How agents handle communication is a vital component to the success of any call center. However, it’s not the only aspect that needs to remain efficient. In fact, the after-call work, or ACW, is also an important piece to providing superior customer service.
It’s important that agents and managers alike understand the process of completing an interaction. Once the caller hangs up, there may still be much that needs to be done in an efficient manner.
About After-Work Call
Also known as “post-call processing,” ACW is the task that is completed after the caller hangs up. The amount of work this entails is different with each industry and services offered to customers. However, many call centers handle material after communicating with individuals.
In a sales dynamic, this could include processing customer and product information. It may also include small elements such as logging the type of call that was received, notes and perhaps future needs for follow up calls.
Technically, ACW is considered part of handling time because it is material that is related to that specific customer. As a result, agents need to have a good flow of how this information is processed. The complete transaction will proceed as:
- Agent is available
- The call is received by the agent
- The agent completes ACW before moving on.
Some calling systems will keep agents in an unavailable state until the ACW has been completed. This helps reduce errors and a loss of information per interaction. It’s a good way to boost the quality of the call center in the eyes of the customer.
Common ACW Tasks
The work that is required after a call has finished depends greatly on the facility or the industry. However, a lot of elements are quite common place for a contact center.
In reality, information is key to building a strong system. The more data that is collected, the better agents are capable of handling incoming calls. This comes from keeping information updated and current in customer relations management software or help desk platforms.
The information these systems record can rely on any of the follow:
- Reason for the call
Knowing why a person is calling the business is crucial for many reasons. For one, it helps agents direct individuals to correct departments.
- Communication categories, if any
Categorization of the call can be done in many different ways. For instance, this could signify the type of contact made or the department of the agent.
- Products or services offered
For agents handling retail or other sales data, listing the products or services that are offered helps future communications.
- Notes regarding the interaction
Copious notes are how a lot of organizations steer clear of mistakes and misunderstandings. This information is also helpful in the event a caller needs further assistance.
- Specific concerns or needs of the customer
When customers express concern for anything related to his or her inquiry, it should be included. It provides assistance for future communications in any event.
- Any competitors mentioned during the call
Any business would be wise to keep tabs on the competition. Not only does it help the marketing department, but it may also contribute to product strategies.
- Outcome of the call
Knowing the outcome of the call will help future agents determine if the individual is hostile or understanding. It’s also crucial to know whether problems were resolved.
- Follow-up steps required for the customer
Without knowing the steps to follow-up with a customer, it could create severe issues later. No one likes to be forgotten, and customers can prove to be extremely irate should that happen.
Challenges of After-Call Work
Committing to ACW is not without its own set of challenges. In fact, it can affect time management as well as agent morale in certain situations. For one thing, manual data entry takes time. Not everyone has superior typing skills.
Callers expect a certain level of professionalism and efficiency when communicating. They want a quick response regarding account information as well as a recount of previous contact. For instance, nothing upsets a customer more than if one agent offers a deal at one price and the second agent doesn’t know about it.
Another challenge that will affect efficiency is multitasking. An agent whose attention is divided often provides a lower quality of service. This is often the product of poor handling software or a lack of streamlining tools for automation. The end result is an agent who is less effective at his or her job.
Reducing ACW for Call Center Improvement
While after-call work may still be an important process for the contact center, there are ways to make it less of a grueling chore. In fact, there are several ways that will greatly reduce the strain on agents while making the facility more efficient.
Investing in Superior Call Center Software
A key component to streamlining any call center is through superior software. Applications for CRM, help desk and other integrated methods can easily reduce the burden of ACW.
Enhancing Agent Coaching and Education
Training and coaching of agents is a great way to help them understand how to do their jobs effectively. This ranges from direct customer interaction to complete knowledge of the systems agents are using.
Exploring Gamification for the Call Center
Many industries are exploring how gamification can benefit the business as a whole. For instance, giving small rewards for achieving personal goals help motivate staff.
Keeping Business Processes Streamlined
Any component that offers streamlining the practices of the contact center should be explored. While some methods may not work in certain environments, it doesn’t hurt to take a look and see what may be beneficial.
Implementing Automatic Systems
Automation greatly reduces the impact of workload. For example, voice recognition software can easily be integrated into calling systems to help agents find the correct information per caller.
Reducing the impact of ACW in the call center works to boost efficiency in the workplace. It may also impact agent morale, which may indirectly improve attrition rates. Agents who are capable of handling the call in an efficient manner, thanks to training and knowledge, are more productive. Do what is necessary to streamline the call process and benefit from a stronger workforce.
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