If you’re mapping or want to track your customer journey, there are plenty of things to be kept in mind – and plenty of pitfalls to be avoided.

While customer journey mapping may not a brand new idea, the last few years have seen a steep increase in the impact, the concept is having across the business, and critically, in the boardroom.

As is the case with many emerging disciplines, it’s easy to get carried away and run headlong into it without even fully understanding what your goals are.

Customer journey mapping needs to embrace much more than just a list of your sales and service channels. It needs to deliver a thorough understanding of what your customers are trying to achieve, and the steps they take to achieve it.

A true customer journey map provides a robust framework that encompasses the entire business, how each area impacts the customer and informs your Voice of the Customer (VOC) program to ensure you’re able to capture feedback at the right moments.

Here are some critical Do’s and Don’ts to bear in mind when it comes to mapping your customer journey.

SUGGESTED READING: Top Secret to Retain More Customers

TOP 5 ways to reduce customer care costs without compromising quality

According to research, over 70% of all customers who leave a company for its competition have no problem with the product. Their main issue is with the customer care offered. This means that customer churn can hypothetically be reduced by 70% with world-class customer care.

The trouble is, world-class customer care can come with a hefty price tag. Data from the Worldwide Industry Benchmark Report for 2015 shows that the average cost per inbound customer service call is $1.30. This is for average customer care. But the minute you want to up the ante, the costs go up exponentially.

That does not mean you give up on the quest for exceptional care for your customers. Here are a few ideas that will help reduce your customer care costs without a negative impact on quality.

  1. Hire the right people and train them well

    No matter how fancy your software, if you don’t have the right people manning your customer care lines, you’re in for big trouble. By “right”, I mean the few essential traits that your staff needs to have, including:

All these qualities make a stellar customer care representative—one that you’ll be proud to have to represent your business. Once you have good employees, invest time and resources in training them well. Teach them how to get things right in the first attempt, how to mollify heated situations, and how to work together as a team.

As you rightly guessed, such people don’t come cheap. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish by hiring the least experienced or skilled people who apply to your customer care positions. By investing in talented staff, you will improve customer satisfaction, reduce repeat calls, and increase overall revenue in the long run.

  1. Identify your customer’s problems

    Customers call up your support hotline for a myriad of reasons. It could be anything from solving product issues to maintenance requests. However, with the help of customer support software, it is possible to track the reasons why users call and identify those that top the list. Once you’ve identified the top problem areas, work out a way to fix them. Let’s say the majority of your calls are about monthly purchases. By setting up a simple section on your site that allows users to buy monthly subscriptions, you automate the payment process and eliminate the cost of taking user calls for purchases.

  2. Proactively eliminate problems

Mike Cholak from Convergys suggests building a “Customer Experience Map.” Map out the path your customers take through your support system and identify processes or products that make for a poor user experience. Fixing these issues on priority helps improve your customer’s overall satisfaction rate with your company. It will also mean fewer repeat calls, shorter call times, and quicker problem resolution, all contributing to a lowering of customer care costs.

  1. Set up self-service options and make them easy to spot

Customers cite calling call centers and waiting to be served as one of the most irritating things they do in a day. Avoid troubling your customers by offering them information about your product or service upfront, via detailed FAQs.

Some important things to remember about your FAQs section:

However awesome your FAQ section maybe, some users simply can’t go without having a real person answer their questions. They can’t be bothered to “go on the internet” and dig into instructions or forum discussions. To help such customers, create a self-service option on your customer care phone lines, or provide live chat options on your site.

  1. Consider remote work for customer care agent

The technology available today can eliminate the need for having all your customer care personnel under one roof. You can build a support team that works from home and is located anywhere in the world at a significantly lower cost than transporting people to your location, paying rent, utilities, and other assorted overhead at a permanent commercial property.

Remote workers have been known to put in longer hours, are less stressed out, and are cheaper to maintain than employees in physical offices. Microsoft’s “Work Without Walls” whitepaper tells you all the different benefits that come with remote workers such as:

However, ensure that your customer service agents are equipped with tools and useful software that enable them to work efficiently. Zendesk Chat, for example, allows agents to chat with the customer and each other through a simple web-based dashboard.

The ability to track your agent and customer support team’s performance through analytics will also be useful in helping your teamwork better from their respective locations

Interested in LIVE Chat for your business? Email to get in touch at sales@teammas.in

 

You need to keep updating your customer strategies to ensure that they are happy with your products & services. Everything from customer marketing with campaigns based on shopper feedback to improving your omnichannel strategy can help you boost customer retention and increase trust and loyalty.

