How to improve your agents service levels

Ensuring that your agents give the very best service on each call is a tricky thing to achieve. Tiredness, workload and time issues can all caused some calls to be dealt with in a less than perfect way.

Here are some tips from the Blue Telecoms team to help you get the very best from your staff during every client interaction.

Get your quality control team to take calls

A great way to double check your quality team understand exactly what life is like for an agent is to schedule time for them to take calls each month. By regularly talking to clients, they’ll begin to understand the pressures on call centre agents – ultimately creating plans that genuinely improve customer service levels.

Distill all your messages into one email sent each week

Instead of sending multiple emails to all your staff each week, try to distill everything down into one email that you schedule for the same time every week. Sometimes, agents begin to suffer from “email blindness” – where so many messages are sent each day they begin to ignore them. By reducing the overall amount, you can ensure your agents physically read the communications you send out.

Create regular feedback sessions

Often, it pays to have monthly meetings where all members of staff can give feedback. Sometimes, agents can feel like changes are made that make their daily life harder – rather than easier. They can also feel like their own thoughts and ideas are ignored.

A monthly Q&A gives all your agents the opportunity to tell you what they think and also give helpful ideas. It also helps agents feel like they’re part of the driving force that runs the callcentre, rather than simple staff members.

Reward agents with points, rather than prizes

Rather than offer the same old prizes for good performance, why not offer points that your agents can use and save towards giveaways.

You can then create a system where different prizes are equal to different amounts of points.This often gets a complete buy-in from your agents, as they save their points towards prizes they’ll really enjoy!

Breakout areas do make alot of sense

Instead of outright banning agents from speaking at work, why not give them an area where they can talk, chat and relax? This can help create a community amongst your agents, giving them extra reasons to work hard and stay within your company.

You can also extend this to providing a small “social network” that your agents use internally. We wouldn’t suggest that chat function, as this could lead to chatting – rather than working; however, a more static forum based software will work well.

Feedback of the week!

Sharing feedback from customers is a nice way to show agents how their hard work is appreciated.By running a “feedback competition”, you can encourage agents to give the best service they can on each call.

Commission Rates

Developing Telemarketing Sale Commission Rates

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Business Processing Outsourcing centre, or run an internal sales force – having a well thought out commission structure in place is essential. A good structure makes targets challenging to achieve, yet not so completely difficult that agents give up! The best schemes allow agents to not only hit targets – but drive straight through them and keep going.

At the basic level, there are a number of ways to structure a commission scheme:

  1. By percentage: Decide exactly what level of conversion you require, anything over this level is what’s available to pay as commission to your sales agents. For example, if you break even at 10 sales, then a tiered strategy of offering 5% on all sales up to 10, then 10% for 20, 15% for 30 etc etc might be appropriate.
  2. Money earned: For every £250 worth of new business, agents receive 1.5% of the amount.
  3. Fixed targets: A set target with a set amount of cash for hitting that figure.
  4. Team targets: Encourage agents by setting group targets.

Commission always works well to incentivise your agents to sell; however, the main issue is that money can alter behaviour – making staff focus on the wrong things in search for that bumper payday.

Altering Behaviour

One great example of commission rates creating negative behaviour, is the used to static sales targets. Such a target can create negative behaviour in your sales staff:

  • Good performers, might hit their monthly target early on – before coasting through the remaining days. This means that high performing agents may slack off, ensuring your sales rates lower as time wears on.
  • Some staff, may discover “work arounds” to achieve the sales rate early – leading to clawbacks and refunds/cancellations.
  • Good staff, might find the target too difficult to reach – leading to decent sales staff moving on to easier pastures.

In all these case, you might be better moving to a structure where you pay incrementally. For example, if you break even at 10 sales, then a tiered strategy of offering 5% on all sales up to 10, then 10% for 20, 15% for 30 etc etc:

  • Good performers will keep hitting targets throughout the month – maintaining a healthy sales board for the entire month.
  • Good staff will still hit some targets, helping them to feel better about improving their technique.

