Call center shrinkage is a measure the time wasted in the call center due to things like vacation, breaks, lunch, holidays, sick time, training and more. Shrinkage is a measure used in contact centers that helps calculate the difference between the number of staff that a forecasting system says is required and the practical considerations of how many employees are available at a particular time.
It consists of two main components namely:
i) Internal shrinkage:
This type of shrinkage is also known as in- center shrinkage. The factors responsible for this type of shrinkage include training, team meetings, unplanned facility breaks, system downtime etc.
ii) External shrinkage:
This type of call center shrinkage is also called in- center shrinkage. It is caused due to sickness, holidays, public holidays, paid breaks etc.
Mostly, call center managers take all these factors into consideration. However, there are a few factors that affect the shrinkage to a great extent. Some of them include lateness, talking to associates, personal calls, and emergencies, leaving early and taking longer breaks. The bottom line on shrinkage is the number of minutes per day that agents are being paid to be on the phone when they are not actually working or available to receive calls or work on customer related issues.
The mathematical formula for calculating call center shrinkage is:
Shrinkage (%) = [Total hours of external shrinkage + Total hours of internal shrinkage] / Total hours available * 100
Call center shrinkage is a major factor in failing to meet service level targets. According to a research, all centers that take shrinkage parameters into account in their forecasting and scheduling achieve higher service levels at lower operating costs. This is achieved by including all call related activities into the forecast and schedule planning process beforehand. This helps in exceeding the expected level of service.
After call work time is a term used to describe the time taken by an agent to complete any transactions or work for a customer after the call has ended. This is considered as an important bit of time in a contact center once a call has ended when the advisor can update the system with the caller’s resolution, next steps, details or order notes. Apart from this, they may also need to make some outbound calls or send emails during this time to progress the caller’s resolution. Once it is done, the agent has to feed the relevant data into the CRM software so that it can be recorded for security purpose and for future marketing needs.
Now, we know the significance of after call work time. Let’s have a look at some of the strategies to reduce it in order to increase the efficiency of the call center:
1. Provide proper training to the agents:
In order to reduce the after call work time, you need to train your agents clearly on what is required in call text, logs or notes. You can consider employing speech analytics software to make entries into the CRM data sheet or call logs automatically. You need to train your agents appropriately before they can use this technology efficiently. Their minds should be trained in a way that they are able to multi-function. They should be efficient enough to not make typos and spot them quickly. Moreover, they should be able to make some notes and entries while talking to the client without taking the attention of the caller. This would help improve KPIs.
2. Strive to manage time classifications:
The overall wrap times of a call center will be hugely inflated if people are using these for breaks, chat time, drink refills, etc. As a matter of fact, most contact centers do have targets on wrap time, which can vary depending on the type of center, but often around 5% of average handling time is used. Making the time classifications clear at a team briefing can help in improving the metrics to a large extent.
Arrange regular meetings for knowledge sharing. The basic idea is to discuss and understand the overall experience of your support agents with your clients. Try to understand what obstacles they face while they carry out a live chat with the website visitors, what kind of tricky questions customers may ask and how to resolve their queries. Agents can uncover important techniques of live chat support in this knowledge sharing process. This can aid in improving their overall performance.
2. Club videos with training sessions:
As a matter of fact, humans are visual learners. They tend to learn things more effectively if taught through graphics and videos. You don’t need to spend extra bucks on video tutorials. There are thousands of useful videos available on YouTube which can be utilized for this purpose. This is one of the best customer service training ideas that gives tremendous results.
3. Help them know their actual roles:
Yet another concept of your training should be to help your chat agents understand the actual role they need to play in building customer relationships. Educate them about the lifetime value of a customer as well as the consequences of a bad customer interaction. Let them know how the quality of customer support impacts on sales conversion, customer retention, and brand image. Once the support agents have this basic understanding, they will be more efficient in providing top-notch service.
4. Train them practically:
Practicing something practically helps you learn it better. Team up all of your agents and assign them different chat scenarios. Encourage them to try their best to deal with those given situations. Give them enough time to understand the whole support process, your products/services and most importantly, how to manage the live chat software. These practical sessions are very important to cultivate a capable workforce.
Make it a point to review your live chat agents. Their training should include mock chats, secret evaluation and much more. Apart from that, distribute customer success manuals amongst your agents where all important tips and techniques of online customer support have been mentioned in written format. This will help them to go through the important tips whenever they have any doubts.
2. Inculcate tech support along with live chat:
In order to create a power-packed support environment make use of live chat features such as canned messages and links, the ability to push files and screen sharing and co-browsing. Also, train your agents to go slow and ask short, simple questions to get to the root of problems and to make solving them easier and faster. More important than training your agents to provide tech support is ensuring they have the resources they need readily available. Ensure your tech support agents are provided with canned links for knowledge based articles, how-to tutorials, videos and other resources they need to help customers resolve issues or problems instantly. Make sure the agents know how to find the resources quickly and then send them to the respective customers whenever they need them.
3. Help them to be platform experts:
LIve chat agents need to have thorough knowledge of the platform they are working on and the tools they are dealing in. When chat agents are familiar with the tools they are utilizing while assisting customers, they perform tasks with a higher level of confidence. Task your agents providing both a customer and organization friendly experience when chatting. It’s important to be fully trained on all customer and agent facing platform features. For this purpose, customers might be presented with a pre-chat survey while initiating a chat request, which gives the ability to choose the reason for wanting to communicate.
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