Whether it is the service-oriented company using the best call center software or the product-based enterprise, you cannot make a mark in your business front, if you do not have the required customer satisfaction.
A prompt, accurate and professional outlook to any customer query is not only helpful in retaining and returning with a happy customer but also boosts the confidence in the company.
However, there are many things to consider if the business is relatively new or still in an expansion mode, more than using a good call center software.
In- house call centers application is the latest trend that is catching up with companies quite fast, and the business world of today has acknowledged that companies that are known to outsource are often much successful in terms of proper profit and business establishment.
There are many additional reasons for establishing the in-house system.
These include: achievement of flexibility, the capability to run the global business operations within a smaller area, entering into new fields of markets, acquiring really important additional skills that the business does not possess at the moment and much more.
However, in order to take an informed business decision regarding any call center matter, and whether to keep it in-house or opt for the widely known outsourcing, it is important that you understand the risks that are involved with it.
1. Employee absenteeism is a real thing, where employees in duty are not really present for the jobs, causing a really slow day at the company, and poor customer experience overall for the company.
2. If there are fewer staff available on duty to handle the customer interactions, wait queues for customers increase and remaining agents are put under unnecessary pressure to spend less time on each call.
Therefore, employee absenteeism can really impact on staff morale and create unneeded tension within the company.
3. High staff turnover can negatively impact on the call center customer service quality because if a trained agent leaves the company, there are fewer agents who are on hand to make sure that an optimum level of service is kept going on within the company.
4. Moreover, there are high costs that are associated with the process of recruiting, hiring, training and developing of the new staff that needs to be assembled.
Along with this, there will be a series of costs that are associated with the dip in the productivity that will be inevitable as newer recruits start working in the company.
5. It is a known fact that working in the call center can be a monotonous ordeal due to the highly repetitive nature of the job that agents do.
Along with this being monotonous, it can also be quite stressful, all thanks to the seemingly difficult targets set for the agents.
6. Keeping in mind the above two problems, it should be noted that call centers run the risk of their prized agents losing the much-needed enthusiasm and becoming demoralized, which can, in turn, lead to even more absenteeism and finally, employee attrition.
7. The call centers work structures are inherently flat, where career prospects are often limited, therefore employee attrition is a major problem in this business.
8. Call center businesses risk losing their best agents if they cannot provide adequate career opportunities and excitement along with bonuses. Talented staff might also become highly demotivated and even stop working to the same standards as before.
9. Tight budgets have been a constant problem for call centers. The issue has inflated twice as much in the recent years since the early years of global recession.
In many of the cases, senior executives working with the company for years no longer regard call center efficiency savings worthwhile and wholesome. Instead, they are demanding them as the standard pay with added bonuses.
10. Today’s customers tend to have increasingly complex and rather intelligent queries, and it isn’t always possible for agents, especially newer ones, to provide them with an immediate answer.
If the callers end up speaking with several agents regarding a single inquiry about the product they are interested in or anything else, the customer experience will become highly diluted and satisfaction levels of the customers will tend to plummet.
11. The way we communicate with our customers has changed immensely over the past 20 years itself. In today’s time, the consumers do not just use the phone or the white mail in order to get their message across to the agents. They can make themselves heard loudly through the usage of email, texting, and infinite social media channels.
12. Call centers, on the other hand, struggle to keep up with this form of communications.
They have quite a few bit of difficulties in identifying what channels they should really focus on, and more often than not they don’t have the people resource available to them who will manage the different channels effectively.
13. In-house call center means that the company has to get used to taking care of every aspect of the call center that ranges from staff to infrastructure.
The company has to bear a huge cost for all of the stuff that is required for these, and on top of it has to have a huge contingency fund separately.
14. Maintenance of all the technology, checking for call center software pricing and so on is required on an on-going basis.
Periodic checks in the company are needed in order to make sure that there are no technical disruptions, and so that the infrastructure is proper and staff strength is regularly maintained.
All this translates into a considerable, and a big responsibility for business managers.
15. The call center you are looking forth to establish will need to have its own management team in place all the time, which means that you as a manager will have to hire and place supervisors, program managers, and team leaders, along with training coaches who will be the guide for the call center agents along their training time.
For these reasons, overhead costs are also pretty high, since you will have to take charge of the account for the cost of utilities, the facilities and even the support staff of the call center.
16. An in-house call center will always run the risk of taking up a lot of time that would have better served if it had been devoted to the working of the core processes. In the end, this will quickly compromise the overall productivity of the business that you are aiming for.
17. Continuity of the call center also becomes a problem if the business shows signs of trouble. If this continues, there is a chance that it could be discontinued.
This, in turn, means that all of the resources and revenues that went into it are not only dismissed but also wasted.
18. Hiring the right type of agents was and will always be a challenge for call center managers because one wrong candidate can entirely compromise all of the customer relationships and experience.
