Great customer service, especially customer service outsourcing, is rooted in proactive behavior. Proactive customer service begins with empowered, resourceful, and thoughtful solution-oriented representatives who can think through scenarios independently and who feel empowered to offer suggestions that challenge existing processes. Outsourcing vendors with training programs that incorporate coursework to help customer service teams think critically and creatively can experience greater rates of customer satisfaction because they are nimbler and better able to handle more requests quickly and independently.
Solution-oriented teams align well with and support continuous improvement methodologies. While many outsourcing vendors promote various improvement strategies, very few take that extra step to incorporate productive autonomy and creative problem solving into their call center management. If you’re looking at customer service outsourcing vendors and they exhibit these five qualities, you can be certain they’re focused on developing solution-oriented teams that will help set your call center apart.
They’re obsessed with hiring profiles
A successful call center with solution-oriented teams begins with looking at the candidates the vendor recruits and hires to handle your program. The best customer service representatives exhibit a genuine desire to help people, which requires a personality and demeanor to match. Politeness, patience, and sincerity go a long way in helping callers. While every organization has its own policies to follow and every industry has its nuances requiring subject matter experts, it is much easier and cost-effective in the long-run to train someone with the proper demeanor on this information than it is to shape someone’s personality.
They lean on front-line staff
Working directly with callers for hours a day, customer service representatives are invaluable resources when making strategic, outcome-based improvements. These team members are often underutilized during these processes despite being subject matter experts. They understand the daily challenges that create bottlenecks. They know better than anyone what’s frustrating their callers. To them, outcomes and data aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet. They’re representations of the policies and actions that make their work lives either more difficult or more efficient.
They value empathy and innovation as routes to effective call resolution
In a call center environment, empathy and innovation work hand-in-hand. Ideas are the currency of innovation, and caller satisfaction thrives in environments where new ideas and approaches are weighed and explored. When vendors really believe in creating high-quality call center experiences, listening and thinking outside the box should be top skills they promote and continuously develop. They should exhibit true empathy with caller concerns and issues, making each caller feel valued and heard. But vendors also need to create an environment where those concerns are shared with leadership. Without consistent review, once-efficient customer service processes can grow stale and evolve into larger customer satisfaction issues or even contribute to employee turnover.
Flexible, customizable training programs
Developing representatives that thoughtfully analyze situations, think through different resolution routes, and understand the importance of improving value in the long-term starts at training. Training that primarily focuses on states of right and wrong or spend all their classroom time reinforcing policies and workflows risks falling flat once the trainees start taking calls. Effective customer service training strikes a delicate balance between process and skill building.
Work with customer service outsourcing vendors who incorporate creative brainstorming and simple everyday critical thinking challenges into your training program. These steps encourage team members to challenge outdated processes and to weigh pros and cons before taking action. Building these skills from the outset and emphasizing their importance daily strengthens that innovative culture where flexible, empathetic, and solution-oriented talent thrives.
They encourage autonomy and understand there is more than one right answer
A primary goal of developing solution-oriented employees is getting to a state where representatives can rely on their managers for escalation but are largely equipped to understand when it’s appropriate (and more efficient) to tackle challenges themselves. Creative problem solvers understand there are many paths you can take to resolve an issue.
Being open to different ways of thinking and new possibilities can open up new pathways to increasing customer satisfaction, improving the efficiency of your team, and keeping employees happy and feeling valued. Embracing multiple routes to solving a problem allows each team member to work within their comfort zones while also tailoring solutions for the person they’re speaking with. Every caller is different, even if the issue presented is the same.
Building and supporting solution-oriented customer service teams is no easy feat, but when leadership commits to working with vendors who mix true problem solving with great customer service, they open up more possibilities for boosting caller satisfaction in the most meaningful ways and building a more thoughtful workforce.