14 Practices to Manage Call Center Operations in 2024
By Svitlana Fomenko
| 15. March 2024 |
Call CenterCallcenter
By S. FomenkoSvitlana Fomenko
| 15 Mar 2024 |
Call CenterCallcenter
    By S. FomenkoSvitlana Fomenko
    | 15 Mar 2024
    Call CenterCallcenter

    14 Best Practices for Managing Call Center
    Operations in 2024

    Despite all the changes digital solutions have made in our world, phone calls continue to stubbornly hold onto their position as the most popular way for customers to contact companies.

    As such, businesses of all sizes require great call center services to maintain high customer satisfaction, drive revenue, and enable growth. But as expectations grow, so do organizations’ needs to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitively viable. 

    And that’s where optimizing the management of your call center operations comes into play. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the topic and the 15 best practices to craft exceptional experiences for customers and employees alike.

    Key Takeaways:

    • To maximize your company’s overall performance, you need to pay special attention to your inbound, outbound, and QA operations.
    • Outperforming your competition requires finding, nurturing, and empowering the right talent with effective training, performance tracking, and call center features. 
    • To get the best results, you need to set metrics that complement your business goals, benchmark them against other industry leader, and continuously improve.

    What Is the Key Objective of Call Center Operations?

    To put it plainly, call center operations refer to all the activities that happen in your contact center, including resolving issues and customer questions and driving sales. However, that’s not their key objective.

    The true goal of contact center management is to optimize internal processes and employee performance to maximize positive outcomes. These can vary depending on your current company objectives, but the main driving factors tend to include:

    • Higher Customer Satisfaction
    • Increased Customer Loyalty
    • Higher Overall Revenue
    • Positive Brand Image
    • Increased Employee Retention
    • Outstanding Job Satisfaction

    What Are the Essential Aspects of Call Center Operations?

    To achieve their results, companies must explore three specific areas of their call center operations, each with its own unique requirements in terms of strategy, process, and performance optimization. These include:

    Outbound Sales Calling

    The first aspect we should explore is the main driver of revenue and lead generation – outbound sales. This department is unique in its high volume of (attempted calls) within a short period of time, with a requirement for effective note-taking and tagging. 

    As part of their daily tasks, call center sales representatives may reach out to prospects to promote new products or services in an effort to up-sell them, follow up on previous interactions to nurture leads, or, most often, attempt cold calls to build interest.

    Generally speaking, call center software is any set of applications and tools designed to streamline call center activities. Nowadays, most call center software solutions on the market are unified virtual platforms.

    These platforms feature many functionalities for managing and handling inbound and outbound calls. As such, they’ve become an indispensable part of the tech stack for customer support centers, telemarketing firms, and many other communication-oriented organizations.
    We’ll cover the most vital call center features in a subsequent section. All you have to know for now is that the software provides solutions for routing calls, automating workflows, and analyzing performance.

    Unlock the full potential of your sales team by learning from the experts.

    Inbound Customer Support Calling

    While customer service and support may not have as clear of a connection with generating revenue, they are nonetheless absolutely vital in facilitating your business growth. There may be fewer concurrent calls at any time, but they are equally important.

    Customer service agents tend to spend their days monitoring company channels for incoming questions and tickets. By resolving issues of various severity, they help build better customer connections, encourage loyalty, and motivate customers to repeat purchases. 

    Service Quality Assurance

    Finally, quality assurance equally relates to all your other activities. Primarily reserved for call center managers and supervisors, the goal is to streamline operations, optimize performance, and make the most of each activity.

    Daily tasks include: 

    • Call Monitoring: Regularly listening to calls to assess agent performance and adherence to quality standards.
    • Measuring Metrics & KPIs: Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as average handling time, first call resolution, and customer satisfaction scores to gauge performance and identify areas for improvement.
    • Offering Feedback & Coaching: Providing constructive feedback and coaching to agents based on performance evaluations to enhance their skills and effectiveness.
    • Calibrating Calls: Conducting calibration sessions to ensure consistency in evaluating call quality and adherence to standards among evaluators.
    • Planning Training & Development: Offering comprehensive training programs to equip agents with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their roles.
    • Ensuring Compliance: Ensuring adherence to regulatory requirements and company policies to mitigate risks and maintain customer trust.
    • Facilitating Technology Utilization: Leveraging advanced technology solutions such as speech analytics and AI-powered tools to streamline operations and enhance service quality.

    Note

    Find out the potential return on investment from applying advanced technologies and best practices in your call center. Explore the ROI Calculator here and start making data-driven decisions that align with your business goals.

    What Are the Key Roles in Effective Call Management?

