A high-quality, truly effective call center does more than just answer customer questions and resolve complaints. When properly managed, your call center can help drive profitability and customer retention. Regardless of whether you plan to service your call center in-house or outsource, there are four essential components you must consider if you want to achieve strong results and satisfy customers.
People make the difference
The agents representing your company should be your priority. Without them, none of your other decisions really matter. Building friendly, knowledgeable teams takes time, but the investment in training and proper recruiting is worth it. If you don’t deliver a good call experience the first time, customers are more likely to criticize you online than they are to return. To avoid this, at a minimum you should:
- Be represented by dedicated teams of experts who understand your industry
- Ensure consistency from agent to agent with a robust training program
- Develop plans for continuous development of those representatives as your company and industry evolve
Build continuous improvement into your process
A defined process at the outset will help minimize service disruptions for your customers while reinforcing consistency. However, your process should also be flexible and adaptable enough to evolve as necessary to provide better customer service as customer demands and needs change.
That’s why it’s important to create channels, like surveys, where meaningful customer feedback can be collected. The main goal is to cure drivers of dissatisfaction that can lead to issues like brand abandonment or delinquency, although data on what customers especially like about their call experiences can become something to build from as well.
Don’t slack on training and brand protection
Each customer interaction is an opportunity to protect or tarnish your brand’s public image and reputation. This largely boils down to your agents, which is why training and regular feedback are so important in building an effective call center. Your initial training should outline what a good call sounds like and achieves, creating a benchmark for performance. Then, monitor live and recorded calls for quality assurance and share your findings with your agents for improvement. Recurring issues should be turned into more formal refresher training lessons for the group.
Leverage the right technology
Technology plays an integral role in your call center and is the foundation for efficiency. The right tools can help you:
- Staff smarter
- Assist with call monitoring and quality control initiatives
- Capture customer feedback to make informed changes
- Reduce customer effort
- Improve “contactability” – your customers are more likely to reach you when you offer the communication channels they prefer
- Streamline your customers’ inbound calling experience
There’s a lot that you can (and need to) accomplish. Because your call center will continually evolve, it’s important to focus on flexibility first when choosing technology. Keep in mind that these tools are only as effective as the people managing and using it. It’s a big spend area that usually leads companies towards call center outsourcing because vendors already have this technology on hand and know how to best implement them for your needs.
An effective call center is a strategic advantage for businesses in today’s competitive and crowded markets. A call center that drives profitability and customer satisfaction doesn’t happen by accident, though. Whether you dedicate the time and resources to manage your call center in-house or choose to keep things simple and outsource, balancing these four areas is crucial to building the kind of call center that will delight customers and improve your business.