Over the years I have experienced so many Call Center designs that actually are not even close to being able to handle the wave of Customers that are calling ! From equipment not set up correctly to not enough Agents to not enough telco lines etc. Many Companies today would rather put people in a Queue rather than get / hire more Agents . But in defense , it is rather difficult to hold onto good Employees as well ! Over the years I have seen some really great service from some of the Call Centers that I have encountered as well as some really bad ones ! Customer Service IS the business , period ! In order to accomplish this there are 2 areas of deep concern ! Here are a few common issues and facts for you to review on Call Flow and Agent pick up of calls ! I will do another more detailed article in about a month for you ! So make sure the dollars and cents are spent wisely in your design ! If needed , I have been doing Custom and Standard design work for Call Centers for many years now from older Digital and Analog equipment to newer VOIP type cloud and Premises based systems as they all have their pluses and minuses ! On Our website go to the Book Online tab for a free consultation if you would like to discuss a problem or a project or anything related to VOIP Technology and Call Centers !! Some companies can even get away with small Hunt Groups rather than the expense of Call center technology !
An area to be very careful ! Hosted Call centers with a VOIP system onsite and we must tie them together ? are they compatible ? Do we use the Hosted Sites Telephones and lose internal dialing capability with our agents ? How do we determine whats best for us ? Usually the size of the Business the budget and the Business Model can squickly give you an idea in re to What to buy ! This is not an easy formula but a simple rule of thumb is the cost of what you wish to do ! We can talk much more about this if you have questions as send us your name and address and we will be more than glad to book some free consult time and discuss this with you !
Call flows and Design work :
For an inbound Call Center , the Call Center must be designed for rapid inbound call flow , Customers getting to the right people and fast ! You can set certain people to answer some calls ( groups ) or other people to answer other calls ( groups ) and some to answer all calls ( groups ) - Skill sets . So you have many options on setting up your Call Flow design , so take your time and review all of your Customer requirements first ! With the right Equipment this can be accomplished but as a general rule , the more robust the technology is , the more options you can give your Customer but also you can give them too much and your Customers can get stuck in the system on hold for longer periods of time or get dropped from their groups or queues etc !! So , Be careful as Call Flow ( groups of Agents and Call direction ) must be thought out pecisely in relation to the amount of calls received at any given time ! Make sure your Customers do NOT get stuck on hold in a Queue ! The technology can only go so far as in handling of the calls as Humans play an important role here too . The System can answer and Queue the call but cannot deliver a Human in some cases quickly enough ! Be aware of this !
Your Call Center reporting is crucial in terms of seeing what is going on with your system , specifically your agents , your inbound or outbound calling , and most importantly your Customer hold times etc. ! Your eyes into the system ! You can design custom reports but make sure the basic reporting from the system itself gives you the information to review your people and your resources ! Many systems are not capable of giving the correct data in order to do accurate reporting ! So check the system for the types of reporting that you can do and ask for sample reports if necessary ! Also , CRM integration could be a challenge to get reports to different departments in your company so make sure the systems are compatible if you must do custom reporting to different applications !! With good reporting , you can see any potential issue before it fully develops ! You can set your schedules for agents , and you can also track expenses like how many telephone lines are needed and much more ! Also check on Group and Agent efficiency by reporting as well !
Business and Customer Management
If I said it once I'll say it again : Your Customers are your most important business responsibility ! Take care of them ! I have seen sites with 5 or 6 agents and the Queues full with , say 10 or more calls holding . This is one of the biggest mistakes people make today in not designing a proper schedule! A customer can sit in a queue for a reasonable amount of time , debatable , but never let them sit there for 5 minutes or longer if it can be helped ! This usually means not enough people ! I have seen Senior VP's Managers and Owners jump in to help when the Calling gets heavy ! So in planning always think of your resources and call volume ! This is where your reporting comes in handy as you have Real Time and Historical data in your system to go back and review times and dates to see the call flow and traffic from previous dates and review some peek times of heavy calling ! A new Call Center does not have this data but I am sure with a little thought you can plan this accordingly knowing some times we just get it wrong too ! So schedule the right people for the Call Answering job and make sure you always have a back up plan for those heavy days like calling for more help ! In normal days you can monitor your people and make sure you train them for peek efficiency ! Make sure they know their job and do it well ! Some bodies are thrown into the fire and talk to Customers ! Not a good scenario when the Customer is looking for detailed info !!
Most Call Center or Hunt Group technology take into account a LOT of these factors today and give you a great amount of technical freedom to design ! There are many choice you can make on systems but make sure to look at the one thats right for you ! design your system prior to buying one !
Call centers : Lots of reporting and call groups/features to make the call flows but are more expensive to purchase and operate
Hunt Groups - Part of a Telephone system and a low cost way of answering multiple calls but will not allow you to hold a call ( Queue ) . Drawbacks are for light calling and not real good detail reporting as per the design .