Contact Center managers are constantly focused on matrices and it is this very same practice of scrutinizing the details of performance that inevitably causes one to lose sight of the business aspects of the operation. Our budget and overhead for operations are escalating, yet the annual budget allocations from senior management do not correspond with the requirements. We need to always be aware of cost savings and not just in increasing productivity and increasing utilization, but also in other areas. But where? What? How?

  • Reduce telephony interaction volume
  • Control and reduce agent handle time
  • Streamline the workforce

Reduce telephony interaction volume
There are a few areas you can look at to decrease the volume of phone contacts in your center. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Why are people calling? Have we analyzed the instigators of what encourages customers to call? E.g. product problems, customer education, pamphlet clarity
  2. Eliminate/ minimize wrong contacts that seem to plague your center. Have you conducted a study of how many misdirected calls your center accepts? E.g. wrong departments, issues that do not fall into your jurisdiction?
  3. FCR! First Case Resolutions need to remain that. Ensure your FCRs are legitimate ones where customers’ issues are truly resolved, removing the need to contact you again
  4. FAQs – what are your most frequent calls? Can they be intercepted and cleared via technology intervention? E.g. Web-based self-help, IVR, VRU
  5. Organize a marketing campaign for your center. Begin communicating to customers when are the best times to call so you can distribute inbound traffic thus enabling better resource utilization.

Control and reduce agent handle time
One of the most challenging and time consuming areas to tackle although if done well could be beneficial in the long run.

  1. Increase agent skill-sets. More than enough has been said about this and a solid Quality Monitoring progam plays a crucial role here in identifying and developing the agents.
  2. Technology factors most often time cause a delay in handle time. Make considerations into ensuring the software and hardware support is up to par with agent requirements.
  3. Streamlining and redesigning processes can dramatically reduce turn around time in all interactions.

Streamline the workforce
Is it possible to reduce our labor costs? Here are some areas we can look at to assist in cutting down on our biggest expenditure; People.

  1. Have you thought of relocating to the suburbs or outer areas of the city? This will provide you access to a larger staff pool and also less remuneration competition.
  2. Do you really need a college graduate? Our training and systems are so extensive that almost anyone can be trained to perform well in the contact center.
  3. What are your operational hours? Do you know why you are operating the hours you do? Run a thorough analysis inbound traffic and obtain feedback from customers and then reassess your operation hours.

This article has been adapted from a Call Center Learning Article by Prosci Research – http://www.call-center.net/

Ken Ng
CEO/Senior Managing Consultant