Has your call center seen a decline in customer satisfaction recently?

Customer Service Statistics - Hold TimePerhaps customers are hanging up more often than they’re holding on, or maybe your reps don’t seem to be able to handle the amount of calls they receive from customers.

It may even be simply that you’re struggling to keep track of various queries and complaints, causing wires to become crossed and productivity to slow down.

Modernize the call center experience

Call centers have changed considerably since their initial conception. With the growing number of channels by which customers can now contact businesses, call centers must adapt their strategy and structure to create room for coordination, collaboration, and enhance the customer experience.

The result is probably the more aptly named contact center; the contact department of a company which is integrated within company HQ (NOT outsourced). Contact centers are a growing aim for many businesses; ideally they will encompass all methods of communication using appropriately trained staff, and incorporate useful software and technology that is easy to use and has a positive effect on work flow.

3 Simple Ways To Upgrade Your Call Center Experience

If your call center seems to be suffering from OPS (that’s Outdated Practice Syndrome), it may be time for an upgrade. By examining which areas of your call (or contact) center are stuttering, you’ll be able to ditch those old, clunking methods that are currently slowing down your ability to give customers what they need, and go the extra mile to amaze them instead.

Don’t get left behind – start implementing some of these useful tips and measures to streamline your contact center and take your customers into consumer euphoria.

1. Find An App For That (Meaning…Software).

Don’t be put off by the prospect of inviting new software or technology into your call center. By simply introducing one piece of software with many uses, you’ll multiply the functionality and intuitiveness of your call center tenfold, making it not only easier for your reps, but more enjoyable and convenient for your customers.

At the same time, don’t be tempted to invest in lots of new technology at once without knowing how it will be of use to you. As Apple founder Steve Jobs once said, “Start with the customer experience first, then work backwards to the technology.” By pinpointing the gaps in your service or identifying what your customers need, you’ll be able to spend more time and money finding the best software for the job.

Here are some types of software/technology that are currently popular among contact centers:

  • Call tracking (sends handlers a ‘missed call’ email alert with the number of the person who called, so they can receive a call-back – brilliant for impressing peeved customers)
  • Cloud-based platforms (enables all of the company’s communication channels to be hosted from one place, including email, online chat, and social media. Try Salesforce Service Cloud or Virtual Call Center)
  • Cross-channel capabilities (allows reps to get synchronised updates on ongoing customer issues, stepping in to assist when necessary or forwarding issues to the most skilled person for the job)
  • Web & speech analytics (for taking advantage of Big Data, such as ACD data; CRM systems; call and screen recordings; customer feedback; speech analytic outputs etc.)
  • Virtual agents (virtual, task-oriented assistants that are able to offer real expertise thanks to a close integration with the company’s knowledge base).

2. Rethink Your Call Center Training.

It’s always necessary to start with the right employees if you are to hope for long term contact center success. Skills can be taught, but attitude and aptitude cannot. There will be many important attributes to look for when hiring new contact center reps, but above all, people skills are crucial. Go for extroverted candidates who demonstrate a good ability to think on their feet; keep others calm in a crisis, and can bring an infectious positive energy to the team.

When training, you can choose to invest in an outsourced, specialized training program, or simply take advantage of free online training videos on YouTube or customer service industry blogs. Or, seek the help of your most experienced customer service gurus who have a proven record of exceptional performance, who could cross train new recruits on the job, or simply share their passion and secrets with them.

Be sure to use real-life cases when training to implement practical strategy. Opt for role playing over the distribution of largely written material, as the latter will have a lot less context. It is also preferable to train new reps across ALL channels of communication before deciding where they will spend most of their time.

This way, you can utilize individual strengths for maximum team achievement, but won’t be left with gaps in your service should one channel be understaffed.

3. Work Hard, Play Hard.

Some of the software mentioned earlier, such as call tracking, Big Data analytics and the use of a cloud-based service can help you to monitor the traffic flow of your contact center and manage your employees accordingly. For example, call tracking will help you to realize peak times for calls, whilst a cloud-based structure will show which channels are the most popular for certain types of queries.

This means that you can put your staff where they need to be, and not where they’re left to twiddle their thumbs and lose their sense of connectivity or purpose.

In addition, keep the passion alive among your employees by introducing friendly staff competition between teams of reps. (Avoid individual competition, as this can damage staff relationships.) Healthy competition is a great way to induce team spirit, stimulate motivation and boost optimism in the workplace. It also gives employees a chance to learn skills from one another and improves productivity for everyone. (After all, we all know that training is never truly over.)

Don’t forget to reward staff when targets are met or exceeded, and offer other small perks for a job well done. These can be on a weekly or monthly basis, and should help to keep spirits running high.