When it comes to call centers, it is always a challenge to meet the demands of the customers in the real world, regardless of the best call center software your company is using. But that is not to say that it is impossible.
Call centers serve as a lifeline for quickly connecting the customers of the company with their Communications Services Providers or CSPs.
Whenever any form of customer service is disrupted, it is the corporate brand and the reputation of the company that suffers.
While it might be tempting for you to envision the natural disasters that result in power outages due to weather conditions, it really need not be that dramatic.
Disruption can also be caused due to the unexpected call volumes which can be due to product launches, or product recalls, set seasonality or an influx of intra-day demand.
These are the events that causes rather unacceptable wait times or even failed resolution that can end up putting the customers at risk of defection, as well as the lost opportunity to gain a loyal customer base.
Customer expectations continue to increase in this modern world, forcing the various levels of CSPs to become more and more responsive to the customers.
Your customers in general are not really sympathetic towards you, no matter how much you work for that. They won’t care that there was an unexpected event that has dramatically increased the call volume in the company which then results in a slow service.
They expect the customer service to be available for them any time and on demand.
A call center vendor that is able to efficiently provide a service of delivery options that also includes at home agents that can help handle such surprises by increasing the capacity with little or notice beforehand to help with the minimization of the impact on your customers and in turn the business overall.
Making sure that your agreement is covering both the planned needs and the unplanned volume and the multifarious events that are presented before them is important before you need the capacity.
To keep in control of the element of surprise when it comes to a customer by exceeding their expectations and going the extra mile, you need to rely on a lot of instincts rather than relying on any just tools like call center software.
It will be a great way to make sure they’ll be back for future reference in the company. Here, we share nineteen tips on how call center agents can go that extra mile and provide better support for customer demand.
1. First and foremost, you should understand why your customers are calling your company, what are the reasons that segregate into the different categories of customers, and so on.
The majority of customer service operations, using proper call center software solutions have no means of finding out the reason why the customers are calling.
Learning why your customers are calling, you can take time to publish a FAQ on your website and therefore in turn help your customers out without them having to call your offices and increase traffic.
2. Take time to look for a proper cloud call center software solutions system that will pair your customer with the same representative each time they call.
You can also give all your customers an even more consistent experience by pairing them up with an agent they have spoken to on a past experience if their regular agent isn’t quite available at the moment.
You can also program your software into identifying high-value customers and then send them through to an experienced team or to your most valuable agents.
3. Learn to look beyond just services for your customers. For a true and happy experience, decide to do the extra bit and go forward to do something your customers won’t expect from your company.
Things such as sending a birthday card, sending a Christmas gift, or offering them discounts and freebies when they get promoted can help your customers remember your services for a longer time.
This helps in distinguishing your company and therefore helps in building up repeat businesses and improves overall employee morale within the company.
4. Never use scripts to interact with your customers. Instead, use guiding prompts to go through the process of interaction.
Also, care must be taken to make sure your agents sound human and not robots with a certain code of conduct. Try to give out several guiding prompts to your agents rather than providing them entire scripts in order to make your agents sound knowledgeable and engaging.
5. It is important to be proactive rather than be reactive when handling customer complaints. Handling customer complaints in a proactive manner rather than reactively answering your customers is a form of great customer expectation matching.
Standing out from the crowd by contacting your customers even before they have had the chance to make a formal complaint is a truly customer-centric approach to complaints will earn respect, trust and loyalty that will last long into the future.
6. It is important to personalize your customer interactions. Make it a point to personalize each interaction using your customer database with analytics and background information.
With such details at their fingertips the company’s agents can be better at dealing with the customers. From anticipating possible issues, to demonstrating their knowledge of previous contacts with the customer and then finally allowing them to recommend solutions then-and-there should all be a package of customer interactions.
7. You can use a proper virtual call center software for an accurate forecasting in meeting proper customer demand. The long call waiting times is often a major cause of customer service dissatisfaction as studies have often proved.
There should be a set of rules to make use of accurate forecasting and workforce optimization. Virtual software can help your company in balancing the customer demand with the proper number of agents.
