After call work: What it is, and how to improve it with technology

Victoria Beverly

March 20, 2024

If you’re a call center manager or supervisor, you know the importance of monitoring how much time your agents are spending on follow-up work after a customer calls. After call work (ACW) is important because it enables contact centers to preserve information that can help improve service delivery and the customer experience. But it can be time-consuming for agents–and the more time an agent spends on any extensive ACW, the less time they have to spend helping customers. 

So how can you keep ACW time down while still capturing the information your contact center needs? To answer that question, let’s explore what ACW is, concrete examples of different types of call center technology (including conversation intelligence) that can automate repetitive aspects of it, and best practices for keeping ACW to a minimum–so that agents can spend less time on manual documentation, while still capturing important information from their calls.

Read below for more on how technology can dramatically reduce the time-heavy burden of ACW and allow agents to refocus their efforts on the heart of their work in the call center–the customer.

What is after call work (ACW)?

When the conversation with a customer ends, a call center agent’s after call work begins. Some common ACW tasks include updating customer records, scheduling follow-up tasks, and taking any administrative action needed to resolve a customer's issue successfully. 

ACW is vital to successful customer service because it ensures customer issues are addressed quickly and accurately recorded for any future need.  However, it also reduces the time agents have available to handle customer calls and increases the possibility for negative impacts on other important metrics like average speed of answer, average time in queue, and abandonment rates.

Why does after call work matter?

Quality assurance: Efficient methods of post-call documentation help maintain high standards of customer service. This also gives QA teams useful information that can help them identify areas of improvement.

Better customer experience: When after call work is done effectively, it leads to faster issue resolution and a smoother overall customer experience. This builds trust and customer loyalty.

Data collection: ACW allows for accurate data collection on customer issues, trends, and patterns. This information can be used to improve processes and training programs for agents.

Compliance: Many industries have specific regulations in place that require proper post-interaction documentation due to sensitive customer data.

Future reference: Detailed notes help agents in providing consistent support and avoiding the repetition of previous issues.

Call center efficiency: Organized ACW practices save significant amounts of time by reducing the risk of errors, decreasing the need for customers to repeat information, and decreasing unnecessary repeat calls.

ACW is vital to the call center and customer service. However, if it’s all over the place and unorganized, it can lead to long handle times and reduced agent efficiency. Luckily, modern technology can help increase agent efficiency and reduce time spent on after call work.

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The role technology plays in reducing ACW time

With new advancements in call center automation technology, there are now ways to significantly reduce the time agents spend on ACW tasks. One of these solutions is having call center software that easily integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This integration allows for automatic updates and syncing between call notes and customer records, eliminating agents' need to manually enter post-call information.

Conversation intelligence technology specifically can play a major role in reducing ACW time. By transcribing and analyzing calls, conversation intelligence technology can help agents be more efficient during their wrap-up time. It uses machine learning to capture and categorize key events, topics, and customer and agent behaviors within conversations. It also records and stores call transcripts and conversation insights in the system for future reference. 

Technology automates a lot of ACW tasks, such as updating customer records, summarizing calls, and scheduling follow-up tasks. This gives agents more time to spend solving customer issues.

4 ways technology can reduce ACW

Here are four specific ways technology can optimize ACW and save precious time:

1. Automated triggers:

Establish triggers within your conversation intelligence platform that automatically log key insights into your CRM or customer support platform. This can help agents quickly categorize follow-up tasks and provide a framework for any next steps without manual input. 

Additionally, this helps businesses stay on top of any potential friction areas or issues that need attention quickly. For example, if a customer threatens to contact the Better Business Bureau, your conversation intelligence platform can flag this mention and add it to a record or ticket in your CRM or customer support platform. You can set up automatic notifications for team members who need to investigate the issue.

2. Automated post-call contact:

While agents sometimes need to follow up with customers after calls with additional information, there is technology that can help automate these post-call activities like emails, ticket generation, and callback scheduling. This ensures that all follow-up commitments are met without fail, and no customer slips through the cracks due to errors in ACW documentation.

3. AI-generated summaries:

Use advanced software like a conversation intelligence platform that is capable of creating concise, actionable summaries of calls. By eliminating the need to manually write post-interaction summaries themselves, agents can quickly move on to the next customer query knowing that their previous interaction with a customer was accounted for.

4. Conversation analytics:

Capture customer sentiment and key subjects discussed during a call, reducing the need for agents to take extensive notes and allowing them to concentrate on the conversation and support they are responsible for providing to the customer.

Final takeaways

Call center managers and supervisors should re-evaluate their approach to agent ACW. With the emergence of smart technology solutions, there’s less need to rely on manual and time-consuming processes. Invest in systems that can take on the repetitive aspects of ACW, freeing up your agents to focus more on delivering great customer service.

After call work has the potential to be more than just a formality—it's the final piece that completes the customer service puzzle (and it doesn’t need to take up obscene amounts of your agents’ time). By harnessing technology wisely, your call center can turn ACW from a time drain into a strategic asset.

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