Contact centers are fast-paced and intense work environments. Service agents have a series of responsibilities in their typical workday. Whether it’s interacting on the phone or emailing solutions to customers, agents have a lot on their plates daily.
A common misconception is that an agent’s work ends after the customer hangs up. However, this is not true.
After conversing with a customer, service reps have to complete a series of steps and processes before they can wrap up a call. These steps are called after-call work and are crucial to customer service success.
Read ahead to learn more about after-call work and why it is important to measure it and keep it minimum at your contact center. You will also find actionable tips to reduce after-call work time at your contact center for improved operational efficiency.
Table of contents
- What is after-call work (ACW) in call centers?
- Why is after-call work important?
- Benefits of measuring call wrap time
- 5 Tips to reduce after-call Work in call centers
What is after-call work (ACW) in call centers?
After-call work, or ACW, is the series of processes an agent must complete at the end of every call before moving on to the next call. These processes include updating records about the call, logging information, emailing customers about details, and updating notes in the CRM.
The period after one customer hangs up to when the agent becomes available for the next customer is called after-call work time. This period is also known as wrap time since it refers to the time agents use to wrap up a customer call.
Why is after-call work important?
In a work ecosystem like a contact center, service teams must deal with hundreds of customer calls daily. After-call work ensures that:
- Customer data is recorded efficiently for future references
- Agents are equipped with the right context for subsequent follow-ups
- Calls that exceeded standards or addressed new customer issues are recorded for reference in future interactions
- Quality adherence is maintained for every call
Benefits of measuring call wrap time
Measuring after-call work (ACW) time is essential to reducing it, as a lower wrap time generally indicates better customer service. Let’s find out how below:
1. Reduces customer wait time
The total handling time also includes the after-call work time an agent takes after a customer interaction. If an agent takes longer to wrap up a call, the next customer in the queue must wait longer to speak to the agent. And the longer the waiting time, the more frustrated the customer is.
2. Boosts agent performance
The efficiency and effectiveness with which an agent completes their tasks after a call directly impacts their performance. If agents take longer to complete their follow-up tasks, handling time increases while productivity decreases as they can attend to fewer customers.
Additionally, an agent not documenting essential details well can lead to incorrect information records, repeat calls, and ultimately lower customer satisfaction. This is why you should prep your agents to be efficient and quick during wrap time.
Now that we know what after-call work is and why it is important, let us look at ways you can reduce after-call work time at your contact center.
5 Tips to reduce after-call Work in call centers
1. Turn complex SOPs into guided workflows
Often, your agents take longer to complete their ACW because deciphering complex standard operating procedures is difficult. This is why breaking down your SOPs into easy-to-understand workflows is essential to help ease your agents’ lives.
With Knowmax, you can create guided-assist-based workflows to provide your agents with the next best action steps. With stepwise instructions and dialogues based on customer inputs, your agents will be equipped to handle complex procedures accurately & efficiently, ensuring SOP adherence at your contact center.
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Knowmax decision trees also offer a real-time summary of all the steps an agent takes to resolve a customer issue. Your agents can simply copy the steps summary and paste it directly into CRM. This reduces the after-call work time and improves agent efficiency.
2. Use integrated solutions
An effective way to ensure your customer service team delivers timely and efficient service is by providing them with integrated solutions that streamline the process of acquiring relevant information and facilitate smooth communication.
With the multitude of tools that agents use, such as CRM, knowledge base, ticketing software, and communication platforms, integration eliminates the need to switch between various applications and reduces the likelihood of errors caused by manual data entry.
By enabling agents to focus on customer interactions rather than administrative tasks like note-taking and data entry, integrated solutions can significantly boost productivity, reduce after-call work (ACW) time, and improve the overall customer experience.
3. Invest in effective and regular agent training
Like most things in life, regular practice and top-grade training can make anyone a master of their craft.
Similarly, agents who are well-trained and thorough with their work are naturally going to perform better and be more productive. This implies smoother and more effective customer interactions with less extensive after-call work.
This is why it is mission-critical to provide agents with proper training on customer service protocols, product and service knowledge, and best call-handling practices to perform their administrative tasks efficiently and swiftly.
Some key areas to focus on in your training plan to reduce after-call work in call centers include:
- Time management skills to prioritize tasks and manage workload
- Communication skills to engage clearly with customers during and after the call (in case of follow-ups)
- System and software training to ensure that your agents can get the best output out of your tech stack
- Documentation skills to capture quick, clear, and concise notes and details
- Detailed product and service knowledge to help customers effectively
4. Leverage automation tools where possible
Adopting automation tools is one of the most effective ways to reduce ACW time. Automation eliminates the need for your agents to spend their valuable time on repetitive and mundane administrative tasks such as updating information, logging data, and making reports.
Some examples include robotic process automation (RPA), which uses bots to record data and update information automatically, and workflow automation software that sends reminders and notifications to streamline administrative tasks.
5. Use analytics to identify areas for improvement
Data and analytics give you insights into your contact center’s efficiency. By keeping a close watch on your service metrics such as first contact resolution (FCR), average handling time, and content performance, you will be able to identify key areas to improve your service team’s efficiency.
For instance, tracking FCR will help you understand how effective your team and support content are in solving customer problems in the first go. This will reduce your agents’ time to send subsequent follow-ups after the call.
Similarly, a high handling time indicates that certain processes in your service operations aren’t working optimally. This helps you strategize to reduce handling time, including wrap time.
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How effective your agents are at after-call work is just as important as their performance during the call. This is why it is crucial to train and prepare your agents to have a clear direction of what they need to do to wrap up the call quickly and efficiently.
Whether it’s documenting information, writing call summaries, or data entry, ensuring that your agents have access to the right information and tools will enable them to meet their targets efficiently and effectively.