5 Challenges of Contact Center Management and How to Overcome Them

min read
5 Challenges of Contact Center Management and How to Overcome Them

Unhappy customers, disengaged employees, agents quitting, an ever-increasing volume of calls to handle — add managing remote workers to that list of challenges, and it’s clear why contact center management isn’t easy.

Contact centers and call centers are notoriously stressful environments, and workforce management in a contact center can be an onerous task. Don’t be discouraged, though. There are solutions to help you overcome some of the top challenges that can undermine the success of your call center operations.

Here are five of the most significant challenges in contact center management today as well as common sense suggestions for how managers can handle them effectively.

Challenge #1: Poor Customer Satisfaction

The primary goal of any contact center manager, whether it’s focused on customer service, support or sales, should be customer satisfaction. According to a recent global report by Salesforce, 88% of consumers say the customer experience (CX) delivered by a company is as important as the product or service it provides. This makes maintaining the customer experience a tall order for any manager.  

The Solution

There’s a lot of research and thought leadership out there offering insights and advice on how brands can enhance CX. But a key takeaway that emerges from all of them is this: Take good care of the customer and the customer will take care of you. That is, a customer who feels like a VIP is likely to reward you with their business, brand loyalty, a high customer satisfaction score, and more.

Consumers using digital channels to reach a contact center or calling into a call center want their issues resolved or their questions answered as quickly and efficiently as possible. When they connect with your business for service or support, they have an expectation that the agent they encounter is eager and ready to do their job well. Consumers also value a personalized experience where the agent does their best to anticipate their needs and concerns. 

You can set up your call center team to deliver great customer experiences by developing and encouraging a workplace culture among your agents that emphasizes and rewards customer care all along the customer journey.  

Here’s where new technologies can assist in smoothing the overall customer journey. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is just one tool that delivers a personalized customer experience by gathering information about the customer’s reason for calling and routing the call appropriately. Customers don’t appreciate long wait times, or getting the runaround, so making sure they connect with the right agent on the first try can score big points in customer satisfaction.   

Challenge #2: Agent Retention

Employee turnover in contact centers is not only significant, it’s higher than the national average. That makes contact center workforce management even more challenging. 

Contact center agents leave their jobs at 1.3 times the rate of employees in other professions. Agent attrition in customer service roles is an eye-opening 87.6%. Sales also sees a significant rate of attrition (79.8%). 

For many call center managers, high agent attrition rates are a fact of life, and they must be prepared to continually find ways to recruit new agents. 

The Solution

The way to combat attrition is to play a more hands-on role with agents. That doesn’t mean micromanaging them, but establishing a positive workplace culture. It also includes playing to agents’ strengths and recognizing and helping to address areas for improvement. 

For example, while it may be tempting to throw new hires into the deep end in hopes of quickly filling gaps in your team, it can backfire. Agents who suddenly feel they are “in over their head” can easily succumb to stress and become early candidates for burnout, leaving you scrambling for replacements. 

A better approach is to ease newly hired agents into their roles to the extent possible in your busy call center operation. Assign them tasks with realistic goals and avoid overloading them.  

Coaching call center teams helps to improve agent retention. Coaching isn’t something that should occur only when an agent is learning the ropes. With ongoing training and coaching, you can fully develop your team and help your rock stars rise even higher. A good training program also features a transparent recognition and reward program to encourage excellence. (For more on this, see the “Keeping Up with Technology” section below.) 

Lastly, an engaged employee is an employee who is more likely to stay with your organization for the long term. Monitor your agents for signs of stress and burnout, provide meaningful support, promote health and wellness, and make sure your team is motivated by incentivizing them to succeed. Schedule team-building exercises, arrange friendly in-house competitions, share insights and kudos, and focus on developing a positive workplace culture. 

Challenge #3: Keeping Up with Technology 

Technology can be the truest arrow in a call manager’s quiver when it comes to keeping workforce management in the contact center on track. However, it can also bog down the entire operation if it isn’t useful or up to date. Effective call center managers keep abreast of the latest technology solutions to minimize IT issues and increase team efficiency.

The Solution 

Are you embracing cloud-based software and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline your operations and free up valuable time in your contact center management program? If not, you should consider making that move sooner than later. In an era of omnichannel communication, contact centers can use technology to seamlessly handle communications from customers coming from various channels, including social media, text, email and, of course.