1) Really listen to the customer:-

How many times have you dealt with a Contact Centre where the customer service repetitive (CSR) has not really listened to your conversation or has interjected whilst you have been talking?

From my perspective, it happens all too often and is really an unpleasant experience.

Many Contact Centres have strong KPI targets set around average call lengths, which in turn can lead to the CSR’s rushing through calls and not taking the time out to really listen and understand the customers’ needs.

Occasions where the CSR is not really understanding the problem can be easily resolved by the proven process of the CSR repeating the caller’s concerns/issues or questions as part of the usual interaction.

This is called active listening and is the old story of getting your CSR’s to slow down, listen, repeat, confirm, and respond!

Of course, the other golden rule is to always train and encourage your CSR’s to never talk over a caller whilst they are dealing with them!

2) Speak the customer’s language:-

As part of the gap analysis, it was discovered that the Contact Centre CSR’s were doing the customers an injustice when selling products and servicing their needs, which was driving customer attrition.

It is not recommended to bombard the customers with too much technical information, and in-house terminology. This meant the customers became confused and embarrassed during the call because they did not really understand what the CSR’s were talking about.

The golden rule in these cases is to make sure your CSR’s are talking to your customers on their own terms so that the customer becomes empowered and understands what is being talked about.

The Company acknowledged this issue and agreed to implement our suggested initiative of “talking in real terms”.

Once in place, the Company realized a direct decrease of 1.5% in customer attrition from this initiative alone, a winning formula in anyone’s books!

3) Servicing your customer beyond expectations:-

Do you currently exceed your customer’s service expectations?

Using Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) and providing good old fashioned customer service are powerful tools to help retain customers.

SLAs can be measured against a number of key attributes in any Contact Centre, including, Speed of answer, Issue resolution times, and service provision.

All of these areas are where customer’s expectations can readily be exceeded by not only the measurement of success but also the provision of best practice service.

Imagine calling a company, not having to wait in a queue to be answered, being served by a CSR that engaged with you, understood your needs, provided great service, sold you products that were applicable to you, and generated solutions to problems;  and the list goes on.

Wouldn’t that be a great experience every time you transacted with an organization like this!

After all, a happy customer is more likely to bring in free referral business, generate good word-of-mouth publicity, and remain loyal for longer.

Suggested Reading: Reasons to invest in CX

4) Offering solutions to stop them from leaving:-

Reducing customer attrition through the use of tools such as “Save initiatives” is an exciting subject that could have its own article dedicated to it.

However, I will give you a quick overview of a couple of scenarios that have successfully aided businesses which I have supported.

Firstly there are two types of saving initiatives: proactive and reactive.

Proactive initiatives are undertaken before a customer has left your business and is orchestrated as a reaction to subtle triggers that the customer is displaying that lead you to believe he/she may be looking to move away from your business.  For example, a customer that has recently met the average lifetime value of your customer base could be considered at risk of leaving so you may wish to acknowledge that customer for their custom.

Reactive initiatives are driven as a direct result of the customer advising that they are leaving your
business.  For example, it could be an offer of a discount if they retain their business with your company.

Save initiatives can be as complex or as simple as you want or need them to be, but the implementation of any save initiative within a business and particularly via its Contact Centre operations is a positive step in helping reduce customer attrition.

Best practice organizations have comprehensive Save initiatives with dedicated budgets and empower their CSR’s to be able to offer services/products/discounts as needed to retain customers.

Companies that are starting out on the Save initiative journey can start with simple things like sending a voucher to customers that are reaching the customer average live time value or have not transacted with them for an extended period of time.

If you are struggling with any aspect of customer management, our team has recently helped many businesses get their customer strategies in order.

Email to get a reply :sales@teammas.in

If you ask many business executives, they would say their customer service contact center is a necessary expense and it does not contribute to the bottom line.

As such, they don’t emphasize on technology upgrades or process improvements for their in-house centers and, when outsourcing, they would settle for the least expensive options. Even worse, some companies are cutting their contact centers altogether, considering them less relevant in this age of digital self-service.

But what if you could turn your customer service contact center from cost to profit center? In fact, what if it could become one of the largest revenue generators in your entire company?

