Businesses can increase revenue between 4% and 8% above their market when they prioritize better customer service experiences. Why? Because customers are looking for more than just low prices. They want to feel like a valued customer and not just another number. That said, companies must focus on quality customer service. Customers will likely take their business elsewhere if they don’t get it.
This article will give you our top 10 call center best practices to improve your contact center quality and take your customer support to the next level.
1 – Use Monitoring Tools in Call Centers
Monitoring tools in call centers enable you to record and listen to calls. By using monitoring tools in the contact center, you can identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes to help improve the customer experience. You have a lot of metrics at your disposal. However, avoid over-measuring so that you don’t wind up drowning in data. First resolution, After Call Work, and Call Abandonment time are what we recommend prioritizing.
2 – Call Center Best Practices for Creating a Call Center Script
Call center best practices often include using a script that includes professional language, an optimistic tone, and essential phrases. To avoid bad encounters, train agents to avoid specific phrases. Instead of saying, “I’m going to put you on hold,” urge agents to say, “I’m sorry, I’m not the right person to answer your question, but let me transfer you to our resident expert who will be with you in two minutes.” Thank you for bearing with me.”
3 – Measure Important KPIs in Call Centers
KPIs are important indicators of how good the contact center is at meeting customer expectations. KPIs can be used to identify weaknesses in the workflow. That way you can make adjustments. A couple of the most important ones to consider are:
First Call Resolution (FCR)
First Contact Resolution is a metric that measures how well a contact center’s agents resolve customer inquiries and problems on the first call or contact.
After Call Work (ACW)
After Call Work Time is a call center metric that measures any activity that occurs after a customer has disconnected from a call. ACW is often things such as updating databases and putting additional details in.
Improve Call Abandonment Rate in Call Centers
Abandonment rate is a proportion of callers who disconnect or are disconnected before reaching an agent. This is a call center performance metric, not an agent metric. It is, nevertheless, directly connected to customer satisfaction.
4 – Call Center Best Practices for Training
Classroom learning, practice calls, and computer-based quizzes are excellent at conveying vital knowledge consistently. There are new ways to supplement those methods, such as:
- Gamification: Turn your information into a game by tracking progress, quizzing each other, or even creating a game for the team to play.
- Role-playing: By incorporating real-world scenarios into practice, managers can better train their staff.
- Cross-training: In many contact centers, agents have specialties and rarely get to experience other areas. Training them in these other areas creates a well-rounded team.
5 – Train Agents on Fraud Prevention
A 2020 study by the Digital Shadows Photon Research Team found that 15 billion stolen credentials, including username-password combinations, were available on the dark web. As a result, there is no shortage of credentials that can be used to commit fraud. Unfortunately, the present public health crisis has spawned a slew of new tactics for login credentials aimed at exploiting the better nature of contact center operators who are under the strain of large call volumes. New strategies include making false claims on behalf of patients who are unable to call in due to a virus-related ailment, such as “caretakers” calling on their behalf.
Customer service agents are more likely to make mistakes as they try to minimize rising average hold times in the face of rising call traffic, and more fraudulent activity may slip through the cracks. A good call center best practice is to make sure your agents are aware of the new strategies being used.
6 – Call Center Best Practices to Improve Communication in Distributed Teams
Managing contact centers amid a global pandemic is no easy task. Many managers have adapted to this new trend by adopting work-at-home policies. However, work-at-home policies are useless if your contact center agents don’t have access to the resources they need to complete their jobs. Contact centers must continue to embrace cloud-based solutions that provide them the flexibility they need to quickly collaborate with team members regardless of their location.
Due to remote work, many companies are implementing “perpetual” Zoom meetings as a call center software best practice in which live chats remain active throughout the workday, allowing for a virtual, collaborative setting. With Google Drive, file sharing is simple, and both Zoom and Drive can be quickly connected into Slack, a great platform for direct and group communications.
7 – Focus on Customer Experience
Customers interact with your company through a variety of customer service channels, including your website, chat, business phone system, and email. Ensure that their experience is exceptional across all of these channels.
Customer satisfaction, abbreviated as CSAT, refers to how satisfied your customers are with the three most crucial parts of a positive call center experience: quick resolution, real-time support, and a pleasant agent. When looking for ways to improve your CSAT score, it is important to ensure that your call center operations are strategically structured to eliminate the biggest driver of customer dissatisfaction. For this call center best practice, you should also work on improving the call center’s ability to provide real-time support.
