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The Ins and Outs of Call Centers

man in headset using a laptop

My name is Peter and I've been working in call centers for over 15 years. In that time, I've seen a lot of changes in the industry and how call centers operate. One company that has been at the forefront of call center innovation is AT&T.

As a supervisor at a solar call center, I'm always interested in learning about successful call center strategies and AT&T is one of the best.

AT&T Call Center Strategies

AT&T operates hundreds of call centers supporting customers across the country. With so many customers relying on their services from mobile to internet to digital TV, having effective call centers is crucial. AT&T call centers handle millions of calls each year and employ thousands of agents. So how does AT&T ensure their call centers run efficiently? Here are some of the factors that contribute to their success.

State-of-the-Art Technology

One of the hallmarks of AT&T call centers is their use of advanced technology. AT&T call centers utilize predictive dialing, computer telephony integration (CTI), speech analytics, and customer relations management (CRM) platforms. These technologies allow AT&T to route calls intelligently, capture call information, analyze interactions, and access customer data seamlessly.

Agents use headsets with real-time call tracking software. Supervisors have access to dashboards showing call volume, wait times, adherence monitoring, and more. This technology allows managers to monitor performance and make adjustments on the fly. The right tech is essential for handling high call volumes efficiently.

Ongoing Training and Quality Assurance

With thousands of products and services, AT&T call center agents need to stay up-to-date on a vast amount of information. AT&T provides regular product training and refresher courses to ensure agents can address customer needs. Training focuses on both hard skills like system knowledge as well as soft skills such as communication, empathy, and problem-solving.

Quality assurance is another major focus. Calls are recorded and evaluated by QA specialists to provide feedback to agents. Scorecards track first call resolution, customer satisfaction, compliance, and other metrics. This focus on continuous learning helps agents handle the most complex issues that come their way.

Multiple Call Center Locations

Operating so many call centers from one location would be an epic fail. That's why AT&T runs call centers from multiple strategic geographic locations. From Texas to Florida to the Midwest and beyond, AT&T locates call centers near talent pools and close to customers. This allows them to staff centers regionally and handle overflow call routing between locations.

Multisite operations require coordination between centers for training, reporting, staffing, and more. AT&T has optimized processes for managing call centers spread across states and time zones. The result is flexibility and scalability that a single-site setup just can't provide.

Rigorous Hiring and Retention Efforts

Staffing large call centers starts with hiring the right agents. AT&T partners with local employment agencies and invests a lot in the screening process. Candidates are evaluated on technical aptitude, communication abilities, customer focus, and cultural fit. The best agents have empathy, problem-solving skills, and the ability to deal with stress.

Once hired, AT&T focuses heavily on agent satisfaction and retention. From competitive pay and benefits to wellness programs and tuition assistance, they provide a great support system. Happy agents lead to happy customers. Keeping turnover low ensures a qualified, experienced team equipped to handle the biggest challenges.

Sophisticated Forecasting and Scheduling

Efficient scheduling can make or break a call center. Without the right staffing levels, queues get long and customers frustrated. AT&T uses predictive analytics to forecast call volumes and set schedules with incredible accuracy. Historical call data, trends, promotions, events, and other factors all play into creating schedules.

AT&T also monitors call volumes in real-time and makes intraday adjustments such as call back programs and overtime when needed. Adherence is closely tracked to optimize staffing hour to hour. This data-driven approach allows AT&T to align staffing to demand and avoid understaffing or overstaffing.

In Closing

As a fellow call center professional, I have great admiration for AT&T's call center operations. They utilize the latest call center technology, emphasize agent training, spread call

Disclaimer: This content was created for informational purposes only; the information herein is not intended to be legal advice; anyone reading this should not act, or refrain from acting, upon any of the information herein without consulting an attorney.