No matter which industry you're in or how big your business is, there are certain factors all successful call centers have in common. As technology develops, the methods we use to communicate are changing ever-more rapidly. As such, it's more important than ever that you stay up-to-date with the latest advancements.
As consumers get used to old tactics, call center managers must keep finding fresh methods to help them engage as many people as possible.
Over the last decade, a wealth of tools and software has arrived to help call center professionals implement processes that always run smoothly. As with streamlining the workflow of a call center agent, reducing the number of manual tasks they have to do raises productivity and job satisfaction. The next revolution in call center management looks all-set to be technological.
Call center managers have been fine-tuning the telecommunications process for decades, but it's only in the last few years we've seen exponential growth. As consumers move towards a preference for self-service, agents have more time to spend on the phone with people who prefer the channel. Data and automation let us track clients, preempt their needs and avoid costly human errors. Let's have a detailed look at some of the most prominent features all successful call centers have in common.
The number one trait all great call center leaders have in common is adaptability. When you're adaptable, and you keep a finger on the pulse of the latest trends, it's hard to go wrong. Every year, companies release new software, so you must know how to sift through the ephemera. When you find tools that can help you put clear-cut procedures in place and streamline workflow, you'll know you're onto a winner.
Any incoming queries that involve a repetitive transactional action, such as paying bills, should be the first things you consider for self-service. It's much more convenient for a customer to go through this process themselves as opposed to including one of your expensive call center agents in the proceeding. Of course, you must have an agent on hand in case the customer needs help or has a question, but you can save serious time and money by using self-service as much as possible.
When thinking about your customer experience strategy, it's vital that you make each stage as cost-effective but convenient for the end-user as possible. Self-service and automation are two of the best processes all excellent call centers use.
With automation, you no longer need to rely on call center agent's memories or note-taking abilities to remember key customer data. Call center software can give you all the information you need to provide a level of service you'd expect from a luxury brand. Following up leads, entering data and switching between lots of applications takes time. While it might only add up to a few minutes a day, it's hours across the year.
Plus, automation gives you time to add value to your business. From employee training to spending quality time on calls, every call center manager wishes there were more hours in the day.
Data is the most useful tool a call center agent can have in the modern world. Not only does it help you to provide your target audience with stellar service, but it also lets you identify strengths and weaknesses across your entire operation. Real-time insights can help you to highlight trends, uncover patterns and make decisions based on hard facts instead of instinct and trust.
When a team spends their day speaking to people and solving their problems, they need a boss who takes care of them. Great workers expect excellent work environments, and if you want to attract and retain the best call center talent, you need to be current. Modern employees are empowered, and they have the option to explore their options in secret via LinkedIn. If you're serious about retaining employees, you'll need to compete with the best call centers and utilize up to date tech.
Whether a tool is outdated or not depends on your business goals. If you're not interested in growth and you're a traditional telephone-only call center with a core client base, you might not need to change. However, getting team leaders to spend time compiling reports and analyzing the results is a waste of time when software can do it faster and more efficiently. Free up their time for training and motivating the team, so you can get on with growing the business.
If you're looking to expand your reach and increase revenue, we'd recommend implementing some practical tools. Software can provide a central hub that includes data management, automation and campaign management in one place.
If your call center is experiencing the following issues, it might be prudent to start making changes:
If growth is on your agenda, you can use software to harness the power of data and automate time-consuming manual tasks. To compete in the modern landscape, you'll need to consider becoming a fully-functional contact center.
Did you know that there are an estimated 2.2 million people that work in the call center industry?
While the call center industry employes a large number of people, this industry is well-known for its high employee turnover rate. If your business is struggling to keep call center employees working for your business, it may be time for you to consider implementing a high-quality employee training program.
Are you interested in learning about the importance of a high-quality employee training program? This guide will give you better insight into how a high-quality employee training program can help to transform your company. Keep reading to learn more!
Investing in a high-quality employee training program is critical to the success of your company's call center. The training investment pays off by increasing employee satisfaction, but it will also provide your customers with a customer service interaction that'll leave them happy with your business.
Investing in a quality employee training program is important because it helps to reduce employee turnover. While the call center industry is notorious for having high employee turnout, investing your resources into a quality employee training program helps to increase employee satisfaction and promotes career growth.
