What is a Call Center?
A call center is a service that provides customers with a direct line to customer service representatives. Call centers are typically a part of larger corporations that have several different locations or customers. However, local businesses are increasingly investing in call center services to provide better customer service—especially during evening and off-hours. A call center can either be in-house or outsourced to a third-party company.
How Can a Call Center Benefit My Local Business?
Solve customer problems right away: The main purpose of any call center is to facilitate customer interactions that include answering customer questions, taking orders and scheduling appointments, as well as providing support and information on pricing, services, and more. Customer service queries are addressed immediately.
Increase your sales: When customers have questions about your services, you can forward their inquiries to a call center instead of trying to be on call at all hours. The call center will be able to give them answers quickly, so they’re more likely to hire you.
Give your business a voice: When you also have employees who are tasked with interacting with customers (whether they’re answering questions over the phone or helping them online via the website), call centers help you establish a brand voice that connects with customers on a personal level.
Be available to your customers even during off-hours: With a call center service, your business will be able to serve your customers more effectively and improve customer relations by taking advantage of 24/7 availability and multiple levels of support.
Improve your overall customer satisfaction: Streamline your call center operations to be a point of first-call resolution for customers. This can improve your overall satisfaction score and your online reviews, reduce churn and help with customer retention in the long run.
In this article, we will review the top practices for your call center reps to know in order to keep customer satisfaction ratings high and turnover rates low.
Signpost can help your business answer all inbound calls and customer inquiries through our new live receptionist answering service. Never miss a call again with Signpost.
10 Call Center Best Practices to Follow
Today, most businesses have a presence that extends beyond the company’s regular business hours. Technology makes it easy to contact any business around the clock. Call centers help accomplish that goal so you can keep your customers happy and coming back for more.
Here are the top tips to keep in mind as you set up a successful call center operation with team members.
Create a knowledge base for customers.
Always be transparent about wait times.
Track your KPIs and metrics!
Remain calm and avoid negative language in intense customer situations.
Use customer surveys to collect helpful feedback.
Reach out for positive reviews!
Follow up with customers even after resolving their problem.
Leverage call monitoring tools.
Provide call agents with adequate training and reference materials.
Provide omnichannel customer support.
1. Create a knowledge base for customers.
Today, 40% of businesses are using self-service functionalities like knowledge bases and FAQs. In order to enhance the quality of support provided to the customers, it is paramount to create a knowledge base that could be used by any customer on his or her own.
A knowledge base could include both written content as well as videos to help answer questions you receive frequently. If you already have many questions being asked about your products and services, then it’s also a good way to create guidelines that will help your new agents answer those questions more quickly and efficiently when receiving them on the phone.
Looking for inspiration?: Take a look at the knowledge base this plumbing business has developed for its customers looking for self-serve options!
2. Always be transparent about wait times.
Studies have shown that 60% of customers believe that long wait times are the most frustrating aspects of customer service.
One of the first things to do when dealing with a customer who is being placed on hold or waiting for someone to pick up is to let them know how long they will be kept waiting. It will help them feel more at ease and not as frustrated with the company’s service if they know that there is a time frame, and it will also keep them from hanging up.
Also remember, if you promise an average handle time, you need to deliver on that; otherwise, you’re only going to have dissatisfied customers.
3. Track KPIs and metrics!
You can always improve your customer service delivery and your business. In order to do so, you need to track your metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs) and other important factors. This will help improve your business in all aspects—sales, customer support, employees, etc.
Here are just a few call center metrics that a local business should track:
Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
First call resolution
Average handle time
Call abandonment rate
The most important thing is that you know what you want to achieve with these call center metrics. If you don’t know what your goals are, what benchmarks to set and what you want to achieve with these tools, it will be impossible for you to know if the information that you get from these metrics is helping with employee engagement and streamlining the call center experience.
4. Remain calm and avoid negative language in intense customer situations.
Today’s call center professionals must be well-versed in many facets of customer service in order to handle any situation, whether it is a simple inquiry or an irate client. One of the keys to remaining calm under pressure is to avoid using negative language.
Using positive language to address customers will result in a more positive outcome, as well as make customers more prone to remain calm to help you resolve their issue. By avoiding negative language, you can also reduce the number of customers who disconnect when they feel they are not being heard.
5. Use customer surveys to collect helpful feedback.
Did you know that 88% of customers are willing to share online feedback about their customer service experiences? A great way to collect customer feedback firsthand is through surveys.
The use of surveys in call centers has become increasingly popular in recent years, as businesses have realized how effective they are in improving customer satisfaction levels and gathering important information that can help improve the quality level of services offered.
Customer satisfaction surveys provide employees with an opportunity to correct wrongs that may have been committed against customers on previous calls.
6. Reach out for positive reviews!
Over half of call centers track what customers are saying on social media and online review platforms.
Keep in mind that every customer is a potential ambassador for your business. You want to give these customers the best possible experience so they will share their positive experiences with other potential customers.
7. Follow up with customers even after resolving their problem.
Even though you have resolved the problem, customers will still be grateful to hear there is no further issue. They will appreciate knowing that you are keeping their problem on your radar, even if it was not caused by any fault on your part.
When calling back the customer, let them know that you have no new information, but that you wanted to check in with them personally. You can use this chance to cross-sell or upsell products and services without being pushy.
If the customer is not available when you call back, leave a polite message explaining that you have had no further issues and wanted to follow up with them. This can help build a stronger relationship between you and the customer, provided that there is no need for further action on your part.
8. Leverage call monitoring tools.
Call center software can help companies understand how various factors affect their customer service agent performance. This, in turn, can be used to improve agent training and develop better policies for improving the overall customer experience.
By using a call monitoring system, such as Signpost, you will be able to see how long it is taking for your employees to answer customer calls, how long they are speaking with customers to resolve customer issues, and what percentage of calls are being handled by which employees.
There is no reason for businesses not to monitor calls as long as it is done in an ethical manner.
9. Provide call agents with adequate training and reference materials.
It is vital to provide call center agents with adequate call center training and reference materials.
The training allows the call agents to gain a better understanding of the products and services sold by your company. It is also helpful in imparting knowledge about the culture and policies of the company, which may help them in their workflow.
Agents should have easy access to reference materials, such as company policies, service agreements, and other important documents. These materials should be updated frequently to reflect any changes in the policies or agreements.
Benefits of this include improved customer satisfaction levels, better agent productivity (leading to effective call center performance) and, over time, increased sales.
10. Provide omnichannel customer support.
Omnichannel is the buzzword of the day in customer service. The idea is to provide a seamless experience for customers who are looking for information in various ways.
We all know that a single call center can only provide support for a limited set of platforms, products and high call volumes. We also know that, due to the increasing number of mobile devices, customers are frequently in need of guidance related to issues that are not typical for the specific product or platform they use.
Keep in mind that every customer will prefer one channel over another, depending on his or her needs and preferences. Some might be more lenient while others expect you to be able to respond in real-time. Accordingly, decide which channel you need to focus more attention on so that your customer base can increase many times over.
Win More Business & Drive Customer Loyalty with Signpost
The success of your business largely depends on your ability to respond swiftly and efficiently to customer needs. Call center management should be used as a vehicle for communication to provide customer information, which will enable you to build a strong relationship with them. This strategy will not only help achieve customer loyalty, but also increase your business revenue.
There is no point in investing in new technology if it does not allow agents to serve customers better and faster. This is where Signpost comes in.
Our customer-first platform can empower agents and local service companies to deliver amazing results for their customers through strong CRM.
Signpost can help your local business answer all inbound calls and customer inquiries through our new live receptionist answering service. Never miss a call again with Signpost