Customers mostly call Help-desks in one of the three situations – they are either in need of help on an emergency basis, notifying their requirements in the near or relatively near future, or providing feedback, stating a complaint, asking a query or seeking an explanation.
In all of these cases, the way your Help-desk responds leaves a significant impression on the mind of the customer, and this can have a far-reaching impact such as determining how loyal that particular customer stays, how much exposure your company gets in his circles, whether he brings in new business for you and how much he helps in your revenue generation.
First impression matters in business.
While the interaction between a customer and a call center agent does not usually end with one call, that first call remains the most memorable.
This is why the first call is so important, and your Help-desk needs to be up to the task to register that good initial contact.
Even beyond that, your employees needs to have the customer-centric mentality in order to look at a problem from the caller’s point of view, understand their situation and then propose the effective solutions.
Knowing how important a role the Help-desk plays in facilitating business for the call center, here are a few tips for your company to build a better Help-desk.
1. Body language makes a difference.
How the exchange with your customer goes can actually be influenced by your body language.
As a Help-desk agent, you are expected to exude positive energy, enthusiasm and willingness to listen.
Your body language is reflected in your tone and voice when you are on a call with a customer.
Proper posture can actually make you sound more professional, and tells the customer that you are interested in their problem.
On the other hand, an agent who is slouching on his chair frowning at the phone is way more likely to sound uninterested and relaxed in their responses.
Sit up straight, smile and attend calls positively to get the best results from those interactions.
2. Be proactive in your approach.
The nature of exceptional customer service is that agents are often waiting around for customers to report their issues, and only then do they spring to life.
To build a better Help-desk, you need to inculcate the value of being proactive in your employees.
Try and anticipate problems that customers might have.
If there is a common problem being reported from multiple sources, take the initiative to contact all your regular customers and walk them through the process even before they face the roadblock.
Such an approach not only conveys your interest in providing the best service, but also reinforces the relationship of trust between you and your clients, which makes them stay loyal to your brand.
3. Take ownership of the problem reported.
Whether anyone from the call center is at fault for the problem being reported or not, you should take ownership of the fact that the customer has been inconvenienced and it is your responsibility to make it right.
The Help-desk team needs to be trained to acknowledge the problem as their own until it gets resolved.
This would make them work on it faster and devote more effort, as well as make the customer realize that their grievances are being taken seriously and prompt action is being taken to rectify the errors.
The best of Help-desk teams treat the problem as their own to deliver outstanding performance in providing solutions, because they are now interested in the issue.
4. Remain accessible on all the platforms.
It is the responsibility of the call center managers to ensure that their teams are reachable by all means.
Whether the customer wants to reach out through registering a ticket on the call, mentioning your Help-desk in a tweet or connecting with you on your website, agents must remain alive to the situation and initiate the conversation as soon as possible.
There is so much technology today which you can use to keep your team accessible on all the platforms.
Put an alert system in place to notify the agents as soon as a connection request or a query comes in, so that whoever is free at that point of time can make a contact.
5. Document your activity and interactions.
Any Help-desk is bound to get repetitive queries.
Keeping notes and tags are a great way to answer such questions, so that every person is given the most efficient solution.
Keeping detailed notes is also important for inter-department collaboration, ensuring that your entire team is able to field a call and provide proper suggestions as and when needed.
Moreover, documenting Help-desk interactions make them searchable and storable in archives, so they can be used as references for later use.
Keeping logs of activity is also important for security purposes, so that every call, mention, ticket and transfer is recorded digitally.
Help-desk systems are available which take up the automated job of storing and searching, retrieving and tagging data as it comes in to the system.
6. Promote self-service for customers to help themselves.
Not only does a self-service portal lower the ticket volume, it drives up customer satisfaction levels too.
More than half the customers for urban companies are more inclined towards self-service, as long as it is easy to use.
Something as simple as having an FAQ page goes a long way in keeping your customers satisfied.
In case of problems being faced by a lot of customers, it makes sense to compile a simple solution that can be used as public references.
It saves time and is a more convenient solution for customers than having to call up the Help-desk and follow the procedure individually.
Other self-service efforts like Q&A forums and knowledge bases are also the great ways to encourage customers to help themselves.
7. Use technology to its fullest.
Today, call centers have the benefit of powerful software that can perform a variety of jobs.
You should be making the optimum use of technology to help your work.