In all cases, it’s extremely important that you tie commission payments into the quality of sales produced, not just the volume. If an agent have a higher level of cancellation or clawback – they can have commission payments reduced to match. With a good quality and compliance agenda, you can ensure that quality is always on your agents minds. This has the added bonus of weeding out staff who discover those “workarounds” to achieve targets easily.

By focusing on quality plus quantity, you can ensure that your sales agents not only deliver on revenue – but that the revenue will stick.

Example sales commission structure

An example of a good sales commission structure would be as follows:

  • Any sales achieved over 10 daily will generate £2 in commission for each sale above 10
  • If the team generates 50 sales then the agent gets an extra £0.50 per sale
  • A minimum of 90% or above compliance/quality for each sale generated
  • No higher than 5% cancellation rate

This commission structure allows your agents to hit targets and keep improving, whilst ensuring that only quality sales are generated too.

Getting the best from your outbound campaigns

Getting the best performance from your outbound dialler requires some good planning and constant monitoring. At Blue Telecoms, our team has
many years of experience helping and running telesales call centres – here are some top tips from our tech guys.

Never start a call with automated messages

There was a time, before Answer Machine Detection was a thing, that call centres would use an automated message to try and “screen” human answers that
want to discuss a product and everyone else.

In reality, your contact rate will dramatically lower when you deploy automated messaging. The way around this, is to employ quality Answer Machine Detection and try to route all calls to an agent as quickly as you can.

Always obtain fresh data

There’s nothing more painful than working through a batch of data that’s comprised of deceased people and those who have long since moved. This doesn’t help
when building a good brand image and inevitably leads to regulatory complaints.

For example, we recently received a phone call for the previous owner of our home. We’ve lived in our currently property for 10 years!

Trial progressive dialling to reduce dropped calls

Progressive dialling, is a method that gets rid of the “predictive” nature of automated calls. Sure, it’s a little slower; however, you’ll save yourself the
hassle of dropped calls and also dealing with silent call percentages.

This is massively important when you’re trying to operate a clean and professional sales centre.

Integrate your CRM with your dialler system

Automation is what makes auto diallers so powerful, so it makes sense to expand that automation to your Customer Relationship Management system too.

To achieve this, your software will make use of an (API). This clever function provides a “gateway” for each software to communicate with each other – passing information about leads and customers to each other.

Integrating your dialler and CRM means you could:

  • Update client details automatically
  • Always keep your CRM updated
  • Automate customer follow-ups and administration

It’s not just about CRMs either, you can integrate with web forms, appointment setting tools, email and SMS text messaging.

Always use scripting and improve it over time.

Almost all diallers offer scripting facilities to help keep your agents on message during each call. They’ll also show relevant pages to your agents depending on the campaign or product they’re working within. Once the call is completed, all information will be saved for future calls.

This lowers the amount of training and support that your agents need – as everything they require to know can be displayed on screen.

HLR checking can remove mobiles that don’t work

If your calling list contains mobile numbers, it’s helpful to run that list against a HLR checker to ensure that as many of those numbers are still running.

Unlike landlines, mobile phones are often switched every few years – as contracts run out and newer models come out.

A HLR check, will filter out these older number, ensuring that those left should be contactable.

Dial when you reach your peak connection time

For many industries, there are peak times when your customers will be available to take a call. The basic form of this, is deciphering whether your clients
work, or are homemakers or retired. Armed with this knowledge, you can avoid certain times of the day when your demographic is away from home – focusing on the best time to catch them with time available.

This extends to callbacks too, allocating time during the day to get back in touch with clients who work or have family commitments.

Let your data rest

Sometimes, it’s convenient to churn your older data continuously; however, this can lead to customers avoiding your calls or even marking the number as spam on applications such as HIYA. For this reason, it’s best to adopt the following strategy:

  • Dial on a list for a period of time, for example one working week.
    let the list rest for 4 weeks.
  • Dial the list again.
  • This method, works slower at first; however, you’ll end up getting better contact rates in the long run – helping you get the best bang for your buck on each dataset.

