The technology and processes for running a call center in 2019 are evolving. Let’s look at 10 ways you can disrupt your call center today for a better customer experience and higher quality associates.
1) Omnichannel Call Center Operation:
The days of dictating how a customer interacts with your company ended about 5 years ago. Chat, Email, Voice, Self-service even video options need to be opened for your customers allowing them the choice of communication into your call center. All organizations need to make their service channels more customers friendly. You should want to talk and engage your customers on their terms, not push them to a service model you think will be the most “cost effective” This is penny-wise and dollar foolish.
You also need a CRM that can understand and take all this customer data allowing for associates to have a seamless transition from one channel to another when talking to a customer.
Technology is here now to handle multiple channels with a customer while on the same call and its very cost effective.
2) Newest Technology for Self-Service/Social:
Enterprise mobile solutions are now becoming a must. Over 3/4 of all customers now have smartphones. Chatbots and Texting AI can provide your customers with a painless and unique way of communicating with your organization.
We liken the rise of Chatbots to companies that were thinking of how to leverage Social Media 5 years ago.
Companies were not sure how to monitor and use social media or if they even had to. Now everyone has a social media strategy when it comes to service. You must with today’s customer.
This is the same concept of where chatbots are today. People are not sure if they need them, how to use them and the technology is so new they are not sure what they can do. My simple answer to this is that they can do almost everything you need and probably more than you think. Make payments, check balances, purchases, change billing dates, generate leads, these are all things we have done with customers.
It’s time for you to research them. The technology is amazing and can provide the perfect self-service model for today’s tech-savvy customer.
3) HIGHLY Educated Associates:
First Call Resolution, Net Promoter, SLA, Delight, CSat. All these stats mainly boil down to how educated and engaged your associates are. Do you have a Management training program? Do you have weekly agent education? What is your system of getting new information out to associates? Are you incenting the right things?
Technology is great but the associate really the heart of your service model. How much time and money are invested in these associates?
4) Understand your Culture:
Can you describe your call centers culture in one sentence? Probably not.
At Expivia our culture is having a “Sunshine Attitude with an Entrepreneurial Mindset”. That boils down to Attitude and Effort. We don’t hire on experience. We don’t promote the top sales or service people unless they have a great attitude and give 100% effort every day. That works for us. Find out what works for you and make that the center of how you pay reps, incent them, promote them. It’s not just a saying but a working plan that keeps everyone on track.
5) Advanced Quality Assurance:
You probably have a QA team who task it is to “catch” those associates doing something wrong…correct?
Those days are done. Speech analytics needs to be placed in every center that really cares about QA. We no longer should be catching people trying to work the system. Now that’s the analytic program’s job. Not only can speech analytics make sure that specific disclosures are being read, but it can also tell you about agent and customer sentiment. Did someone raise their voice on a call, is a customer angry, did someone laugh! We can tell all that now and flag the appropriate calls.
With advanced analytics, you can also get a true “Voice of Customer” by understanding specific keywords that keep coming up on each call. Phrases like “too expensive” or “awesome website” can now be quantified so your customer service department can finally become the extension of your company’s marketing arm that everyone has always wanted.
So much information comes from customers. If you are not using it you are making mistake!
6) Is Your Call Center Fun:
Call center/customer service work is hard. Representatives on the phone can take a ton of abuse no matter when channel they are working. The environment must be one of comfort and….yes its ok to say…FUN!
Our job as a call center manager is to make the customers that interact with our center have a world-class experience. We cannot do this if we have associates that are lethargic, have bad attitudes and do not want to be at work. One way we can help them is by making the contact center THE fun place to work.
The contact center can be a place where you can do things that you cannot do in any other department. You can yell out loud, high five, cheer each other on! You can’t do that in accounting!
Show me a quiet contact center floor and I will show you one with high turnover, low quality and more importantly one that reflects that the associates are not enjoying themselves.
If we can get our associates to have fun at their job it takes their mind off all the negative things that hamper great contact center work. All contact centers have associates that seem to always come in with their daily troubles on their sleeve. All contact centers have reps that leave “sick” every day because they are just plain bored. If we can take their attention off these things and channel it into something positive, then we have taken a huge step in improving our center.
7) Highly Motivated and Prepared Supervision:
You can’t expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don’t exceed the employee’s’ expectations of management.” -Howard Shultz CEO Starbucks
How do you facilitate call center management training in your customer service center? Do you have a training plan at all or do you just take long-tenured associates and make them supervisors/team leads when a supervisor leaves? If you hire a supervisor off the street what training do you give them?
Most call center organizations that I have seen do not do a very good job in preparing their supervision for the job at hand. Many call center managers assume that because an associate did a great job on the phones they will be a good supervisor. Big mistake.
I liken it to a sports analogy. Just because you were a great football or basketball player does not guarantee that a person will be a great coach. It’s the same thing with your customer service center employees.
Everyone has in-depth procedures for training their customer service associates. Shouldn’t you have the same thing for your middle management?
I have found that having a solid management trainee program not only trains your future managers on their job but also shows career progression to all employees which limits turnover.
8) Procedures for the Beginning of Every Shift:
We educate all our middle management that the first 30 minutes of an associate’s day must be totally controlled by the supervisor. We believe it is one of the most important tips that we can give any call center manager. If you know what to do during this time and your supervisors are trained in this aspect it will allow every day get off to a great start and solve many problems before they even have a chance to start!
9) Measure the Proper KPI’s:
Let’s take some time and talk about customer service metrics that really matter! So many companies confuse KPI’s and call center metrics in a constant struggle to quantify a world-class customer experience. Everyone is constantly changing what is important, this month is AHT, next month it’s SLA = VOC, again, all trying to justify a great customer experience.
The companies that measure this way are ignoring the two main groups that decide a great experience, the customer and the associate, and put all the time in money into the measurements that are in between them. This makes little sense.
Look at not only NPS and CSAT as stronger metrics but the industry is finally measuring agent and customer sentiment using speech analytics. These are the metrics that truly world-class centers will be using are the key metrics.
WOW! A program that does not just depend just on First call resolution, SLA, Average Talk Time or hold times to tell a company they are offering great service. These metrics should be used to diagnose and put service issues and techniques under the microscope, not be the goal.
10) Disrupt Yourself:
Call Center managers can be very stuck in their ways. We like what we like and sometime done embrace the technology that we already have. Make sure you are forcing yourself you learn the newest techniques and all the bells and whistles that your telephony and CRM platform has to offer. This is a huge step in making your center an amazing place.