Call centre audits can be a great way to gain some real and useful insights into how to improve your customer facing operations. This post lets you in on what they are and how to run one effectively.
What is a Call Centre audit?
It is a methodical examination carried out to identify areas for improvement in the current call centre operations.
A properly executed audit will identify areas of opportunity for the business, and the environment, including its strengths, and weaknesses. It will also bench mark results against best practice organisations and identify gaps.
Audit reports (produced as an outcome of the process) are excellent tools that can be used to provide transparency for businesses wishing to understand what they may be doing well, verses where there are opportunities for improvement.
They can also aid the business to make future decisions about the Call Centre environment in regards to strategy and structure changes.
Most Call Centre audits are carried out by a neutral third party (external consultant). The benefits of involving an external consultant are many, including being able to be subjective about the review and environment, having considerable expertise, and being able to offer comparisons against other best practice organisations.
Why do a Call Centre audit?
There are many reasons but they fall into two categories: “general audits” (covering the majority of categories as listed below) or “specific audits” (which cover off on one or a group of the listed categories)
Categories for audit purpose may include:-
- Performance improvement :- covering, service objectives and performance, effectiveness, efficiencies, and maximising existing services
- Status reporting :- auditing the metrics and data being published by the Call Centre
- Opportunity identification :- General and specific
- Weakness identification:- General and specific
- Gap identification:- General and specific
- Aid decision making :- strategy and structure changes, takeovers/mergers, shift or changes in Markets etc
- Technology and configuration opportunities
- Compliance and Quality opportunities
- Management/ staff capability and success
- Implementing new business initiatives
- Identification of opportunities within interdependencies
- Identification of risk factors
How do I plan for and have a Call Centre audit conducted?
Effective planning and good execution is paramount to success and the benefits to be gained by the process.
The main points to consider are:-
- Setting a clearly defined purpose and objective
- Setting specific timelines, milestones and Work in progress reviews
- Understanding the payback on the investment from the process
- Understanding the lost opportunity costs of NOT doing the audit
- Deciding on the type: specific or general
- Ensuring you have the appropriate resourcing and internal contacts for success
- Ensuring that there are sponsors and stakeholders assigned to the audit so it is taken seriously within the business
- Where possible ensuring that the audit is endorsed and conducted by your business as an open “win, win” situation
- Ensuring that the audit outcomes are aligned to the business needs
- Engaging experts to facilitate the audit process ensuring an objective review and outcomes.
How do I evaluate the findings?
The key that turns the lock to a successful Call Centre audit is the ease of being able to understand and use the audit findings for the success of your business.
The three must haves in audit reports are:-
- A “Gap Analysis” component
- Measurements against best practice
- Detailed recommendations for the business/call centre for initiatives that will make a difference and have been quantified
And things to be aware of in audit reports are:-
- Motherhood statements with no substantiation via data
- General recommendations without specific, detailed, measurable, outcomes
Why should I do it?
It’s really more a question of why you shouldn’t do it!
Audits generate vast amounts of awareness around the call centre within a the business and can be utilised as a great catalysis for improvement, change, and accountability.
Good audits are like a “pot of gold” by providing a vista of information including:-
- Telling it like it is by providing a “roses and weeds” look at your Call Centre
- Acknowledging interdependent relationships and associated opportunities
- Identifying Management and staff capabilities and opportunities
- Tabling gaps and opportunities (specific and general) for improvement
- Suggesting payback initiatives to increase revenue opportunities and reduce costs
- Suggesting performance enhancement initiatives to improve effectiveness and efficiencies of current workings
- Vindicating Call Centre reporting and metrics
- Recommending strategy and structure changes etc
- Suggesting technology and configuration opportunities
- Suggesting Compliance and Quality opportunities
- Ensuring the successful implementation of new business initiatives
- Identifying risk factors and initiatives to combat them