By using all these tips, you should be able to build a long term outbound campaign that works extremely well.

Closing a sale

Telemarketing: Closing with confidence

There comes a point in any sale where it’s appropriate the ask for your clients business. Sometimes, this can scare off many agents who fear offending the customers who they’ve been steadily building rapport with. If you are concerned about sounding pushy whilst on sales calls, there are a number of techniques to use that will help you close the deal – whilst maintaining good relationships. This is something every sales person and company deals with, even at Blue Telecoms when we offer our range of dialler systems.

In this guide

Creating desire

The primary aim for most sales people, is to create a desire in the minds of their customer. To achieve this, we have to give the prospect enough compelling benefits to the product. Sometimes, people confuse the simple features of the product they offer with benefits; however, they’re often completely different things (although one is often derived from the other).

For example, think about a car. For most people, getting from A to B is all they ever want from a vehicle – yet what happens if we look at things from another angle?

  1. Feature – What is it? An extremely cheap new car.
  2. Action – What is does? Allows you to drive from A to B.
  3. Benefits – What can it do for you customer? If you’re not confident about buying a second hand car, why not purchase a completely brand new car for a little more money. You’ll get from A to B safe in the knowledge every part of your vehicle is brand new!

Using this example, why not try and see if you can match a feature of your product with a client desire? The most important thing here, is to ensure you’re matching a feature of your product, with a pain or desire that your client has already.

Making the client say yes

During a sales call, you might not have realised it but many prospects will actively give you hints they’re eager to buy during the call.

  • They agree with almost everything you say, even asking more questions.
  • They’re eager to respond to your questions.
  • Their tone of voice is upbeat and happy.
  • When they ask questions, they keep it specific.
  • They want to know more, especially if they’re beginning to handle their own objections.

You can listen out for these queues on every sales call you make. Ultimately, if you can pick up on these subtle hints, you’ll become better at building rapport.

Expect to hear a yes!

Sometimes, you may find yourself constantly talking during a sales call; however, it’s often helpful to simply ask your customer if they’d like to go ahead. It’s important that after you pose the close question, you stay silent to allow the customer to respond. Occasionally, you will find prospects who are sold on the product you’re selling – they wish you’d just cut to the chase!

Simple closing techniques

Alternative – This technique attempts to offer two competing options for the customer.

“So would you prefer our Pay as you go or unlimited package?”

Why it works? Helps a customer to make a final closing choice.

Informational – Try to present the packages in an informational, low key way before recommending an option.

“Our standard package is £100 and our upgraded pack is £150. Looking at your usage, you would be better looking at our upgraded pack.”

Why it works? Helpful within industries that require you to be factual and clear, such as insurance. You’re still helping to nudge the client towards a final decision though.

Assuming the sale – You’re confident you’ve covered everything. The product is just right for the client, they just need to sign.

“This package is just right for you, so the next step is to order. Would you like to do this now?”

Why it works? You might have already pick up on your clients eagerness to proceed. Rapport is strong and you feel the client could close quickly.

Summarising – Summarise everything discussed, before asking if it’s okay to proceed.

“From what you’ve said, our premium option is exactly what you need. Would you like to go ahead?”

Closing behaviour

When looking to close on your prospect, it’s important to get your words and the way you present them perfect!

  • Try to match the level of voice used by your customer.
  • Do allow pauses for your client to have their say.
  • Try to match the pace your client is using.
  • Vary the tone of your voice so that you sound invested in the conversation.
  • Allow time to breath.
  • Avoid the use of jargon.
  • Try to keep sentence short and avoid lengthy speeches.

How to offer telesales agents positive and constructive feedback

Retention of telesales staff is extremely hard, especially if you operate in a town with many competing call centres all looking for the best sales staff.

This becomes even more difficult when you need to engage your agents in feedback, as not everything you say will be positive. Even so, there are ways to give your
agents negative feedback, whilst still making them feel positive about the changes they might need to make.