8. By maintaining this balance through a proper software, call-waiting times and abandoned call rates can be significantly dropped or reduced and resolution times between the customers and the company can be increased.
The costs which are associated with under or over staffing of agents including the loss of sales and revenue can also be minimized. If you are confused about how to choose a proper software, a call center software comparison can be done.
9. Look after your customers, specially the VIP ones, who are on hold. If you do have a queue or a queue like situation, your agents should be able to look after your customers on hold by either using multiple assurance prompts such as ‘position in queue’ or ‘time to answer’ announcements or telling them how important their call is to your company.
This will help in reassuring your customers, as well as manage their expectations without testing their patience.
10. Alternatively allowing your customers to have the option to remove themselves from a queue, and instead receive a call when an agent is freely available can also improve perception of your business by the customers, as well as reduce call waiting times and by default, added revenue.
11. Take care to create a proper consistency across all channels properly. You should have a proper call center management software which will help you by enabling your agents in handling multiple types of transaction, which has several benefits for the overall customer experience.
It also means that if your customers have several problems, problems that need dealing within the course of one interaction between the agent and the customer, they do not need to be transferred from one department to the department.
Whether it is your customers who are contacting you via the phone, email, chat or social media, they always expect a consistently high level of service and a fast response which will completely solve their problems in a quick and orderly fashion.
12. You should be able to develop new products that are in line with several of the customer needs. If there is a customer who needs something but your company does not provide, it is worth considering whether that need is something your other clients might need and use as well.
If there is a valid business case that can be made with the launching of a new product, informing the original customer about it on time is extremely helpful, and it will not only make the customer feel that they are cared for in the company, but also increase sales in form of a loyal base.
13. Proceed with the mindset that if you must do something, you should do one thing really well in the company, regardless of what it is, so that it becomes your biggest strength.
Customers can now find answers to their questions online, and they usually opt for this form of communication, only choosing to call in when any question is too complicated or too time consuming to answer right away.
The more sophisticated answers, direct from the mouth of the agent has become the domain and the call of the call center attraction.
It is a known fact that call centers need more and better skilled agents, with more judgement, more intelligence to solve few of the complex problems quicker and even handle the escalation of the customer calls in a rather valuable way.
14. If you have agents can be grouped together, with every group having a rather different but a professional fundamental specialist area, it’s a good thing, as an incoming call can be allotted to the right person, who will take it upon themselves as a responsibility to solve the customer’s problems.
This should be helpful in the elimination of the extended pauses and allow the agent who whom the call has been assigned to sound more professional and less flustered and weak.
15. Change your response patterns and use better, positive words and empathy statements throughout the conversations.
Earning the trust of the customer is rather vital, and making sure to refrain from the usage of the negative language, which includes words such as “no”, “impossible” and replacing these words and phrases with positive, reinforcing words is a good way to start gaining it.
Also, keep in mind to keep the customer interests at heart, because it is essential in making a deeper connection with the customer, and that can be accomplished by the help of empathy statements.
Trying to think of things from the mindset and from customer’s perspective and being a bit more empathetic is very beneficial.
16. One way to gain trust is to install prompts directly to the dashboard of the agent, therefore equipping agents with a list of positive words and empathetic statements that may encourage the customer to feel better and upbeat about the entire situation that they have presented no matter how dismal and even exceed their expectations of a routine call.
If you cannot determine the prices of such a product, doing a quick fact check of call center software pricing can solve your queries.
17. You must first understand what excellence looks like in your company and what it means within your company ethics to be excellent.
Generally speaking, in order to exceed customer expectations in the call center business, you have to be able to provide an excellent customer service, but that is going to bring about the changes with respect to the context of your business.
Therefore, for example, if your business’ focus is mainly on the basic of transactions, you can really cross the expectations by simply getting the basic fundamentals of the interaction correctly right.
18. Be prepared to break what is called the “acceptance culture” within the company towards a broken process. Teach your agents to speak up, and they should always be encouraged to actually shout about any form of barriers that are the main sources of preventing the business from delivering its version of excellent to the company.
