Optimizing Customer Service Centres

Top management are reluctant to provide bigger budgets for the customer service contact centres since they see no revenue value in them thus placing Call Centre Managers in a tough spot. They then take necessary measures to implement methods which would reduce the cost of the call centre without compromising on the level of customer support and customer service quality.

Customer services centres are still perceived as cost centres, even though they are not. You can turn it into a profit centre if you minimize your extra cost.

As a Customer Service Manager, you can implement these 7 methods to reduce the cost of your call centre:

  1. Know your cost per seat

The cost per seat is highly dependant on a number of factors including industry, size and nature of contact centre. But regardless of these, you still need to work out what your contact centre costs you per seat per month. Eventually you will be able to boil down to cost per call, cost per call minute and cost per call second. By breaking this down, you can easily identify problem areas that are worth researching into and changing. You are able to then put a rand value to the AHT and other services. Some of the costs that build your seat value are as follows:

  • Agent Salary + Benefits CTC
  • Management/Support Costs
  • Technology + Telephony Seat
  • Infrastructure
  • Consumables
  • Other Indirect/Shared Costs
  1. Work out the cost of doing nothing

Quantify how not acting will impact your team and its productivity. While the human cost has a value, be sure to detail the business cost now and in the medium term. Your challenge has a real cost, usually in both efficiency and morale. You are proposing a solution to remove those costs. There will be real benefits too, so be sure to specifically quantify each cost.

  1. Reduce your AHT

If you are highly determined about reducing average handle time per call, then you must tap on benchmarking and monitoring first call resolution. If your agents successfully resolve your customer’s issues in the first place then the customers won’t have to take the pain of making multiple calls. It reduces both per-minute calling and labour costs, which is a direct indication to low call centre cost

  1. Prove that the Contact Centre can boost profits

Management will be reluctant to invest in offering a better customer service until seeing proof of it having a positive effect on profits. Retention of existing clients is one area you can use as proof. It is statistically proven that a happy client will remain with a service provider for an average of 6 years and spends more in that period. Cross and up-sell opportunities can also be part of the customer service centre that will generate income

  1. Remove ringing time

Ringing phones are costing us. Simple cost cut. Silence the ringing. Removing ring time and re-shaping AHT are two ideas you can implement within a month.

  1. Powerful Pooling Principle (Specialisation vs pooling)

Don’t split because you can, split because you should.

In many cases, contact centres split their agent groups because they CAN and not because they SHOULD. When we split we’ve got to be sure that the benefits outweigh costs. Instead of having different specialised areas within your call centre, have a pooled structure whereby all agents are able to assist the clients despite the need, this greatly influences AHT and improves with business continuity.

  1. Lastly

See how you can improve the following for your customers as well as your agents.

  • Drive deeper and personal engagement
  • Increase Customer retention and loyalty
  • Deliver consistent omni-channel engagement
  • Consistently measure and improve CSAT scores


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