How to choose a call center: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

photo © 2008 Nathan | more info (via: Wylio)
The first steps in choosing a call center required you to understand what type of center you need. Once you’ve figured that much out, you can start looking around for specific companies who can deliver what you want. But how do you compare them to determine the best fit? Price is of course important. It always is. But so is the relationship between them and your team… and your clients. Your call center will be your company’s personality to your clients, and you will also be dealing with the management team there on a very regular basis. This is where issues such as language and culture become major considerations. If you sense problems during this initial exploratory phase, it’s a good indicator that you’ll be seeing more problems as the relationship ages. So make sure you have a very nice fit.

Beyond these general factors, you’ll need to compare the actual work quality of competing call centers. Their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) — also known as Performance Metrics — will tell you how well they perform day in and day out. It’s important not to put too much reliance on these, as we’ll mention later. But for now, let’s take a look at a few of the most widely watched KPIs. [Read more...]

How to choose a call center: getting started

GREAT MAZE LONGLEAT © 2007 Simon ‘Kelp’ Keeping | more info (via: Wylio)
Few business decisions have as much potential to revitalize your customers’ impression of your company as choosing a call center. A great call center can quickly transform the way people think about you and your products, helping them resolve difficulties and allowing you to build brand loyalty. With so many surveys showing customer service to be even more important than price for consumers and especially businesses, you need the right call center on your side.

However, choosing the best one for you and your customers can be a real challenge. There is a dizzying mix of options available today. Do you need an in-house or outsourced call center? Inbound or outbound? Offshore or nearshore? Shared or dedicated? And once you’ve determined the type that works best for you, how do you decide which of two seemingly identical centers will be the right fit for you?

Good questions. We’ll explore the more detailed elements in another post, but first let’s make sure the basic terms are clearly understood. It’s time for some good answers…
[Read more...]

Nothing new to say? Call someone!

090/365: String telephonephoto © 2008 Ben Smith | more info (via: Wylio)
There are times in all our lives when there’s just too much to do, and too much to say. For many of us in the business world, that’s pretty much what we hope for most days; it’s a lot better than being bored.

However, whether you’re right in the middle of such a time, or enjoying one of those rare moments when you can actually sit back and organize what you should be doing, there are still some things that just need to get done. And one of the most important of those is staying in touch with the people who matter.

Calling for No Reason

Family. Friends. Workers. Clients. They all need to hear from you, and while you do your best to keep in touch, you may not realize that sometimes the best times to call are when you have absolutely nothing to say. People get an extra level of warmth when you touch base just to say hi, and to ask how they’re doing. It’s surprising how often, when you have nothing new to say, the other person has lots. So make it all about the other person. Your call may end up being a nice surprise for both of you. [Read more...]

Dealing with angry customers: are you making this mistake?

Angry tigerphoto © 2004 Guyon Morée | more info (via: Wylio)
Let’s face it: of all the situations that customer service and technical support teams face, dealing with angry customers can be the most draining. The agent — and sometimes several agents before the caller is done — can be exhausted from being verbally pummeled. The time spent on the call skyrockets beyond any goal or target ever imagined. And at the end of it all, chances are good that you have not won back the customer, but won a new vigilante voice out there who will be attacking your company at the dinner table, in the workplace, and most dreaded of all, in a blog.

That’s why, in many call centers, the angry customer has another name: the “worst nightmare,” and every agent there dreads getting that call. Quite understandable.

So why does Tom Peters (Remember Tom? Possibly the world’s top business guru, he has been mentioned before here on Talkamore) in his book, The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence, make this outrageous statement?

“There’s nothing, but nothing, better than an angry customer.”

Even for Tom Peters, those are pretty strong words. There is merit in what he says though. As we noted in the past post that mentioned Tom, research has shown that [Read more...]

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