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Written by: Laura Fitzgerald

Head of Brand and Digital Experience

Productive agents are able to take on more calls, satisfy client asks faster, and improve your CSAT scores, all of which ultimately result in improved profitability. However, keeping agents productive and finding that sweet balance between high morale and performance is not as easy as it looks. 

It involves enabling agents, equipping them with the right tools, and training them to handle different tasks. In this article, we’ll explore several strategies contact center managers can employ to boost agent productivity. 

How to Measure Agent Productivity in Contact Centers

Before we talk about improving agent productivity, it’s important to understand how to measure efficiency and productivity per agent. For instance, companies can focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) like Average Handling Time (AHT) and First Contact Resolution (FCR) to gain insightful metrics into operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

AHT calculates agents’ average time on customer interaction, including talk time, hold time, and after-call work. This information is crucial for assessing how efficiently agents manage their time and resolve issues. 

A lower AHT suggests that agents are effectively and swiftly addressing customer needs, which is a key indicator of high productivity. However, it’s essential to maintain a balance, as overly focusing on reducing AHT could adversely affect the quality of customer service.

FCR, on the other hand, measures the ability of agents to resolve customer queries at the first point of contact without needing follow-ups. 

A high FCR rate indicates agents’ competence in effectively resolving issues, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and reduced workload for the contact center. It diminishes the number of repeat calls regarding the same issue. 

Together, AHT and FCR offer a comprehensive view of agent productivity, blending efficiency with effectiveness.

How to Improve Agent Productivity in the Contact Center

Now, let’s discuss some of the most effective ways to improve agent efficiency. 

1. Set up Clear Processes for Common Asks

Establishing clear processes for common customer inquiries and requests is a foundational step in enhancing a contact center’s efficiency and effectiveness. This involves developing detailed protocols and scripts for agents to follow when handling frequent scenarios, such as account inquiries, billing issues, or technical support questions. 

By having a structured approach, agents can quickly identify the nature of a call and utilize the predefined steps to resolve it. This speeds up the resolution process and ensures consistency in customer responses, enhancing the overall customer experience. 

Clear processes also empower agents by providing a roadmap for navigating complex customer interactions, reducing the cognitive load and decision-making time. 

Furthermore, well-documented processes make training new agents more straightforward, allowing for quicker onboarding and a more uniform service level across the board.

2. Equip Agents with the Right Tools

Equipping agents with the right tools is essential for maximizing efficiency and ensuring they can provide the highest level of customer service.

This includes basic tools like a reliable CRM system, efficient call routing software, and advanced solutions that leverage the latest in AI and voice recognition technology.

Pindrop’s voice biometric technology allows agents to verify the identity of callers quickly, reducing the risk of fraud and ensuring a smooth customer experience. 

This technology can be especially crucial in sensitive industries such as banking and healthcare, where verifying the caller’s identity accurately is paramount. 

By integrating Pindrop, contact centers can provide their agents with a powerful tool that enhances security, streamlines the authentication process, and builds customer trust.

Pindrop’s advanced analytics and fraud detection capabilities offer another layer of support for agents. 

By identifying and flagging potential fraud attempts in real time, agents can navigate calls with greater confidence and focus on delivering quality customer service rather than being preoccupied with the risk of security breaches. 

This improves individual agents’ efficiency and enhances the contact center’s overall security posture.

3. Live Call Coaching and Monitoring

Live call coaching and monitoring are critical components of a proactive contact center management strategy. This real-time oversight allows supervisors to listen in on live calls and provide immediate feedback or guidance to agents. 

Such direct support can be invaluable in complex or escalated situations where an agent might need assistance to navigate the interaction effectively. Live coaching ensures that agents are not left to handle difficult scenarios alone, fostering a learning environment that emphasizes continuous improvement and skill development. 

Moreover, monitoring calls in real-time enables supervisors to identify trends, issues, and opportunities for improvement across the contact center’s operations. 