Many mistakes are commonly made when a company develops its own employee training program. By learning about the most common mistakes, you can build your own employee training program to avoid these mistakes. Doing this will allow you to improve your employee engagement and your customer's overall experience.
When you're developing a training program, make sure that you're providing your employees with consistent training. You want your employees' responsibilities to be plainly demonstrated throughout the training, as well as plans of actions of how to accomplish goals.
If your call center employees don't understand what goals they're supposed to be aiming for after they've finished their training, how will they know what to work for? Create specific and realistic goals that your team can measure while they're working. In your training, you need to communicate with your employees the targets and goals they should be aiming for.
An efficient team is going to be much more impactful than an effective leader. By training your employees, you can empower them by providing them with the confidence that they need to succeed.
Through updated, accurate, and helpful training, you'll deliver confidence empowerment to employees who will feel like they are capable of leading themselves. You will also provide your team with the resources needed to become more educated and productive in the workplace.
Your call center employees may be the first individuals to represent your business to new customers. To improve your customer satisfaction rate and retention, investing in a high-quality employee training program will help you to keep your customers happy. A high-quality employee training program will provide your employees with the tools that they need to excel in any position with your company.
Are you interested in discovering new ways that you can improve your call center? We're here to help you! Click here to request a discovery call today to learn more.
Our data is everywhere, and its reach will only continue to grow. The call center is well-known for being a hub for customer data; after all, you deal with hundreds or even thousands of callers every single day, and each call and transaction is recorded, so data is bound to be all over the place.
With that much data around, there's likely to be dirty data hiding somewhere. Needless to say, that's going to look bad for your business. What you need to do is commit to strong data hygiene practices to make sure your call center stays out of harm's way and that your employees and customers are protected.
This article goes into detail with why you need to display excellent data hygiene practices in your call center business. Keep reading to learn more and to be prepared!
Just like our own bodies, no one likes to be a dirty person, and we shouldn't expect our data to be the same way. Data hygiene is the notion of how "clean" or accurate your data actually is. In the world of the call center, accuracy is everything, and conversely, it can be extremely challenging to keep a high level of accuracy.
Each and every customer of your call center has data that belongs to them, and you deal with thousands of people all of the time. Your task is to make sure that the data of every single person stays safe and accurate within the system. This is for their protection and your own; even if one part of a customer's information is incorrect, you could find yourself correcting serious errors and spending thousands on the accident.
With so much at risk for all parties involved, good data hygiene practices make sure to keep the problem at a minimum. Your call center would benefit greatly from automatic data cleaning software to take care of any spam files in your system. By learning good data practices, you'll also gain new standardization methods that will protect your customers and employees and ensure the data stays clean.
Now that you know about the importance of good data hygiene practices, you're going to want to find a company that can help you to take care of your dirty data problems and keep your call center in good standing. Luckily for you, you won't have to look any further.
At Volie, we make sure to give our clients the best in data hygiene practices so their company can continue to strive for success. We offer omnichannel communication, real-time data sharing, advanced customer data management, and more, and all of this is supplied by real people who are dedicated to helping your business grow.
Ready to get started? Just reach out to us to request a free discovery call so you can learn about everything Volie has to offer. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Contact center agents are at the core of any business. They are the link between the company and its customers. They handle incoming and outgoing calls and are tasked with tackling customer complaints, account inquiries, and support issues. Call center agents are also called service or telephone sales representatives, customer service representatives (CSR), operators, contact center agents, or account executives.
If you desire to see your business blooming, you must invest in a vibrant call center. Here are the principal duties of call agents:
The roles of the customer service representatives are vital for the short and long-term success of the company. If your customer care attendants understand and execute their duties responsibly, your business stands a better chance of succeeding. For better results, these agents must work as a team and create a system that will deliver a unique experience to your customers.
If your customer care center displays exceptional customer service, outperforming your competitors becomes an easy task. Your customer care agents can help realize this dream by implementing a few "little things" to make their jobs enjoyable and deliver better results quickly and efficiently. The real magic in your business happens in the call center as the call center agents interact with your customers more than anyone else.
Companies that understand the importance of creating genuine emotional bonds with their clients are continually delivering quality call center performance. These companies are dedicated to beating the competition by committing enough resources to call center performance, management, and measurement. This powerful stand helps them to differentiate themselves from their peers.
Successful implementation of the company's CX strategies starts with goal-setting, monitoring the call center performance metrics, and quality assurance monitoring. All these aspects result in the development of strong emotional connections that enhance the customer experience.
