How To Create A Service Oriented Mindset Within The Call Center

Providing the perfect service is a difficult yet crucial job that call center agents are expected to perform.

Businesses depend on them for outreach and connectivity, customers depend on them for a platform to obtain information or direct feedback and the industry depends on them to act as the intermediate so that organizations and customers can interact as one whole body.

However, given that agents are only human, it can get tough to maintain a positive attitude at work every day.

Keeping that in mind, companies are constantly coming up with ways to help their employees attain the perfect customer service mindset.

Providing the perfect service is a difficult yet crucial job that call center agents are expected to perform.

Businesses depend on them for outreach and connectivity, customers depend on them for a platform to obtain information or direct feedback and the industry depends on them to act as the intermediate so that organizations and customers can interact as one whole body.

However, given that agents are only human, it can get tough to maintain a positive attitude at work every day.

Keeping that in mind, companies are constantly coming up with ways to help their employees attain the perfect customer service mindset.

Recently, a lot of call center software has aided this process.

Monitoring levels of employee satisfaction, attention to detail, meeting deadlines, progressing with clients, etc. can all be indicators of what sort of a mindset that particular agent is in.

Having this data helps managers focus their attention on those who might be slipping, as well as put in place certain incentives for agents to look forward to, in order to boost morale and foster team spirit which ultimately leads to better productivity.

Here are some of the tips for managers to ensure their agents have a service oriented mindset while on the job.

1. Allow creative solutions by employees.

Every office has standard procedures that employees are asked to abide by.

However, in a place where decision making is the bulk of the work, allowing your employees some autonomy to make their own decisions is a great way to foster a sense of belonging to the place.

Agents are the ones dealing hands-on with customers all day, so they have the best idea of what is likely to work in a scenario.

Giving them the space to execute their plans brings a service oriented mentality into play, because they are now invested in the decision being taken and its success or failure has direct ramifications on the company.

2. Reward good performance.

Everyone wants an incentive to work hard.

For employees to cultivate that customer service mindset, they should be given an extra incentive for outstanding performance.

Recognition’s like setting up an Employee of the Month scheme, or a monetary bonus for surpassing benchmarks are some of the ways this incentive could be administered.

This helps keep a positive atmosphere in the office, fosters a sense of healthy competition and keeps agents on their toes.

Moreover, it naturally makes agents take greater interest in their work, shooting up the productivity levels of the team.

3. Listen to their side of the story.

Managers need to put themselves in the employees’ shoes and think from their point of view to truly come up with effective solutions in the workplace.

If you want your staff to approach a problem from the point of view of the customer, it is your responsibility to show them how it is done.

Leading by example is one of the best ways to cultivate a positive mindset, because agents naturally imbibe the qualities of the leaders.

Once they see managers basing their activities around the requirements of the agents, they will be more likely to base their own activities based around the requirements of their customers.

4. Encourage unscripted conversations.

One of the leading causes of burnout among call center employees is the repetitive nature of the job.

Often, they are asked to read answers off the scripts all day, and drag conversations toward the scripted lines.

Not only does this make the job less appealing, it deteriorates the level of involvement of the agent.

On the other hand, if agents are encouraged to pursue unscripted conversations, they are more invested in their job, and are naturally more customer oriented because of this approach.

5. Foster a good working environment in the company.

This is a long-term process, but is highly beneficial.

Managers need to bear in mind the importance of the work culture in the office starting from the time of hiring agents, to imparting training, assignments, client work, feedback and appraisals.

An office space where agents have good rapport between teams, have a healthy competition for top spots and are willing to help each other out with their combined areas of expertise, is ideal to cultivate a service oriented mindset.

6. Monitor KPIs related to employees.

As mentioned before, an employee’s satisfaction in their job can be quantified in terms of their willingness to work in pressure situations, contribution to team goals, taking on added responsibility, etc.

Managers need to keep an eye on these metrics to understand what sort of strategies are working well with their agents.

If employees are happy with their job, the entire work culture around the place will be more quality service oriented.

7. Offer encouraging feedback.

Managers and agents need to have a relationship of trust and understanding.

Communication is the biggest tool to success, and managers need to make use of this tool to reach out to their agents.

They should be actively involved in the day-to-day work by monitoring the activities that go on, providing feedback to those agents who performed well and leaving suggestions for those who did not.

Overall, agents are likely to be better focused on being service oriented if they are assured of a leader who is invested in their work and is more hands-on in his dealings with the employees.

8. Invest in training.

The basic principles of communication skills, decision making skills and marketing skills may be inherent in certain people, but their higher counterparts can be taught.