In this article, we’ll explore the tools and techniques we use everyday at Blue Telecoms to improve our agents and help them grow.

Conversations about improvement should always be positive

This is by far the most important step and often one that many call centres miss completely. Some telesales managers adopt a “rough” approach to almost any conversation they have
with their staff; working for the most part, yet alienating those who genuinely want to build their skills.

By framing your conversations in a completely upbeat and positive way, you’ll shift from making feedback a worrying and emotional activity to a happy and constructive one.

It’s always important to explain what you’d like to get out of a conversation first. This way, you can avoid any worry caused by feedback and also get the agents confidence that
they’ll be helped to improve in any way they can.

To do this, we tend to start with the positives first. All agents have positive things they bring to the table and it’s always better to start here first. By starting positive, you’ll
make your agent feel more confident in any improvements you may need them to work on.

Always be specific

This is a tricky task to achieve, as being specific can often come across as an accusation to your agents.

The best way to counter this, is to explain what you believe might be happening – yet leaving it open enough for the agent to have input too.

For example: “I’ve noticed your sales have been lower recently and you seem a little distracted and worried. Is there anything you’d like me to help you with?”

By using phrasing that doesn’t sound accusatory, your agent will feel more at ease with explaining the reasons why. For the most part, these issues can be solved with extra training or other minor alterations.

Whatever is required to resolve the issues, you’ve started on the right path – making your agent feel happier and involved in your process.

Help the agent discover the solution on their own

The very best floor managers, help agents discover their own weak points – before assisting them with ways to work through them.

Sometimes, this can be difficult depending on the person you’re dealing with; However, for the most part your agents will probably have a good idea of what they might need to succeed.

If your agent feels stuck, you can offer a range of ideas yourself and/or give them a little time to thing on their own.

Always agree on what happens next

The most important part of feedback isn’t the process itself, but the destination it leads to. Hopefully, that’s a better place where your agent has learned something new and their performance
has been improved. Whatever happens, it’s important not to stop the process too early as agents will often drift back into their old routine.

Keep things positive and always follow up!

10 ways to improve call centre morale

Team morale within call centres is hugely important. If you get it right, you’ll lower the rate of sickness, boost productivity and also lower the rate that agents move onto other roles.

Here at Blue Telecoms, we take the morale of our agents quite seriously. Here are some top ideas that our agents, team leaders and managers have all used to add a splash of colour to the working week.

1. The tea/coffee run

During quieter periods of the day, we frequently allow agents to go and make a cup of tea. Frequently, this results in one person doing the tea run – with orders!

On the surface, this sounds silly and a waste of time; however, call centre work can often be quite isolating – as agents log into their systems and typically don’t stop until they go home. The tea run, results in a moment of team bonding and general chatter.

2. Always display photos or posters from recent fun events

Call centre parties are always the best parties. That’s why it’s always great to celebrate the times your team spent together outside the 9 to 5. Whether you display photos on a wall or even use a projector screen – you’ll give a smile to each and every agent who remembers the good times had by all.

3. Fundraise for charity

This is more popular now, but it wasn’t always this way. Getting your team involved in fundraising activities is a great way to energise your agents, whilst helping a worthy cause.

Another top tip, if you discover a cause most of your agents love – you’ll multiply the positive effect ten-fold!

4. Run a table football league in your break-out room

I know, it’s becoming a huge cliche for employers who offer a football table in the break-out room. That’s why it’s important to actually do something with the amenities you offer to your employees.

By introducing a football league, you’ll give a subset of your agents something to bond together over – forming relationships that will become useful over time.

You’ll get extra bonus points for setting up a blackboard to keep track of the statistics and scores!

5. Snacks

Okay, we understand that unhealthy snacks are frowned upon; however, we’ve found that offering a cheap “tuck shop” on-site actually keeps agents perky throughout the day. You don’t need to offer a diet of chocolate and chips either – healthier options can be sold for those who like a healthy pick me up.

