Lucy Phillips at EvaluAgent provides ten practical tips explaining how to improve customer service.
At the heart of every successful business is a high standard of service that leaves customers feeling valued through efficient responses and practical answers to their problems or concerns.
With a market size of £2.5 billion in 2022, according to IBIS World, the call centre industry is an essential customer service tool that requires agents to exceed high consumer expectations.
However, increased call volume and staffing issues present a significant barrier for call centres resulting in increased complaints, abandoned calls and lost revenue.
So, what’s the solution?
Having practical, implementable customer service tips at your disposal is one way to make a difference.
In this article, we will explore our top ten recommendations to help you level up your agent-to-customer interactions.
Understanding and Empathising with Customers
According to The Institute of Customer Service, the number of customers who “prefer to pay more for excellent service has grown.”
Zendesk’s survey corroborates this: “61% of customers say they would switch to a new brand after one bad experience.” That’s why nailing that first customer interaction is vital. Customers hate feeling like a number and don’t want to talk to an agent reading from a script.
They want to be understood, empathised with and have a genuine discussion with their call agent. They want to feel that their question or issue was handled and resolved effectively.
- Low-effort resolutions
- Understanding of the context around their situation
- Personalised empathy
- Efficient conversations
- Knowledgeable agents
- Quick solutions
That’s why having a Quality Assurance and Improvement platform at your fingertips is vital. Your QA team can analyse typical customer interaction issues from the data generated by AI-powered conversation intelligence to provide front-line call agents with targeted guidance and support on how to optimise customer conversations.
Smart Triggered training and coaching sessions based on evaluator feedback allow for in-depth insight into relevant data through keyword searches.
Following their individual or group training sessions, all previous resources remain available to agents for revisiting over time, encouraging them to develop their own knowledge, understanding and customer interaction toolkit through actionable steps to success.
Seek and Promote Feedback
An automated, actionable and regular assessment and feedback cycle can make all the difference to the standard of customer service your business provides. It should form the basis of a proactive business improvement strategy with clear, actionable steps and uninterrupted workflows.
Call agents and line managers must be aware of the mistakes, strengths and weaknesses of both themselves and their team to create permanent change through accountability and visibility.
Additionally, there needs to be evidence of an integrated reward system that celebrates victories, boosts morale and motivates staff through friendly competition.
An AI-powered conversation intelligence platform that collects and analyses call centre data is critical to creating an automated and comprehensive feedback cycle.
By recording, transcribing, assessing and scoring every conversation against customisable scorecards, our platform presents a complete image of the successes and problems of every conversation.
Designed to trigger auto-fail and non-compliance notifications to your QA analysts, high-risk conversations can be individually analysed and provided with essential feedback before their next call.
Their managers are alerted, too, to ensure that feedback is put into practice immediately. Generated into visual reports that can be used as part of improvement strategies and as the basis for QA deep dives into the interactions between your customers and your call agents.
Set and Communicate Clear Service Standards
Your agents can’t provide high-quality customer service without a clear outline of expectations and the actions they need to take to achieve them.
That’s why increased visibility, uninterrupted workflows, and frequent communication of changes are vital—coupled with an accurate assessment of call agents’ understanding that allows for targeted reminders and training in line with your business’s policy.
Manually achieving this is impossible, but it’s easy with an automated quality assurance platform. A centralised system sends automated alerts for non-compliance and high-risk conversations, allowing you to target them straight away.
Workflows are comprehensive, ensuring that everyone from senior leaders to middle management to call agents receives the same messages for complete visibility and a consistent message.
An additional Calibration Performance report and Check-the-checker blind scoring process ensures that QA analysts also maintain your business’s service standards.
According to Salesforce Research, 78% of customers will continue to use the company after a mistake if a company’s customer service is excellent.
Qualtrics XM Institute adds further weight to this assertion by stating that 94% of customers who give a “very good” rating are more likely to recommend that company. The key is being proactive rather than reactive with how your business deals with its customers.
Encouraging and motivating call agents to go that step further requires a cohesive and consistent customer service vision that your QA and call centre team believe in. Achieve this through:
- Check-the-checker processes
- Calibration reports
- Agent monitoring
- Evaluator monitoring and reports
Once your teams have mastered your company’s standardised approach, your managers can begin to encourage and inspire call agents to exceed expectations in line with your policy.
By creating friendly competition via gamified leadership, your team will feel motivated to level up their customer interactions and challenge others to replicate their success.
According to The Guardian, customer service complaints have reached “their highest level on record”, costing “more than £9bn a month in lost staff time”.
That’s why preventative, corrective action is required to combat and improve customer service, reversing the impact on businesses.
Analysing complaints to pinpoint problems, with an automated alert system for critical issues, is central to this development strategy. Knowing there is a problem is halfway to solving it.
Hence why it is essential that you use a Quality Assurance platform that analyses and interprets call data to find and solve the root of customer complaints.
The reality is that your QA team can’t manually listen to every call, which is why our system offers 100% coverage of customer interactions across all communication channels.
When a critical issue is identified, an alert is sent out to QA analysts to notify them that a high-risk conversation has occurred and requires further individualised feedback.
