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Contact Centre performance: It’s all about marginal gains

Contact Centre performance: It’s all about marginal gains
Contact Centre performance

First. An anecdote.

Team Sky (British Cycling) launched in 2010 with one ambition: Winning the Tour de Francewith a British rider within five years. A goal achieved within just three years when BradleyWiggins won the 2012 Tour de France, while teammate and fellow Briton Chris Froomefinished as the runner-up and then went on to win the 2013 race.

British Cycling’s performance up until this point hadn’t made for particularly good reading.Since 1908, British riders had won just a single gold medal at the Olympic Games, and theyhad fared even worse in the Tour de France. In 110 years, no British cyclist had ever won theevent. In fact, British performance had been so poor that one of the top manufacturers inEurope refused to sell bikes to the team because they were afraid that it would hurt sales ifother professionals saw the Brits using their gear.

So how did Team Sky, under Sir Dave Brailsford’s leadership, turn around nearly onehundred years of mediocrity to achieve its primary aim twice within the original five-yeartime period?

Brailsford was different to previous coaches. He adopted a relentless strategy that hereferred to as “the aggregation of marginal gains,” basically the practice of searching for atiny margin of improvement in everything you do.

Brailsford and his team of coaches broke down everything they could think of that goesinto riding a bike and then set about finding 1 percent improvements in every conceivablearea: seats, tyres, fabrics, the riders’ pillows and mattresses. They even hired a surgeon toteach the riders how to wash their hands correctly, to avoid catching a cold. As these andhundreds of other improvements consolidated, the results came. And faster than anybody anticipated.

Compounding Marginal Gains

In the beginning, there is no real difference between doing something that is 1 percentbetter or 1 percent worse. But as time goes on, these small improvements or declinescompound and you suddenly create a large gap.

Let’s take your contact centre as an example.

When service agents have to handle something like a DPA check on every call, that’s atleast 30 seconds of every single contact wasted.

30 seconds x 50 agents = 25 minutes.

25 minutes x 4 contacts per hour = 100 minutes wasted, for every working hour.

Good agents want to help customers answer complex queries, but the majority of inboundcontact is for the most basic, mundane issues. And agents shouldn’t be spending theirtime changing an address, checking an order ETA or conducting a DPA check.

SmartAgent uniquely focuses on finding and scaling your contact centre’s marginal gains.With SmartAgent Assist and Automate we’ll help you to reduce contact, alleviateunnecessary manual tasks and find all of those small efficiencies that build up to hugelyimproved CSAT and reduced operating costs.

So, referring back to the above example, by doing something as small as automating your DPA check with SmartAgent:

You save 100 minutes per working hour (two minutes per agent), so during an eight hourshift each agent can handle one additional contact. Therefore 32 contacts per agent/shift,becomes 33 contacts per agent/shift. Or looking at it another way, 1600 contacts per shift becomes 1650 contacts per shift.

That’s a 3.12% efficiency improvement. With just one automated task.

And when you consider that it’s not unusual for our bespoke voice and chatbots to achieve 40% deflection of your inbound contact from multiple channels, it’s not difficult to see how SmartAgent could help you compound your marginal gains to supercharge contact centre efficiency and customer satisfaction.


We specialise in helping businesses maximise the benefits of the cloud in their contact centre, improving customer service and engagement, whilst reducing contact and operating costs.

One of the very first UK companies to embrace Amazon Connect back in 2017 we’ve now successfully deployed and extended Connect for numerous enterprise clients. Our bespokeAssist and Automate solutions both complement and enhance the Connect platform, focused on contact centre efficiency and optimisation.


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We’re specialists in delivering cloud contact centre solutions. We’d love to help you reimagine your contact centre.


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We’re specialists in delivering cloud contact centre solutions. We’d love to help you reimagine your contact centre.