Think of your call center like your car. A powerful machine comprised of intricate moving parts, each one contributing something—small or large—to your forward momentum. But, your car can only operate as a finely tuned machine if you commit to ongoing and regular maintenance. A quick oil change or front-end alignment can prevent bigger, more costly problems from occurring.
Continuous improvement is your call center’s maintenance check. With a few regular check-ups, your call center can continue running smoothly, repairing inefficiencies and becoming a profit center for your company. I’ve highlighted four key steps for your continuous improvement strategy to help you get started.
Leadership that Walks the Talk
Leadership sets the example and provides guidance across the company, setting the mandate and tone for changes in strategy and process. When top executives show enthusiasm and support for a new initiative, the excitement catches on. Buy-in from department heads like operations, training, and compliance is essential for successfully implement changes like updating scripts and refining your training manual that are essential components of call center continuous improvement.
To get everyone onboard, explain how improving customer service can promote repeat business, enhance your reputation in the marketplace, and increase the lifetime value of your customers. Those are figures your leadership can get behind.
Identify Call Drivers
Improving customer experience is the call center’s top goal. Each call is an opportunity to increase (or decrease) loyalty. Happy customers purchase again, increasing their lifetime value and driving overall profitability upwards. Determining the root causes for your service call volume, especially repeat callers, is a crucial step in upping your customer satisfaction levels through thoughtful changes. Pain points can stem from anywhere—outdated or inefficient technology, agent knowledge or disposition, confusing processes, or nearsighted policies.
Keep in mind that customers only like change when it truly benefits them, so don’t resort to trial-and-error changes just for the sake of switching things up. Instead, be thoughtful and make informed changes supported by hard data.
Start by divvying your call volume into buckets. What calls can be reduced by:
- Changes in process?
- Eliminated with more proactive servicing?
- Made more efficient with agent effectiveness through additional training and resources?
Process Calibration & Feedback Loops
Now that you know what needs to be changed, you need to implement. After reviewing and coordinating the changes with the applicable departments, you must ensure your frontline agents receive updated training and resources to assist with a flawless execution. Direct, hands-on one-on-one or group coaching is best. Don’t just inform them of the changes. Explain why these changes are happening. The greater context they have, the more efficiently they’ll be able to serve your customers. They’ll also be able to provide more informed feedback afterwards.
Repeat the Process (and Often)
Many times, companies set out on a path of continuous improvement but stray not too long after their first round of improvements. Not because it’s a difficult process, but because it’s another process they need to make time for. Consistency is key, though. The more consistent you are, the more natural and seamless making changes will become. Overtime, your list of tweaks and recalibrations become shorter as your process becomes more refined and intertwined with your corporate culture.