How to Deliver a High-Quality Customer Experience in Your Call Center

Matt Rocco, President, Etech Global Services
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Customers today may interact with your business many different ways including social media platforms, your business website, and third-party review sites. The most important point of contact, however, is that of your call center. This is due to the fact that with so many ways to find information about your company and interact digitally, a phone call is often the final step for your customer.

This last step could entail a question that they were unable to find answers to, problems with a recent purchase, or even a request for help purchasing something off of your website. This last step is most likely the one that each customer will remember, as it will involve an interaction with another human being instead of more time on a computer or digital device.

Excellent customer service in a call center can ensure the satisfaction and future contact with each customer who reaches out for assistance. Conversely, poor customer service can spell the end of that relationship. In a global economy where customers have many options and are able to quickly access needed information, it is critical to understand how to deliver high-quality call center experiences to each and every customer.

It All Starts with Proper Management

Traditionally, call centers have measured customer satisfaction by trying to measure it at the end of the call with a short survey. As each call is unpredictable, it is difficult for managers to come up with a sure-fire plan or strategy that always leads to a happy customer. There are, however, several factors that should be factored into each call to ensure the highest satisfaction rate possible. These include:

• Call Flow–Call center flow should be regularly examined for effectiveness, as studies show that customer satisfaction rates rise as less effort is required from the customer. Basically, the easier it is for someone to get their problem or issue resolved, the happier they will be.

• Hold Times–Rarely does a customer offer a sigh of relief when they are put on hold. This is because they consider their time valuable. Should it be necessary to put a customer on hold, call center policy should always encourage short wait times, even if it means that an agent needs to touch base frequently to update the customer on progress that is being made.

• Agent Attitude–There is an old adage that says businesses should treat each customer as if they are the only customer. When call center agents follow this advice, satisfaction rates are sure to rise. An agent with a negative attitude can cause unintended ripples and negative reviews for the company.

• Reflective Listening–Proper listening skills are a must for call center agents. This means that an agent knows how to hear not only what the customer is saying, but also take note of how it is said. Reflecting statements back to the customer in a considerate way often help an irritated person feel as if they are being heard, and that help is on the way.

• Customer Experience Management–The tools used by a call center to review customer interactions can be referred to as Customer Experience Management (CEM). Using analytics gained from this type of system is invaluable in improving satisfaction rates.

How Can Call Quality Monitoring Improve the Customer Experience?

There is truly no way to make sure that your customers are having a great experience when they contact your call center unless you have a way to figure out just what they are expecting first. These expectations differ depending on the type of service a company provides, and the type of assistance that a customer needs.

  It is critical to understand how to deliver high-quality call center experiences to each and every customer 

One of the most effective ways of finding out if a customer’s expectations were met is to match surverys that are completed after each call to observations about call quality that were gathered during the course of the phone call. It is, of course, most effective when customers are willing to spend a little bit of extra time and rate their satisfaction instead of rushing to get off the phone.

Another way to improve the customer experience is to make sure that the customer is required to expend as little effort as possible to get the help that they need. While it might sound simple, it actually requires that your company takes a detailed look at each step a customer might be asked to take during the phone call including automated phone prompts, requests for the customer to input information, and being able to get the call through to the correct representative. All of these parts, when added together, can be used to score the customer experience, or the work that the customer had to do for resolution. Typically, a higher customer satisfaction rate comes from a lower customer effort score.

Tracking calls that are resolved with only one contact is another way to measure if customer expectations were met. This can be done via your call quality evaluations and through the surveys that are offered after each call. When call centers are able to boost the number of calls that can be completely resolved the first time, not only are customer satisfaction rates higher, but both employees and management tend to be happier as well.

Trackable Metrics that may Enhance the Customer Experience

Nothing replaces the valuable information gained by key trackable metrics. In short, these are indicators that each call center can look at and measure for an unbiased look at how they are doing in keeping customers happy.

One such indicator, response time, is one that we are all familiar with. It is unfortunate that when this indicator is mentioned, many individuals moan and groan remembering times when they were dissatisfied. All too frequently, customers not only remember poor response times —they talk to their friends and neighbors about how annoying it was! Though studies show that over half of customers think that 3 minutes of hold time on a phone call is not too long, a quicker response time is certainly more pleasant.

While response times are certainly important, they must be paired with accurate resolutions and answers so that customer issues are actually resolved. All too frequently, resolution takes up to 5 interactions meaning that a call center’s focus on speed was correctly paired with accuracy. A recent study found that customer satisfaction rates go up by 1percent with each one percent of improvement that a company makes with it’s first call resolution.

Customer feedback is another key indicator that can help companies to know if their customers are satisfied. Though some requests for feedback over social media might be negative, the insight they provide cannot be beat. Businesses that are willing to learn from negative customer reviews often end up building a very stable clientele.

The competitive market today demands that each company get consistently more efficient at delivering high-quality customer service. This is possible when key indicators are taught, reviewed and evaluated. A proper balance of key metrics and indicators coupled with customer satisfaction rates today will lead your high-performing company to take the lead in efficiency and customer retention.

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