Training is very important for agents to be more customer oriented in their activities.

Call centers must invest in training their employees the essentials of a service oriented approach.

This makes a significant difference over any reasonably long period of time in terms of lead conversion, retention of customers, sales figures and eventually profitability.

A trained agent is obviously more likely to be properly service oriented than one who is untrained, even if he shows a flair for the job.

9. Give your employees the tech they need to succeed.

The entire world is progressing digitally, and the call center industry is no exception.

All operations happen through telemarketing software, all analysis is run on machines and strategies are formulated based on predictive models brought out by the data.

In such a scenario, your call center can only be world class if you are ready to bring in the technology necessary to stay on the top.

A contact center running on outdated tech will not be able to provide proper customer service, no matter how good its agents are or how effectively they can steer conversations around a customer.

10. Conduct team building activities and share goals.

A call center will only be successful if it works as a team.

Regardless of how many individual stars there might be, if agents cannot work together, the work will not get done.

Therefore, it is essential for managers to encourage agents to work as a coherent group.

Team building exercises foster a sense of trust among the agents and enable them to understand how to complement each others’ strengths and weaknesses.

Managers must also ensure individuals believing in the fulfillment of shared goals as the parameter for success, rather than meeting their own individual goals.

The Case Study

So far, we have talked about the things managers need to do in order to ensure their call center has a culture of service orientation.

These activities range from ensuring that your agents feel motivated to work in their teams, to bringing in the necessary call center software solutions for them to effectively use their skills and translate it to results.

Other important factors include training your employees well, setting up reward systems for outstanding achievements or making sure there is constant communication between the agents and the managers.

To demonstrate how key these efforts are towards cultivating a more service oriented approach, let us take the example of Bansmith Solutions, a telemarketing agency provided call center solutions for an established company.

In this case study, we will focus on the situation they were in with regards to the challenges they faced in their operations, how they implemented strategies to overcome those challenges, and the result of such moves.

We will also see whether or not the company saw gains come out of it in the short and long term.

The Problem Scenario

Bansmith Solutions had seen their sales figures stagnating for the last couple of years, and they were falling behind in the market due to their competitors picking up pace.

The company conducted surveys and realized that there was a disconnect between the customers and the agents they were communicating with.

Therefore, they were looking to make their customer service more focused on delivering quality and being service oriented in order to connect with their customer base better and deliver more efficient solutions.

The Challenges

The problems that the company faced in their operations are listed below.

1. Employees were hamstrung by the excessive rules and regulations determining every move they made.

There was no room for improvisation or creativity and agents stopped engaging over the certain period of time.

2. The technology that the company was using did not have features that were necessary to run deeper analysis and draw out better results.

3. Agents were instructed to focus on their own work so much that they failed to work as a team when it was required. As a result, the larger purpose of any exercise was not served as well as it should have been.

The Solutions

The solutions that were proposed by the management to counter the problems that they faced are as follows:

1. The company decided to implement the best call center software to enable its agents to put their skills to the best use. Using this software they would be able to draw far better insights and analyze the data so as to understand the best course of action.

They would also achieve a level of personalization that was previously not possible.

2. Employees were encouraged to run conversations off script and were given the autonomy to take decisions on their own, both of which resulted in agents gravitating towards a more service oriented process of work.

3. Team building activities were held to foster team spirit.

Every individual was made aware of the bigger picture so that they could understand that successfully fulfilling the shared goals were the most important task at hand.

The Results

Initially, this overhaul of operations caused a period of stagnation in growth, because employees were still getting used to the new system and the company had to make investments in bringing in top notch technology and provide training to its agents.

Over the first two years, sales figures grew by over 10% over the previous year and customer attrition rates were down. In the next five years, the company steadily kept updating its technology and hiring patterns so that the office had a culture of service oriented work around it.

This had a major cascading effect with every employee becoming more invested in projects and delivering their best.

Overall profits began to rise and promoted a cycle where employees could now receive bonuses and be further motivated to work harder.

Over the specified period of time, the company was able to establish itself as a market leader, owing a lot to the service oriented practices undertaken by the call center.

Thus, we can see how much of a difference a shift in attitude can make.

Managers need to understand that the human potential for fostering loyalty and generating sales hinges on several factors, all of which have to do with the quality of service being provided.

Creating a service oriented mindset within the call center not just betters the efficiency and output of that call center but has a positive impact on the buyers as well, who are now more inclined to trust the same brand than they would otherwise have been, simply because of the quality of service they received.

Following the tips mentioned here will surely transform your contact center into one filled with agents who have a service oriented mindset.