Times Up! Call Center Practices That Are Past Their ‘Sell By’ Date

June, 2013

A reflection on 5 call center practices that are past their 'sell by' date, or, if you like, where there is room for improvement over the coming year.

It’s the holiday season in the Northern Hemisphere, but life is busy enough that, like President Hollande and his cabinet in France, we are working through. Even so we are taking a little time out to reflect on call center practices that are past their ‘sell by’ date, or, if you like, where there is room for improvement over the coming year.

  1. Supervisor at the helm
    The first one is a bit hard to believe – but it seems that there are still call centers who rely upon “trained” supervisors to control the dialing rate on their predictive dialers. Spend a fortune on the “best” predictive dialer then ask a human to step in because the dialer doesn’t know what to do!? A really stupid idea and long past its ‘sell by’ date.
  2. Nobody home (still)
    Another oddity from the outbound world. Ring No Answer (RNA) is the length of time that an outbound call rings for before the predictive dialer hangs up. If you are looking for a live person then over 95% will have answered by 17-18 secs. Any RNA time over 20 secs makes no sense and will actually reduce performance, and/or send your telco costs up.
  3. But I just gave you my details!
    You ring up to order something. You give all your details and then get transferred to another agent – who then demands all the same information from you – and if you are unlucky you may have to repeat this with another agent. Well, we can understand the need sometimes to transfer calls in search of the “right agent” but call center operators should get more demanding and ask for systems that keep customer data handy and provide it to follow on agents. Any time we query why this doesn’t happen, we get told it is because of security. Rubbish!
  4. IVR with no exit
    So you call up your call center and get stuck in an IVR system from which there is no escape (without hanging up). Well, if call centers actually answered all inbound calls, some might well go bust, because they can’t afford the numbers of agents required. There’s surely a germ of truth in this, but a lot more use can be made of voice, text messages and email to allow contact to be made.
  5. Blending between media queues?
    And while on the subject of multimedia, how many call centers can live up to the challenge of blending different media queues? You all know about call blending. What about blending agents from an outbound email queue to handle a spike in an inbound voice queue? Some day it will be commonplace and a ‘tick in the box’ item on all RFIs.

Disagree with any of our blog? We’d love to hear from you.

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