Call center agents must strive to develop emotional connections with clients. They score better results if they employ customer-oriented behaviors such as:
In addition to the above measures, customer service representatives can also ask direct questions like:
Besides creating an emotional connection with customers, call center agents should use the right tools to streamline their work. The right tools can improve call center efficiency. Some of the essential tools that can make a huge difference in a call center include:
You should integrate your ERP and CRM in your call center system to ensure your agents access everything they need in one window. The two-way integration allows them to update the systems at once. This helps to overcome double entry and data entry mistakes. Flipping between screens to find the right information increases the average handling time and can annoy customers.
A predictive dialer can detect busy signals, disconnected phone numbers, voicemail messages, and no response. The dialer automatically dials phone numbers from a list. Interestingly, the predictive dialer works across channels such as text, mobile, chat, social, and email. The system helps to detect the client's favorite channel, thus increasing positive and prompt responses.
CMS is a vital tool for outbound call centers. This software offers the agent a contact list with the relevant information needed to make calls to the ideal clients.
Voice biometrics is a dependable way of verifying a person's identity. The software helps to save time, money and prevent fraud in organizations. It takes about 45-90 seconds to confirm an individual's identity using the personal verifiable questions (PVQs). On the other hand, in 5-10 seconds, you can verify a person's identity if you're using voice biometrics. Besides, this service comes with heightened security and minimal disruption.
With wireless handsets, your call center agents can move freely in their workplace while attending to customers. Modern headsets offer a range of up to 150 meters without compromising call quality. They help improve density and, at the same time, maintain the call experience.
Softphones allow agents to make calls from the general-purpose computers instead of using specialized communication hardware. The latest models come with plug-and-play functionality and are available in communication platforms such as Aura, Skype for Business, and Jabber. The softphones allow users to make calls from anywhere using any device without the need for extra hardware. They also offer features such as personalized settings, call management, call status dashboards, and much more.
The internet of things (IoT) enables the connection of the call center system, the product, and the computing devices via the internet. Although this is a new technology, forward-thinking call centers are already reaping its benefits. One of its main advantages is detecting problems within the system automatically.
Any business that wants to outshine its competitors must invest in a modern call center. The contact center agents are at the core of the company. They interact with your customers daily. It's, therefore, essential to ensure they are always motivated. Create the right working environment and ensure they have the right tools to increase efficacy. Improving your call center performance will result in increased efficiency, lasting customer relationships, and ever-growing profits.
The call center is the backbone of your company. Your call center agents should bridge the gap between your customers and your services, offering top-of-the-line assistance and guidance whenever needed. To do this successfully, and avoid call center mistakes, you need to take a look at the channels of communication available to you and decide which is the best fit.
There are a lot of different call center solutions for communication. Let's examine some of the most popular choices.
Should you use a multichannel solution or an omnichannel solution?
A multichannel solution refers to the use of multiple channels of communication to connect with customers. If your company uses things like email, webchat, and the phone to communicate with customers then you're running a multichannel call center solution.
Omnichannel means you use all possible channels to communicate through a connected system. For example, a customer who's chatting on the web chat can easily click-to-call to transfer this chat to a phone call. The call center agent has a log of their web-chat and can continue seamlessly through the phone.
Both of these methods have upsides, but an omnichannel solution is the best way to reach your customers and deliver an outstanding experience.
The best channels of communication for one business may not be the best channels for another. This is why it's important to experiment with different channels and find what works best. There's no point in using a communication channel that gets little to no traction, or hinders an agent's ability to help customers.
So, let's look at the most popular inbound call center solutions and when each might make sense.
Email is one of the most popular -- and cheapest -- channels of communication for call centers.
While it's much more affordable than even taking calls, email is criticized for its slow response times. This is why many reserve emailing for less serious customer service issues. They don't expect a response right away and are willing to wait.
You don't have to wait on email responses, though. By routing emails to call center agents like calls, your call center agents can respond in a timely and eloquent manner. They can take a little time to make sure the email comes off friendly and helpful without emotional reactions based on voice and tone affecting it.
Email allows for very specific, researched responses on anything. You can include images and links for reference, and suggest the customer calls if that seems like a better option. If your main channel of communication is email, make sure your call center agents know how to write informative emails.
