It’s true that the agents working in your call center and the customers they are speaking to are distinct from one another in many ways. Customers ask questions, agents provide answers. Customers are buying, agents are selling. Customers are, well, customers, and agents are employees. Despite all their differences, though, there are many strategies and practices that you can put in place in your call center that will actually serve to benefit both of these distinct groups of people. After all, they do have one very important thing in common: They are both incredibly important to the success of your business.
Here, four techniques you can employ that will keep both your agents and your customers happy.
There are few things (perhaps apart from long wait times) that are more frustrating for both agents and customers than a situation in which both parties understand what needs to happen in order to solve a problem but the agent on the phone does not have the power to carry the solution through to the end. Putting agents in department-specific or issue-specific boxes that don’t allow them to solve every problem they are faced with on the phone without transferring the customer to a supervisor or a different department can send potentially successfully calls to a grinding halt. At the same time, forcing an agent to offer a solution that they know is neither convenient nor in the customer’s best interest merely because that is all they are capable of doing is not fair to the agent or the customer. One of the best ways to keep agents and customers satisfied is by empowering agents to do what it takes to handle customer inquiries in an efficient and acceptable manner.
Update the Script and IVR
Every minute, hour and day that your agents spend on the phone with customers is time in which you are collecting data on the types of calls being received, the most common inquiries customers are making, and more. Combing through this data on a regular basis and using it to tweak and update the script and IVR every so often will help ensure calls are going to the appropriate people or departments, they are proceeding efficiently once a call has been answered and there aren’t any superfluous steps being taken or transfers being made that could prolong calls unnecessarily or stoke frustration in the agent or the caller.
Make Training a Priority
Simply put, there shouldn’t be any questions that a customer might ask that your agent can’t answer. While they will learn the answers to these questions on the job, your goal should be to prepare agents as much as possible before they get on the phones, and the best way to do that is with training. Preparing your agents for how to respond in any possible scenario with detailed training before they start engaging with live customers will make them feel more confident in their abilities. That confidence will then transfer to the customer on the other end of the line. Then of course, there’s the fact that with adequate training the agent will be more likely to be able to solve the problem the customer has presented.
Keep Things Simple
This is a more general idea, but is good to keep in mind as you are building your call center and training your agents: Try to make every process as simple as possible. That goes for everything from the processes agents use behind the scenes to complete tasks to customer information input to creating support tickets to processing complaints. Frequently review the processes you have in place and look for steps that are repetitive or superfluous and can be taken out in order to streamline the flow and help agents reach the conclusion of the call faster. Needlessly complicated processes or forcing agents to input a customer’s information multiple times (and therefore forcing customers to give it multiple times) causes unnecessary headaches for both parties. When in doubt, simpler is always better.
One strategy that will make it easier for you to put these strategies in place: Using call center software that supports them, like CallShaper. To learn more, contact us today.