Answer that phone and do it quick! When the success of your business depends on your customer’s experience with your contact center, this should be your number one mantra. We have all been on the other side of that phone line, waiting for the IVR to stop repeating itself and for a human being to ask, “Hello, how may I help you?” And we know there is nothing more frustrating than waiting endlessly for this to happen. Little wonder then that the Average Speed of Answer which, simply put, is how soon an agent answers a customer’s call, is probably the most important contact center metric. What is Average Speed of Answer or ASA? ASA or Average Speed of Answer is the average time an agent takes to answer an incoming call. How do you calculate it? You divide the total wait time for all calls by the total number of calls in a day. So, ASA (in seconds) = Total call wait time for calls answered daily Total number of calls answered in a day So if the total time callers have waited for in a day is two hours or 120 minutes or 7,200 seconds, and the total number of calls answered in the day is 200 then the ASA would be: ASA = 7,200/200 = 36 seconds Which means each customer calling your contact center has to wait for at least 36 seconds before he or she can speak to a customer service agent. That can be a long time for a customer in a hurry or an irate customer with a complaint. This means the aim of a contact center should be to keep the ASA to a minimum. The faster your contact agent answers a call from a customer, the better it is for your business in many ways. How can a low ASA help your business? Higher customer satisfaction – It gives a customer immense relief to hear a human voice at the other end because they feel they are a step closer to a solution to their problem. And the faster they hear that voice, the better they appreciate your service. Better agent productivity: If an agent answers a call quickly, the call queue moves that much faster, and agents are able to handle a higher number of calls. Also, the chances of resolving the issues that the customer has called with are better with a low ASA. This improves agent productivity and keeps the contact center’s operating costs low. Higher customer loyalty: Often, customers hang up because the waiting time is too long. They not only abandon the call but, in the long term, may end up abandoning your product or service. A low ASA is a good way to hold on to customers. Better brand image: When you answer calls quickly, it shows customers that their time is important to you. This helps build your brand image as a business that puts its customers above all else. How can you reduce [...]
Call centers exist to provide speedy customer service and issue resolution. Speed is key; achieved through efficient call queue management. What is call queue management? Simply put, call queue management is the management of call queues to ensure minimal customer wait time and fair workload distribution. When done right, call queue management ensures: Reduced wait times Lowered dropped calls Efficient workload distribution amongst agents Better customer experience Why is call queue management important? If you’re calling a call center, chances are you’re already frustrated. But, to have to wait for assistance, and listen to a recorded message or music only makes it worse! The average customer hold time is 56 seconds (Source: conversational.com). That may not seem like a lot, but after 2 minutes, customers hang up (Source: Small Business Chronicle). In this Inbound Queue Analysis, we can see that out of the 244 queued calls, 55 calls dropped. 70% of business callers in the US are put on hold (Source: Inbound/Outbound). How much lost business and disgruntled customers are we talking about? Substantial! Especially, as 40% of customers in the US attempt a phone purchase (Source: American Teleservices Association). Finally, something doesn’t add up: 90% (or more) of the marketing budget is spent to get customers to call, but only 6% is spent to handle the call (Source: Inbound Telephones Call Center)! By not managing their incoming call load or call queue, businesses are wasting marketing dollars and losing revenue. A good call queue management system is critical. It minimizes and manages call wait or hold times for customers. How to manage call queues efficiently? Good call queue management isn't difficult. Some of our clients’ customer support centers ensure that 90% of their callers connect with live agents within 10 seconds. How can you manage your queues better? Here are 8 ways: Carefully design your IVR and consider self-service. Consider what your IVR requirement is? Do you really need to give your customer multiple level menu options? Many of our clients connect callers to live agents directly. Others divert few customers to live agents and others to IVR, based on caller history/customer value. Consider self-service: For many routine tasks, it's actually preferable to divert customers to self-service. Popular use scenarios: While paying medical bills, customers don’t have to wait in line to be assisted by a live agent, but can follow IVR prompts to pay the co-pay, at their convenience. You can also read our case study on Treebo, a chain of boutique hotels that allows customers to reserve and cancel bookings via self-service. This IVR flow efficiently uses CRM integration and self-service to manage your call queues. Plan call distribution How do you distribute calls amongst your agents? Your ACD or Automatic call Distribution transfers calls to your agents. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of distributing these calls: evenly by number; or by talk time. You need to choose your method in such a way that it is fair to your agents. When you have a sales [...]