So, while communication through email may be slower, it can also be more informative. This makes it a great choice for all companies. Even if you only take a small number of emails, every business should implement email.
If you want to offer your customers an instant line for answers, consider taking calls.
Many customers like dealing with a person head-on when it comes to their customer service inquiries. This makes the experience feel more personal and often resolves issues quicker. The customer doesn't have to wait for an answer, they can talk it out with a call center agent right then and there.
Relying 100% on the phone can be a problem, though. When call center lines get backed up people are put on hold, which means a lot of dropped calls out of frustration. You can resolve this by offering call-back functionality, meaning the call center will call back when an agent is available.
What's more, taking calls successfully means training your employees deeply on how the products work, how to offer solutions, and how to talk to the customers. A master-guide and FAQ is often necessary to produce. Despite that, phone calls are often a great solution for your business of any size.
An increasingly popular and satisfying customer service solution is web chat.
Web chat is offered through the company website in the form of a direct IM chat with a customer service agent. The customer just types their inquiry into the chat and is linked up with the call center agent. This combines the speed of a phone call with the convenience of email, including the ability to send images and support links back and forth.
If your website gets a lot of traffic, and customers are aware it's available on your site, then web chat is a great solution. It's quick, more personal than email, and still offers the comfort level of email. Plus, you can easily transition from web chat to another channel if needed.
Web chat is best for larger, more web-savvy businesses that offer technical solutions. They're not the best for small, local businesses or businesses with older customer bases.
Many companies offer call center solutions straight through their social media pages.
This is a great choice for companies with consistently growing or popular social media followings. It's also great if your customer base is mostly younger people who use social media frequently. There's nothing easier than DMing someone, and it's often faster and more personable than email.
Just make sure your social media messages are integrated with your other communication channels. Social media messages are easy to miss, especially on a large social media page. Stringent management is necessary if you're going to use social media as the main channel of communication.
Social media as a primary channel of communication is often best for local or small businesses, and for answering basic questions. It can be good for large companies for answering quick questions but can get a bit overwhelming.
There are tons of channels of communication to consider when building your call center. To determine what's best for you, try setting up a few different channels and see which gets the most use. Survey customers to see what they want, which channel works best, and how they want to get help.
The call center is the backbone of your company, so don't let it slouch. Consider your channels of communication, your company, and what works best for you.
If you're looking for an all-in-one call center platform, schedule a discovery call with Volie today!
It's Friday afternoon and a customer service agent is on their last call of the day. They're going on a much-needed three-week sabbatical while they welcome a new addition to the family. They enjoy their job and have excellent rapport with customers.
The call is like many handled by call center services, it's about a problem that needs addressing. The agent fixes the problem, confirms that the customer is satisfied, and goes into the final wrap-up.
That's when it's revealed that the customer is a former employee of the company. A person who became disillusioned with the policies of the company and left. Today's call was their last attempt to see their problem fixed or quit the company as a customer too.
The wrap-up turns into a bit of an emotional outpouring for the customer. Their faith in the company and humanity, in general, is restored by this one interaction. It's one for the books.
The above tale is a slimmed-down version of an actual interaction in a call center. It demonstrates the power that call center services agents wield in being a voice for a company.
However, that's not where the story ends. Despite the goodwill produced by the agent to the customer, the call ended with the customer being lost and the agent quitting.
That too is a demonstration of the volatility of any interaction between the company, the customer, and an agent when power is stripped from them.
On this particular call, despite the agent winning the call and being done for the day, a manager with something to prove got in the way. Seeing a long call time, they decided to interrupt and demand the agent hang up.
This put the agent in an extremely unfortunate situation that illustrates the difficult tightrope that call center customer service agents walk.
Companies employ customer service specifically to be liaisons, bridging the sometimes complicated gap between the customer and the company. This can leave agents feeling trapped in unwinnable situations.
On one side of this equation is the rock that is the customer. Customers are important to a company and they need to be catered to (up to a point) but treated fairly according to well-founded policy.
In the quest to placate and retain customers, customer service agents tend to get thrown under a lot of buses. When the customer accuses a previous agent of bumbling or promising a solution that didn't appear, it's important to agree with the customer in the moment.
However, agents don't need to feel like any given call with a customer could be the straw that sees them headed to unemployment. Agents should know that the company has their back. It's difficult to trust the words of angry customers lashing out.