Even so, the job of a manager does not just end by building a well-suited team of outstanding and talented call center agents. They also need to find methods of retaining them so that the productivity level does not fall.
The Case Study
When it comes to running a business, I think you and I both know that there is no study that is complete without knowing about the real life applications of it.
Simply put, it is not possible for a single company to have all of these problems, hence finding solutions without actually finding out what works for a company and what does not is rash and foolishness.
I believe in the saying that you should not fix what is not broken. You can upgrade it, but only after carefully thinking about it.
To find out if the solutions that you will be looking for to improve the workings of the company, you need to have real life examples from real life situations to help you decide.
With this idea in mind, I decided not only to present to you the problems of the leaders while working with an in-house call center but also a case study of a company that faced similar problems.
Hopefully, with the real life application of such a situation, you can benefit greatly from it.
The company I will present to you is a call center business. For anonymity’s sake, I shall call the company GBM. Here, we will be talking about the problem scenario, the challenges that the company faced, the solutions that the company came up with, and the results that they noticed as a result of these solutions.
The Problem Scenario
GBM is an old call center business. It is not very large, but it is very consistent with it approach in this market, hence the resulting steadiness of the company.
Recently, in the year 2016, they decided to change a lot of things within the company to keep with its competitors. It was then that they noticed that there were several problems within the company itself.
One of the first things that they noticed was that their agents were often lagging behind in their personal customer queues, which was unusual for them because they had a sizeable group of agents who were trained to do their jobs.
They also noticed that a lot of their agents didn’t show up quite as often as others.
They also noticed a curious problem with the quality of the calls. The customers, they were sure, couldn’t hear half of the things that the agents were trying to convey, leading to a lot of confusion and even more complaints.
Their software failed to pick up these minor but important things, as the call was progressing normally.
There was also very little pressure on core activities, such as sales and distribution, and more on higher cost activities, such as an advertisement.
This was causing the company to lose a lot of important revenue that could have been utilized in a better fashion.
Let’s have a look at the top challenges that the company faced with regards to these problem scenarios.
The challenges that the company faced were numerous, but to respect the space of writing, here I will point out only a few of the greater ones.
The challenges that they faced were:
1. Agents were failing to show up to work, because of the high levels of agent absenteeism. While it is important to have a great working environment with the flexible schedule, it is also important to pose stricter rules within the company regarding this situation.
2. Staff attrition was a big problem within the company. No matter the training, if the agents did not like the job they were doing, they would automatically switch to a better job that will require their talents and expertise.
3. They needed better call center management software to determine the quality of the call instead of just recording the calls.
This was important because calls were not only required to track the progress of both the agent and the company but it was also used for determination of feedback and agent training.
4. The sales and distribution was not working as expected because agents were trained to handle complaints more than to sell their products.
This was a severe problem as a huge source of revenue income was being missed because of improper instructions and training.
Of course, once these challenged were made painfully obvious to the company leaders and directors, they called in a meeting and decided to pull these challenges out and work together for a solution.
The solutions that the company managed to pull out after collecting the data was substantial. If your company is undergoing the same situation, a look into GBM’s solutions might give you a better insight.
The solutions that the company GBM managed to put into use with regards to the above-presented challenges are:
1. Stricter rules against agent absenteeism were employed at once. Unless absolutely necessary, and informed beforehand, agents were not exactly given free leaves.
The new rules were made clear to the agents who were more prone to absenteeism than the ones who were fairly regular.
2. They employed staff who were familiar with GMB’s structure and was helpful in the success of the company. They were given ample opportunities to succeed and given enough incentives for big bonuses from the company.
After a call center software comparison, the correct software was installed to keep a track of such employees.
3. They hired better call center software solutions for better results. They made sure that the software was used for tracking and recording as well as informing the agents when the call was not being received by the customer in a proper manner.
Agents were taught to handle and run the software by themselves and provide better support to their customers.
4. Intensive training as held weekly. It did cost the company a lot of money, but this training, they realized, was extremely important for the agents, so that they could sell and advertise to their customers in a better fashion, rather than just solve their complaints.
Moreover, specific agents only were allowed to handle such an important thing, but all agents were trained for it.
The results that the company found took well over three months to show some profit, but in the eyes, it was actually showing some profit instead of being problematic.
As agents became better trained in selling the company’s products, sales and stocks of the company rose significantly.
Employee attrition was not reduced to a perfect zero percent, as this is not possible practically. However, the number did drop from before, which was a success.
Employees reported greater satisfaction as working in their positions, as a result of the company’s effort.
Stricter rules for agents meant less absenteeism. The remaining agents felt less stressed out as a result, and a better attendance meant smaller customer queues and better service overall.
With careful planning and the employment of good cloud call center software solutions, they can be avoided to a great extent.