For many companies, a call center is critical to their success. Customers and prospects demand information and support when they need it. The mission of any call center is to deliver it conveniently, easily, and immediately.
It’s not enough to merely place some warm bodies in chairs near company phones. In fact, calls answered by uninformed and irritated employees are worse than no answer at all. Customers want to talk to someone who can not only help them, but make them feel understood.
A frustration-free call center is your brand’s opportunity to keep customers engaged. You can either use these tips to ensure your operation is the best it can be or just muddle through. It’s your call.
1. Focus on the Customer
A customer’s satisfaction with their brand experience is what will either bring them back or send them running. Although this tip seems glaringly obvious, you might be surprised how often it’s forgotten. Many call centers focus on what they want to tell the customer rather than responding to what the customer needs.
A call center must cater to customers, not its brand, to play a central role in the customer experience. Hold times, employee knowledge, technology, and access should be geared toward customers’ demands. You should make every effort to give them what they want, even if it isn’t always a reasonable request.
To ensure your call center is bolstering customer satisfaction, assess it. Set measurable goals, then implement procedures designed to capture, analyze, and share data. Your call center operations should maintain a continuous cycle of quality improvement that responds to this data.
Customer-centric call centers will satisfy customers and keep them coming back. It’s tough for customers to not be happy with a service that’s always telling them they’re right.
2. Don’t Forget Your Employees
Just because your call center is focused on the customer, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your employees. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than an agitated agent on the other end of the line. You will need to rise to the challenge of keeping everyone happy.
A lot of what pleases customers does the same for employees. Training that improves employees’ confidence in their ability to handle calls is one example. Empowering agents to make decisions on the spot without consulting a higher-up is another.
Having enough agents to handle call volumes is critical to everyone’s satisfaction. Employee recruitment and retention and customer access may get a boost by allowing some agents to work remotely. Many brands used remote call centers during the pandemic and are adopting a wait-and-see attitude about the permanency of that arrangement.
It’s often said customers can hear the smile on the face of any employee answering the phone. Don’t forget to keep your employees smiling. Happy agents make for happy customers.
3. Put the Right Person in Charge
A frustration-free call center begins at the top. Hiring a supervisor dedicated to delivering top-notch customer service and taking care of the employee team is phenomenally important. Not everyone is going to be able to tackle this job description.
They must set goals and ensure employees have the tools required to achieve them. In addition, the supervisor should be able to view operations critically and optimize them when they need improvement.
You want your call center to be managed by the best customer care professional you can find. That person needs to lead by example and take the calls of the angriest customers on the line. By intervening to lessen customer frustration, the supervisor will also calm harried employees.
This is no position for a “do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do” individual. Your call center supervisor must be manager, teacher, coach, and ultimate problem-solver all rolled into one. Choose wisely when selecting whom you put in charge.
4. Employ the Best Technology
Ever since the invention of the telephone, technology has been the hero of the call center concept. Intuitive answering systems, call routing, troubleshooting prompts, and automated email responses are a few examples. But for all the advantages of technology, there are also opportunities for epic customer service fails.
Call menus allow customers to select a reason for their call, press a key, and be routed to an agent. If the menus are confusing or complicated, the customer will be agitated by the time they reach the proper destination. Dropped calls and that sketchy audio characteristic of cloud-based VoIP systems will also raise ire.
The never-ending hold times, made worse by Muzak or a repetitious looped promotional message, are unforgivable. It’s imperative that your routing technology work quickly and that you have a sufficient number of agents answering calls. If either is an issue, consider using call-back software to reduce frustration.
When customers make a call, they want a solution, and they want it immediately. The right technology can help your call center personnel keep customers appeased. Just make sure it’s reducing customer and employee frustration rather than bringing it to a boil.
When customers are upset with your product or service and seek solutions, don’t add to their frustration. Build a customer-centric, employee-gratifying, technology-aided call center with effective leadership, and your brand will delight everyone involved.
Opting to operate a frustration-free call center? Now, that’s an easy call to make.