    Effective call center management relies on the expertise and collaboration of multiple key roles across the company’s entire organizational hierarchy. As such, it’s vital to ensure that all parties involved know, understand, and work towards the same goals.

    • Call Center Managers: Are in charge of overseeing overall operations, setting strategic goals, and ensuring alignment with organizational objectives while maintaining close contact with c-suits (i.e., VP of Sales, etc.).

      This role requires sophisticated skills in leadership, critical thinking, and communication to ensure success.
    • Call Center Supervisors: Handle providing direct supervision and support to agents, monitoring performance, and resolving escalated issues, while closely collaborating with managers to facilitate the top-down dissent of objectives.

      This role requires sophisticated skills in problem-solving, operation management, and reporting to ensure success.
    • Call Center Agents: Serve as frontline representatives, handling customer interactions, resolving issues, communicating sales pitches, and delivering exceptional service while working in tandem with their supervisors.

      This role requires sophisticated skills in knowledge retention, empathy, and sales to ensure success.

    14 Best Practices for Managing Call Center Operations

    So, are you ready to start working on improving your call center operations? In that case, the following 15 industry-verified best practices are sure to take you most of the way. 

    Kick off your optimization journey right with…

    1. Recruiting the Right Talent

    Hire individuals with the skills, attitude, and aptitude to excel in customer-facing roles.

    Why it matters: Quality talent drives superior customer experiences and enhances operational efficiency.

    How to do it right:
    Utilize targeted recruitment strategies, conduct thorough interviews, and assess candidates’ fit for the role.

    2. Offering Comprehensive Training Programs

    Provide ongoing training and development opportunities to equip agents with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed.

    Why it matters: Well-trained agents are better equipped to handle diverse customer needs and situations effectively.

    How to do it right:
    Develop structured training modules, incorporate role-playing exercises, and offer continuous learning opportunities.

    3. Incorporating Feedback Loops for Continuous Improvement

    Establish feedback mechanisms to gather insights from agents, supervisors, and customers for ongoing process refinement.

    Why it matters: Continuous feedback fosters a culture of learning and improvement, driving operational excellence.

    How to do it right:
    Implement regular feedback sessions, solicit input through surveys, and encourage open communication channels.

    Tools to use:

    1. Call Recording: Get quick insights into your agents’ conduct and performance with AI-powered Call Recording. Access all call recordings easily via your browser, including analytics and respective call history.

      Optimize your overall strategy, targeting, and messaging, or pinpoint
      individual representatives’ weak points and fix them with customized coaching.
    2. Call Transcription: Automatically transcribe your calls and call recordings into text. Log and export everything your customers and agents ever said instantly into your CRM.

      Working with a multinational team? No problem! CloudTalk can automatically identify and translate each transcription into 145 languages, including German, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, and more.
    3. Call Monitoring: Let managers and experienced agents join support and sales calls to provide assistance, evaluate agent performance, or assess the effectiveness of call scripts.

      Choose your preferred amount of visibility to either barge calls directly and take part in 3-way calls, whisper in your agent’s ear without the customer knowing, or just be a fly on the wall with call listening.

    4. Track the Right Metrics

    Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) aligned with organizational goals to assess performance and identify areas for optimization.

    Why it matters: Data-driven insights enable informed decision-making and targeted performance improvement efforts.

    How to do it right:
    Define relevant KPIs, leverage analytics tools, and regularly review performance metrics.

    Metrics to Use:

    1. Conversion Rate: The percentage of outbound calls that result in a desired outcome, such as a sale, appointment booking, or lead generation. It measures the effectiveness of outbound sales efforts in converting prospects into customers or qualified leads.

      Global Benchmark: 2.35%
    2. Average Call Duration: The average length of time spent on outbound sales calls. This metric provides insights into the efficiency of sales conversations and helps identify opportunities to streamline interactions and improve productivity.

      Global Benchmark: 5 minutes and 2 seconds (302 seconds)
    3. Dialing Efficiency: The ratio of successful connections to attempted outbound calls, often expressed as a percentage. Dialing efficiency measures the effectiveness of reaching prospects and helps optimize calling strategies to maximize contact rates and sales opportunities.

      Global Benchmark: 80% in 20 seconds
    4. Average Speed of Answer (ASA): The average time it takes for incoming calls to be answered by a support agent. ASA is a measure of call center responsiveness and customer wait times.

      Global Benchmark: 34.4 seconds
    5. First Call Resolution (FCR): The percentage of incoming calls resolved during the first interaction with a support agent without the need for escalation or follow-up. FCR is an indicator of customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

      Global Benchmark: 70% – 75%
    6. Average Handling Time (AHT): The average duration of incoming calls, from the moment they are answered by a support agent to the moment they are completed. AHT measures the efficiency of support interactions and helps identify opportunities for streamlining processes.

