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Performance Management

Best Practices on using contact center metrics, reports, dashboard and key performance metrics (KPI) to optimize customer service

5 Tips for Shorter Phone Calls

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Average call handle time still a problem? Here are five quick tips that can help shorten each call. 

1. Agent Incentives
Offer a small reward to agents who improve their average call handle times. Just make certain that any increase in speed is not detrimental to customer service or bringing each call to a successful outcome. 

2. Information Access
Agents should have immediate access to caller information (especially anything already verified through IVR) and answers to questions, on well-organized and up-to-date displays. 

3. Listen Carefully
Train agents to focus on what the customer is saying, and to enter notes as needed into the system. Even if the agent is confident in his or her memory skills, it’s better to have a written record of the key points of each call. Customers never like to repeat themselves, and having to do so just adds to call length. Also make sure an agent’s station is free from distractions, and that personal cell phones are turned off during work hours. 

4. Cut to the Chase
Some customers will not express themselves as directly as is necessary to address their problem. Agents should be trained in methods to quickly – but politely – bring the conversation back to the root of their issue. This will require asking pointed questions about what happened, and what the customer wants to happen to hang up happy. 

5. Personnel Assignment
Use scheduling to create tiers of employees for specific types of calls based on skills. Try to make sure calls are routed by subject to agents with the skill set to handle them most efficiently. Leave the easier calls for new agents and those with less training on complex issues. For more information about skill-based scheduling, please check out our demo videos.

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