It is a well known fact that one of the most important metrics or parameters based on which performance of a call center and its workforce is decided is – the average handling time of a call.
Now, an average handling time of a call center can be defined as follows:
Average handling Time (AHT) = (Total talk time+ Total hold time + Total time spent in wrapping up calls)/(the number of calls received). The hold time also includes the time spent by a caller in the call queue.
This blog aims to discuss steps that would help reduce the time spent on after-call work or wrap up work on a call.
Why do call centers target this component of the handling time of call? This is because it is often impossible to reduce the other two components without compromising customer experience or without increasing the strength of the workforce.
If agents are trained well and taught certain techniques, they may be able to reduce the wrap-up time considerably, without inconveniencing the caller and it brings down the total handling time of a call.
During the post-call processing or after-call work phase, an agent is supposed to update the database with important details of the call or any new information that they may have collected from the caller. This might help them in future engagements with the caller. Resolutions, the kind of assistance provided, reasons behind the call transfer, and suggestions made, are all updated in the relevant fields in the call log. During this period, an agent may also have to make outbound calls or shoot emails to some other person in the organization who would be able to resolve the customer problem.
An agent needs to be trained in such a way that they can decide which parts of total cache of information should be noted down and what can be ignored. A situation where an agent is still noting down details from the previous call even as they are handling the next call – is unwanted and can have very damaging consequences for the reputation of the call center.
Steps to Make Agents More Efficient in Dealing with After-Call Work
Although agents often have their plates full during the post-call processing period despite working with utmost sincerity or peak concentration levels; proper planning and training can help them to further reduce the wrap up time of a call.
Proper training: Training is an integral and essential part of becoming a successful agent. During the induction or training process, a would-be agent needs to be informed as to what information is required on call logs, notes, tickets or call text. They should also be given reasons and made to understand the consequences of their actions. Bring in trainers from different departments or verticals of the organization and make them inform agents as to how the quality of a call text can impact the performance of that department or vertical, and have an overall impact on the organization.
Tips for improving efficiency: The importance of not making errors, not rephrasing the same information repeatedly and getting all the information in the relevant fields in one go has to be stressed before the trainees. They will have to be trained so that they can maintain their concentration at a very high level through the call handling process, especially during after-call work. Trainers will also have to teach them techniques to de-stress after a call session.
Analysis of the post-call wrap up time data: The managerial team of a contact center needs to analyze the performance of agents during the after-call work. They will have to analyze a vast amount of data, collected over a considerably long period of time and see whether a particular problem is common or is cropping up repeatedly. If a good practice or idea is observed, it needs to be included in the list of best practices and then circulated. Moreover, they will have to objectively analyze whether certain individuals are performing below par vis-à-vis others. Thereafter, they may need further training or guidance.
Get feedback and create an environment of discourse and debate: Make the agents take feedback from people of other department as to how the call texts can be further improved. What data should be noted? Create a uniform guideline for agents to follow. Also, ask agents for their opinion and ideas. Be receptive to those and keep experimenting till a reasonable solution arises.
Ask agents to use shorthand: Agents need to be trained in the practice of taking down notes in shorthand. Of course, a standard practice across the organization has to be adopted so that everyone who deals with the call text knows the abbreviations. This can save a lot of time. Create a list of abbreviations that the agents can use in their internal communications.
Reducing the wrap up or post-call work time can have a huge benefit for agents as well as the company. It can have a direct or indirect impact on customer relations, as well as the bottom line. Agents and managers should understand the significance of after-call work.