      Global Benchmark: 6 minutes

    5. Leverage Technology for Efficiency

    Embrace innovative technology solutions to automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and enhance productivity.

    Why it matters: Technology adoption drives operational efficiency, improves agent workflows, and enhances the customer experience.

    How to do it right:
    Evaluate and implement technology solutions tailored to your specific needs, such as CRM systems, chatbots, and workforce management call center.

    Tools to Use:

    1. Workflow Automation: Automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks with custom workflows for follow-ups, ticket creation, and text-to-speech transcriptions, and let your agents focus on what matters most.

      Set up your automations in three simple steps with custom triggers, conditions, and subsequent actions. Just choose the target department, or number, and start saving time.
    2. Call Flow Designer (CFD): Tailor your inbound calling journey from start to finish with the Call Flow Designer. Don’t settle for someone else’s idea of what makes for a great customer journey — build your own.

      Take advantage of 20+ pre-built routing options, create custom call flows  via simple to use drag-and-drop, and scale them across your entire  operations by assigning them to new numbers with a click.
    3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR): Make sure inbound callers always get the help they need the most by streamlining call routing with an IVR. Create custom call flows and allow customers to choose from a predefined set of options.

      Add up to 10 possible steps in each caller’s journey to make reaching the right customer support or success team as easy as possible and reduce the average call duration by 40%.
    4. Call Queueing: Create custom skill tags, assign proficiency to individual agents, and route based on these metrics for the best customer experience. Based on the topic and availability, the most skilled agent gets the ring first.

      Skill-based routing can also be used to define the savviness of entire Teams. Thus, you can adjust processes and make sure your inbound callers don’t have to suffer the frustration of neverending transfers and slow support.
    5. Call Center Campaigns: Make “umms”, “aahs”, and awkward pauses is a thing of the past with Call Center Campaigns.Take full control of your agents’ conversations and allow them to focus on the things that matter by providing them with detailed scripts, surveys, and questionnaires.

      Streamline daily workflows with pre-prepared queues. Set up, monitor, and adjust aspects regarding attempted calls and the time between them in real-time.
    6. Power Dialer: Reach 3x more prospects each day while streamlining agent workflows with scripts, questionnaires, surveys, and post-call automation. Create custom daily dialing lists and let reps start calling with just a click.

      Power Dialers are able to automate calling operations by importing contacts directly from your CRM or XML file and maintaining the agent’s flow by initiating the next call on the list after the last one ends.

    6. Incorporate Quality Assurance & Monitoring

    Implement robust quality assurance processes to maintain service quality standards and identify areas for improvement.

    Why it matters: Consistent quality assurance ensures adherence to best practices and enhances customer satisfaction.

    How to do it right:
    Conduct regular call monitoring, establish quality evaluation criteria, and provide constructive feedback to agents.

    7. Measure & Manage Performance

    Set clear performance goals and expectations, and provide regular performance feedback to drive continuous improvement.

    Why it matters: Performance management fosters accountability, motivation, and goal attainment among agents.

    How to do it right:
    Define performance metrics, establish performance targets, and conduct regular performance reviews.

    Tools to Use:

    1. Call Center Analytics: Centralize all your team’s data and access everything you need to know regarding your agent’s performance or call statistics to make predictions and optimize your strategy.

      Go as deep as you like. Track every step of every inbound or outbound call. Use that information to expertly evaluate the performance of individual agents and departments alike.
    2. Analytics Dashboards: Monitor everything happening in your teams in real time, from active calls, queues, caller identity, and agent availability. View reports in hourly increments or for the whole day at a glance.

      Allow representatives to create custom statuses to maintain a clear view  of everyone and everything. Identify bottlenecks, divide tasks evenly, and solve crises as they happen.

    8. Draft Call Center Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

    Develop comprehensive standard operating procedures (SOPs) to guide agents in handling various scenarios consistently.

    Why it matters: SOPs promote consistency, efficiency, and adherence to best practices across the organization.

    How to do it right:
    Document workflows, protocols, and guidelines for common call scenarios and update SOPs regularly based on feedback and evolving business needs.

    9. Know Your Business Offerings

    Ensure agents have in-depth knowledge of products, services, and company policies to address customer inquiries effectively.

    Why it matters: Product knowledge enables agents to provide accurate information and personalized assistance, enhancing the customer experience.

    How to do it right:
    Provide comprehensive product training, offer reference materials, and encourage ongoing learning about new offerings.

