Call centers provide customer service, but too often the customer isn’t the focus of operations. Some managers put more emphasis on measuring call volume and efficiency but fail to gauge how successfully the center is meeting customer needs.
Worse still, is failing to consider that the call center experience can have an impact on customer retention. All it takes is one bad customer service experience for 86% consumers to quit doing business with a company. Why? Because over two-thirds of consumers believe the customer service provided is a direct reflection of how much a company values them.
Call centers as a whole have a very negative reputation for being more of a hindrance than a help, which is why a third of people say they’d basically rather do anything than contact a call center. Luckily, technology is giving call centers new ways to connect with consumers and provide an exemplary customer service experience. A few changes can have a dramatic impact on how customers view your company and drive more revenue with very little effort.
Use Contact Center Software
After investing thousands of dollars in a complex call system and equipment some businesses forget one critical component – contact center software. There are a variety of software programs that can sync with a company’s phone system to capture call data. Depending on the software used there could be a lot more useful functionality that makes each call and follow-up conversations more productive.
Look for contact center software that can do more than just collect data. Programs with added features like allowing the customer to receive a callback and letting managers keep tabs on calls as they happen, provide a lot of extra value. It’s also important to select contact center software that can easily integrate with your CRM.
Leverage CRM Integration
When customers contact a call center they sometimes have a lot of great things to say about products or really insightful questions that the marketing team can use to sell products and services. Unfortunately, this information is rarely shared with departments outside of the call center and the opportunity is lost.
CRM integration allows the business’s call center to talk with the marketing and sales departments. Merging call data from your contact center software with your customer relationship management system provides a clearer customer service picture for everyone. It can even help call center reps by providing information like which products a customer owns or how long they’ve been doing business with the company. This type of information can help the rep tailor the call and lets the customer know they aren’t just a faceless number on a spreadsheet.
Create a Self-Service Customer Support Portal
There are a few very good reasons to incorporate a self-service customer support portal if your business hasn’t already. For starters, the portal can allow customers to search for answers on their own and reduce the number of issues the call center has to handle. If customer service is slipping because your call center is stretched thin this one change could correct many of the issues.
Customers are also expecting to find self-service customer support portal. The 2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report notes that 90% of consumers expect to find a self-service customer support portal on a company’s website. More than half of those people say they have a more favorable opinion of the company if the portal is also mobile-friendly.
One other very good reason to consider adding a self-service customer support portal is it can provide information for your call center if the customer does need to speak with a representative. Feeding the portal data to the call center allows the rep to know what the issue is before they get on the line so they’re better prepared to help.
Initiate Customer Service Training
Ultimately, a call center is going to lack customer service if the employees haven’t been properly trained in how to best serve consumers. You can’t simply hand a new representative a manual with the protocols and call it a day. Customer service training includes:
Details on the products, services, and differentiators that make the company unique.
The correct way to answer a call.
Explanation of how tone affects a conversation.
How to handle an emotional customer.
Operation of the contact center software and equipment.
What to do if they need assistance helping a customer.
Creating an easy system for reps to access FAQs and information.
Once employees are properly trained it’s important to follow up and gauge their performance by using customer service as a metric. Implementing a customer feedback system is the best way to determine which customer service reps are your top performers and who isn’t delivering. The information can help you fine-tune your training or create a mentoring program where the top performers coach reps that are struggling to provide awesome customer service.