8 – Offer Incentives to Agents
When it comes to customer service, it’s your agents who perform the heavy lifting. Reward them and encourage them to achieve even more with bonuses. Investing in your staff will increase employee satisfaction. Additionally, customers will get a better experience if they are dealing with agents who are happy and who enjoy their work.
Paid Time Off: Employers and employees benefit from paid leaves in a variety of ways. Improved call center work ethic is a benefit that tops the list. Agents who get additional time off are less inclined to call in unexpectedly. This flexibility also makes them feel as if they have a healthy work-life balance.
For many contact center employees, being able to pick their time is an enticing motivator. Divide staff into three tiers based on their performance. Then allow them to bid for new shifts each quarter.
If you want to show your employees that you care about their performance, hold a performance raffle. This could be something as simple as giving out tickets to the next game or giving them a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. It also shows that you’re serious about making sure they are appreciated. As an example, employees who meet certain success criteria (such as a certain number of “very satisfied” clients or acquired points) are entered into the raffle. Here are a few ideas on prizes:
- Pay Raise
- Discounts on products or services
- Trip to a favorite destination
- Opportunity to attend exclusive events
Contests provide a quick and easy way to bring together your contact center team. Trivia questions can be about small, little-known facts about their work or from pop culture. Gamification makes things fun and exciting.
9 – Focus on Continuous Improvement
Continuous improvement is critical to your call center’s effectiveness. It helps improve customer and agent satisfaction. Many contact centers have a more reactive approach to customer care, and this is widely accepted as the norm. When the same call comes in repeatedly, contact centers frequently fail to investigate the core cause of the issue, determine what’s wrong, and take steps to correct it. As a result, many contact centers become experts at reacting to problems and putting out the fires that occur on a daily basis. It becomes difficult to make any long-term improvements if you get into this routine. That is why it is important to improve a regular activity. These are the steps that will help your process.
It’s critical to set SMART goals here so that you can track your progress and ensure that everyone on your team understands what has to be changed. SMART is an acronym that describes the characteristics of a good goal.
- Specific: Specific goals help answer questions such as: What needs to be done? What steps need to be taken to achieve it? In order for a goal or task to be effective, it must meet all of these specific requirements. That way, you have a clear vision for what needs to be done.
- Measurable: A goal must be measurable in order to be SMART. You will need to know how to measure it in order to track your progress toward it. This keeps you on track and encourages you to complete the task on time.
- Achievable: There is no point in having a goal that’s impossible to achieve. If you don’t have the appropriate expectations for how far you can go, then your goal won’t be achievable. You want to reach beyond what you think is possible, but not so far that you get frustrated.
- Realistic: When it comes to achieving a SMART goal, realism is key. You must believe that the goal can be accomplished given the available resources and time. This means looking at your goals from a distance and determining how much work needs to be done to accomplish the goal. From there, you can determine if the goal can be realistically achieved.
- Time Related: Setting a deadline is an effective way to keep you on track and motivate you to achieve your goal. By giving the goal time constraints, it provides context for understanding what needs to be done to reach that target date. This helps make sure that the task is given the appropriate attention to see it through.
10 – Call Center Software Best Practices: Choosing The Right Solution Matters
Call center software is the foundation of effective customer support. The right software helps your agents efficiently manage calls. Not only that, it can help provide automation features that make it easier for customers to interact with the company.
As a call center software best practice, consider employing automated IVR systems to disperse incoming calls correctly. This ensures that callers are connected with the appropriate department or representative. It can also be used to evenly distribute calls among agents, ensuring that no employee is overworked or underworked.
Number of Agents: The best call center software should support the number of agents you need and be flexible enough to grow as your business grows.
Virtual Phones: Virtual phones work on any phone and require no additional hardware or software. With the best call center software your sales and support employees can take calls from their business phone system, home, or cell phone. A few features the best call center software should support include:
- Location-based routing
- Time-based routing
- Skill-based routing
- Least occupied routing
- Regular routing
- Simultaneous routing
- Call deflection
Plan Next Steps
Planning next steps is critical to ensuring that all relevant stakeholders, teams and organizations are aligned on the specific area for improvement. This group should then determine the strategy for implementing the changes.
This is the actual “doing” or implementing phase. The changes are incorporated and verified for completeness.
Effective monitoring requires you to understand the gap between the current state and the new state. That way, you can easily identify if the improvements are working.
According to Hubspot, nearly 58% of consumers will end ties with a brand or business due to poor customer service. That is why it is so important that your team master call center best practices. These best practices will help you provide the exceptional service customers have come to expect. Using monitoring tools, improving agent training and focusing on continuous improvement can have a big impact on customer satisfaction.