With so much changing so quickly in the customer service industry, it can be difficult to keep up with customer service demands.
So how can your team determine the best practices for call center customer service in 2023?
Most teams use a bit of experimentation, data and trial and error to see what works—which is a fine strategy—or you could simply use these tried-and-true best practices from our team of experts. With decades of experience, these strategies are serving us well in 2023 and beyond:
Read on to see our team’s advice for making the most of these nine strategies.
Hire the Right People
Great customer service starts with the right people—especially in 2023. According to a survey by PwC, 82% of US consumers want more human interaction in their customer service experiences. As such, hiring the right team is a crucial step for call center success.
Of course, doing so may not be so straightforward. When hiring call center agents, remember the saying, “hire for attitude, train for aptitude.” While hard skills such as software knowledge, processes and procedures are easy to teach, soft skills—such as empathy, active listening, patience, problem-solving and so on—are much more difficult to train for. Of course, hiring agents who have such soft skills can be a difficult and time-consuming process.
As a result, many organizations choose to outsource their customer service, relying on a team of experts to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Leveraging an outsourced team, like ROI Solutions, provides companies not only with expertise and experience, but also offloads the hiring, training and management aspects of a call center, freeing up internal resources for higher-value strategy and tasks.
Use the Right Tools
Once you have the right team in place, you also need the right tools. Not only do the right tools enable your agents to be more efficient and productive, they can also make your customer interactions more effective and strengthen customer engagement.
So, which tools are most important for call centers in 2023?
For many customers, omnichannel support is a must—and yet few companies are executing omnichannel support well.
- 71% of customers want companies to know and remember their previous interactions with a brand—yet only 29% say this regularly happens.
- 78% of customers feel that true omnichannel support rarely, if ever, happens from brands.
Focusing on omnichannel support—and the tools that enable it—is a must for excellent customer service. This is especially true since most companies aren’t yet nailing these expectations. When your team does, you’ll have a leg up on the rest of the competition.
Omnichannel messaging and email support, as well as CRM or other databases that enable your team to access customer interaction history in one central location, are essential. In addition, the basics—such as strong email support and 24/7 customer phone service—aren’t to be overlooked either.
Focus on the Data
With the right tools and team in place, customer service call centers should turn next to the data—internal data, operational data, customer data and more.
Customer analytics are essential to help your team understand your audience and solve problems for your customers. Given the amount and variety of customer analytics and data available—companies handle three times as much customer data today as they did in 2015—focusing on the right customer data and analytics is essential for exceptional customer service.
Which types of data are best practice to be tracking?
Ultimately, that depends on your team and your customer service goals and KPIs. Partnering with a team of customer experience experts can help you determine the most effective strategies, metrics and KPIs to strengthen your customer experience.
However, one of the most important types of customer data every team should be tracking is customer experience data. This includes metrics like CSAT, NPS, CES and so on. These metrics not only give you insight into customer experiences (obviously) but they can help you optimize the customer journey by understanding where and why customers’ experiences improve or decline.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
The ability to create exceptional customer experiences and deliver quality customer service consistently doesn’t rest solely on having the right tools or even the right team—it also requires the right processes.
Companies who want to deliver excellent customer service in 2023 need to focus on efficiency and consistency to enable agents to work smarter—more effectively and productively—rather than just completing more tickets or working more hours. Instituting standard operating procedures enables customer service teams to create consistency across your process and service levels. With standardized processes, agents know how to deliver quality baseline experiences, and are empowered to go above and beyond.
In addition, implementing a knowledge base for your agents helps ensure that they can provide fast, accurate and consistent information for customers. Did you know that 76% of customers say they receive conflicting answers when they speak to a second agent, or contact a brand on a different channel?
Implementing standard processes and developing knowledge bases not only creates more efficient service, by keeping organizational knowledge accessible, but it also helps create consistent service and solutions for customers.
Automate Where Possible
Speaking of working smarter, not harder, introducing automation into your customer service solutions and workflows is a must in 2023.