6. Create variety in each day

Call centre work by its very nature is static and often repetitive. Both of these elements can cause mental health issues and ultimately result in good team members moving onto new roles.

By trying to improve the variety of work and daily duties for your staff, you’ll help them find more joy in their daily grind.

7. Prizes, lots of prizes!

When you run competitions, don’t simply jump to a prize with a cash value. Often, prizes that have some sentimental value can make your agents feel great! Our top picks are managerial parking spaces, time off or other office perks that agents rarely get to experience.

8. Theme days

Call centre agents can be a crazy bunch, which is why we tend to embrace the crazy and run fully themed days.

From dressing up to dying your hair a crazy colour – make the days as creative as you can.

8. Always plan for off phone time

We understand that shrinkage is a perennial issue; however, please do acknowledge that your best agents need a little time each day to come away from the phone and decompress.

They will thank you in terms of higher productivity overall and fewer sick days/absenteeism.

9. Group walks

An extremely powerful way for agents to get to know each other, is for them to take a walk on their lunch break. A team leader can be appointed to run these events, whilst your planning team should consider the agents who would like to attend them.

10. Create a career for your agents

Life can be tough for a call centre agent. The job is typically viewed as low end from outside the industry, with many agents looking to move on to better roles once they have their experience earned.

To combat this, it’s a great idea to show and demonstrate how agents can move up the career ladder if they work hard. You’ll retain your good staff members and also boost their productivity – particularly if they feel their good work will pay off.


There are a multitude of ways to make your agents work life happier, healthier and more enjoyable. By doing so you’ll cultivate a team that wants work for you, reducing shrinkage and staff loses

Top tips for increasing telesales conversions

The majority of call centres focus on complaint handling, empathy and seeing things from a “customer service” angle. However, the best call centres always focus on selling products, even if their remit is to offer service.

In this article, we’ll explore what these companies do differently and how you can boost your sales capabilities:

1. Spend one more day on sales training

The easiest way to make agents “think sales”, is to increase the amount of sales training given during the induction process. Many companies only allocate a small portion of their induction training to sales skills. By improving this, you’ll be creating an atmosphere where agents are expected to be good sellers, not just service agents.

2. Hire more sales focused staff overall

By hiring more sales focused staff, you’ll benefit from all members of your service team being capable of selling where appropriate. Sales focused staff are almost always great at offering service; however, traditional customer service staff often hate having to sell a product.

3. Improve the recruitment process

Make sure that your recruiters, both internal and external are aware that you require both customer service and great sales technique. Some recruiters still differentiate between sales and customer service, partly because it’s easy to “scare off” potential candidates by mentioning the word “telesales”. By ensuring that your recruiters understand exactly what you require, they’ll be able to get you the correct candidate.

4. Patience is a virtue

It takes an amount of time to completely switch a call centre from fully service to sales orientated. Easy wins will happen quite early on; however, don’t panic if it takes a little time for your changes to bed in.

5. Always test new ideas and campaigns

When testing new sales campaigns, always use a large group of agents as your test bed. It’s always a good idea to create a dedicated testing team for these campaigns too, helping you to quickly establish what’s working and what’s not.

6. Sales transfers

If you do incorporate a transfer process for new sales leads, do ensure that you’ve enough agents to take the calls on the other end. There’s nothing worse than a client agreeing to take a new product, before being asked to hold for a few minutes before purchasing it.

7. Rank hot transfers higher than call backs

An immediate transfer to a sales agent will always convert higher than a call-back. For this reason, it’s always better to weight transfer higher than call-backs.

8. Determine up-front the level of qualification required

This will reduce the potential for animosity between sales and customer service staff over the quality of staff being transferred.

9. Include managers and team leaders in sales training

Include team leaders in agent training sessions, as well as providing separate training for team leaders. This makes it easier for them to reinforce learning as they have witnessed reactions to training of new techniques and can formulate the best ways to deal with these reactions in their normal working environment.

