Call centers play a crucial role in providing reliable service day in and day out, keeping the company’s communications afloat and providing the direct link between an organization and its customers.
From the point of view of a customer, a quality interaction can make all the difference in the world.
Not only does the agent need to clearly understand their problems, they also have to provide solutions that are comprehensible to a layman, and can be either implemented easily or come up with an expert who will implement it for them.
Call center software plays a crucial role in the implementation of a process in the call center.
The quality of initiating, strategizing, deploying and implementing processes are the cornerstones of the customer service industry and as such, have a massive impact on the customer’s satisfaction levels.
The goals to be achieved vary from one call center to another, depending on their unique styles, the industry they operate in, the market that governs their actions and the expectations they manage.
However, the core of providing quality customer service is always the same, and it boils down to how effectively the call center can provide telemarketing software solutions as well.
In this article, we will discuss the ways to implement a process in a call center effectively, and thus provide excellent service to your customers.
1. Think from the customer’s point of view.
A customer-centric approach with regards to problem solving is the first step to success for any call center.
You have to begin with the end in mind – why are you suggesting one thing over the other?
What is the benefit for the customer?
Does this problem has a more efficient solution?
As a call center management, you need to think about the reasons that customers contact you, and then implement processes in a manner that fits best with the reason for that call.
Modern processes also need to be multi-channel, encompassing phones, texts, cloud messages, website notifications, social media shout-outs, etc.
2. Consider agent inputs.
Your agents are the ones at the ground level, dealing with the customers day in and day out.
While managers need to utilize their knowledge of the markets and customer requirements while framing strategies, it would be incomplete and inefficient without taking the agents’ inputs as well.
Agents should have a say regarding scripting, since they are the ones who will eventually direct the flow of conversation.
They should also suggest the metrics of evaluation since they know what works and what does not.
Agents participating in the decision-making process makes them work together as a unit and deliver more efficient results.
3. Invest in training. There is no substitute to proper training when it comes to dealing with the customer queries and telemarketing.
New tips and tricks are being developed every other day, and a call center that does not invest in ongoing training of its agents is bound to fall behind.
You cannot assume that your agents know how to incorporate all the criteria in a new program, or they will figure it out on their own.
They need to be guided and directed with the new technology, new decisions and new strategy.
It is also important to communicate any new expectations that managers have from the agents, so that they can successfully adhere to the requirements and provide satisfactory service.
4. Calibration and standardization.
Not only do you require a fixed standard of deliverable’s across your own organization, you also need to ensure that your performance indicators are at par with the rest of the industry, so that you do not lose out in the market.
For this, anyone who would be performing evaluations need to be on the same page.
This could include trainers, managers, supervisors, quality assurance personnel, etc.
Everyone should figure out the common scale of evaluation, check its viability in the market and then implement it in the organization.
This ensures consistency of service and allows the agents to adhere to one stable standard of performance evaluation.
5. Simulate practical scenarios.
Finding out which agent is most suitable for a particular job is a challenge that most call centers face.
The best way to have an idea is to integrate training modules with practical scenarios, where agents actually employ the skills they have learnt to produce results, which can then act as a basis for understanding their strengths and weaknesses, and assigning jobs to them accordingly.
A simulation of real conditions also helps the agents ease into their job better, makes them realize what they need to do, and gives them less of a surprise when they are confronted by angry or frustrated customers.
6. Implement robust CRM.
Technology is the watchword of the modern era.
Organizations are going increasingly digital, and they are now using data to guide them in decision making as well.
Good CRM software can automate business processes and save precious time and resources.
It also provides agents with relevant information about a customer, so that they have an idea on how to approach a conversation in a better and more personalized way.
CRM takes into account a holistic view of operations and tinkers with specific elements to increase the overall efficiency.
It is helpful not just in terms of aiding the agents but also for smarter reporting, better efficiency and more robust customer experience.
7. Teach your agents to multitask.
For a customer service executive, multitasking is essential to provide quality service.
Their job entails speaking directly to a customer while at the same time searching up references to answer queries, tagging and labeling activities, data input and maintaining good communication.
This can be overwhelming unless proper training has been provided beforehand to the agents.
A combination of technical skills and soft skills needs to be taught, and agents need to learn on how to use them simultaneously, to bring out the benefits.
Otherwise, customers remain unsatisfied because of the slow service , or because it does not encapsulate enough factors to actually answer their queries.
8. Provide call-back options and reduce wait times.
One of the most significant activities that contribute to elevated levels of customer frustration is elongated wait times.
