Most people dread calling a customer service contact center. They'd rather chew on tinfoil than try to explain to an automated voice that they want to talk to a real person, and long hold times can leave people frustrated. Despite the bad rap, contact centers are an integral part of a company's customer relations. It's important that your customer service contact center be able to connect with your customers, resolve critical issues, and make customers feel as though they're being taken care of. To be effective, a contact center should rely both on great people and great technology.
Invest in Your Contact Center Employees
Investing the time and money to hire good employees and train them is well worth it. According to Chron, it costs an astonishing $9,444.47 to replace one $8 per hour employee. It starts with finding the right people, but even the right people will have a difficult time succeeding without solid training.
Vetting Potential Hires
Even if you have an immediate staffing need, don't be tempted to rush through the hiring process. Take the time to vet your potential hires and look for candidates who are positive and have good communication skills. Prior experience is a plus, but don't let it box you in. There are plenty of people with experience who aren't good at their jobs and even more people without experience who have the chops to become your best employee. Don't be afraid to call potential hires back for second or even third interviews, especially if the position you need to fill is a supervisor or management position. Ask open-ended questions during interviews instead of "yes" or "no" questions and listen to how the potential candidate communicates their thoughts and ideas with you.
Your employees should have a basic understanding of how to talk to customers, even if they're being difficult. It's a well-known fact that a customer's experience with a representative can significantly impact the overall opinion the customer has of the company. In fact, a study by Forrester suggests that as many as 64% of customers would discontinue recommending a company to friends and family after they had a negative call center experience. The same report says that once a company has lost a customer due to perceived poor service, they only have a 20% chance of getting them back. Be sure to encourage employees to be positive, empathize with customers, and help them find workable solutions. Set up regular training sessions and set measurable goals for your employees. Reward them when they do well.
Invest in Your Technology
Today's growing technology is another resource that call centers across the nation should also be investing in. Go beyond automated call screening and learn how technology can truly help improve workflow, enhance call center operations, and make your representatives' jobs easier. When your reps have technology that makes it simple to adhere to best practices, your customer gets a better call experience overall.
Selecting the Right Technology
When choosing technology for your contact center, there are a number of options available. First, consider with opting for cloud-based technology with scalability that can grow or downsize with you easily based on your company's unique needs. Look for software that is inherently easy to use and doesn't require a large learning curve to use. You may also want to consider technology that can be used on multiple devices, such as desktops and tablets, and it's critical to have transparent report and data metrics to accurately assess how your sales team is doing.
Improve Your Call Center Systems
It's time to step up your customer service call center's game. Doing so will only improve your bottom line, as your customers will receive better service and your employees will be more invested in you, leading to less turnover.