Even if the broken process cannot be really changed, by simply raising the issue to the superiors, the agents will be understanding the reasons why and then they will be able to communicate it back to the customers promptly, bringing better revenue and greater trust.
This will break the culture that is present within the group of agent that repeat “I am not able to do…” and properly replace the negative words with information that is helpful to the customers.
19. Utilizing the voice of the customer or VoC feedback that you receive from the customer is very important and helpful.
Whether this feedback is taken from agents, or from the company surveys or even if it from the interaction analytics, VoC feedback can be utilized for not only spreading into the wider business but to the call centers, which will in turn proceed to real change.
If there is a particular type of complaint that has been repeatedly cropping up in the feedback section that is gained, there should be agents that are immediately made aware of the situation so that they do not repeat the same mistakes and make sure that a returning customer or a very valuable customer will not have the same problem as before and have a better experience in the future.
The Case Study
We have provided you with a list of tips that can be used to help your company achieve, with time and patience, a near perfect customer experience while meeting customer demands, but knowing about the tips alone will not be enough to help your research in case you are looking forward to start implementing these methods better customer experience and demand completion in your call center business.
To do so, correctly, you need to be able to have a few of the examples and take time to study their methods in order to increase your chances for a better implementation of the methods mentioned above which are gaining in popularity in the market day by day.
Therefore, only after a complete knowledge of the detailing of the working of such methods and its benefits to the potential growth of your company can you decide to take a call on what steps to follow, and what steps to avoid for the overall growth of the company.
The case study that we will take a look as ASR, an anonymous company popular as a Spanish Cloud Service provider throughout the world.
In this case study we will talk about the problem scenario, the challenges they faced before the implementation of certain methods, the solutions they were able to derive from the system they follow, and the overall results that they managed to achieve.
The Problem Scenario
ASR, established in 2012, had reached a position where their marketing services were growing, along with the client portfolio.
Even though this was good, meaning that they were beginning to achieve success, it also posed a serious problem for the company.
There was a rise in customer demands which they were not being able to cope up with. At this time, they were using specialized marketing tool to handle all this extra information with the help of a small group of agents in the customer service department.
They realized that they were taxing their employees and the tools used weren’t efficient enough for the company handling of the customers.
They wanted a solution out of it as soon as possible. With this goal in mind, they decided to partner up with TFC, a software marketing consultancy to help them create a better and cleaner software tool to help them cope with the influx of customer demand and maintain customer satisfaction.
The challenges that the company faced were several, but here is a list to highlight a few of the problems:
1. There was a difficulty of coordinating multi-channel pragmas and they ended up with disparate tools, hampering the ability to scale business.
2. There was no proper integration of the tools, with the company executives mastering several logins, in addition to importing and exporting data, cutting and pasting things to join it up. The tools had ended up doing more harm than good.
3. The company could not manage the customer demands in a timely fashion. They were compromising not only on time as they worked on the existing cases, but also shunning away all the other customers as they ended up frustrated at the service.
4. They had an incompetent team of untrained agents that had no clue how to handle customer demands.
TFC took a look at the intricate mix of internal system and made it obvious that they needed to find a better system or risk losing the just budding business. Here are some of the solutions that they provided:
1. Ordered the company to either train the present agents properly or hire new ones that knew what they are doing without bowing to the pressure.
2. Hired a team of technical gurus to teach the team to manually solve mist of the problems and not just rely on the available system for handling customer influx.
3. Developed and clean and cut tool that would give the agents prompts on the screen whenever they are interacting with the customer, in order to make the process smoother.
4. Develop an automated messaging system that detected a customer’s special days, such as birthdays, anniversaries and so on to send them personalized messages and wishes to build a better relationship with the customers and keep them coming back.
The new model with the company ASR began to implement the methods provided by TFC slowly, and once implemented, they began to slowly roll it out to the public.
They grew around 50% over the course if the next two years as a result, and then the company began to turn the existing systems off.
It did cause some initial friction, but in the next year and a half, the company saw better revenues and feedback from their customers.
Customer demands should be your number one priority, for it is really the customers that shape up a business. Once the tools are implemented, it is inevitable that success will follow.