How to improve call center performance in an online world
Call centers are a key component of your brand experience, but they are often overlooked. We invited call center expert and colleague Bill Saums to shed some light on the subject!
Websites vs. call centers
Websites are supposed to reduce contact center volume (customer phone calls) by handling routine tasks. So why do contact centers continue to need the same level of staffing?
Fewer calls, more complexity
It’s true, people go online rather than pick up the phone for many routine transactions, such as password reset, locations and directions, bill payment, and other tasks once handled by contact centers. However, now when they call your contact center it will be about a more complex task – that is, a problem that can’t be handled online.
The result: fewer calls, but each call takes longer to resolve. So despite less call volume, more complex tasks require the same staff levels.
Skills that improve performance
Because calls are now more complex and take longer, it’s more important than ever for customer service representatives to have good communication skills. Active listening, friendly, willing and interested demeanor, clear explanations, and summarizing before ending the call becomes even more important in reducing overall handle time, minimizing repeat calls, and resolving all issues in one call. Good training and regular coaching to reinforce and develop these skills are the keys to an effective contact center.
The big picture
In the long run, as web self-service will continue to improve, call volume will continue to decrease. So your organization will eventually save money, and maintain a high level of service to your customers.
About the writer
Since Bill Saums founded Centech Solutions over 15 years ago, he has led call center consulting projects for firms ranging from Fortune 500 companies to Internet startups worldwide. Clients include AT&T, Allstate, Blue Shield, and IBM. Projects include contact center development, technology implementation, performance improvement programs, and outsourcing.
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