What can be automated? Automation exists for almost every aspect of the workflow: from IVR and call routing to automatic ticket distribution and call logging, you can automate almost any repetitive, routine tasks call center agents have to perform and improve efficiency and productivity.
Automation can improve your internal processes, but it can also help provide faster, more efficient service for customers. Customers more and more expect self-service options, and other automated solutions that allow them to find their own answers and solutions.
- 81% of consumers expect more self-service options—even though 40% of companies feel they are providing enough.
- 75% of consumers think self-service options are a “convenient” way to get customer service help.
- 77% of customers say they see companies more positively if they offer self-service support.
As you can see, self-service is not only an efficient and affordable way to scale up your service, it’s best practice in 2023 for meeting customer expectations. Self-service options like chatbots, knowledge bases, website FAQs and other self-service account options (like automated returns and password resets) can help customers get help whenever they need it.
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Always Be Improving
Most importantly, creating continual processes for improvement is an essential best practice for call centers. Rather than adopting a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach, take an active approach to your call center’s improvement by:
- setting ambitious goals
Focus on tracking the metrics that matter most. Setting goals, KPIs and benchmarks for your call center not only helps you track progress and improve over time, but it also sets standards and goals for your agents.
- incentivizing your team
Providing appropriate and competitive incentives for your customer service agents and team members can help motivate your team to deliver exceptional experiences. Want to see improvement? Invest in team training and incentives.
- creating baseline metrics & implement a QA process
Baseline metrics—standards for things like CSAT, FCR, AHT and so on—can not only help you see how you’re improving, but can also help you create a quality assurance process that enables you to deliver consistent experiences.
- continually train your team
Ongoing training for your team is more important than you might think. 62% of customer service agents say more skills-based training would improve their overall performance and service levels. Investing in your team is a direct investment in quality service for your customers.
Quality over Quantity
Offering more customer service might have been a good strategy ten or twenty years ago, but in 2023, quality is king.
Of course, customers want speed and convenience, but providing quality service will ultimately create satisfied customers that stay loyal to your brand. To invest in quality, an essential first step is creating a quality assurance (QA) process. This will be especially important as the quantity of your interactions and calls grow.
A QA process provides your team with reliable benchmarks, goals for the future, ongoing feedback loops from various stakeholders and action items for continuous improvement. As your team grows, your service consistency can remain stable. In addition, an ongoing QA process keeps quality at the forefront of your team’s mind and priorities.
Customer First, Always
While this should have always been the case, in 2023, keeping the customer at the center of your call center and customer service operations is crucial.
Customers have high expectations today—they expect brands to meet them where they are and provide service whenever and wherever they need it. As such, brands should be sure to:
- collect and implement customer feedback through data, surveys, reviews and other means
- measure and seek to improve customer experience benchmarks (CES, NPS, etc.)
- develop seamless omnichannel experiences to meet customers wherever they are
- implement customer-focus strategies throughout the organization
Developing a customer-first organization can take the form of a customer-focus strategy or customer-centric decisions, but ultimately, it is a strategy that prioritizes the customer’s needs and goals throughout the entirety of the customer journey, from product design to the checkout process.
Don’t Go at It Alone
Finally, don’t go at it alone. When it comes to customer service and the customer experience, partnering with a team of experts is an excellent way to get instant access to expertise, strategy and more. Hiring a team of customer experience experts, like ROI Solutions, to partner with your brand instantly gives you:
Not only does a provider offer customer experience generally, but should also offer expertise in your industry and audience.
- strategy and execution
We don’t just show you what to do, we’ll also help you execute it. Achieve your goals with measurable results through a partnership with a customer experience provider.
- tools and software
Getting the best tools and software set up for your call center can be a lengthy and expensive process when it’s happening in-house. Working with an outsourcing provider like ROI Solutions gives you instant access to best-in-class technology to run your call center.
Growing your company fast is exciting—but growing your customer service department fast enough to keep up can be stressful. Having a customer service partner takes care of scale, so you can scale up and down whenever you need.
Looking to improve your customer service through these call center best practices in 2023? Connect with an expert from ROI Solutions today and see how we can help your team take your customer support to the next level.