What is After-Call Work (ACW) and Why is it Important in Outsourced Customer Service?


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Today’s business world is saturated with competition. That’s why the customer experience (CX) is one of your organization’s biggest assets when it comes to satisfying your customers and creating a loyal customer base.

In fact, research from Microsoft found that 54 per cent of all global consumers have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago.

That’s why good customer service wins. A study from Dimensional Research found 52 per cent of consumers say they have made an additional purchase from a company after a positive customer service experience, while figures released by Bain found a 5 per cent increase in customer retention can produce a staggering 25 per cent more profit.

That’s why many organizations are outsourcing their customer service programs to expert outsourced call centers, which are highly experienced in delivering superior customer experiences.

If you are currently looking to outsource your customer service strategy to an expert such as Advantage Communications, then it’s important to remember that customer phone calls don’t end just because the phone is put down.

Customer service representatives still have a lot of work to do, whether that’s finishing answering the customer query or creating an action plan that involves contacting the customer again in the future.

This process is called “after-call work” – and it’s vital for creating superior customer experiences.

What is after-call work?

After-call work refers to the tasks that an outsourced call center representative completes after they have finished interacting with a customer. Also known as post-call processing, these tasks performed after a customer call will make sure that your agents are delivering an exceptional customer experience.

Common after-call work tasks include:

    > Sending emails to either the customer or appropriate department to follow up on the customer call.
    > Updating the customer relationship management (CRM) database.
    > Logging details about the call, including contact reason, contact outcome and next steps.
    > Scheduling follow-up contacts and actions.
    > Writing call notes on the account of the caller.
    > And much more!

How long should after-call work take?

There is no industry standard calculation about how long after-call work should take, that’s because each client and each call is vastly different in their complexities. After-call work will be significantly faster for some customer calls and call center clients than others.

There are four factors that affect how long after-call work will take:

    1. The industry your company is in.
    2. The complexity of the customer call.
    3. The internal processes of the outsourced call center you use.
    4. The behaviour of the customer service representative taking the call.

In general, after-call work should be as short as possible. But, at the same time, it should still allow for outsourced call center agents to accurately complete all the tasks they need to – ensuring no information is incorrect.

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

Metrics are an important aspect of your outsourced customer service program, and that’s why it’s important that you partner with an outsourced call center that tracks after-call work time. This can bring benefits, such as:

> Reduced customer wait time: Time-consuming after-call work will result in longer hold times for your customers. On the other hand, by tracking after-call work and ensuring that all customer service representatives are working efficiently, your business will ensure it delivers a fantastic customer experience – both before and after a call.

> Improving agent performance: By tracking after-call work time, your company’s outsourced call center will be able to give constructive performance advice to customer service representatives. This will improve their productivity and performance.

> Highlight any operational issues: The very best outsourced call centers are constantly striving to improve the way they work and how they operate. Tracking after-call work will highlight any issues in an agent’s workflow, allowing the call center to make process improvements where necessary.

How do outsourced call centers reduce after-call work time?

The very best nearshore call centers implement ACW strategies to focus on reducing the time agents take to work on these tasks. However, since after-call work is an essential part of customer service, it’s not just about reducing the time – it’s about ensuring customer service agents are efficient and productive with their time.

Here are what some innovative call centers are doing to reduce after-call work time, without cutting corners or encouraging agents to make less detailed notes:

> Effective agent training: Outsourced call centers train their agents in handling customer questions, understanding software and working efficiently. Most, however, don’t train their agents on how to handle after-call work. This is an essential part of agent training and can improve the customer experience and agent’s productivity significantly.

> Contact center AI: By using innovative contact center AI, your outsourced call center will ensure all customers are transferred directly to the right representative. This cuts down on after-call work, for example cutting down on the time it takes an agent to redirect a customer through to another representative or the time it takes to pass information on to a colleague.

> Improved operational efficiencies: Through the use of state-of-the-art technologies that allow agents to seamlessly enter data and take actions, modern CRM platforms can significantly reduce after-call work times.

Ready to learn about how Advantage Communications can create a tailor-made outsourced customer service program for the unique needs of your organization, whether you are based in Canada, the US or anywhere in the world? Contact us today for more information.

Randy Clapp
As a multi-faceted professional, I blend sales and operations experience with a strong background in the services industry to drive significant growth. My record of success includes industry leaders HP, EDS and Avis Rental Car, spanning industries including technology, healthcare, financial services and travel. -Driving multi-million dollar revenue increases by providing insight and quality customer service -Playing key role in growing companies organically and through strategic acquisitions -Winning EDS inner circle award for top 100 performers out of company’s 130,000 employees


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