11. Communicate well

Not all agents will be pleased to be included in “sales training”. That’s why it’s important to always communicate why changes are being made and how they’ll improve things moving forward. By doing this, you can bring on board your agents and make them feel more enthusiastic about any training.

Writing the perfect telemarketing script

Agent scripts are used in roughly half of all call centres. When done correctly, no customer ever guesses that their call is being subtly guided; however, getting it wrong leads to fewer sales, more complaints and increased calls – as clients aren’t dealt with properly at the start.

With this in mind, how can we create the best script possible for a call centre? Here is the Blue Telecoms guide to creating a structure and language that works perfectly for what you’re trying to achieve.

Why even use scripts in telesales and customer service?

Many good cases exist for not using scripts at all. There are arguments that forcing agents to stick within a script may stop them thinking for themselves, whilst there’s always the dreaded “robot voice”, which customers hate with a passion!

Thankfully, call centre scripting has come along way, becoming far more advanced in style and structure. In the modern era, good scripts will go largely unnoticed by customers and allow agents just enough room to “breath” – letting them go off track when required.

It’s probably for this very reason, that in past decade the percentage of call centres using scripting has increased steadily.

Call Centres Using Scripts

Creating a good script, that keeps your agents on track without stifling conversation is easier said than done. To help get you started, here’s some advice from our boffins at Blue Telecoms.

Match what the client wants against your solution

The first thing to do when creating any script, is to consider all the different queries and objections clients might have – before pairing them with a suitable answer. For some questions, you’ll need just one suitable answer, whilst other more challenging queries may need an answer for each use case/target group.

To make this easier, it’s best to use a whiteboard or flip chart – creating a matrix of questions and associated answers. Once you start to connect questions and answers, you’ll start to build a script that works.

At the beginning, you’re not trying to add in every minute piece of detail – this gets added later on. For the moment, we’re just focused on allocating as many conversations their own path through the script. Your script should also allow for a response to any type of query – allowing the agent to easily stay within the company message/branding.

Tips to help you with script mapping

1. Objectives

Define exactly what the objective of the script is before anything else:

– Who will the advisor be talking to?
– What is likely to be their thought pattern when making or receiving a call?
– What is the key outcome required? (i.e. to generate fundraising, to raise awareness, to develop future selling opportunities?)

2. Data

Determine just how much data your agents will need to complete each request. With Blue Telecoms, you can control exactly what your agents see with each call.

3. Experience level

Are your agents new users who’ll need guidance? Or are they seasoned professionals who will be able to converse on their own terms. The latter will lead to a far more paired down script, as you’ll be depending on your agents to lead the call in the way they know best.

After this initial period, you’ll be ready to start thinking about the language and structure of each piece of the script.

Building The Detail Up

Now we’ve created a map of customer queries and solutions, let’s start to think about how the script will look in practice.

Make It Quick to Read

Make your script easy to follow by using fonts, colours and lists to create a flow. It’s also important to decide on a theme or branding for the script at the start – so everything is standardised.

It’s also extremely important to write each part of the script in easy to read chunks. Short paragraphs and simple sentences that can be read at a glance.

Always remember, that the script shouldn’t be a rigid cage for agents – but rather a framework they use to gently guide the call to its natural conclusion. For this reason, helpful theming and use of lists and bullet points will help your agents to gauge the important parts to mention.


Your script should always be thought of as something that flows from beginning to end. To aid in this, flowcharts are extremely useful to visualise what happens during any type of call.

By thinking of your script as a fluid entity, you’ll automatically start thinking about how to make it flow even faster. This helps keep your ACD as low as possible, whilst ensuring your customers end the call feeling satisfied.

Call Script Flow Chart

Cross and Up-selling opportunities

Telemarketing companies will already be thinking about this; however, more traditional customer service centres may not be so quick to take advantage of natural areas that up-selling and cross promotion could work.

Scripts can be used in multiple ways for up-selling, from allowing agents to see past orders, to frequent updates where the business is trying to marketing new products.

