We as customers live in a demanding world. We want things now. More importantly, we want things fixed now. With that type of attitude it can be frustrating to contact a call center that isn’t able to properly help you. What are some ways Call Centers can help make their customer experience better and not make things worse?
1. Numbers game
Results are great indicators of service, but they shouldn’t be considered as your general reference. If you put too much emphasis on call results, agents will try to use short cuts, resulting in poorer customer service. Make it a goal to improve the numbers, but don’t put on too much pressure that will negatively affect your agents.
2. The script
We all cringe a little when calling into a call center and hear an obviously fake, impersonal greeting. Stay away from those tightly controlled scripts that make the customer (and agent) feel that they are out of touch with reality. Get to the point and avoid extremely long greetings. Many customers are in a hurry when they call and will become frustrated if they have to listen to a minute-long greeting before they can speak. Let agents have a little freedom to modify their greetings.
3. The right tools
Are you using the right technology that’s up to date? Does it waste time with excessive clicks and poor usability? Make sure the IVR’s are easy to use and don’t have too many options that the customer has to wade through. Continually test your systems to check for any issues. If systems are overloaded, calls can be routed to agents who have less experience and knowledge causing increased customer frustration. Plan ahead for these types of scenarios by investing in the right technology. Listen to feedback from your staff and make the necessary upgrades and improvements.
4. The right staff
Basically, motivated agents will be more productive and effectively help customers. Reduce demotivation by using enjoyable team building exercises and events. Leaders in service excellence continuously train their people to improve. Don’t set for a set level of service, even if it’s good.
5. Fix it yourself
Do you have lots of customers calling in with simple, solvable questions? Eliminate the wasted time and help teach them how to resolve things by creating easy to find help self-service online. This may include help placing orders, ticket status, product information etc. People like being able to have control and fix things themselves. Be sure the website is easy to navigate and has no missing information.
How are complaints and other issues handled? It’s key that leaders know how to effectively manage and educate agents about using customer processes to get the outcome they want. They should be able to recognize staff talent and use it to help make others more effective. Make them feel empowered to make changes and decisions that are in the best interest of the customer and company. They need to feel like they are in an environment where they are respected and valued.
Customer service is the first to hear about any type of problem that another department may have messed up (product, marketing, billing etc) Make sure that you hold those departments responsible. Find out where the problem originated and solve it. Alternatively, if there’s technical problem the agent experiences, make sure they have a process to report any issues.
8. Actually listen to your customer
Any time a customer calls in, they are providing a form of feedback. Listen to them to help you decide where you should put most of your attention to help the most callers. Economic and social trends cause continuous change in the market. Keep up with this by continually aligning with customer expectations. Frequently review calls to make sure there aren’t any agent training gaps, if calls are being resolved, customer satisfaction etc.
Learning from mistakes and understanding your agent and your customer is a critical step in actually appreciating and improving the customer experience. With this you can better plan and execute what their experience should look like. What has most helped your call center customer care department improve its services?