Good news? You no longer need to fork out for an expensive consultant to conduct a call center SWOT analysis.
While there are benefits of using external parties (no bias, bigger picture, experience conducting other SWOTs), justifying the cost of a consultant or business analyst may be trickier than starting one yourself.
It seems like something you can park until you get a quiet day. But, let’s be honest, when was the last time you had one of those?
Not starting your SWOT could lead to many things:
- Competitors move faster than you.
- Poor customer experience.
- Staff leave for new jobs.
- Low employee morale.
- Customer churn.
But let’s not dwell on negativity. Instead, let’s explore what we mean by a call center SWOT analysis. Then we can kick start your own!
What is a call center SWOT analysis?
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
SWOT analysis is a business analysis practice that evaluates the pros and cons of your organization, business unit, or department.
A typical SWOT consists of four quadrants.
- Strengths: within your call center.
- Weaknesses: to be addressed by your call center.
- Opportunities: available in your call center.
- Threats: may cause problems for your call center.
The upper half is focused on the internal functions within your company. The bottom half involves external activities you don’t necessarily have influence over.
Here’s an example of a call center SWOT analysis:
Threats in customer service include:
- Not responding to competition.
- Declining customer service.
- Negative reviews.
- Employee churn.
- Customer churn.
Typical weaknesses include:
- Sub-optimal processes.
- Lack of documentation.
- Unreliable technology.
- Lack of staff training.
- Avoidable skill gaps.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Conducting a SWOT analysis in your call center also highlights areas where you can double down.
For example, your call center strength might be that you have master agents who’ve been there and got the t-shirt. You can use this strength as an opportunity for upskilling junior agents and promoting the veteran agent.
Strengths in call centers include:
- High Net Promoter Score (NPS).
- High Customer Satisfaction (CSAT).
- Modern contact center solution.
- Continuous training plans.
- Experienced agents.
Opportunities in call centers include:
- Train experienced agents to become supervisors.
- Use happy customers as case studies.
- Innovate as technology progresses.
- Introduce self-service features.
- Competitor analysis.
Why conduct a call center SWOT analysis?
Every call center strategy must include a plan for continuous improvement. Otherwise, you risk standing still and getting eaten by your competition.
Ultimately, conducting a cell center SWOT analysis uncovers all the areas you can improve, maintain, change, and remove.
Tom Kelly is the CTO of Life Part 2, and previously worked as a call center manager. He says a SWOT analysis is a valuable tool for call center managers.
“By understanding these factors, managers can develop strategies to improve their call center’s performance.”
On when to conduct a SWOT analysis, Tom says you can do this at any time. The most important element, however, is to track the results and see how they impact your call center.
Tom also points out three things to keep in mind when conducting a SWOT analysis:
- Focus on the specific call center, not on the business as a whole.
- Be honest and realistic about your call center’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Regularly update your SWOT analysis to reflect the current state of the call center.
Now, let’s set the wheels in motion for your SWOT analysis.
How to conduct your call center SWOT analysis
When you’re invested in conducting your SWOT analysis, you’ll want to hit the ground running.
The good news here is that you’ve likely got an accessible source of information to kick start your process.
1. Use existing data and information
If your call center solution has a reporting and analytics module, assess the reports that provide data that uncovers areas of strength or weakness.
Look out for those peaks and troughs in your graphs. You might uncover periods of high demand when everyone is at lunch, for example. This is a clear weakness.
But you can also use this as an opportunity to allocate different hours to your remote workforce. When people in-office are away from their desks, ensure you have enough cover from agents working at home.
If you conduct regular customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys, you’ve got a wealth of information at your fingertips.
This is what Larry Snider, VP of Operations of Casago Vacation Rentals, did:
“I examined customer feedback and found customers were dissatisfied with our hold times but happy with our solution response time when they got through. Via the SWOT analysis, I discovered a network update would allow agents to help customers faster as less time would be spent loading information.”
Spend time analyzing existing reports and data before you seek out new information.
2. Survey your employees
The key to any business analysis practice is getting to know the people in your business. While numbers and graphs tell you the what, your people will tell you the why.
Spend time with people on the frontline, those reporting on the outputs, and everyone in between.
Here are some of the job roles you’ll want to chat with:
- Call center agents.
- Call center managers.
- Call center supervisors.
- Quality management analysts.
- Learning and development.
- Recruitment partners.
- Resource planners.
- Any niche roles your organization may have compared to another.
Once you’ve identified who you’ll survey, pairing them with the right type of interaction is crucial.
For example, speaking to heads of departments may work in a group setting as you have senior staff. But junior agents may not feel comfortable being open in front of their manager.
Common business analysis formats include:
- One-to-one interviews.
- Document analysis.
- Group workshops.
- Peer observation.
- Focus groups.
Choose which format is best for each role or person and meet accordingly. Another thing to note here is that you don’t have to limit each role or person to one analysis type.
You can send everyone a yes/no questionnaire. Don’t feel you need to rule them out because you already met with them.
3. Examine competitors
Time spent assessing competition is time well spent when it comes to uncovering strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
The people you speak with inside your call center aren’t necessarily those tasked with understanding the market.
If you have product managers or product marketing managers, these are good people to loop into your SWOT analysis.
Ask them what products competitors have introduced and cross-reference to see if your call center can support them.
They may also have insight into trends and predictions for your industry. If one competitor has invested in a new technology, does this mean you’ll soon have to follow suit?
You can also do your own background work here. Simple Google searches like “competitors of my company” and spending time on publications niche to your industry help uncover nuggets of information only found online.
When you find a new competitor, scroll through their site to see what’s hot at the moment.
4. Document your findings
Throughout your information gathering process, documenting is the most crucial component. If it’s in your head only, it’s no good to anyone else.
Expect to make a lot of notes but ease your process by recording calls.
You can do this on your phone system or video meeting platform, if call recording is enabled. Or, if you’re meeting in-person, use the voice recorder app on your smartphone (or watch).
When you’re done gathering information, it’s time to analyze your findings.
Using the 4×4 grid format, see what information naturally slots into each. Some of your findings will sound like they could fit into more than one quadrant. Resist the urge to do this until you review your first draft.
Your first goal is to document your findings. Next, you’ll peer review and analyze which strengths and weaknesses are threats or opportunities.
You may find it easier to start your first draft on a whiteboard. as you work out whether points are just strengths or further opportunities, there’ll be a lot of scribbling out.
To avoid this, business analysts often write each finding on a sticky note (real or virtual) so they can move them from quadrant to quadrant.
5. Take action
When you’ve organized your quadrant, it’s time to share the information across your team.
Be cautious in the beginning. Make sure you start by asking a peer to review before you present to management.
As you’ve been the person finding and documenting the information, personal bias may creep in. This is where someone removed from the process can lend a valuable hand.
After peer review, you may be ready to kick start new programs yourself or you may need to present your findings to other people who have the power to get things moving.
Seeing your SWOT items move from analysis phase to action phase is one of the most rewarding elements of this entire process. For the progress of your call center (and for your own sanity), make sure you stay all over the next steps.
If you’re handing over your work for someone else to put in place, for example, a regular check-in on progress will help push things along. The last thing you want is for your hard work to be for nothing.
A call center SWOT analysis is a super-powerful document to have in your arsenal. When you know the lie of the land, you’re best positioned to make informed decisions and changes.
It might be overhauling the training procedure or buying a new CCaaS solution.
Whatever the outcome, make sure you take action now.
If you leave everything you’ve found for another day, your strengths may become weaknesses.
And you had the power to do something about it!