Support means putting into place well worded and transparent systems that let agents know where they stand. Job security goes a long way to increasing morale and increasing productivity.
One of the best ways to empower customer service agents is to give them effective tools.
Effective tools include:
It's also important to avoid problem areas with the tools provided.
Both of these make calls a slow, stuttering nightmare for all parties.
Rarely are agents all-in-one, terminal ends. They are part of specialized teams that exist to solve issues with expertise. More importantly, multiple departments make customers feel that they are being taken care of.
What's in a name? Everything to a disgruntled customer that escalates on first contact to get to a manager, crisis team, tech support, or another specialized agent.
Ensuring thorough integration of departments makes these hand-offs feel official and go smoothly. Work department hand-offs into any customer services training for call service agents.
On the other side of the equation is how an agent is expected to interact with the company. Agents work for the company and don't need to give away the farm to placate or help customers.
Agents, and all employees, do better when they feel they have some leeway to act. Following the exact letter of policy leaves them feeling like robots, spouting the company line and being paid to turn a blind-eye to reoccurring issues.
Offering autonomy in how solutions are found (within bounds) invites creative problem solving and job satisfaction. When an agent is empowered to offer incentives and gestures to the customer, they can go into interactions with confidence. As the saying goes, better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it.
Allowing agents input on their scheduling and rotation also means they show up wanting to work, not angry they are being forced to do so.
Of course, a call center works through metrics. There have to be some standards to gauge how policies are working, the general tone of customers, and the efficacy of agents.
But metrics can become cold and, again, robotic. Once the nuance is stripped away from interactions, agents are left in the cold.
Too strict and the only agents who can work are those who pass the blame and refuse direct interaction. Too loose and everyone spends all day chatting and nobody is on their toes to improve.
Metrics should be employed with a light touch and be only a part of the overall evaluation of agents.
Environment means a lot to job satisfaction. An agent given the nod of approval from the company to work at home gains a lot of confidence from that autonomy. With today's technology, it's simple enough to do, empowers agents, and saves the company in floor space and utilities.
Back to the story of the call. When the manager stepped in, the call unraveled. The agent turned curt in trying to end the call, the customer sensed the shift and suspected managerial interference.
It completely reversed the goodwill produced. The former employee was now a former customer, vowing to spread every last bit of outrage they could muster to anyone who would listen.
The agent was disheartened. They couldn't help the customer and saw that the company cared more about the math than the people. They would leave on their sabbatical, never to return.
95% of consumers believe that the quality of customer service is vital to their choices in being loyal to a brand. If you aren't serving this need, then that means you're missing out on a lot of business.
A great way you can improve in this area is through an omnichannel contact center.
What is an omnichannel contact center? It's a solution that acts as a center for all customer contact!
Here are all the things an omnichannel contact center can do that your call center can't.
In a traditional call center, your agents will only be able to see when the customer has called before and what issues (and solutions) came of those calls. But that only gives your agents a limited scope of things.
An omnichannel contact center unifies all data so not only can they access information from prior calls, but all other contact attempts as well. This means they'll be able to see if a customer emailed, texted, or DMed your company through social media.
As a result, your agents will get a much clearer picture of everything and can address client needs much more efficiently.
Omnichannel contact centers put control into your customers' hands. Instead of having to sift through a bunch of information to find out how they can contact you, they can just use the method they prefer.
By letting customers drive their own customer journeys, this improves their satisfaction. And omnichannel contact centers make it very easy to pick up on customer contact, no matter which channel they use.
Chances are, your call center only matches data with customers through one touchpoint: the phone. But with so many other channels available (such as social media and email), all this data can easily get jumbled and lost.
One of the best parts of omnichannel contact center services is the ability to match customers with their data, even when they've gone across both channels and campaigns. This allows you to target them in a more efficient manner.
You want the customers to be in the driver's seat for their own journeys, but you want to also be there to give them a small nudge.
With an omnichannel contact center, you can schedule which customer actions trigger your brand's actions so the customer journey keeps moving along with as little pauses as possible. What's great is you only need to schedule these actions once!
When compared to a regular call center, an omnichannel contact center can do so much more.
So say goodbye to disjointed and inefficient solutions. Instead, say hello to all the omnichannel benefits that come with this newer and better solution. Both your agents and your customers will thank you for doing so.
Want to see what an omnichannel contact center can do? Then schedule a discovery call now!