Reducing Costs in the Contact Center, Part 1 of 2
Labor is 50 percent to 70 percent of the contact center’s costs. So it’s important to see how well you performed in terms of staffing-level accuracy, schedule adherence and occupancy percentage.
3. Review hiring and training practices. Labor’s cost, quality and availability is becoming an issue for many call centers, particularly in seasonal businesses where the selling curve is more compressed. Review your advertising media costs and results, and exchange information with other human resource departments. Review your prehiring testing, employee selection criteria and practices. What improvements and cost reductions are possible? Is there a place for temporary agencies rather than relying completely on in-house hiring? Should more calls be shunted off to outsourced call centers?
From a training perspective, how well did you train the CSRs to take orders and provide customer service? In our experience, there’s a considerable cost ($3,000 to $10,000 per new hire) and loss of time by senior associates to hire and train new CSRs before they’re productive. How can this be improved (number of classes and trainers; develop better training approaches such as e-learning, post-training surveys, length of training)?
4. Evaluate revenue generation. As part of their mission, many contact centers are charged with becoming revenue centers in addition to taking orders and providing customer service. What do your reports show about your success with cross-selling, upselling, outbound selling and increasing the company’s average order?
5. Consider process improvements. What does your quality and call monitoring show about your operation? As you walk through your system and operation, where are the bottlenecks? How can systems be streamlined? What functions and types of information can your system do more easily online? If you’re still processing batches of mail orders, can scanning reduce costs? How can live chat and e-mail management systems improve your operation? Do you need to move to the next level of call-scheduling software?