As things continue to change rapidly in the world of communication, conversations about how new call center technology will effect customer contact are inevitable. One of the better curated conversations I have seen in some time recently occurred on Google Hangout (video provided). In all of the opinions and analysis, one very surprising fact rises to the surface: Customers still want to talk with agents.
In the study that was referenced by one panelist, Forrester Consulting concluded that 79% of respondents prefer to use the phone as their means of communicating with contact centers. This preference exists despite the number of different contact channels available to a customer. Further, 49% of their respondents indicated that Customer Service Centers are not providing excellent customer service.
So why does this appear to be the case in an age of call center technology such as SMS, MMS, iMessage, chat, e-mail, and many other channels? One reason that was revealed during the discussion is that consumers have learned to self-help as much as possible by crowd-sourcing their problem. How many times have you gone to YouTube in the past month to watch a video about fixing a problem you are experiencing with some piece of technology in your life?
The simple fact is that consumers are calling a contact center as a last-resort in many cases. Voice calls are increasingly the channel for more complex issues and represent a clear opportunity for call centers to become best in class. But the old way of measuring your call center needs to change to take advantage of the opportunity. Common call center goals such as shortening average call length, shortening agent talk time, or other “efficiency” based measurements need to give-way to metrics that measure the quality of the consumer’s experience.
In short, agents need to be available, knowledgeable, and capable. So, how do you get there? There is no magic bullet; however, there is a definite path to follow.
Know when you need staff.
If you are going to have agents available, you need to have them on the clock. The first step is to know as much as you can about your contact center’s work load. When do you receive the most calls during the day? How long do the calls last? Does the call volume and/or average length of the calls vary depending on day of the week or hour of the day? Knowing these things can help you staff properly to handle the load and have agents available. The KPI here is wait time for the calls. Lower is better.
Measure to the right goal.
Quality Assurance programs start to become more important than ever when creating knowledgeable agents. Listening to the call will allow you to determine if the caller has been properly taken-care-of or, in a best-case scenario, delighted. There may be other things that your agents need to be measured on to insure quality, but if you aren’t including the customer’s experience in your QA program, now is the time to start.
Train to the positive.
Finding agents that aren’t doing as well is very easy. However, spending time with those agents is only beneficial if you know what you need to train them on. Instead of looking for poor performance, look for the stars on your staff. Listening to their calls will reveal what they do that makes the customer’s experience a good one. Find the stars, train the rest of the staff using what you learn from them, and grow your contact center.
79% of your consumers want to actually talk to you but a bit less than half like how you are doing. That is a great opportunity to set your call center apart. What is the crucial tool? You need a solid platform for measuring your call center, tracking quality assurance, and monitoring calls. Business is calling, make sure you answer!
Source: Software Advice