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!