Contact centre agents are the shopfront of their company – they interact with customers daily, and their attitude is what forms the customer’s opinion of the company. The currency of such interactions is customer satisfaction – one poor experience can make the customer drop the brand and choose a competitor. Yet, a positive experience could increase the customer’s loyalty and bring revenue growth for the company.
The question of how to increase employees’ productivity has been hunting managers and team leaders for quite some time. A quick search on the web would churn out many blog posts, studies, and articles on how to cut down on unproductive hours. But sometimes, the answers to increasing employees’ productivity could be right at hand. We decided to look for these answers by analysing call centre data to understand better what might be causing unproductivity at work.
An extensive amount of data from the call centre has revealed the patterns within the agents’ working hours. Our analysis found that the first few hours are the least productive among the call centre employees. The data depicted a much lower rate of resolved calls in the early hours of the day, even if agents receive fever calls during this time, and the calls tend to be shorter.
Within working hours, between 8 am to 5 pm, the busiest time is 10 am to 11 am, with an average of 2200 calls per hour. During the first and last hours of the workday, the call load reduces by half, with the first morning hour being the quietest in the call centre. Nonetheless, the call resolution rate hit the all-time highest at 5 pm, with 90% of the calls settled. The average call resolution rate from 9 am to 4 pm is 85%.
The call centre data manifest a widely suspected notion that Monday mornings are the least good for productivity. On Mondays at 8 am, call resolution drops to 76% – the lowest throughout the week, even if calls tend to be shorter and require less work from the agents after the call is finished. The same trend repeats on Wednesday mornings when the call resolution hits the all-time lowest again.
Our analysis was able to pin down the most productive hours in the call centre agents’ day. It so happens that the hours after lunch – between 2 pm and 4 pm are the most efficient. The average call resolution rate within these hours is 88%, while the call count remains steady. In comparison, the average call resolution at 8 am is only 77%, and between 9 am and 11 am, it climbs to an average of 82%. The trend depicts that the calls received before lunch have a lower resolution rate than calls received after lunch, even if the call count remains similar at these times.
Another study of British telecom company employees by Oxford University’s Business Schools found that people tend to be 13% more efficient when they are happy. Our data could not depict the happiness of the call centre employees. Still, we could speculate that a tasty meal and a pleasant conversation with co-workers could be a source of happiness, giving that extra boost in productivity.
Overall satisfaction is an important metric for many businesses, but it must not be forgotten that experiences make all the difference for both customers and agents. Customers who receive high-quality, efficient service are more likely to stay with the brand in the future, complete a repeat purchase or recommend it to a friend. However, to ensure that every customer leaves a call satisfied, the agents must provide outstanding service, which is why the agent’s experience matters just as much as the customer’s.
Agents must feel motivated and acknowledged to feel satisfied with their work and share that satisfaction with the customers. Employees who know their purpose, feel valued and see themselves as an equally important part of the company tend to go above and beyond to please their customers. As a result, companies that nurture their employees enjoy increased customer and employee loyalty.
Concentrating blindly on results without trying to pin down the origins of the problem is not necessarily the strategy that will pay off in the long run. It is important to understand your employees and get to know what motivates them and what obstacles they face in their daily tasks. Armed with such knowledge, managers can make adjustments that would work for both employees and the company, leading to more satisfied customers, increased revenue growth and reduced employee turnover.
Based on our analysis of the call centre data, we suggest that simple solutions like coffee or snack break allow agents to focus more during work hours. Knowing the cause of the problem is often the first step towards fixing it, and data can be an excellent tool to identify problems and find solutions for them.