Define Call-to-Action Points

In telesales, there are always natural points where your agents will want to nudge the caller towards a certain action, whether that be to pay for an item, agree to submit their details for a lead or be transferred to another agent.

Remember to define call-to-action points. Let the customer know throughout the script what they can actually respond to and therefore buy from you.

Use of language

Sometimes, it can be tricky to decide what language to use for your call structure. Here are some tips on how to make the right choice:

Write the script in spoken English first.

When writing your script, try to get in the mindset of someone speaking – rather than reading your script. Try to avoid long paragraphs that might make your agents sound robotic, whilst also removing anything that’s not important.

Sometimes, it will take a number of drafts before you happen upon the perfectly version. Don’t be scared to experiment with each version, attempting to shorten each sentence without loosing its meaning.

You should also avoid long greetings. Try to make them short and easy to understand – identifying who the agent works for, their name before starting the guts of the call. For outsourced centres, omitting a good morning or evening is a good idea too – as you may be speaking outside of your timezone.


The acid test on deciding if your script genuinely flows, is to role-play it with your agents. It’s also a great opportunity to discover how your script will play out in real life.

Even when you’ve settled on a final draft for your script, allowing your agents some time to learn and role-play the script will help make its adoption easier.

Continuos Improvement

Now you’ve written and tested the script, it’s no time to leave it settle! Even the most perfect script in the history of scripting can improved over time – small tweaks building up to something extremely good.

Don’t worry about getting the perfect script from day one, because you can always get good feedback from your staff and with modern scripting tools you can amend flows and content very quickly.


A good customer service script will go unnoticed by customers and will help save resources in training advisors. However, it may cause a decrease in advisor empowerment and engagement, so it’s important to think of other ways to boost advisor satisfaction during and after its implementation.

To start writing a script, match each query with a solution(s) and assess the journey behind each query, so you can gain an understanding of the mindset of customers phoning in. This process will give you most of the information needed for a script.

Then, consider your script’s structure. Make sure it is easy to read, include visuals (like flowcharts) and build in FAQs.

The script should also use text written in spoken and not written language, with important instructions highlighted to reinforce that, while the script is generally just a guideline, this part must be read out loud.

Finally, improve the script over time, using advisor feedback and adding any new queries that may come about with the launch of a new product/service.

Calculating Erlang, Drop Rates and Call Centre Service Levels

This this post, we’re going to look at methods, formulas and ways to calculate service levels in your call centre. For the most part, it’s quite easy to calculate everything; however, it’s often difficult to get your measurements correct!

The Service Level Formula

Service Level Percentage

Once you’ve input all the numbers, this formula will then give you a service level percentage.

For example, if your company has answered 100 calls within your service threshold of 20 seconds, whilst answering 125 overall – then your overall Service level is 80%.

Service Level With Figures

Working Out How Many Staff You Need

Working out how many agents you need in your call centre is easy; however, putting everything together without making small errors is a tough job!

In essence, there are a number of figures you need to gather first. Once this is done, we can start to put everything together and get the result you need.

1. Work out the number of calls that come in.

The first figure to start with, is how many calls are coming into your centre. It’s always best to start with a weekly figure, before moving into daily stats and ultimately hourly stats – depending on the granular control you require.

If you’re a Blue Telecoms customer, you should be able to compile this information easily by using the “Inbound Report” within your management interface.

Our advice, is to take a broad view of daily volumes for an entire month. By viewing such a large volume of data, you’ll be able to spot patterns in your daily calls too.

2. Work out the number of calls every hour.

To get your hourly figures, you can do one of two things:

  • Adjust your inbound report until you get hourly stats (Available in Blue Telecoms Legacy)
  • Divide your daily total, by the opening hours of your call centre. Read below for a warning!

Warning: The first option, is almost always better than simply dividing the daily rate. Most companies receive a higher volume of calls at different times of the day, depending on the client base, product offered and external variables. For this reason, simply dividing the daily rate by number of hours can potentially leave you understaffed at certain times of the day.