    10. Incorporate Customer-Centric Operation Strategies

    Prioritize customer needs and preferences in decision-making and process design to deliver a seamless customer experience.

    Why it matters: Customer-centricity fosters loyalty, satisfaction, and long-term relationships with customers.

    How to do it right:
    Gather customer feedback, analyze customer interactions, and tailor processes to meet customer expectations.

    11. Centralize Your Call Center Data

    Consolidate data from various sources to gain comprehensive insights into customer interactions, trends, and performance metrics.

    Why it matters: Centralized data facilitates informed decision-making, trend analysis, and proactive problem-solving.

    How to do it right:
    Integrate data from CRM systems, call recordings, and feedback channels into a centralized platform for analysis and reporting.

    12. Prevent Agent Burnout with Proper Scheduling

    Implement flexible scheduling practices and workload management strategies to prevent agent burnout and promote work-life balance.

    Why it matters: Agent well-being is essential for maintaining morale, productivity, and service quality.

    How to do it right:
    Offer shift flexibility, provide adequate breaks, and monitor workload distribution to prevent overburdening agents.

    13. Establish Etiquette Guidelines for Agents

    Define communication standards and etiquette guidelines to ensure professionalism and consistency in customer interactions.

    Why it matters: Etiquette guidelines set expectations for agent behavior and communication style, enhancing the customer experience

    How to do it right:
    Develop written guidelines covering aspects such as greeting customers, active listening, and resolving complaints courteously.

    14. Ensure Compliance & Data Security

    Adhere to regulatory requirements and implement robust security measures to protect customer data and maintain trust.

    Why it matters: Compliance and data security are critical for safeguarding customer information and mitigating legal risks.

    How to do it right:
    Stay updated on regulatory changes, implement data encryption and access controls, and conduct regular security audits.

    The Future of Call Center Operations

    Looking ahead, the future of call center operations is poised for significant change. Driven by advancements in AI, big data analytics, and automation, it seems we’re only “minutes” away from an unprecedented level of efficiency and personalization.

    AI- powered chatbots are being deployed to handle routine inquiries. Big data allows organizations to derive actionable insights from the vast seas of customer data, and automations streamline workflows, reduce effort, and improve operational agility.

    But while all of this is very exciting, and businesses should seek to augment their operations with all the benefits technology affords, you would do well not to forget that the human aspect of your call center is what makes success possible. 

    In conclusion, effective call center management hinges on implementing best practices that prioritize customer satisfaction, operational excellence, and employee engagement. By adhering to these principles and embracing technological advancements, call centers can drive positive outcomes and deliver exceptional experiences in 2024 and beyond.

    Call Center Operations FAQs

    How does a call center work?

    u003cbru003eA call center receives incoming calls from customers, handles inquiries, resolves issues, and provides support or assistance as needed. Outbound calls may also be made for sales, marketing, or follow-up purposes. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eCall center agents use various tools and systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software and call center technology, to manage and track interactions efficiently. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eSupervisors and managers oversee operations, monitor performance, and provide support and guidance to agents to ensure optimal service delivery and customer satisfaction.

    What is call center management?

    Call center management refers to the process of overseeing and coordinating the operations of a call center, including staffing, training, performance monitoring, and quality assurance. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eEffective call center management ensures that customer inquiries and issues are handled efficiently and that agents are equipped with the necessary tools and resources to deliver exceptional service.

    What is workforce management in a call center?

    Workforce management in a call center involves optimizing staffing levels, scheduling shifts, and managing agent performance to meet service level agreements (SLAs) and operational goals. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eIt encompasses activities such as forecasting call volumes, scheduling agents accordingly, monitoring adherence to schedules, and adjusting staffing levels in real time to maintain service quality and efficiency.

    What is call center quality management?

    Call center quality management focuses on maintaining and improving the quality of customer interactions and service delivery. It involves monitoring calls, assessing agent performance, providing feedback and coaching, and implementing strategies to enhance service quality, customer satisfaction, and compliance with quality standards and regulations.

    What factors are affecting call center performance?

    Several factors can impact call center performance, including agent productivity, call volume fluctuations, technology issues, training effectiveness, service quality standards, customer satisfaction levels, and adherence to regulatory requirements. Effective management of these factors is crucial for maintaining high levels of performance and service excellence.

    What makes a successful call center?

    A successful call center is characterized by several key factors, including efficient operations, high-quality customer service, knowledgeable and well-trained agents, effective use of technology, adherence to performance metrics and KPIs, continuous improvement efforts, strong leadership and management, and a customer-centric approach to operations.