Customer service isn’t what it used to be. In the past, most employers had a goal of standardizing their services as much as possible. Not only did this bolster efficiency on their behalf, but the customer also knew exactly what to expect when calling your number, regardless of your company or brand.
In the 21st century, however, customization is the key to success.
Customers no longer want a generic experience that, many times, doesn’t even solve the problem at hand. Instead, customers are more interested in receiving a relevant, helpful and personalized experience that offers useful and actionable guidance.
As a result, many call centers are re-evaluating the way they do business on a day-to-day basis.
Here are five simple ways you can do the same:
1) Hire Enthusiastic Agents
For many, the call center isn’t the ideal working environment. Call center agents typically use these positions as stepping stones to bigger and better things, but it’s still important to maintain one’s professionalism, common courtesy and amiability during all phone calls. Your customers’ moods will often match that of your agents, so kicking off the call in an enthusiastic light almost always yields positive results.
2) Utilize Customer Questionnaires
One of the best ways to get a read on the current customer experience is by offering short questionnaires at the end of each call. If you have a customer’s email address, the survey can also be sent to their digital inbox.
If you’re going to use questionnaires, however, you should be ready to respond to customer feedback. You don’t have to reply to each survey individually, but it’s important to show your customers that you are listening to their concerns and that you care about their feedback. By identifying the top complaints, prioritizing issues and tackling the biggest shortcomings, you’ll see an immediate improvement in the overall customer experience.
3) Use a Customized Number
Vanity telephone numbers are can be thought of as the phone number equivalent to vanity license plates. They set you apart from the crowd and make you easy to remember. For business call centers, vanity numbers make an otherwise long phone number easy to remember, which can be a huge advantage in competitive industries.
“Automotive, specifically new car dealers, continue to advertise heavily on traditional channels like local television, radio, and outdoor campaigns,” says Jeanne Landau, Director of Marketing for vanity number company 800response. “We’ve been working with this industry segment for over 25 years, and when dealers showcase an unforgettable phone number in their advertising, like 800-NEW-FORD or 800-NEW-RIDE, they report an increase to their inbound phone leads as a result of those campaigns.”
“Depending on what their ad rotations, media buys and markets are, they can experience 25 percent more inbound phone leads — meaning car buyers that are interested in what they’re selling and want to make an appointment to learn more — and up to 200 percent more inbound leads,” says Landau.
4) Prioritize Calls
The most successful call centers know how to screen incoming calls, identify the most important issues and prioritize cases accordingly. Although this doesn’t necessarily decrease the initial waiting time for all callers, it can certainly help curb some issues on behalf of repeat callers and those with emergency situations.
Interactive voice response systems, which are becoming increasingly common in today’s call centers, can be set up to detect repeat callers. Agents can see this kind of information along with each incoming call, so they’ll be able to effectively prioritize and delegate as needed.
5) Implement Advanced Business Intelligence
A concept that goes hand-in-hand with the Internet of Things, cloud computing and next-gen technology, business intelligence, or simply BI, describes the entire suite of data collection and processing strategies that are used to transform raw information into actionable figures and stats.
By collecting and monitoring various performance metrics, such as your agents’ average call duration, number of calls per day, average resolution time and more, you’ll have better luck in identifying and targeting trouble areas within your workforce.
Improving the Experience for Customers and Staff
Remember, customers aren’t the only ones who are subject to your call center protocols. Happy employees make productive workers, and many managers have been able to improve their call center metrics and customer relations by accommodating the needs of their staff. Once your workforce is satisfied with their environment, it will be much easier to introduce changes that specifically cater to your customers.
Originally published May 24, 2017, updated Aug 27, 2020