This could range from spotting common customer complaints to recognizing exceptional agent performance that can be used as a training model. 

Live call monitoring also plays a crucial role in maintaining quality assurance, ensuring every customer interaction adheres to the contact center’s standards for service excellence.

4. Route Calls Based on Skills

Skill-based call routing is a sophisticated approach that matches customer calls with agents best equipped to handle their specific needs or issues. 

This technique leverages each agent’s unique strengths and expertise, whether in technical knowledge, language proficiency, or experience dealing with certain customer queries. 

By directing calls to the most appropriate agent right from the start, contact centers can significantly improve first-contact resolution rates, reduce handling times, and enhance customer satisfaction. Implementing skill-based routing requires a detailed understanding of the agents’ skill sets and the nature of incoming inquiries.

This might involve categorizing calls based on their complexity, subject matter, or urgency and then mapping these categories to the corresponding agent profiles. 

Such a targeted approach ensures that customers receive expert assistance tailored to their specific situation, leading to more efficient problem-solving and a more personalized customer service experience. 

Additionally, skill-based routing can contribute to agent satisfaction by aligning their tasks with their areas of expertise and interest, reducing frustration and increasing job satisfaction.

5. Maintain an Optimal Agent to Supervisor Ratio

Maintaining an optimal supervisor-to-agent ratio is crucial for effective contact center management. A 30:1 ratio is often a benchmark for balancing oversight with autonomy. 

This ratio ensures that supervisors have a manageable number of agents under their guidance, allowing for personalized coaching, performance monitoring, and feedback. A well-managed ratio fosters an environment where supervisors can be genuinely involved in their agents’ development, understanding their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. 

An appropriate supervisor ratio contributes to a more supportive and responsive management structure. Supervisors are more accessible to agents for immediate issues, can monitor performance effectively, and provide timely assistance. 

This level of support is instrumental in building agent confidence, encouraging skill development, and ultimately enhancing the contact center’s overall performance. 

Furthermore, a manageable ratio allows supervisors to gather insights and feedback from agents, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and adaptation to changing customer needs.

6. Regular Comprehensive Training Sessions

Ongoing, comprehensive training programs are essential for equipping contact center agents with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Regular training sessions should cover the job’s technical aspects, such as system use and process updates, and soft skills, like communication, empathy, and problem-solving. 

This holistic approach to training ensures that agents are well-rounded and capable of handling a wide range of customer interactions with professionalism and care. Comprehensive training programs also play a critical role in adapting to the evolving customer service landscape. 

As new technologies, products, and customer expectations emerge, regular training sessions help agents stay current, ensuring the contact center remains competitive and responsive to market changes. 

Moreover, continuous learning opportunities can significantly enhance agent engagement and job satisfaction, reducing turnover rates and fostering a positive workplace culture.

7. Leverage AI Automation

Leveraging AI automation in contact centers transforms the customer service landscape by introducing efficiencies and capabilities that significantly enhance the agent and customer experience. 

AI-driven tools like interaction transcript summaries provide quick insights into customer interactions, allowing for immediate understanding and action without needing manual review. 

Chatbots automate routine inquiries, freeing up agents to tackle more complex issues. This optimizes resource allocation and ensures customers have 24/7 access to support. Real-time translation services facilitated by AI break down language barriers, enabling effective communication with a diverse customer base and expanding the reach of contact centers globally. 

Additionally, AI offers predictive analytics to anticipate customer needs, sentiment analysis to better understand and respond to customer emotions, and personalized engagement strategies that tailor services to individual customer profiles.

Improve Agent Productivity by Securing Your Contact Center

It’s important to understand that fraud attacks can affect productivity and performance in the contact center. It’s critically important to take appropriate measures to improve security in the contact center. 

With Pindrop, organizations can get the best of both worlds: significant improvement in overall productivity and the very best protection with passive voice authentication. Request a demo today.