Today’s call centers are changing. Various new communication methods, technologies, and online services are transforming the call center customer service experience and operations on multiple levels. Resisting digital integration and adaptation may just find call centers of the past out of business in the future. Embracing these innovations, on the other hand, creates the environment and provides the tools for increased quality of agent performance as well as improve customer concern resolution and satisfaction.
One thing is for certain, if you are wanting to thrive in the current call center age, keep your service top-quality, and your agents and customers happy, avoid the following call center performance killers.
1. Not using the cloud
More than 41% of call centers have their preferred cloud technology picked out. In 2008, just 2.2% of call call centers were using cloud technology. That number increased to 18% by 2015, an extraordinary growth in a matter of years. It is easy to see the draw. Choosing to use cloud based infrastructure requires no investing in all hardware or software or paying to maintain or upgrade it (most cloud-based options have automatic upgrades). Contact centers also benefit from faster deployment, and a cost-effective agent solution. They offer flexibility for agent use, at home or in multiple contact centers. Most also offer pay-as-you-go customizable solutions, scaling up or down as needs change, and paying only for what you use.
2. Not segmenting client demographics
Understanding your market and their preferences allows you to communicate more effectively and in a way in which your customers are most comfortable. Dividing your markets by location, such as countries, gives you an opportunity to train agents specific to the culture and customs of that country, especially if it affects their manner of communication. Segmenting demographics by age, as another example, can give you a better idea of what your specific demographic might prefer. Millennial customers (around ages 18-30) might prefer using texting, or social media messaging for company communications.
3. Not taking advantage of newer CRM technologies
There are several new and improved customer relationship management (CRM) software options available now which streamline the customer experience and better enable you to serve your customers more effectively. Some of the perks of newer CRM technology include:
effective call steering, social media relations, customer feedback, speech analytics, performance management, web-enabled technologies, and improved contact center security. Improving CRM technologies allows agents the tools necessary to serve customers according to their needs, in the quickest and most thorough way possible.
4. Skimping on agent training
It is a myth that creating a shorter training period and getting agents on the phones faster is more cost-effective for companies. Agents who are under-trained or who do not have an adequate product or system knowledge can become much more costly. Insufficient agent training often leads to higher agent attrition rates, the costs of which are substantial to contact centers. Instead of rushing the training process, invest a minimum of two weeks, allowing for simulated calls and system usage, along with bonding experiences with other agents. Connecting with other agents in the training process provides a support system and contributes to an employee’s longevity in the company.
5. Lack of Personal Touch
Many call centers have implemented automated response systems to direct calls and meet customer needs in the name of cost-effectiveness, but these systems often backfire and turn customers away when their needs are not personally handled by an agent. Contact centers focus on customers by using actual agents and providing personalized interactions and solutions. You may want to reconsider the use of precise scripts as well. Using scripts in the name of professionalism can be irritating to today’s customers who want personable, relatable agents who communicate professionally, but not robotically.
6. Not going multichannel
Even though companies believe they have multiple communication channels available to their customers, a survey by Genesys suggests that only 27% of contact centers actually allow for seamless mobility between channels. Offering a diverse range of communication methods allows your customers to contact you in their preferred manner. Some may prefer using email, text, chat, or other social media platforms like twitter or Facebook messaging, while other customers are going to prefer the personal and immediate assistance available over the phone. Companies would also benefit from creating mobile-responsive systems with the use of cell phones and tablets on the rise. Utilizing multiple communication channels seamlessly creates an attitude of service and availability your customers will love.
7. Lack of effective call analytics
Knowing where your customers are calling from, when they are calling, what they are calling for, how long until their needs are met, and whether they were met in the first contact are all invaluable measures in a call center. If your analytics are not providing the data on these and other necessary performance measures, your are seriously doing your company and your customers a disservice. Conversely, having up-to-date data from your call analytics allows your agents to give top-quality service. There are systems that “whisper” this information to your agents before a call comes in, allowing agents access to relevant information before being faced with the customer concern, streamlining call resolution and overall call flow.
Taking these call center performance pitfalls into account, and adjusting your approach accordingly can make all the difference in the longevity of your business.
Photo by Nicolas Raymond