AI-powered solutions like Invoca can greatly improve contact center management by providing the ability to analyze huge amounts of data from calls in real time. Invoca lets managers track every call into the contact center and receive an AI-analyzed transcription immediately following each call. This has tremendous benefits for call center team performance because managers are empowered to quickly identify coaching moments and provide timely insight and feedback to employees. 

Sample Invoca call transcription generated by AI

Agent coaching is one of the most time-consuming aspects of a manager’s job. But by automating call recording and transcription and using AI to score every customer service call, managers can increase the impact of their coaching and training programs, and reduce the lift to do so. With the right technology, managers can provide agents with unbiased feedback to help them grow and succeed in their call center careers. 

Challenge #4: Remote Work 

More companies are adapting their workforce management strategies for a post-pandemic world and actively embracing remote work for the long term. Remote and hybrid work arrangements allow many companies to save money by ditching the real estate needed to house call centers. More importantly, it allows them to recruit more broadly, a factor that is amplified by a parallel trend in contact center workforce management known as homeshoring, which is bringing more call center jobs back to the U.S. 

Many call center workers prefer to work from home — if only to avoid a daily commuting grind. It’s been estimated that prior to the pandemic, 90% of customer service agents in the United States commuted to work. That number is expected to be about 50% moving forward, as many companies, including major brands like Amazon, continue to encourage remote work among agents. 

Remote work poses unique challenges for managers since it is tougher, at least in theory, to manage and coach agents and distributed teams effectively without face-to-face interaction.

The Solution

Coaching call center teams who are working remotely doesn’t have to be difficult if you’re willing to adopt technology that can help support your efforts to provide virtual coaching. 

The emergence of cloud-based solutions for the call center such as Invoca makes communication and coaching easier for managers and accessible to agents wherever they are located, even internationally. 

With Invoca, managers can easily review call recordings and transcripts and tag agents in comments. You can easily give every agent immediate feedback to help them improve their performance.

Invoca’s AI scores 100% of calls, giving you a complete picture of each agent’s performance. This makes efficient and frequent micro coaching an easy lift, even when your call center team is distributed across multiple locations. Invoca also helps you keep a pulse on what’s happening in the conversations your agents have with customers, so can track trends and overall team performance.

Challenge # 5: Tracking Accurate Data 

Contact centers collect data from hundreds and thousands of customer interactions each day. This can create a time-consuming challenge for managers charged with call center tracking and analytics

It’s also tough for managers to ensure the accuracy of information when dealing with huge data dumps. Inaccurate data can skew analytics and negatively impact future planning and operations.   

The Solution

Deploying the right technology helps call center managers better understand data, which means spending less time detecting issues and more time providing solutions. 

One area where data is vital to smooth operations is quality assurance (QA). Scoring your agents’ calls to make sure they are following the script and focusing on first call resolution is key to fostering a high-performing team and successful call center operation. 

However, your agents handle a lot of calls, and that means a lot of data to plow through. Managers may track just a small sample of calls and use that small snapshot view as a base for evaluating and scoring agent performance. But what if your agent is just having a bad day? Is that score fair? 

Artificial intelligence now makes it possible for managers to get a complete picture of agent performance by capturing data from every call into the call center. Invoca does this by automating recording and transcribing, then using conversation intelligence to analyze and score 100% of calls into the contact center. This automated call quality assurance provides full insight into, and levels the playing field for, agent performance by delivering an unbiased score.

Improve Your Contact Center Management with Invoca

Managers can begin taking advantage of Invoca’s robust call center solution to help overcome common contact center management challenges from the moment a new agent is hired.

By tracking, recording, transcribing, and analyzing every customer call into the contact center, Invoca provides a knowledge base designed to arm agents with the necessary tools to handle even the most complex customer inquiry. Managers can call out examples in actual recordings and transcripts to immediately show agents where they are exceeding expectations and where they are falling short, and provide immediate coaching on how to recover.

Call center managers can also use Invoca to uplevel agent performance through automated QA scoring. As noted earlier, Invoca’s conversation intelligence removes the bias from QA scoring, providing agents with a level playing field and relieving managers from the pressure of manual scoring. And, since Invoca’s QA scoring is based on agent performance on every call, not just a small sample, it provides managers with a complete picture of how everyone on the team is developing.

Sample Invoca agent scorecard generated by AI

Using Invoca to support contact center management is a win-win for managers because the technology can benefit employees and customers in very positive ways. Happier agents are better-performing agents who are more likely to stay with the organization. And customers dealing with happier, more helpful agents are more likely to stay loyal to your brand.

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about how Invoca can help you overcome your call center management challenges? Check out these resources:

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