How do you talk to a stranger when they call you for help, or to complain? Customer care agents are expected win over hundreds of customers who call in to their centers, everyday. Here are some practical tips and tools to help you deliver the kind of stellar customer support that creates high customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. We decided to ask experts who have excelled at handling these calls themselves before rising to senior management positions in the industry: Sundeep Gursahani, Senior Manager, PISPL and Nikhil Pandurangi, Senior Manager, Maple Digital Technology International Pvt Ltd. Both have over 12 years’ experience in the contact center industry. We’ve enlisted their advice on how you put a stranger at ease, while our tech guru, Sudhamay explains how your contact center software can ensure it happens: EXPERT TIP #1 DON’T INTERRUPT. Sandeep advices that contact center agents should be good listeners and patient speakers. “Never speak over the customer or interrupt. That's a rule.” SUPPORT TOOL: Speech Analytics. Do your agents regularly interrupt or speak over callers? Can you make this a metric to measure? You can. Learn how your speech analytics tools can measure and identify interruptions here. EXPERT TIP #2 PERSONALISE Says Sundeep, “Try and personalise as far as possible, that is, take the caller’s name. This helps focus attention.” Nikhil agrees,” Try to personalise the call using customers name and be compassionate with the customer as if it’s your issue.” SUPPORT TOOL: CRM Integrations. Identify customers by name when they call into your contact center. With screenpop integrations agents get all customer information on their dashboard. Learn how it works here. EXPERT TIP #3 CONTROL THE CONVERSATION Steer the conversation. “Contact center agents need to keep in mind that they are being measured on certain parameters. One of the parameters is average handling time. By having a controlled conversation. He/she will be able to steer the conversation in such a way where they reach a conclusive end, and save on time.” Suggests Sundeep. SUPPORT TOOL: REPORTS. Use reports to measure Average Handle Time for for each agent on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. EXPERT TIP #4: YOU ARE RIGHT Nikhils favourite phrase, to put the customer at ease is “You are right”. According to him these are the three magic words that can make a caller feel that you are with him/her SUPPORT TOOL: SPEECH ANALYTICS. Want to train your agents to say “you are right” or any other phrase that you think works best? Train them, and easily test who and how often they put the phrase into use --using speech analytics. EXPERT TIP# 5: You can sell too. Customer support can help win sales too. Nikhil states” today we are looking for agents who are multi skilled. We train people with good communication to learn to manage some amount of revenue generation too.” SUPPORT TOOL: CRM INTEGRATION. CRM integration can give agents access to customer history, past purchases and other clues that can help them cross [...]
What is FCR ( First Call Resolution)? Any ticket/issue which can be resolved on a call without any follow-ups, either internal or external are known as First Call Resolution tickets. Why should you measure your FCR? If we can resolve most of the customer queries/issues/challenges on a call and in one go, it leads to a higher CSAT thus bringing in more customer happiness and positive word of mouth. It will positively impact your brand value and recognition in the market. How to get a high FCR? 5 simple ways. To manage a high FCR, it is important to follow the below points as best practices in your support organization: Integrate your Contact Center with your Freshdesk. We at KOOKOO Contact Center offer easy connectors to integrate with Freshdesk ticketing system. Learn more. The KOOKOO Calling widget opens in your Freshdesk window Know your customer’s challenges before you speak: Integration with a ticketing tool is not complete unless your executives/agents can see the customers recent ticketing history including any challenges they have/had with your business. Traditionally called a CTI integration, it is a mandatory tool for higher FCR. Speak proactively: Once you have a CTI integration, you should use it too. Example: Once a customer calls, instead of saying - “ Hello, Mr. X, How can I help you?” Agents should use the screen pop information on their dashboard to improvise and take an informed guess at the customer’s problem: “Hello, Mr.X, I see you have this challenge in your current order. Is this the reason for calling?” This way, the conversation gets directed towards resolution faster. This creates a positive vibe, gives good CSAT ratings, and also shortens your AHTs ( Average Handling Time ). Know your system well: As they say, “Knowledge is power” (well at least Sir Francis said that!). You must invest heavily in training your agents/executives continuously so they know how to use the system and get all information needed for resolving queries. Feedback to Ops: Gaining a high FCR is a continuous improvement process. Support organizations should continuously pass feedback on issues/ tickets which are not resolved on call. Dedicate a focus group to work out how to find corrective measures. Quite often we ignore basics and get carried away by the fancy options. But in customer support, the teams which stick to basics will always emerge as winners. Try it out. Visit our advanced integration with Freshdesk.
Cloud telephony offers unmatched features, scalability and cost effectiveness compared to PBX systems, business phones or legacy contact centers. But selecting the right cloud telephony solution isn’t easy. This article should help you in three ways: If you are a newbie to cloud telephony, you’ll build knowledge on what can go wrong with your contact center solution. (and why) You’ll get “insider” tips on selecting the right solution for your business. For experienced contact center users/managers, you’ll finally understand why you are facing problems with the cloud communication platform you’ve chosen. Prashanth Kancherla, VP, International Business, Ozonetel, has been part of the cloud telephony revolution since its inception. We asked him to draw on his vast experience to build this article.He spent days deeply researching problems and complaints that competitors’ customers have faced over the years, before compiling this article for us. (Hey Prashanth, you’re still a business analyst to the core!). Read his breakdown: Voice Quality is often an issue. Voice quality issues arise due to two reasons: Reason 1: Does your cloud telephony provider have a point of presence in more than one continent? Even most big players run from a central location in the US. This results in high latency to clients whose agents are sitting far away from their data centre. End result? Poor voice quality. We have points of presence (POP) across all continents spanning from US(Americas),UK( For Europe), Dubai ( middle East) , Singapore ( South East Asia) and Australia . Agents are connected to the nearest possible POP for the highest voice quality. Reason 2: For most cloud providers, voice is embedded into their application. At Ozonetel, we treat voice and web (data) separately. This reduces packet loss and improves quality. Billing may not be that straightforward. One thing people don’t investigate while choosing their software, is billing. You need to be sure that your cloud telephony provider gives you transparency. At Ozonetel, we don’t just provide transparent billing—we also bundle in sufficient free minutes with every agent license. So you have a fixed cost per month and the outflow(phone billing) is the only variable you need to look at at day-to-day. We also offer clients to get their own telephony trunks ( Enterprise clients, we care for you too!), so you pay the call charges to the operator and pay us for only our Cloud Contact Center software. Poor Customer Service We read a lot of customer reviews on g2 crowd that talk about slow customer responses from their telephony vendor. When you purchase a cloud telephony system, you need to know that you will be contacting your vendor often. You may need to try a new integration, or you may face an outage, or there may be some very simple issue that needs fixing. You will need a prompt response, or your business will suffer. We pride ourselves on responsive customer support. Our 24*7 support team has won lots of kudos from all our clients. Slow Systems. Customers often don’t [...]