Building the Perfect Call Center

For building customer loyalty and maintaining an exceptional business reputation, call centers are a critical piece of the puzzle.  Many companies today are seeing the value in having a top-notch customer service operation, recognizing that delivering excellent service is more important than ever before due to the abundance of choices available to the modern consumer, and a growing intolerance for ineptitude.

But, how exactly do you build the perfect customer service call center?

It is certainly not an easy thing to do, which is why more and more businesses are choosing to outsource their call center operations to a dedicated customer service provider.  But regardless of whether a business wants to outsource customer care or keep it entirely in house, there are a few common components that must be in place in order to create a truly exceptional customer service call center.

1.  The Right People:  You can have all the best equipment, technology and procedures necessary to deliver great customer service, but it won’t be worth a darn without a good team of agents working the phones.  Success in the customer service field requires a specific skill set and personality type.  Agents need to be good listeners who are able to understand and diagnose problems, often with limited information.  They also must be able to deal with the occasional angry customer, with the ability to diffuse tension and get to the bottom of an issue without becoming too emotionally involved.  Most importantly, though, they should be genuinely nice people with an overall positive attitude.  A smile can go a long way in the world of customer service, even on the phone.  Finding the right type of people to hire for your customer service call center is not always easy, which is why most call centers have extremely high employee turnover rates.  However, the rewards for building a staff of loyal, skilled and dedicated customer service representatives are immense — a positive and supportive work environment, cost savings from reduced turnover, and most importantly, the ability to provide truly superior customer service that will differentiate you from the competition.

2.  Reliable Infrastructure and Technology:  While at its core talking on the phone or responding to an e-mail may seem to be relatively simple things, there is actually a lot going on in the background at a typical contact center to ensure that everything happens smoothly and efficiently.  There must be a contact management platform in place to direct calls to agents, and the equipment must be good enough to facilitate clear communication back and forth.  Downtime must also be minimized and/or eliminated, because if customers cannot get through to the support line, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will soon go elsewhere, most likely a competitor.  To keep things running smoothly, software and hardware must be regularly maintained and kept up to date, and there should be redundant power and communications systems in place to deal with blackouts, etc.  It is also important to have a skilled and reliable network administrator at the helm to oversee systems operation.

3.  A Detailed Plan:  There are many decisions that must be made in the creation of a customer service strategy.  For example, should a live agent immediately answer all calls, or should an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu be in place to direct calls to the appropriate department?  Because there are different ways to measure customer service, which call center key performance indicators should you focus on?  Is Average Handle Time (AHT) the most critical thing, or are other metrics like First Call Resolution (FCR) more important?  How about self-service?  Do you want to give callers the ability to manage some account functions like cancellations or bill payments on their own via touchtone keystrokes?  There are a lot of costs associated with operating a call center, many of which are not always immediately obvious.  Have you taken things like higher power bills, employee turnover costs, equipment wear and tear, software licenses, management time and energy, and facilities maintenance costs into account?  The answers to all of these important decisions should be clearly outlined in your company’s overall customer service strategic plan.  This will be your road map to success in delivering an enhanced customer care experience.

No two call centers are exactly the same, but these common elements are found in the majority of successful customer service operations.  Incorporating them into your own plans can go a long way towards building, or partnering with, the perfect customer service call center.

Is Tacamor the perfect call center for your company’s needs?  We are true customer care experts with the right people, processes, and facilities in place to deliver the highest quality customer service.  Contact us today to find out how we can help your business!

Motivational Quotes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we all require a little something to help us make it through the day.  Here are some motivational quotes related to business, customer service and teamwork to provide a little lift in times of need.

  • If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”  – Unknown
  • “Customers don’t expect you to be perfect.  They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”  – Donald Porter
  • “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends.  If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”  – Jeff Bezos
  • “Sales without Customer Service is like stuffing money into a pocket full of holes.”  – David Porter
  • “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”  – Unknown
  • “When a Company compromises its principles one time, the next compromise is right around the corner.”  – Zig Ziglar
  • The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.”  – Sam Walton
  • “A company’s character is known by the people it keeps.”  – John Ruskin
  • “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”  – Samuel Goldwyn
  • Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game.  Service wins the game.”  – Tony Alessandra
  • “Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”  – Andrew Carnegie
  • “It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”  – Robert Yates
  • Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.”  – Kate Zabriskie
  • “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”  – Babe Ruth
  • In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want.”  – Alice MacDougall
  •  “You’ll never have a product or price advantage again.   They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.”  – Jerry Fritz
  • “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”  – Vince Lombardi
  • People expect good service but few are willing to give it.”  – Robert Gately
  • “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”  – Michael Jordan
  • “Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.”  – Vista M. Kelly
  • “Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.”  – Anne Frank
  • “Organizations exist only for one purpose: to help people reach ends together that they couldn’t achieve individually.”  – Robert H. Waterman
  • “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”  – Steven Covey
  • “Here is a simple but powerful rule – always give people more than what they expect to get.”  – Nelson Boswell
  • “To my customer.  I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it.  I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.”  – Unknown
  • “A smile is a curve which can set a lot of things straight.”  – V. Borge

Are you motivated to improve your customer service department?  Contact Tacamor today to find out how!

When (and when not) to take it personally in the customer service industry

Call center work can be a tough racket sometimes.  Customer service agents often will have to deal with people who are irritable, angry, or downright mean.  In this line of work, it is important to have a thick skin and not take everything personally.  Here are a couple of examples of when it is appropriate to take something personally and when it is best to let it slide off your back.

Anger – Customer service agents will have to deal with angry customers.  It simply comes with the territory.  No company is absolutely perfect, and when a mistake is made, people will naturally want to take out their frustration on the first person they talk to about it, which is usually the customer service agent.  It is important to realize that, although you as the agent will have to bear the brunt of this anger, it is really being directed at the company and not at you personally.  As a key representative and voice of the company, you will have to do your best to take ownership of the issue, diffuse the emotional situation, and resolve the problem.  However, in this type of case, you should never feel that you are personally responsible for the customer’s hardship.  If the caller speaks in an angry tone or makes a sarcastic comment, the best thing to do is to ignore it and focus on fixing the underlying issue.  Don’t take it personally!

Praise – Most people have felt under-appreciated at some time or other, and call center workers are no exception.  Dealing with upset customers can take its toll on anyone.  However, sometimes a caller will be so happy at getting his or her issue resolved that they will offer up a genuine compliment or some other form of praise in gratitude.  Something like, “Wow, you have been very helpful!” or “Thanks so much for fixing this problem – I really appreciate it!”  In this type of situation, you should definitely take it personally!  Remember that you and you alone solved the customer’s problem and brightened up his or her day.  Sure, you may have had help with a troubleshooting script or some other aid, but in the end, you are the person who had to listen to the customer, appropriately diagnose the problem, and provide an effective solution.  That’s not always an easy thing to do, especially over the phone, so a successful resolution to a problem is certainly something to be celebrated, and any compliments received by callers should be taken as personal reinforcement that you did a good job.

Let the insults roll off your back, but take the compliments to heart!  That is one of the most important keys to being a successful customer service agent.

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