Are you ready for the new year? How about being ready to sail into a new decade, as you will be doing when the calendar turns over to 2020? If you’re not sure that you - or your contact center - are ready, perhaps you need some help planning for the future.
Moving forward in time means moving forward with the way you’re doing things at your center. Technology is always changing and methods are always evolving along with it. Successful call center planning means taking that ever-changing approach into account. It also means knowing what your center needs to improve on and how to meet those needs.
Here is your guide to better call center planning for greater success in the new year and beyond:
Call Center Planning - Begin with Identifying Weaknesses
One of the first and most important steps in proper call center planning is determining where your center’s weaknesses lie. Don’t think your facility has room for improvement? That mentality is exactly why you need better planning!
Examining metrics is a good place to start when you aren’t sure what needs work. This could mean evaluating anything from staffing to individual performance to overall productivity. Whatever you’re tracking, it pays to look at the numbers so you can address problems directly.
What is a weakness? It can be defined as any area where your actual performance or achievement falls short of either company-wide expectations or industry benchmarks. This leaves a wide range of performance levels as potential weaknesses, but which you consider to be worth focusing your efforts toward improvement on should be determined by your center’s individual goals.
No facility is capable of perfect performance and adherence to scheduling or goals, all the time. As such, it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling like every metric is falling short. However, most centers really only need to overhaul a few things to achieve the better business practices they’re aiming for.
Use benchmarking to determine what is the most widely-accepted success rate for your type of center. If an occupancy rate of around 85% is considered top performance by your competitors, it is a good idea to aim for that level in your facility. Much lower could mean falling short of your competition - but much higher could result in burnout and frustrating feelings of failure for your agents. Find a balance through benchmark use to determine exactly what you should be shooting for and then hone your aim with planning.
Next - Plan Toward Improvement
Now that you know what needs work, it’s time to make a plan.
Call center planning should address specific needs. If your collection and analyzation of data have shown that your center struggles with staffing or the handling of major call load influxes, staffing should be your primary focus rather than simply improving performance level.
On the other hand, many centers have plenty of staff to handle even the busiest days and times - if only those staff members were performing up to their best ability regularly. If this is a concern in your center, address it by planning toward better agent utilization.
How can you plan for better-performing agents? With staffing issues, your center can evaluate needs and hire or change scheduling practices accordingly. But what do your management team members do when the areas that are showing room for growth include agent efficiency and productivity?
The answer is training. If training isn’t already a major part of your center’s formula for success, it should be. It doesn’t have to be a huge change to your daily operations, either - call center training is easy to work into your regular routine and still see game-changing benefits for your staff in the new year!
Always be sure to calculate costs as you go when creating a call center plan. It is easy to sit back from the situation and envision massive improvements, but everything has a price. Balancing the meeting of your center’s growth and improvement needs in the coming year with your current budget will help you make strides toward a better center in a way that your business can actually afford.
As performance improves, profits should too. This means that even bigger, more aggressive goals can be set for the coming years. It all starts with proper planning on your management team’s part now, though. Be sure to consider every detail, from important metrics to measure to determine success and failure to the right amount of money and time to invest in training, technology, and other areas of improvement.
Finalizing Your Call Center Plan
When you’re ready to wrap up your call center planning, be sure to check that your plan is ticking all the boxes on your to-fix list. One box that many call center owners and operators forget to check off is “upgrading technology”. Remembering to tune up your tech regularly can mean the difference in success and failure for your center in the months to come!
Everything from easier call direction and dialing to more frequent and effective training can be found with better call center technology. Look for a software suite that meets the many needs of your center, or create your own if this is an option. Many of today’s best software providers offer exactly this, allowing contact centers to tailor their technology to their facility’s approach to planning and improvement.
When you’re ready to implement all of that call center planning and improve the technology you’re using in your facility, contact the industry leaders at ChaseData. We have the software solutions that will make your coming year the best one yet - and help your staff enjoy all of the benefits of your careful planning for years to come! For more information, give our experts a call today!