Here are a dozen tips on how to improve the contact centre. All submitted by our readers.
Improving agent empathy
1. Allow your agents to take ownership of issues
This can make a big difference – allowing individual agents to see queries through to resolution can result in fewer repeat calls. Any slight increase in average handling time is offset by the volume reduction.
Thanks to Ed
2. Share customer feedback
Share customer feedback with non-customer-service staff, allowing them to see the positive (and negative) impact they can have on your customer experience. This makes it personal and makes it important.
Thanks to Charlie
3. Try to get agents some face-to-face experience
It’s always harder to empathise with someone you cannot see. If your organisation handles face-to-face customer service as well as call centre contacts, try swapping around once in a while.
Face-to-face customer service can make call centre advisors more aware of how approachable they are and makes their customers’ feelings far more palpable.
Thanks to Matt
4. Let agents evaluate their own calls
You can use a supervisor or one of your stronger agents to review and critique an agent’s calls. Just make sure you are working on soft skills and finding ways to improve.
Even if you get your agents to evaluate their own calls – you always find surprises when listening to your own voice.
Thanks to Steve
Making self-service work
5. Use the right channels for self-service
Website self-service is very good for generic information and non-customer-specific queries; mobile apps can be more customer-specific.
Thanks to Luke
6. Make your customers aware of self-service
Make sure your customers know why self-serving can be better for them, or they may assume you are just trying to ensure they take up less of your time.
An online e-form can be sent any time of the day or night, so no need for the customer to call on their lunch break. An automated payment system ensures they don’t have to wait in a queue just to pay a bill.
Make your customers aware that self-service benefits them as well as your call volumes.
Thanks to Stephen
7. Use Frequently Asked Question pages
With online FAQ pages, encourage customers to answer each other and let the community resolve queries that could have become a telephone contact.
With FAQs you can answer one question for many customers rather than answering the same question over and over again by email.
Thanks to Sandra
8. Don’t let your self-service material get out of date
If you’ve set up an FAQ page or an automated web assistant, don’t just tick a box and forget about them. You need to be regularly monitoring them to ensure they are still giving out the correct information.
If something changes (especially pricing) and the content of your self-service material doesn’t change with it, it will cause you all sorts of problems.
Thanks to Matt
Measuring customer experience
9. Ask your customers only two questions
Ask customers only two questions: “was your issue resolved?” and “was the agent helpful?”. This will immediately give you your first call resolution and agent’s performance.
Ask the customer to participate in the survey right after the call, while it is fresh in their memory. Get the agent to inform the customer towards the end of the call that a survey will follow.
Thanks to Sandeep
10. Get it right when it matters most
Customer satisfaction results are directly related to the emotional experience the customer is going through – if you get responses right at bad times, you can get lifetime loyalty.
Thanks to Nigel
11. Don’t just monitor telephone contacts
Utilise all customer insight available from all channels to get a true view of what your customers are telling you. Schedule a fortnightly group to meet and take actions against this insight.
Thanks to Sarah
12. Measure activity, not just outcomes
Make sure you understand whether the customer got what they wanted, and what they wanted in the first place.
Correlate this information to find out if there is one particular type of query that is consistently leaving customers unhappy.
Thanks to Stephen