Do you want to improve customer service in your call center?
Providing great customer service in a call center is vital for the success of your business, but it’s also challenging. The voices in your call center are the first voices your customers hear when they call your company and it’s true that the first impression is the most important. It is crucial that the first voice they hear be professional and well mannered. Chipper would be ideal, but it’s not necessary.
But your call center is made up of people and sometimes people make mistakes. We all have bad days and it can be particularly difficult to remain cordial, much less cheerful, when we’re stressed. Working in a call center is one of the most stressful jobs there is, but there are ways you can minimize the stress of your team and help them provide the best possible customer service.
SEGMENT CUSTOMERS SO THEY GO TO THE RIGHT DEPARTMENT
Rather than expecting all your call center employees to know everything about your business and your customers, it’s best to divide them up into groups. You can do this by customer or by area of your business if you operate in multiple industries. That way your call center employees don’t have to have all the answers for all your customers, they only need to know the ones that are relevant to their department.
There are a couple ways you could do this. You can assign a different phone number to each department and give your customers the phone number for their department. Or you can have your customers call one central line and use interactive voice response technology to have a computer direct them to the correct department.
KEEP YOUR CALL CENTER TEAM INFORMED
By segmenting your call center and your customers you reduce the amount of information each call center employee needs to know. This prevents them from becoming overwhelmed and allows them to stay on top of the changes they need to be aware of. As things get updated within your company and/or your customers, be sure to keep all the employees informed who might be affected. That means any time there’s a policy change in how to deal with a particular customer or issue, for example, or when a point of contact changes, let your call center workers know about it as soon as possible. Strong communication is the key to success in many things and it holds true for providing great customer service in a call center.
KEEP THINGS AS CONSISTENT AS POSSIBLE
Maintaining strong communication with your customer service team will also help achieve consistency so your customers get the same great experience every time they call. Be sure to communicate with your customer service team what you expect from them and react appropriately and consistently when they meet, exceed, or fall short of those expectations.
Stellar employees should not only be rewarded, they should be made examples for the rest of the customer service employees to follow. Let the whole team know when someone does a good job, both as a way to celebrate and as a way to set and publicize your expectations for the entire team. If someone handles a tough call particularly well, let the rest of the call center team listen in on the call so they’ll know how you want them to handle similar situations if they arise in the future.
LOOK FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE WORKFLOW
Bureaucracy is often maligned as a terrible invention that slows everything down, but there is a reason for it. It provides a record of past transactions and it holds people accountable for the things they said and did. That said, there are often a lot of useless steps employees need to take in order to get one simple thing done. Any time you can find a way to eliminate these steps and improve your employees’ workflow, you’ll make things easier for everyone, including your customer.
Communicating new information to your employees is key, but it’s even better if you can give them the tools to look up the information themselves. Whether this means providing them access to something on your server, setting up a folder with all the information they’ll need, or just sending out an email, they will be able to handle questions from customers much more quickly and efficiently if they can access the information they need on their own. Take a close look at your policies and practices and look for the steps that can be eliminated.
PROVIDE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
You wouldn’t send a soldier into battle with a pistol, so don’t give your call center employees old or subpar equipment and expect them to be able to provide great customer service. A lot of companies are so focused on their bottom line that forcing them to part with any money is like pulling teeth, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Spending money on quality equipment is a necessary business investment and you don’t want to skimp on it at the expense of the customer service in your call center.
Call center workers need quality computers and phones that can keep up with new technology so they can provide the best service to your customers. This might mean updating your software and training people to use it every few years. That can be time consuming and frustrating, but it’s well worth it if it improves the customer service in your call center.
Take headsets, for example. Make sure to provide your call center workers with headsets so they have both hands free to look things up on the computer while they’re talking to customers and make sure the headset will continue to work with emerging technology rather than becoming obsolete in a few years.
BE FLEXIBLE ABOUT HOW PEOPLE WORK
As technology continues to advance, it is constantly changing the way the world works, and that includes the office. Cubicles are still the standard for now, but many places have done away with them in favor of a more open office environment. Others have gone a step further by letting their employees work from home, which has been shown to lead to increased productivity and employee retention if done right.
There are many ways to improve customer service in a call center. Some of them require you to think outside the box and some might need some trial and error before you find what works best for your call center. At the heart of it all is your company’s individual culture, which will have the biggest impact on how your call center staff treat your customers.