By Bruce von Maltitz, director of 1Stream
There is no excuse for poor customer service – whether online, in person or on the phone. Bruce von Maltitz from 1Stream shares his tips on how businesses can iron out the wrinkles in their call centres and ensure a better customer experience for all.
The call centre is often the first point of contact for customers, which is why it is crucial that the experience is a positive and satisfying one. Here are a few guidelines that explain how companies can make that happen.
- Don’t skimp on technology
There is no use spending money on advertising to lure people to phone your call centre if all your customers are faced with when they dial in is a set of shoddy welcome message or poor call quality. Opt for a provider that has economy of scale and can take away the headache of tech support and upgrading to maintain quality control, but never settle for second best when it comes to the tech that is responsible for customer service delivery.
- Outsource the tech headache
Investing in the best systems available does not always make financial sense. If you are not handling huge volumes of calls, you cannot offset the initial capital cost. Since technology can become obsolete or in need of upgrades in a fairly short period of time, you are left with the problem of trying to integrate different pieces of equipment and keep up with patches and updates. By using a hosted service, you are buying an integrated suite of services that is always up to date – and it’s cost-effective enough for even the smaller contact centres to use.
- Don’t shy away from implementing a cloud solution as you grow
If a call centre experiences rapid growth – increasing call volumes, diverse queries – they are often hard-pressed to meet the demand. Agents stay on the phone for longer and enquiries take longer to resolve. Resources in terms of both staff and technology are pushed to the edge. The call centre could address that by undergoing a costly expansion in terms of hardware and software…but there are no guarantees that the demand will remain high, leaving the centre stuck with the empty seats. The cloud offers the ability to provide just enough capacity for your business peaks and troughs, with flexible charges to match this “elastic” delivery.
- Spend time on your staff
70% of call centre costs are your people – the agents and their managers. The industry has grown, and the quality staff that you want to retain has become more demanding. Call centres aim to hire agents that are capable, professional, reliable, sensible, hard-working and committed – and it is important to hang onto them. They want to work in a facility where their workday is pleasant and they aren’t forced to use terrible technology that makes them (and the customers they’re trying to serve) miserable – such as scratchy voice quality, dropped calls, no integration of customer management and telephony systems. Make sure that your staff are happy – and your customers will be a lot happier too.
- Choose the right partner
Choosing the right service provider is as important as choosing the right solution and service delivery model, since it influences everything – basic set-up of the technology, operation, trouble-shooting, quality assurance and technology refreshes. By choosing a partner with a service-centric, consultative approach, customers can be sure that core issues such as their call routing and queues are set up with the help of the experts, reports deliver the best possible analysis for their business type and goals, and their system functions with optimal quality and productivity.
Your call centre does not have be one that everyone loves to hate. Following these simple steps can turn your call centre around, cut costs and improve service delivery.