It goes without saying there is no one-size-fits-all solution for how to run an efficient and successful call center. While solutions such as speech analytics technology, agent scorecards, and social monitoring can help to improve agent performance and provide for a better customer experience, the fact of the matter is that each individual call center will need to determine its own set of best practices.
To shed light on the various ways to drive call center improvements, we’ve compiled a list of tips and advice from industry experts. We hope the following contact center best practices help you uncover the path toward operational efficiency at your organization. Enjoy!
1) Facilitate Problem Solving
“Build, establish, and maintain open lines of communication with agents, peers, trainers, managers, QA specialists, Engineering, Marketing, Manufacturing, and other areas of the company to facilitate problem solving. Address challenging customers and problems that require escalation outside of [any] department.”
(Source: DMG Consulting LLC)
2) Focus on Agent Behavior When Giving Feedback
“Agents will shut down if they feel they are being attacked. Keep the focus on the behaviors that you would like to address. In addition, make sure to speak on behaviors that are positive as well as behaviors that need improvement. Agents need to receive acknowledgment and recognition on what they are doing well so that those behaviors continue.”
3) Offer Agent Support & Coaching
“Assess the performance of each individual agent, team, department and the call center as a whole and provide relevant metrics to all parties with a vested interest. Create a remediation plan (i.e., shadow a more experienced agent, have a call center manager whisper coach them, engage in self-evaluation, etc.) for agents who consistently fail to make improvements based on your feedback.”
4) Leverage Call Monitoring & Scoring
“Quality monitoring solutions such as speech analytics automatically monitor and score 100% of calls, helping you deliver objective feedback and improve agent performance. Call scoring evaluation forms can also be helpful for enhancing quality assurance within your call center.”
5) Adjust Agent Work Hours
“Working hours that help to maintain a good work/life balance can be a big pull into your business, while ‘ridiculous’ shifts could have the opposite effect. Try tailoring your shift patterns around the basic needs of your employees. For example, create evening and weekend shifts for students to fit around their studies, and early start and finish options for working parents to fit around the school run.”
(Source: Call Centre Helper)
6) Share Customer Information
“Customers get frustrated when information given to the IVR (account number, name, etc.) is lost once the call is transferred to an agent. Don’t let your IVR or CTI hinder your success. Gather caller information prior to the call and ‘whisper’ it to the agent – this process allows your employees to spend more time servicing customers and less time collecting data.”
7) Define & Communicate Customer Service Standards
“Having a clear document that explains acceptable standards will help in setting the customer’s expectations. Clearly outlined standards will help with measuring the performance of your employees and creating training programs to help them to excel. Create your customer service standards to be specific, concise, and measurable, based on the requirements of your customer, written in your job descriptions, and used in performance reviews.”
While there may be no right or wrong call center best practices – each call center will need to determine which approaches work best for their organization – it’s important to spend time defining individual metrics for success.
The above tips are just a few of the ways to empower agents to continually improve their interactions with customers and, in turn, provide for better experiences for customers.
Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Wavebreakmedia