There is no denying that an efficient call center is one where agents address customer concerns in a prompt and thorough manner, creating meaningful relationships with customers at each and every point of interaction.
But, the question is: What does it take to establish a well-organized and efficient call center?
Earlier this year, we brought you a post outlining 4 call center best practices for retaining top talent and providing exceptional customer experiences.
Today, we’d like to expand on that list and give you 7 (more) best practices that can lead to better call center efficiency.
But don’t just take our word for it! To come up with our list, we scoured the web and pulled from some of the foremost thought leaders, publications, and sites in the call center industry.
Let’s take a look:
Make Customer Service a Top Priority
“Call center scripts and proper training are more important than ever before, with call center representative jobs expected to grow 12.6 percent by 2022. In fact, what your reps say is just as important as the information and design of your website. If you want customers to recommend your products and services, and want to stand out as a brand, customer service should be one of your top priorities.”
Measure Customer Satisfaction
“Customer satisfaction measurement has evolved beyond mail surveys (delivered by post) and phone interviews days after the customer’s interaction transpired. The big trend now is to survey callers immediately after the interaction occurs, when the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind and before problems can escalate.
Top centers typically do this via IVR-based post-call surveys, similar to the type described in the previous section on first contact resolution. Callers are asked a series of questions about their interaction with the agent, their feelings about the organization and their plans to continue doing business with the company. They are asked to rate each question on a numeric scale (often 1 to 5) for easy customer satisfaction calculation. Many surveys also feature a couple of open-ended questions for more detailed customer feedback.”
Coach Agents for Performance
“Agent performance is the foundation of good customer service in a contact center. Coach your coaches, provide specific feedback, and invest in next-generation coaching tools to make sure you get the most from your people. Reward your best-performing agents. Help those that struggle to do better.”
Boost Office Morale
“Every year call centers suffer from some of the highest turnover rates amongst American industries. Low wages and few benefits are contributing factors, but the chief factor that drives call center turnover is morale.
Your agents spend most of their day listening to and solving complaints from customers, which can create a sense of negativity. An easy way to combat the negativity is through praise of work well done. Sharing favorable reviews from callers or better than expected performance data improves your agents’ sense of worth, and motivates them to recreate that positive feeling again.”
(Source: RMG Networks)
Blend Your Agent Roles
“Training agents to handle various channels—creating what are known as unified or blended agents—can vastly improve productivity. When agents get free time between calls, they can assist in chat sessions or do some cross-selling or upselling.
Blending agent roles allows agents to be good in both service and support. However, success in agent blending is determined not only by each agent’s basic skill set but also the sophistication of your customer interaction systems. A deficiency in one or the other can create more problems than achievements.”
(Source: Destination CRM)
Manage Contact Center Metrics
“Once a call center’s metrics have been established, the challenge becomes managing those metrics and ensuring the call center agents are well trained on meeting the business objectives. Many organizations have started agent-mentoring programs to encourage employees to succeed in their jobs and maintain the best-possible customer relations. Research shows that if employees are happy in their jobs, they are more likely to work harder to keep customers happy as well.”
Eliminate Hold Time
“Hold times are one of the most common threats to customer satisfaction. Callers feel that their time is not respected when subjected to long periods of waiting. Instead, offer the option of a scheduled call-back and let callers choose a time that works best for them. Connect customers to the right agent every time regardless of where the call comes from – 800 number, web or smartphone.”
While the above call center best practices have been pulled from some of the leading industry experts, it’s important to note that there’s no one way to run your call center. Each individual call center will need to determine the appropriate metrics, strategies, and best practices to drive efficiency and provide customers with exceptional experiences.