The customers nowadays choose a brand and remain loyal when it delivers exceptional customer support. Many customers even abandon businesses and brands due to poor customer service experience. In the digital age, most customers use multiple customer service channels on a regular basis.
Both small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups need to provide support and assistance to customers through multiple channels — phone calls, live chats, emails, text messages, mobile apps, social media and online communities. However, a large percentage of customers contact customer service via telephone. According to the 2017 Microsoft State of Global Customer Service report, over 70% of customers prefer the phone to other customer service channels while contacting customer service.
Also, 67% of customers use desktop or laptop while starting a customer service interaction. Hence, it becomes essential for your business to implement an omnichannel customer service strategy to cater to customers at all possible channels. You can quickly transform your call center by adopting emerging industry trends and leveraging advanced technologies. At the same time, you also need to implement simple yet effective changes.
7 Best Practices for Optimizing Your Call Center Performance
1. Move the Call Center to the Cloud
You can easily reduce call center deployment and maintenance time by switching from on-premise call centers to cloud-based call centers. Unlike conventional call centers, the cloud hosted call centers do not require you to invest in specific hardware or software. Your organization can access the cloud-based call center over the internet just like other web applications.
Hosting the call center in the cloud will help you to improve agent productivity, maximize agent availability, and work with remote agents. Also, cloud-based call centers will help your business to enhance customer experience without deploying additional resources by providing sophisticated features like interactive voice response (IVR), smart call routing, and continuous call monitoring.
2. Provide Self-Service Customer Support
According to the same report, 74% of customers use self-service options before calling an agent for service related questions. Your business can enable self-service options by implementing automated telephony systems like interactive voice response (IVR).
The IVR applications come with features to identify and route callers to the right agent when he is free to attend the next call. Also, the built-in features provided by IVR solutions automate customer service using pre-recorded voice messages and offer options like being called back by agents. The customers can take advantage of the self-help options to obtain information and solve simple queries without talking to a live agent.
3. Facilitate Intelligent Call Routing
While improving call center performance, you must focus on improving agent productivity and maximize agent utilization. The conventional telephone systems do not provide several options to personalize customer interaction and route customers to the right agents. However, the IVR solutions come with built-in functionality to enable agents to call back the customers through several contact methods.
The new age telephony systems further route the calls to the most appropriate agent. The agents can also personalize customer interaction by accessing relevant information like online behavior and purchase history. Your business can leverage the features provided by IVR solutions to meet rising customer expectations.
4. Highlight and Share Best Practices
In addition to simplifying call center operations, cloud-based solutions also come with tools for call quality monitoring and assessment. Your organization can take advantage of the call monitoring tools to track the quality of ongoing calls, check adherence to predefined quality standards, and assess agent performance. The supervisors can further evaluate the quality of calls by listening to the live or recorded calls on a regular basis.
The supervisors must make both existing and new agents listen to good calls. They need to use such calls as a performance metric to reinforce good behavior and define quality standards. The supervisors must share the best practices consistently to boost agent efficiency and deliver optimum customer service.
5. Simplify Agent Desktop
While optimizing your call center, you must focus on the quality and usability of agent desktops. You have options to choose from a wide range of purpose-built agent desktop solutions. These solutions differ from each other in terms of functionality, usability, and performance. You must remember that the complex solutions will increase call handling time and affect agent efficiency.
You can easily improve agent productivity and customer experience by selecting solutions that are easy to learn and use. It is also important to opt for an agent desktop that allows agents to access other enterprise applications and customer data seamlessly. You can even switch to more advanced agent desktop solutions to reduce call handling time.
6. Leverage Advanced Data Analytics
In the digital age, no enterprise can optimize its customer service without using data analytics tools. The advanced call center analytics even come with features to analyze customer data collected through various customer service channels. Your business can use the right analytics solution to gain actionable business insights, understand customer preference, and predict emerging trends.
Both live agents and chatbots can take advantage of these data analytics tools to understand customer expectations and generate personalized recommendations. They can further personalize customer experience by categorizing customers based on their demographics, interests, and preferences. The right data analytics tools will help you to optimize the customer conversations and interactions consistently.
7. Change Conventional Performance Metrics
You must keep in place a robust strategy to monitor and optimize call center performance continuously. You can assess the performance of the call center based on a variety of metrics. Some of these metrics are conventional, whereas others are modern. The traditional call center performance metrics like average call handling time do not help you to assess customer interaction and measure customer satisfaction.
Hence, you need to measure the efficiency and performance of the call center based on new age key performance indicators (KPIs) like customer satisfaction score, first-contact resolution rate, agent occupancy, call transfer rate, customer retention, sales conversions, and total sales. These KPIs help you to measure operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, business value and people management.
Making a Big Difference with Your Call Center
Overall, your business must optimize call center performance to boost customer experience and brand loyalty. However, you must not forget to focus on omnichannel customer service while making changes to the call center. Also, you must monitor and adopt the emerging trends in contact centers and customer services continuously to keep your call center efficient in the long run.