Studies have shown that about 12.5% of a call center agent’s time at work is devoted to after-call or data entry tasks. This takes away a big chunk from the bottom line of call centers as about £2.6 billion worth of money is wasted every year, as stated by ContactBabel. However, wasted time is not the only cause for the money wasted.
However, information that is manually entered by call center agents during the call wrap-up time is tremendously vital for analysis and learning. They are also used at times for changing the script and conducting training sessions for improvement in the future. The real problem lies in doing unnecessary manual jobs. Many a time, these jobs can be easily automated and also those jobs that have to be keyed in twice, as systems are uncoordinated or are not integrated.
Let us explore some of the ways to bring down the time call center agents spend on data entries.
1. Bring Down the need for Agent Intervention
It is important to reduce the burden from call center agents so that they have to spend less time on data entry tasks. The process can begin by reviewing all the interactions that involve them, to find out the actual cause as to why these agents have to spend time in filling up forms, freeform typing and box checking. For instance, is the desktop interface of the agent slowing down his/her job? Do your agents have to switch between many systems and thus there is duplication of data entry?
After identifying where and what the exact bottlenecks are, they should be properly addressed by you and it can be done by introducing RTI or Real-Time Impact technology. This technology equips a call center with a strong decisioning engine that is capable of extracting data from all the relevant data sources such as product catalogs, account information, CRM databases, and others. Thus, the engine is intended to equip the agents with the best possible action within real time, when they are interacting with the customers by assisting them in completing the work automatically.
When proper systems are populated at the proper time with the proper information without the requirement of agent intervention, agents can concentrate on how to improve their interaction quality and eliminate the possibility of human error, as well as bring down overall call handling times. Recently, there have been some reports from call centers that have used RTI technology. They state that there have been significant improvements in operational effectiveness and efficiency by streamlining the process of customer interaction management (CIM). RTI has also proven to lower the call handling time by about 20 seconds. Another major contribution of this technology is its ability to reduce the need for data entry from agents.
2. Dynamic Screens should be Introduced
In many call centers, the desktop for the agent is not set up well for data handling in an efficient manner. This can happen due to several reasons but mostly due to the fact that a desktop application has not been designed according to the requirements of a call center agent. Often, it has been observed that navigating the screen takes a longer time than the dialogue between an agent and the caller. That is the reason why an agent has to often pick up a pen and a paper instead of directly entering the data in the system later. Usually, the dynamic element is missing from the desktops. It is difficult to add new fields and thus rapidly goes out of sync as far as business requirements are concerned.
Hence, there is a need for the screens of the systems to be dynamic and flexible so the business and the customer demands can be met. Only relevant questions should be asked on the screens and additional fields should only pop up on the screen based on the previous responses.
3. Repetition should be eliminated during Conversations
A major portion of call center agents’ time should be spent for interacting with customer and entering data. Therefore, call centers look to ease the process of data-entry and improve the agents’ efficiency for handling calls. One helpful move to make the data-entry processes simple for the call center staff would be by providing headsets. When agents are well-equipped to converse ‘hands free’ with the callers, they can enter the data at a greater speed as they can use both their hands.
4. Manual Tasks should be Automated
It is easy to find that about 80% of the tasks done by the agents in a call center are ‘manual tasks’. Instances of such tasks could be trying to locate a certain data piece and then typing it again and then doing a copy & paste to other screens. This phenomenon is frequently measured as AWT or Average Wasted Time. It has a significant impact on important call center metrics like Average Handling Time or AHT.