Top Tips on Improving Customer Service Ratings with Fewer Staff – 1/2

28th May, 2015
Read time: 3 minutes

Many contact centres are faced with issues surrounding significant staff budget reductions, despite rises in customer demand. This presents a serious challenge of having to deliver better customer service with fewer resources.

Netcall's solution experts offer three helpful tips on how to deal with reduced headcount and improve customer service ratings in contact centres. They focus on how to reduce the workload placed on the contact centre and then how to deal with the remaining demand more efficiently.

Improve first contact resolution – Research undertaken by Netcall has discovered that 95% of customers do not always achieve first time resolution. Failure to handle a query artificially increases contact centre demand as customers contact the organisation several times using different channels for the same query. Our experts recommend analysing failure and agreeing the top five reasons that prevent customers from achieving first contact resolution (FCR). Armed with this insight, management can use their teams to create solutions and apply remedies to rectify these issues as quickly as possible. You will be surprised at how even small improvements to the FCR rate will significantly reduce demand. Measure your improvements with a simple survey at the end of every contact asking, “Have we answered your query today?" and monitor and celebrate the results.

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Match the correct agent to the enquiry – To ensure customer questions are dealt with in the most efficient manner, each query must be routed to an agent with the appropriate skill level for that particular subject, meaning they can deal with the contact from beginning to end. Frequently, agents can lack the necessary knowledge or experience required to take a complex query through to completion, and customers need to be transferred or placed on hold; this creates a further loop of customer contact and demand.

Netcall's research has showed that 32% of customers believe that agents lack the necessary knowledge to process their enquiry. Employing a skills based routing (SBR) approach will effectively direct your customers to an agent who can assist them through to completion. This will result in an improved level of customer service, fewer repeat calls and higher customer satisfaction rates.

Utilise past data to predict future demand – In order to accurately match customer demand to staffing levels you must first carefully analyse past demand to obtain a reliable average. Ideally, this should be over the course of a number of years to minimise the effects of major events that may have affected the results, such as the London Olympics or various internal marketing campaigns.

You will then be able to predict the number of agents required, our experts agree that a 90% forecast accuracy is a good aspirational target. The process of predicting and adapting your demand forecast is a cycle of continuous improvement; higher accuracy rates mean more customers can be served in the most cost effective manner. NCP, the UK's leading car park operator achieved a 95% resourcing to demand accuracy rate through effective workforce management. Click the link above to watch the video case study and congratulations to NCP on their recent win at the UK National Contact Centre Awards 2015 for winning gold for Business Improvements Manager of the Year.

A mismatch of demand and resources results in either the under or over staffing of a contact centre, both of which have serious implications. Understaffing reduces customer service levels, leading to more complaints, additional demand of repeated contacts and the risk of losing customers. Overstaffing inflates costs while morale falls for underutilised agents. Pressures on tight staffing budgets may result in difficult future budget decisions. For more information about how to accurately predict your staffing requirements to future demand, visit our Workforce Optimisation page and download our QMax™ product sheet.

We hope that the advice from our experts will assist your contact centre to reduce the inbound demand while reducing customer frustration and improving service levels, even during peak demand. Download our Case Fact Sheet for more tips on dealing with budget cuts and increased demand.

Watch out for part 2 of this blog for best practice and hints on how to improve your service levels with fewer staff.

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