COVID-19: Call center agents at home?
Feb 26 2021

Medium-sized call centers: challenges and solutions

Medium-sized call centers, typically defined as those having from 50 to 1,000 agents, deal in many diverse industries with varying revenues: healthcare, hospitality, finance, customer support, and more. Still, the challenges they face, and the characteristics they need in their software solutions are very similar. Scalability and flexibility are essential for potentially expanding operations and adjusting to any changes in traffic. The product is expected to be turn-key and of high quality, with an extensive feature list in line with the market, and new innovations added regularly by the provider. A solid support team that is easy to reach can also become a factor when finding the right solution to commit to.

Here is an overview of the challenges faced by the medium-sized call center, and how a software solution can address them all.

Monitoring and analytics

It's easy to trust a supervisor to keep track of, say, fifteen agents: to know their strengths and weaknesses, after days spent in the same room with them, monitoring their phone conversations and outcomes. Doing the same for 500 agents is both more difficult and more expensive. When the number of agents rises above 50, straightforward methods of transparency and control quickly lose their effectiveness.

With its array of performance metrics measured for each individual agent, as well as for each chosen team, campaign, or queue, modern call center software was designed to fix precisely this problem. Dynamic charts and graphs on key parameters like ASR or ACD; real-time agent status reporting; queue monitoring—in the hands of a capable supervisor, these can be powerful tools. Every physical action of a call center as it used to be has been successfully digitized.

To recognize trends and perform periodic performance reviews, software solutions have historical reporting capabilities that offer automated report scheduling and custom time spans, support prolonged periods of data availability, and provide ready-to-use templates. These retrospective analytics are crucial when it comes to improving customer service, implementing and comparing different strategies for call distribution, and figuring out which dialer campaign settings are achieving the best results. Medium-sized call centers rely on data to lead the way towards positive changes.

Remote work and security

Call centers of every size are now facing a new reality. As Gartner reports, before the pandemic, about 68% of customer service and support organizations worked from traditional call centers, and less than 10% of staff worked from home. Going forward, 81% of service leaders believe up to 80% of their workforce will primarily be working from home two years from now. This change is here to stay, and despite its budgetary advantages, there remain several concerns. Easy browser-based access, with no special requirements for hardware or computers, may turn out to be a weak spot for overall call center security unless proper policies are in place. An intuitive interface can be a great help when it comes to training agents, especially when your call center has hundreds of them, but it can also be a ripe target for unauthorized access.

Basic precautions should include raising awareness about social engineering and phishing attacks, enhanced antivirus protection, and regular software updates. Call center software can also offer several useful tools for enhanced security: selective call recording; phone number masking, for hiding private client data from view; customizable role-based administration, for creating differentiated access to vulnerable parts of the call center; encrypted communications; the ability to stream all data access attempts to an independent monitoring system; and more. A comprehensive review of all call center protection tools can be found in our best security practices blog post.

Optimization to traffic growth

Industry statistics suggest that the total call volume in contact centers has nearly doubled since the pandemic started. Medium-sized call centers, if they play their cards right, can turn this into an opportunity to expand their business. It comes down to redistributing the call load evenly, in order to make the most of the agent time you have available.

For customer service call centers primarily focused on inbound traffic, more calls can be processed at any given moment with the help of an IVR menu, automatic call distribution, and queue management tools. Supervisors can look out for bottlenecks, and reassign agents between struggling queues to minimize the average waiting time for customers. Strategies like skill-based routing allow you to resolve incoming requests faster by matching them to the best-suited agents. And for quality monitoring teams, introducing speech recognition and keyword analysis of call transcripts can make for easier call assessment.

Businesses that specialize in outbound traffic can attempt to do the same—that is, maximize agent potential with the help of technology. Answering Machine Detection, applied to dialer campaigns, eliminates conversations between agents and robots, which take up almost 70% of daily volume, only putting through real, live callers. CRM integration features can automatically pull client data to the call center interface and reflect all client account changes back in your system, decreasing the amount of manual work.

As you can see, any challenge that a medium-sized call center is experiencing can be turned into an opportunity with the help of modern call center software. Voiso can offer you a free 14-day trial to test all of the features mentioned above, like advanced historical reporting and real-time dashboards, a set of security protocols, and inbound and outbound call management tools. Reach out to one of our experts to get started today.

Reach out to one of our experts to get started today.