In the meantime, our AI has already begun to close the loop by triggering relevant training and coaching sessions to support the call agent.
Conversation intelligence also facilitates deep dives by tracking trends and patterns that help uncover hidden non-compliant behaviours within your teams that may be damaging profits and customer trust.
Set Measurable Objectives
Every business needs a combination of clear, attainable and measurable short-term goals that contribute to the overall long-term vision of the company.
The objectives you set need to be informed by call centre analytics and conversation data that supports your understanding of customer satisfaction, agent’s experience and evaluator’s consistency.
Ultimately, these daily interactions inform an effective QA development strategy by tracking trends, identifying weaknesses and deepening insights.
Automated coverage of 100% of your communication channels provides a complete picture of every customer interaction, that’s why a system records, transcribes, and rates every conversation against a customisable scorecard, whether it’s a call, email, live chat or ticket.
Based on the information collected by the automated scorecards, the AI automatically compiles the data and generates visual representations of individual and team scores for each line item.
These data packets allow your QA analysts to identify key areas of success and critical areas for improvement that can form the foundation of an overall business improvement strategy that feeds into individual feedback and customer service training provision.
Invest in Training
To provide a high standard of customer service, agents will need access to targeted 1-1 coaching, training and e-learning resources.
As part of their development, they will need to have up-to-date product knowledge, a comprehensive understanding of customer service policy and to have acquired critical customer service skills.
Our platform closes the loop automatically by using its Smart Trigger process to assign relevant training, coaching and resources based on its evaluation and feedback – with our system, a comprehensive, engaging and relevant training programme is at your fingertips. Support your QA analysts by:
- Triggering, scheduling, managing and recording all HR related 1-1 meetings and actions.
- Assigning guided workflows to new managers and team leaders for coaching consistency across multiple teams, departments and locations.
- Capturing, dating, revisiting and reviewing actions agreed upon in 1-1 sessions for easy monitoring.
- Allowing agents to revisit previously assigned resources, feedback and targets inside the platform.
- Tracking the success of interventions
- Letting managers and coaches instantly assign eLearning from within meetings to support call agents’ learning and development.
- Providing eLearning creation and management tools to develop company-specific training content, which can form training paths used to correctly onboard new agents.
- Allowing “in the moment” standalone learning assignments.
- Auto-enrolling agents in relevant training programmes.
- Offering self-enrollment opportunities using a course library.
- Gamifying learning through points, badges, leaderboards and customisable certificates.
- Allowing them to assign due dates and send reminders.
- Providing an individualised My Learning Area for all employees.
- Providing a comprehensive monitoring system of learning that ensures compliance and automatically correlates with QA scores and coaching sessions to track effectiveness.
Know Your Products and Services
Customers’ expectations are high, and the minimum they expect is to speak to an agent who is knowledgeable, competent and up-to-date with the services and products provided.
They want to talk to someone with expertise who can handle their issue in one call without being transferred or called back, as it establishes confidence and trust in your business.
In short, ensuring your call agents can accurately describe your products and services directly impacts the overall professionalism of your company.
A Quality Assurance and Improvement platform can help your business achieve this through conversation intelligence and automated workflows.
An AI-powered platform lets you assign auto-fails to call agents’ scorecards that will notify you if a service or product has been misdescribed—allowing your QA team to target them quickly before their next call.
Additionally, the system will use a Smart Trigger to automatically assign relevant product and service training or 1-1 coaching to those agents.
Automated workflows will ensure that everyone has visibility on this issue via notifications to line managers and team leaders who can carry out additional monitoring and ensure feedback is being put into practice.
Additionally, through automatic collation of conversation data, you can clearly see whether this issue is company-wide or limited to individuals or a particular team, allowing you to create accurate QA improvement strategies.
Finally, cohesive, transparent and consistent communication between management, team leaders, agents and customers is the foundation of any successful business.
Everyone needs to be on the same page to avoid future complaints, confusion or issues; honesty is the best policy.
A complete internal communication system clears up misinformation and prevents silos from occurring. Clear communication lines result in better collaboration, efficient call times and a consistent customer and employee experience.
To achieve this, you need all your agents and management on the same platform with access to the same knowledge base. Your whole team is connected via automated workflows, auto-alerts, notifications and multi-channel scorecards, regardless of department or physical location.
A system operates in real-time and connects everyone for maximum visibility. For example, if an agent has auto-failed a line item.
In that case, this triggers an automatic notification to your QA team, feedback and training to the call agent and a message to the line manager so that they can monitor progress.
Additionally, a reporting suite enables team leaders, coaches and senior leaders to turn insight into actionable improvement for your customers.
Improve Customer Service
We know that an excellent employee experience creates an outstanding customer experience. That’s why businesses need streamlined, effective and efficient solutions to keep up with customer demand and expectations.
Using an AI-driven system, you can evaluate conversations four times faster, automate workflows, generate contextualised data and engage with agents using leaderboards, appeals, automatic alerts, and personalised feedback.
With all these centralised on one platform, your customers will benefit from the regular training, constructive feedback, and cohesive service agents receive.This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of EvaluAgent – View the Original Article
For more information about EvaluAgent - visit the EvaluAgent Website
Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.