Published on 26th June 2014 by Gemma Harding
The top performing call centres stay ahead of the competition not only with up-to-date software and the right kind of metrics but, in addition, effective strategies to keep staff and customers happy. Here are 10 of the best ways to maximise the service provided by your call centre.
1. Review your FAQs regularly.
Call centre staff should be ready and able to address the most common queries they receive so go through your FAQs on a monthly basis and update them to match the enquiries staff have received most. It’s also a good idea to feature at least one of the main FAQs on your website.
2. Show you are working in the best interests of your customers.
Courtesy, patience and good manners cost nothing but are highly valuable attributes in your reps. Agents should be trained to listen to the customer, empathise with their situation and show they are doing what they can to minimise frustrations. If a staff member can’t solve a customer’s problem, be sure the call is passed on to someone higher up who can.
3. Self service may be fastest but isn’t always best.
Although providing self-service options for customers is a labour-saving tool that can be effective, many customers will always prefer to speak to someone directly. Your call centre needs to be human-centered and responsive to the varied demands of customers.
4. Don’t forget to praise your support and management team.
While careful attention must be paid to direct customer contact, the overall customer experience is determined by the input of many others too, including support areas and management. Let them know when they’re doing a good job and incentivise them to keep up the hard work.
5. Seek out suggestions from advisors as well as management.
Good ideas often come from advisors who have to handle any number of different situations. They are not just glorified remote switchboard operators but bring different knowledge and skills to their role. Respecting their opinions and soliciting suggestions will encourage engagement and could provide some good solutions to common problems.
6. Encourage different ways for your supervisors to personally interact with advisors.
Good supervisors can bring a lot of positive energy to your call centre through team meetings, coaching and simply walking and talking to those on the floor. Advisors should feel that supervisors are there to help improve their performance and make life easier rather than just keep an eye on them.
7. One size does not fit all.
Your customers will have a range of different issues that need addressing so don’t just tick the boxes on a sheet but tailor responses to suit each situation. Personalised service is usually the best and as many of your customers will be repeat callers, you want to keep them happy.
8. Give staff non-telephone time.
Help keep your reps motivated by varying their workload. A balance of 70% call time with the other 30% allotted to other tasks – such as email, new projects and improving practices – should ensure your advisors stay fresh and responsive when dealing directly with customers.
9. Find creative ways to reward agents when they meet targets.
While financial incentives such as commission and bonuses are important, non-monetized rewards can be great for morale and motivation. Try getting your managers to cook up something nice for your agents and have them personally deliver it to the staff. Another idea is to get agents to nominate their peers for awards such as Agent of the Quarter or Agent of the Year. Gifts or just time off can be awarded to the winners.
10. Get teams to create their own mission statement.
This can include how they will develop their own goals to help achieve the team mission, and how this fits into the overall vision of the company. Allowing team members to choose their own measurements will help them to engage and empower them towards achieving the best results.
Finding ways to improve your call centre will help to boost staff performance, customer satisfaction and company profits. By looking at the overall experience from the viewpoint of staff as well as customers, you’ll discover new ways to boost agent involvement, encourage team spirit and provide the right balance of reward and responsibility.