New Year’s Resolution Ideas for your Call Centre

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When we thinking about our New Year’s resolutions, rather than the usual personal ones – get fit, lose weight, give up smoking – why not try a New Year’s Resolution for the call centre ?  We have asked some of our contributors for their ideas. Hopefully one will take your fancy.

Introduce an ‘air miles’ scheme
Introduce an ‘air miles’ scheme to reward agent loyalty. Customer service reps could accumulate air miles for the number of hours they work every month which they can cash in for extra time off, flights abroad, etc.
Simon Pell, Chairman, Pell & Bales.

Employ some blind call centre agents
There are some 200,000 blind or partially sighted people out there, who would make great call centre operators. Make this year’s resolution to employ a blind call centre agent.

Don’t get shocked
Make sure that your agents have the right headsets. Remember that from February 2006 the European Acoustic Shock Regulations become law and all headset equipment must comply. Also all electrical items must conform to ROHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) from July 2006.
Jane Guetling, Sales Office Manager, JPL Communications.

Improve your recruitment processes
Endeavour to adopt a best practice approach to recruitment. Many organisations do not realize the far-reaching effects of poor recruitment experience or a bad candidate experience. Improving this could be a good New Year’s resolution.
Guy Masters, Call Centre Recruitment Specialist, Cactus Search.

Introduce home working for call centre agents
Make it possible for individual team members or contact centre agents to work as a team dependent on their availability but irrespective of their location thereby making life easier for home workers, individuals limited in mobility but not in capability and those on maternity leave. And of course at the same time ease the pressure on the contact centre
manager to recruit and cover for leave of absence situations.
Lesley Hansen, Marketing Director, TeleWare Group Plc.

Take time to map the customer journey and understand the value
Map out a customer’s journey throughout the sales cycle with your company. This includes observing what happens when things go wrong, whether because of poor service quality or a problem with a purchase or delivery. This is also how you win new customers in the first place and what brings them to you. Develop a full view of the customer life cycle. At which points do new customers come in, and at what points do current customers spin out? This will give you a good starting point for understanding your points of service. Once you know your points of service you can then find the areas of pain: the bottlenecks, delays, and areas of poor service that aggravate customers. This will help you to understand what your solution needs to do.

“It only takes one critical failure point to start bleeding customers,” says Paul Younger, CRM Technical Specialist for BT Business. “Find and cure areas of pain first and then move on to other areas behind these that may in the longer term attribute to these”.

Get listening
Ensure you listen to 50 calls a month – and get each team leader to listen to at least 50 calls a year in the contact centre. Simon Pell, Chairman, Pell & Bales.

Make life less humdrum
Identify the more mundane and repetitive calls the agents are taking and see if there are ways to automate them. This will help increase the job satisfaction of your agents, by allowing them to focus on the more interesting and challenging calls.
Nigel Solsby, IR Business Development at Avaya.

Segment your customers
Look into customer segmentation and satisfaction strategies to match the right customer to the right agent. This will not only increase customer retention, but also the job satisfaction and productivity of your agents.
Shirley Hemstock, Head of Business Consulting at Avaya.

Align around your customers’ expectations
Enable your contact centre processes around your customer expectations. As consumers we all expect easy and quick access to organisations. We want services to be efficient and consistent across the different channels. Make a ‘comfortable’ interaction – so that your customers do not have to think too hard when they’re dealing with a contact centre!

If customers are to be left feeling in control of their interactions, it’s important that the contact centre technology and processes are aligned behind these goals.
Adam Faulkner, Founding Director, Sabio.

Set up a virtual call centre
Agents can be distributed to form a ‘virtual’ contact centre, be that at contact centre site, branch office, at home or overseas. A single converged voice and data network is less expensive to purchase and operate and business rules can be configured and managed centrally. Multiple contact channels such as voice, web, text-chat, email or video can be completely integrated.
Ian Sherring, Market Manager, IP Communications, Cisco Systems UK & Ireland.

Tear down the barriers
By removing the barriers between ‘siloed’ customer service functions, organisations will be able to capture, analyze and act on cross-functional information concerning workforce performance, customer interactions and customer service processes. “We believe this kind of valuable customer insight will help organisations to establish more intimate relationships with their customers.”
Steve Allen, Senior Vice President, Witness Systems.

Look internally for new members of staff
Firstly look internally for new call centre staff. This is particularly true of management roles. Candidates may require training, but this could be a better option all round than going out to market to benchmark against external candidates.
Guy Masters, Call Centre Recruitment Specialist, Cactus Search.

Get some voice training
Give your calling staff professional voice training. Ensure they think of themselves as ‘voice professionals’. (Drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks, be aware of ‘voice enemies’ and ‘voice friends’).
Simon Pell, Chairman, Pell & Bales.

Make sure you have the right suppliers in place
Supplier choice is critical to success. History has shown that getting customer management right is difficult and requires persistence. If it’s going to take time to get a solution bedded in your company then you will need a supplier that’s not going to disappear overnight.

Proving the ROI of CRM can be difficult, especially if you have limited experience of its impact. A supplier that’s not tied to a single solution can help ensure what you get is better tuned to the needs of your specific business.
Greg Duffy, ICT Solutions, BT Business.

Give staff a choice of headset
Give staff choice of headset so ensuring they are working in the style they are most comfortable with – there are today an almost limitless number of telephone headsets to choose from – internal, external, fixed or mobile.
Lesley Hansen, Marketing Director, TeleWare Group Plc.

A few more quickie ideas

Immersion training
Immersion training: ensure every agent has direct experience of the client’s organisation, product and services – and empathy with the client’s brand.

Quiet Zones
Create a designated quiet zone where agents can truly rest their voice during breaks.

Improvisation workshops
Do more workshops with callers on improvisation and conversational skills.

Play agents recordings of their own calls. Ask them to critique them and encourage them to find their own areas for development.

Let the agents define the rules
Give agents the opportunity to determine how they will work together and create their own team rules f

Published On: 2nd Dec 2005 - Last modified: 11th Sep 2019
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