While it is obvious that companies want to ensure shorter wait times for their clients, this becomes a difficult proposition during the peak hours when the volume of traffic is too high, because the volume of staffing would take to answer every call immediately would shoot costs up to an unreasonable amount.
Therefore, companies need to employ other tactics to minimize this occurrence.
One way is to provide an option to the customer to get a call back at a later time, so that they don’t have to wait around and can move on to the other jobs, while ensuring the problem gets taken care of later in the day.
9. Use technology as required.
Innovation drives progress in the modern industry.
Call center technology has the potential to not only devise better solutions and aid agents in interactions with the customers, but also has come up with the new ways of implementing solutions, improved analytics and drawing intelligence from the accumulated data, advanced routing and reporting, speech recognition and flagging, cloud storage implementation, etc.
All of this serves to streamline operations at the call center, provide a more efficient implementation of processes and produce better results.
The right technology, combined with the correct usage, can reap exponential benefits.
It reduces cost per call, increases first call resolution rates, cuts back on waiting times and promotes better utilization of data.
10. Monitor performance metrics and note effects.
Managers of a call center needs to be hands-on in dealing with the issues that the company faces.
They need to regularly monitor performance of the agents, including when they go off script and note the consequences of those decisions.
This would give the managers an indication of what makes customers react more favorably, and can subsequently be incorporated in the general strategy of the company.
Managers also need to suggest changes in employee behavior based on the metrics they have, so that agents can get meaningful feedback and improve themselves in their areas of weakness.
Over the certain period of time, this leads to a more coherent unit and maximizes productivity.
11. Set up an appraisal system.
Everybody loves getting recognized for their efforts.
Be it in terms of fulfilling a difficult target, consistent performance over a period of time or a new guy who surpasses expectations, agents are more motivated to work hard and produce results if there lies an incentive in the form of recognition, bonuses, appraisals and rewards.
The recognition does not necessarily have to be monetary, but it should be public, so that the agent concerned can feel good about their work.
This also promotes a healthy sense of competition among the agents and they tend to push each other to perform to the best of their potential.
12. Encourage enhanced teamwork.
No individual can take up the reigns of customer service of a company all alone.
No matter how brilliant your individual agents are, they will not succeed unless they can work effectively as a team.
The guiding principle of customer service is that agents needs to place shared goals ahead of their personal goals to become an asset for their company.
Managers needs to ensure that there are enough team-building exercises put in place for people to get as a unit and work with each other smoothly.
Processes can only be implemented if people from different departments with various sets of skills works together, brainstorm and implement the best of their ideas.
13. Ensure clarity of communication between managers and employees.
As mentioned before, managers and employees have both got crucial roles to play in the success of an organization.
Not only do employees needs to work well in teams with each other, they also need to maintain constant contact with their managers.
Managers, on the other hand, should take the initiative in staying in contact with their employees, providing useful feedback, contributing ideas and giving the directions.
They have to ensure that their message is communicated clearly so that the agents knows exactly what they expect from them.
Only then can work actually be done according to the set guidelines and protocols .
14. Deploy comprehensive and easy-to-use tools.
Agents needs to be comfortable with the tools at their disposal to be able to work effectively with them.
As such, it becomes a burden if the company invests in a high-level tech but agents are not equipped to use them to their full potential.
Such a situation results in unnecessary loss of money, disrupts the workings of the call center and meddles with employee satisfaction.
Therefore, it is in the best interests of the company to be smart about the tools they invest in, get agents inputs on what is required, ensure agents are comfortable with using them on a smaller scale and then scale up if it proves to be a success.
15. Prioritize customer feedback.
Above all else, call centers needs to prioritize customer feedback, because that is the most direct form of suggestions that exist, from the minds of the people who are essential for your business to sustain itself.
Strategies change based on the market demands, and managers need to be wary of such changes in order to stay a step ahead of the rest.
They should ask agents to take the initiative and ask customers for the feedback, so that it can be noted and repetitive suggestions can be implemented at once, for the benefit of better customer satisfaction.
As we can see, providing quality call center solutions is no easy feat.
However, we do have guidelines that we can work with, which have proven to generate positive results.
These guidelines put the customer first, ensure agents are flexible and skilled enough to deal with complicated scenarios and push managers to stay more connected to the business and act as a mentor to agents when it is required.
It also encompasses using the best call center software as required to facilitate the operations.
Implementing the strategies discussed in this article, combining skilled agents with effective call center software solutions, will definitely help you grow your business, keep your customers happier and dominate the market.