Every agent knows that ending a call with "Thank you for calling" is just the beginning. Some work has to be done after all customer interactions before beginning the next call.
For example, if a customer calls an insurance company to process a claim, an agent must create the claim and finish other post-call tasks.
This work that call center agents have to put in after each call is essential for each customer interaction to end on a positive note. The time spent on such tasks also impacts agent performance.
In this blog, we'll look at the vital role of after-call work and its importance in customer service.
What is After Call Work (ACW)?
After call work (ACW) refers to a set of tasks that customer service agents do after each customer call. These ACW tasks include updating the CRM and scheduling follow-up actions.
While the nature of these ACW tasks and the time spent on them vary from industry to industry, let's look at the importance of after call work.
Why is After Call Work Important?
After call work helps agents to schedule follow-up tasks and improve contact center productivity. Let's look at the importance of after call work in detail.
1. Reduce follow-up Time
When call center agents assign follow-up tasks as part of their after call work tasks, it becomes easier to ensure that customers receive a follow-up at the right time.
2. Improve agent efficiency
When agents update details on the CRM after each call, it becomes easier for the next agent who interacts with the customer to know what has happened in previous interactions. This helps agents to resolve each customer query in a swift manner.
3. Time for feedback
When supervisors monitor certain agent-customer interactions, this is a good time to give the agent quick feedback on their performance.
4. Increase customer satisfaction
While customers are unaware of these tasks, call centers that follow these tasks after each call can see a significant improvement in customer satisfaction. When scheduling follow-ups and CRM updation happens frequently, it becomes easier to solve every customer query.
Now that we've seen the importance of after call work, let's look at the different steps that are part of ACW.
Results first, payment later.
What are the Steps of the ACW Process?
The complete ACW process can be divided into major 5 steps. Let's look at what they are.
1. Create notes and call summaries
The after call tasks begin by creating call notes. Based on this, the agent has to create a call summary.
Agents can use this as a referral point to understand what happened in the previous call with the customer.
2. Do required actions
An agent will need to forward customer information to the next team in case of queries where the customer's query is still unresolved. All of this post-call work is done here.
3. Assign follow-ups
Not every customer's query is resolved in a single call. Sometimes multiple phone calls need to be made.
Agents assign the follow-up call to someone else or schedule it to be taken by themself. Instead of forcing customers to call back on their own, this helps customers to receive timely updates on their queries.
4. Update the CRM
Once the call summaries are made, it is time to update customer information in the CRM. Any new information about the customer is added there.
5. Evaluate customer feedback
Continuous feedback from customers helps in improving agent performance. All customer feedback given during the call needs to be evaluated to see what can be improved.
Doing all the tasks to complete ACW can see all the impacts mentioned earlier. But what happens when call centers skip after call work?
What is the Impact of Skipping ACW?
Despite the amount of time taken in these post-call workflows, there are major impacts to call center efficiency when they're skipped. Here are some of them.
1. Disrupt customer experience
When a call center neglects after call work by leaving customer records incomplete, it can impact customer experience the next time they request support.
Agents will be unaware of the latest updates regarding the customer, which results in long hold times, making it a negative experience for the customer.
2. Increased average handling time
When agents are unaware of the status of customer requests, it becomes difficult for them to provide the necessary support. Agents need to take time to figure out what happened during the previous call and put the customer on hold.
All of this can lead to an increase in the average handling time of all incoming calls.
3. Problems in follow-up calls
When follow-ups with the customer aren't scheduled, customers are forced to call back to get updates on their support requests. Increasing customer effort can impact customer satisfaction metrics.
Now that we've seen the impact of neglecting post-call processing, let's look at how to reduce after call work in your call center.
How to Reduce After Call Work in Your Call Center?
Despite after call work being an important part of agent performance, call centers should try to reduce the amount of time agents spend on ACW. Let's look at some ways to increase operational efficiency and help agents focus on core tasks.
1. Set up ACW standards
The amount of time required for after call work is not predefined. It varies from industry to industry and depends on the type of customer conversation.
The first step to streamline after call work is by defining standards like ACW time. While these standards are being set, all repetitive and unnecessary tasks must be removed from the way ACW is done.
2. Implement automation in your call center
Instead of relying on agents to do everything on their own, it is better to use call center software to avoid repetitive tasks.
Using tools with contact center AI can eliminate redundant workflows.
1. Call summarization
Contact center software leverages technology such as artificial intelligence and natural language understanding. This allows for detailed note-taking and call notes based on call transcripts.
This helps agents understand the key features of each call, along with corresponding feedback.
2. Scheduling follow-ups
Latest advancements in contact center technology have allowed agents to see the next steps based on each call. Apart from seeing these steps, they can also understand how satisfied a customer was with a CSAT score.
3. Recording call data
Irrespective of the call duration, contact center tools with the latest technology can easily summarize the call and record all relevant data.
3. Create reusable templates
Instead of making agents update information in the CRM on their own format, creating a reusable template will help reduce the amount of time on after call work.
4. Incorporate agent feedback
Apart from considering customer concerns and feedback, team leaders should also consider feedback from agents. Since they deal with many customers daily, they also have insights that can be used to improve experience delivery.
5. Conduct training to handle data better
Agents should have frequent training sessions to handle data better. Creating a knowledge base will help agents to have certain documented standards they can refer to whenever needed.
When a call center implements all these methods, it is easy to see increased agent productivity and happy customers. Using the right call center software can help you see major improvements in your contact center.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long should after call work take?
The time spent for after call work (ACW) is dependent on the industry and the kind of customer interactions happening in your call center.
2. How can I reduce my(agent) after call work?
Using the right contact center software and removing redundant processes will help your agents reduce their after call work.