Be it in terms of using the software to score audio calls and keep detailed records of salient points, collect data about the customers to create individual conversations which would fit their interests at the best, create repositories of knowledge with the most common questions to enable customers to help themselves once they get stuck, automating a response mechanism and alert system to help the agents respond to client queries quickly, or perform other jobs related to analysis or automation, technology needs to be harnessed well for your Help-desk to upgrade to the next level.
8. Collaborate internally to gain the shared knowledge.
As an agent picking up the phone, you do not know whether this is the customer’s first interaction with the Help-desk, or whether he had a conversation before.
You also do not know whether that conversation went well or not.
However, all of these factors affect the tone of the phone call, so agents need to know about the customer’s previous interactions in order to provide their best service.
This is only possible if there is collaboration within the Help-desk teams.
Call notes need to be circulated amongst all the members of the team, and they must be accessible whenever the same customer calls back.
In case of a first call, agents should tag and note the issues and provide details of the next call so everybody on the Help-desk expects it at that date and time.
9. Simplify the situation.
No company intends to confuse their clients, but very often call centers end up inadvertently making a situation more complex rather than to simplify it.
Maybe they add too many steps to fixing a problem, to the point where the customer cannot comprehend all the way to the end.
Maybe they use too many jargon’s that the customer is unfamiliar with and hence cannot follow regularly.
Whatever, be the case, aggravating the situation only leads to unhappy customers.
If there is no simple explanation for the problem, agents are better served just by assuring they will fix the problem.
Often, customers just want to hear “Don’t worry, I’ll fix it.”
Simplification of the situation is the first step to obtaining a solution.
The Case Study
We have talked about the certain tips to follow in order to have a better Help-desk.
Agents sitting at a Help-desk not only require specialized training to handle calls, but need the support of a call center software to do their best work.
They also need to know their customers well, and have a good knowledge about the products or services that are being sold by the company.
The agents are at the forefront of all communications that determine the way the business flows, so they are responsible for the traction that is generated with the customer base and the corresponding sales that occur.
To shed light on how important a top-notch Help-desk is in the context of call centers, let us turn to a case study featuring the real example of Ravio Solutions, a telemarketing agency providing call center solutions for an established organization.
This case study will progress through the problem scenario and the challenges faced by the company, to studying the solutions they drew up and how these changes led to a growth in business.
The Problem Scenario
Ravio Solutions was in the middle of a couple of years of falling customer satisfaction rates, and increasing client attrition. This was significantly hurting their business and giving the edge to their competitors in the market.
Customers were reportedly unhappy with the service they were getting and the company was looking to change its customer service norms to cater to their clients nicely and get themselves back on the track.
The problems faced by the company are listed below.
1. There was a lack of collaboration between the Help-desk agents, so customers ended up having to explain the entire issue every time they called if a different agent picked up.
This disrupted their flow, took longer to resolve and left the customers unhappy.
2. The software being used at the company could not sufficiently help with the data analysis and automation of response mechanisms, thus pegging back the work and restricting the agents.
As a result, the Help-desk could not perform to its full potential, and the company’s reputation was suffering because of it.
3. The company was not prompt in responding over the social media channels and their website, which led to a large waiting queue that further contributed to the customer attrition.
The solutions which were proposed to counter these problems are as follows:
1. Help-desk agents were asked to keep detailed notes of each and every call and these notes were made available to every member of the team so that whoever picked up the next call from that particular customer would have prior knowledge of their previous interactions and proceed accordingly.
2. The company decided to invest in the best call center software, which would store all the information about each call being made and retrieve necessary data when the same customer called back, in addition to setting up alerts and providing the reminders.
3. They made themselves easily accessible on all the platforms so that customers could contact them anywhere.
They also kept agents specifically to check on the social media and website updates so that responses were prompt and comprehensive.
Once the new practices were implemented, the results started showing almost immediately.
Within a year, the customer attrition rate had fallen by over 40% compared to the previous year.
Customers were more satisfied with the service they received, according to surveys that were conducted.
Moreover, sales figures also improved, with more people staying loyal to the brand once they experienced the Help-desk taking initiative to solve their queries whenever they had any.
Within the next three years, sales figures had grown rapidly and the company was able to establish itself as a major player in the telemarketing software solutions industry.
Whether it is in terms of providing facilities to the agents to give better service to your clients, or bringing in call center software solutions to help you determine the way forward, a better Help-desk is the key to continued success.
Following the tips mentioned here will definitely help to build your Help-desk and go from strength to strength.