service quality.
2) Monitor the agent’s activities:
Evaluate your agent’s performance by analyzing how the agents are taking the calls and sending emails. Call recording could help the managers to analyze the agent’s performance. It would even help the managers to determine if the agents are able to accomplish the goal of first call resolution or not. Moreover, it would help you to know how your customers are responding. Retaining your current employees is more beneficial for the call centers than acquiring the new ones. According to the research studies of the white House Office of Consumer Affairs, it is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
3) Improve First Call Resolution:
If you are highly determined about reducing the average cost per call, then you must tap on benchmarking and monitoring first call resolution. If your agents successfully resolve your customer’s issues in the first place then the customers won’t have to take the pain of making multiple calls. It reduces both per-minute calling and labor costs, which is a direct indication to low call center cost.
Skill-based routing can be used to direct customers to the agents that are eligible to solve their issues.
4) Improve schedule adherence:
Call center schedule adherence is a kind of metric used, in order to determine whether or not the agents are working the amount of time they are intended to. It is imperative to keep the schedule intact, so it doesn’t increase the cost of the call centers. In order to improve schedule adherence, you have to adequately place your agents. Right number of staffs with the right qualities and skills should be fixed in their right positions.
According to a study it was found out that “a single agent who is regularly ‘short’ on work-time adherence by 20 minutes per day throughout the year, costs the company 83 hours of lost work and $1,000 in wages (based upon an avg. $12/hr.),”. “This extrapolates to nearly 1,000 customer calls not handled by that agent over that same period!”
5) Minimize cost of attrition:
According to research studies, attrition costs $3,000 to $10,000 in recruiting, training and on-the-job investment to bring a new person on board. Understanding how attrition is making an impact or damaging your business is a crucial thing to do so that you can take necessary measures to improve your management for better outcomes and revenues. You can plan your annual budget to identify the amount of attrition level that can be afforded by your company. Your available resources would help you overcome the expenses that take place in between the agent serving the notice period and a new agent that has become productive for the company. Emphasizing more on reducing cost attrition can help your company gain extra revenues.
If there are other methods that worked better for your company, please share them. I would love to know them.