Technology continues to change the business landscape for virtually every company out there and while the concept of contact centers date back to the 1960’s, consumers expectations for these contact centers continue to evolve. From their inception, these centers were created to provide a useful service to customers in an attempt to enhance their experience with a brand, offering the opportunity to strengthen relationships and ensure brand loyalty.
Consumers recognize the importance of effective contact centers in their lives and turn to them often to field questions, rectify issues and improve the perceived value of their purchases. Within these interactions lie the opportunity for contact center teams to rise above the noise and ensure that utilization of best practices help to foster positive experiences for customers and work to solidify brand’s positions as a company whose customers matter.
What are the practices top companies are utilizing within their organizations to ensure their contact centers support and elevate their brands?
We’ve collected a list of the key tactics and differentiators that these companies rely on to elevate their customer service game.
Best Practices for Contact Center Excellence
Hire the Right People
For contact center success it really is true that your people are your most important resource. Bringing the right people into the organization from the beginning is a key factor in creating a successful team that provides the best service and care to your customers. Evaluation of these potential hires with competency testing as part of the interview process allows you see how they operate in real-life scenarios.
In addition, offer training for both new hires and seasoned employees allows you opportunities to keep your team sharp and continuously evaluate and adjust as the industry and your customers change.
Communicate regularly with your team
The contact center representatives are your front line. They offer unique, direct contact with your customers and carry with them the power to influence that audience. Offering them a “heads up” on potential problems, key information on changes and upgrade to your goods and services as well as the scripts and tools to support these situations can drastically improve your brand value with your clients. It’s up to you to communicate this with the team, prepare them with information that allows them to be helpful to customers and support their needs so they can support yours.
Review available metrics frequently and use them for insight
Know what the key performance indicators are for your contact center. Response rates, hold times, general customer satisfaction, resolution times and more can all be factors that give insight to the effectiveness of your performance. Evaluate these factors and use them to influence your decisions. Increase shifts when customer need volume increase, offer better information sourcing for your team and display those KPIs to help the team focus on the goal. When you have the knowledge about what matters, share it and help to ensure the team is working toward the same goal.
Offer coaching sessions for employees
Utilize the knowledge and experience of your leadership team to guide and train more junior team members. One on one time with managers working in tandem with the customer care team can add insights for both parties. Managers can keep pace with the critical issues and problem solving techniques the team faces and, when guidance is needed, managers can coach team members in how they handle interactions with customers and how they can improve those interactions.
Get customer feedback
Technology today affords the access to quick, anonymous responses from customers after resolution of issues that can help offer insights to your employees and the processes you use in the day to day interactions with customers. Research shows customers will take these opportunities to express their opinions of customer service. 57% of those surveyed stated they will give a business feedback to let them know they are performing poorly. This feedback is invaluable to ensuring necessary change is happening to keep your team helpful and efficient.
Using social media feedback as a tool is also an effective way to keep pace with your contact center’s performance. Be sure when you’re receiving feedback via social media that you show resolution of the situations whenever possible. These contacts offer the unique opportunity to not only help that customer, but demonstrate your customer focused approach to other passive viewers.
Wherever possible, allow agents to have autonomy to solve issues. This can help to offer faster resolution to questions or problems which results in better customer satisfaction. Not only does this make for happy customers, but it gives team members the ability to do their jobs effectively and create an environment of trust and satisfaction with your employees.
Maintain Consistent Communication Across All Support Channels
Evaluate the messaging you broadcast through each and every communication channel your company has. Does the message your convey on your website match the message and attitude delivered by your contact center? Do the letters you send in the mail offer the same offers, message and conflict resolution steps you support digitally? Ensuring that the entire suite of your omni-channel solutions is on message makes for a better experience for your customers and that allows you to ensure for successful contact center interactions.
The good news is that there are clear metrics available to today’s customer service teams that can allow them to evaluate their performance and make changes to their systems to reflect positive improvements.
Customer service isn’t a guessing game. Customer service teams have the resources available to them to perform at or above their consumer’s expectations. It falls upon the contact center management team, to make these metrics available to those who need them, and utilize them to improve their processes. Following these best practices can change the way customers perceive your team and build loyal positive relationships that last well beyond the last contact your team fields from that customer.