For this reason, we suggest using your PBX, dialler software or ACD system to obtain the exact stats.

3. Obtain your average handling, wrap up and disposition time

Average Handling Time (AHT), is basically the addition of Average Call Duration + Average Wrap Up Time.

4. Decide what your service level should be

For most call centres, the aim is to answer inbound calls within 20 seconds – 80% of the time. This becomes even more information in telesales operations, as Ofcom regulate the percentage of abandoned and dropped calls.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide exactly how quickly you want calls answered – without employing too many agents for that task at hand.

5. Call centre shrinkage

Shrinkage, comes from an old retail idea that not all the product within a shop can be sold at a profit. Some goods are spoiled, some can be stolen and others can be damaged – all leading to stock that’s unprofitable.

In the call centre world, shrinkage relates to time that agents should be available to take calls, but can’t for whatever reason. Agent shrinkage can happen for a multitude of reasons including holidays, sickness and toilet breaks.

For many call centre owners, calculating shrinkage is a heartbreaking part of this process; however, it’s always best to factor in some level of shrinkage so that your statistics show the true values.

Call Centre Helper have a handy guide to calculating your shrinkage here.

6. Use an Erlang Calculator

Now that you have the following:

  • Incoming volume of calls
  • The tested period
  • Average Handling Time (AHT)
  • The Service Level
  • Target Answer Time
  • Shrinkage

You can use an Erlang calculator to get your figures. Here are two calculators which do the job for free:

Answer Phone

What is Answer Machine Detection (AMD)

Almost every telephony and dialler system offers some flavour of Answer Machine Detection. In the call centre world, a properly working AMD system can seem like gold dust – especially if yours is less than stellar!

In a world packed with mobile phone subscribers and diminishing land line usage – call centres have to handle lots of answering machines on a daily basis.

If only there was a magic bullet that could solve all these issues…

So how does answer machine detection work?

The first thing to understand about answer machine detection, is that there’s no system in the world that’s 100% effective. Sure, many companies get incredibly close – including our boffins at Blue Telecoms. Even so, you’ll never find 100% of them.

With this in mind, let’s take an average answer machine message and discover how AMD works in action.

“Hi, you’ve reached the home of Lucy and James. We are out for the moment, so please leave a message after the beep”.

After this short message, the answering machine will then wait.

Answer machine detection works by attempting to find telephone numbers that are answered with a lengthy message, followed by silence. Most human beings, tend to answer the phone with a short “Hello” or occasionally the number eg: “Hello 456789”.

The AMD algorithm tries to detect answerphone messages that match these longer parameters, assigning them the status of Answer Phone. This is great; however, there are many things that throw this algorithm off course:

– Country specific systems (USA AMD won’t play well in the UK and vice versa).
– Different mobile/landline networks deal with answerphones in different ways.
– Call quality can have an impact too.
– Some answerphones have quite short greetings.

Detection time

The next problem for AMD, is that the algorithm has to listen to the customers greeting before deciding what to do. This means that when a customer answers, the agent will miss the first few seconds of the call.

Thankfully, AMD systems like the one we offer at Blue Telecoms have minimised this wait to a second or two; however, not all AMD systems are as good as this.

If your detection system is taking too long to detect answer phones, bring this up with your tech support team!

What are the alternatives

– Try an alternative AMD system.

If you’re not getting great results with your current dialler, it’s always worth trialling another product for a short period. At Blue Telecoms, we offer free trials for anyone who’s suffering from dialler woes!

– Don’t use AMD

If you really want to make 100% use of your data, it’s worth switching AMD off to see what mileage your agents get. This is even more important when you’re paying per individual lead – such as internet marketing and hot key leads.

It’s also possible to try and gauge when your target audience will be home to answer the phone. This minimises the amount of answer machines your agents will have to deal with.

Whatever you decide, give our tech team a call on 0333 444 555 8 – even if you’re not a current client!