What is after call work and how it can be improved?

After call work

What is After-call work?

After call work or ACW refers to the work/tasks a call center agent/customer service representative performs after their call with a customer. Most often, if not always after call work involves one of the following tasks:

– Updating the customer query / complaint status in a CRM / support desk

– Setting up follow up tasks

– Communicating with other departments / agents wherever necessary

– Post call communication with the customer regarding their call

– Updating call notes and other customer details in the CRM 

It is important to note that after call work is a key metric for call centers as it contributes to one of the most important metric / KPI for a call center – Average handle time. Although the customer is not involved at this stage, since ACW is a result of the customer interaction, it is included in the in AHT (Average Handle Time). In short, if one can reduce the ACW, it ultimately helps in reducing the average handle time. We will talk more about this in the following sections.

While agents are performing after call work, they tend to make themselves unavailable for incoming calls. Post completion of the ACW is when they are available again for handling customer calls.

How Can You Reduce After-Call Work?

In order to reduce or improve after call work, call centres should ensure the following:

1. Training and coaching agents;  In order to reduce time spent on after call work, the most important factor to keep in mind is to ensure that agents / front desks are trained. When training, focus on the following i

  • Software training: They are well versed with the call center/VOIP Software and other business tools. This helps avoiding too much spent on navigating between platforms, finding information. Ensure they know the ins and outs of your business tools before they are on the floor handling customers on the phones.
  • Listening skills: This is one of the most important skills to train your agents on but often overlooked. Being a good listener helps ensure agents are;
    • Taking notes effectively
    • Understanding the end users needs
    • Looking up the right information in the knowledge base
    • Asking the right questions and right people for help
  • Context and expectation: It is important to let the call center agents/ front desk to know that their performance is measure on their productivity and how many calls they handle and not how much time they spend on after call work. Ensure your agents and you are on the same page.

2. Detailed note taking and disposition:

It is extremely important to ensure agents/ front desk are taking notes meticulously. A simple manual error in note taking can cause confusion between team members and lead to increased ACW (after call work). An extension of detailed notes are dispositions. A lot of times agents have the freedom to add any disposition to a call as a follow up. This can lead to various problems like:

  • Misinterpretation of information
  • Impossible to analyze information

The best way to dispose of calls is to have well defined dispositions like below. Leaving this to agents can potentially create a difficult situation for other agents / front desk teams:

PT = Patient

DOB = Date of Birth

INS = Insurance

CNCL = Cancel

AUTH = Authorize

The bulk of the time spent completing after call work is on updating practice management softwares, databases, call center software, CRM, helpdesk with the same customer information from the interaction. This is a significant reason for after call work hitting the roof in terms of number.

3. Integration with your business software:

Therefore, eliminate the entering of information into multiple systems (EHR, PMS, Call Center Software) by utilizing call center software that integrates all of your business tools. When your agent or your frontdesk updates information in one platform (e.g. your calling software), all integrated platforms will be updated as well. The most important aspect is that it ensures real time metrics, call conversion ratios and more.

Automate Tasks:

  • In continuation to integrating your calling software with your business tools, it is important to focus on automation. Not only will automating tasks reduce after call work, it will also reduce the chances of error and make sure that all business tools talk to each other and have updated information. Here are some examples of tasks that can be automated:
    • Missed calls: A platform like Emitrr can completely automate your missed calls. Traditional softwares simply record a voicemail or create a task in your CRM about a call being missed, but thats not sufficient. With Emitrr, call centers and front desk dont need to follow up with missed calls. Emitrr’s proprietary software automatically answers missed calls with artificial intelligence and integrates with your CRM/PMS/EHR.
    • When a new contact/patient/customer calls, create a new contact in your CRM
    • Log metrics in real time, add call log, recording, disposition and others

What are the benefits of tracking after-call work time?

One of the key ways to improve your call center productivity is to track metrics. Metrics help make objective decisions and help avoid subjective hypotheses. A productive call center always tracks after-call work. Below are the benefits of tracking after call work

Reduced customer wait time: If your after call work is reduced, it results in reduced missed and abandoned calls as it directly reduces the customer wait times. Agents cant answer phone calls while performing tasks, resulting in high wait time. This is why reducing after call work is one of the key ways to reduce missed and abandoned calls or simply put customer wait times.

Improving agent performance: Less time on after call work is equal to productive agents and a happier customer. 

Operation cost benefits: Reducing ACW leads to reduced operational costs by avoiding redundant and repetitive work. This saves time for everyone on the team and saves costs.

How Long Does After-Call Work Usually Take?

There is no standard amount of time that should be allotted for ACW because the circumstances of every call center are different. As a general rule of thumb, after-call work should be as short as possible while still allowing for accurate completion of after-call tasks. This helps in further improving an extremely important metrics call AHT (Average Handle Time) as AHT is directly proportional to after-call work.

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