A team of young call center workers seated at their desks, working on PCs, connecting with customers on the phone.
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Editor's Note: This is part 2 of a 4 part series on customer experience, sponsored by NICE.

Call centers face an enormous challenge in finding the best ways to improve key call center metrics. From bots and “big data” to AI and omnichannel, there’s no shortage of vendors or tools available, each promising better outcomes than the rest. And while there are many aspects to weigh when deciding which to choose, there are some major considerations that shouldn’t be overlooked: the likelihood of success in the contact center, and the time it takes to achieve business results.

Although there are many ideas on how to improve outcomes, Predictive Behavioral Routing rises to the top because it guarantees business results and immediate value. Connecting callers with employees based on personality, sentiment and other customer data, this emerging technology can help you provide better customer experiences, and increase call center performance.

According to research, brands that create these powerful connections between caller and employee have experienced an immediate 5 percent improvement in their key call center metrics. Here we’ll give you five strategies to help you positively impact your own metrics and demonstrate the value your call center brings to the enterprise.

Related Article: How Innovative Technologies Are Making Customer Interactions Human Again

How to Immediately Improve Call Center Performance

1. Define Your Metrics

When defining your metrics, it’s helpful to see what other organizations commonly measure. However, because your business is unique, you’re the only one who can identify the metrics that make the most sense for your model.

So, how do you identify good metrics? The most effective metrics:

  • Tie back to your business goals and objectives
  • Can be measured at the call level to drive better connections between agent and caller
  • Capture the differences in agent performance for better call routing
  • Can easily adapt in response to changing seasons or business scenarios

Here are some call center metrics you might want to consider:

Average Handle Time (AHT) - The time it takes a customer to get their problem resolved. Typically measured in seconds.

Customer Effort - Measures total customer effort for issue resolution including FCR, Transfers, and Average Contact Time (ACT)

First Contact Resolution (FCR) - Ensuring that a customer gets their issue resolved on the first call so they don’t have to call back later.

Sales Effectiveness - Increasing the amount of sales lift driven by your call center through improved customer connections.

Customer Satisfaction and NPS - Improving the customer experience so that your customers will promote you to their networks.

Customer Churn - Improving and maximizing customer lifetime value.

Because your metrics might change throughout the year to align with seasonal business objectives, the systems you have in place should be flexible enough to drive impact in multiple areas. For example, a healthcare company might use Predictive Behavioral Routing combined with Analytics to route calls based on average handle time during the busy enrollment season so they can provide the most efficient experiences for their customers. However, when call center volume drops, they shift to routing calls on customer satisfaction.

Related Article: 4 Ways to Balance Personalization and Privacy in the AI-Driven Call Center

2. Get to Know Your Customers

According to recent research, 59 percent of consumers believe businesses have lost the human touch when it comes to customer experience. That’s why it’s so important to understand not only buying habits, but how customers like to communicate, as well as their personality traits.

If you want to know what really motivates your customers to behave a certain way, you need a lot more than CRM data. But the problem is, you likely have customer data in many different systems — experience data in one system, order history and churn data in another, and so on. With Predictive Behavioral Routing and Analytics, you can bring data from every channel and every interaction together, and even layer on customer insights you might not have previously considered, like customer sentiment and personality data.

Once you begin to get the whole customer picture, you can use these insights to guide the call center experience in real time and reap the benefits of creating differentiated experiences that keep customers satisfied and loyal.

3. Fund New Initiatives

Research shows that Predictive Behavioral Routing could generate between $1 and $2 million worth of savings in the first year for call centers with 1,000 seats or more. Extend those outcomes by using that savings to fund other customer experience initiatives, such as implementing routing into other areas of the business or investing in behavioral analytics.

After installing a Predictive Behavioral Routing solution, a leading retailer saw an initial cost savings of $5 million due to reduced average handle time. They plan to use this savings to fund call typing, sales routing and expanded service benefits. The retailer predicts $7.5 million in annual savings within the first year of implementing these initiatives.

4. Route for Experience

Based on a customer’s personality style, buying behaviors, communication preferences and reason for their call, you can create real-time experiences to impact the metrics that matter most to your business. For example:

  • A customer with a personality style of “organizer” who values efficiency and shows a neutral emotional state would most positively affect the average handle time metric, so should be routed based on that metric.
  • A caller with a connector personality style who is compassionate, is a preferred customer and needs hand holding would most positively affect customer satisfaction, and should be routed as such.
  • A caller with an original personality style who is spontaneous, has had recent positive brand interactions, and is eligible for new offers would have the highest impact on sales effectiveness, and should be routed on that metric.

5. Discover Experience Drivers

Because your metrics are affected by multiple components, you need to dig deep to find out exactly what is impacting the customer experience. For example, customer satisfaction could be impacted by how much time a caller feels distressed, number of minutes spent on hold, or how quickly they’re transferred to the right employee.

You can get a better understanding of these underlying components by creating a scorecard of your call center employees. By measuring attributes as well as employee performance, you can uncover employee strengths and weaknesses, coach to desired behaviors, and give employees the data they need to help them improve their own performance.

Getting granular with metrics also helps you build predictive models so you can predict how likely you are to get higher NPS scores on any interaction. This way you can take proactive measures to ensure your scores always come out on top.

Real-time Experiences for Real-time Value

Improving call center outcomes means investing in a solution that provides proven, immediate results without requiring you to change the way you do business. With Predictive Behavioral Routing, you’ll be saving costs, increasing efficiencies, improving customer satisfaction and boosting sales in no time — leaving your competition with no chance to catch up.