We already highlighted the reasons for investing in Customer service in our previous blog post. Check out in case you missed it

Reasons to Invest More in Customer Experience

Now that I have your attention, let’s discuss why investing in your customer service contact center to turn a profit makes sense and the steps you can take to get there.

How to Turn Your Contact Center from Cost to Profit?

Below are the following steps to turn your contact center into a profit center.

  1. Aggressively mine your customer service data

One strategy to boost revenue is to aggressively mine your customer service data to pinpoint and capitalize upon specific sales opportunities. With the right tools at your disposal, you can uncover a wide range of such opportunities—including accessories, add-ons, up-sells, cross-sells, service contracts, and training.

This strategy may be attractive as a first step because it is the least intrusive one. You don’t have to retrain your customer service staff or modify your existing customer service processes. With this strategy, the sales cycle itself gets initiated and fulfilled by other parts of the company. Customer service here would simply provide the data necessary to generate revenue opportunities.

Here is a simple example of how this strategy works. A consumer calls a software company with a technical question. While gathering the information needed to solve the problem, the customer service agent also notes that the customer is using an older, somewhat obsolete version of the software. The service rep will complete the call as usual. Over the course of the month, customer service agents receive many such calls. So at the end of the month, the company can send a special upgrade offer to every customer who called in and was found to be using an older version of the software.

There is a Triple benefit with this kind of strategy: * the company realized additional revenue from the upgrade sale. * Customers are more satisfied because they have a better product now. * Customer service costs are reduced because newer products will have fewer problems and at the end are less expensive to support.

“When a customer comes to you with an issue, you actually have a great opportunity—after you first solve the problem, of course—to initiate a highly engaged relationship with that customer,” declares Geric Johnson, who led the implementation of this strategy at Skechers. “So you can realize incremental revenue at the same time as you convert unhappy customers into highly loyal ones.”

  1. Offer Additional Channels to your customers

Today’s customer values speed, so in addition to traditional phone and email, adding support channels like chatbots, live chat, social media, and mobile apps is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Make it easy for the customer to get in touch with you using whatever means is best suited to their preference and convenience.

  1. Turning Service Calls into Sales Opportunities

Another way to turn your contact center from cost to profit is by training your customer service agents to make relevant offers to customers when appropriate. Even though selling is not their primary role, that does not mean that the customer service agents can’t learn the art of the soft sell.

Train your agents to get to the heart of the customer’s challenge, steer the conversation around cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and invite the customers to take advantage of the product or service opportunity being presented.

  1. Set Goals & Objectives for Clarity purpose

While the aim is not necessarily to create a sales culture within the customer support team, clear goals and objectives do need to be set so that the team knows what they are aiming for.

How much should your Customer Care Specialists be selling each month? Based on their volume, how does that convert into conversion levels? What’s the average revenue per call across the customer support team? With clearly defined metrics and targets in place, this level of tracking becomes easy, and by monitoring how individual Customer Care Specialists are performing, then they can be strategically motivated through positive feedback, incentives, and end-of-year performance appraisals.

  1. Increasing Revenue Opportunities

Revenue-generation can only be increased by enhancing the customer service agent’s ability to convert cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. This can increase revenues, build excellent customer relationships, and increase customer awareness. However, according to Loudhouse Research, 86% of strategic decision-makers in contact centers do not think that their agents currently have the skills required to meet their obligations in terms of upselling and cross-selling. Organizations should invest in identifying skills that lead to revenue-generation, and train and coach the customer service agents to use the most important skills.  Despite these opportunities, only 45% of contact centers are offering such programs, but when utilized, over 52% of contact centers reported observing increased revenue per contact. The most challenging part of implementing revenue-generating programs in your contact center is procuring sales enabling technology that can work as an extension to the existing customer support platform, a technology that can easily integrate with service and sales functionalities.

 

With evolving customer expectations and service complexities, contact centers are poised to deliver strategic value and profitability to organizations in the years to come. Perceiving contact centers as a cost center is old fashioned and needs to be disposed of if organizations wish to see the real potential of a contact center.

Conclusion

In an era when customer experience is the make or break criteria for business success, not investing in your customer service contact center is the biggest mistake. If maintaining a center in-house is no longer feasible due to the low unemployment, higher wages, and the inability to scale, choosing to outsource can be a viable/ better option.

Never select an outsourcer based on cost alone, however. Price is a critical metric, but the ultimate goal should be to provide high-quality service that reflects the value of the investment.

If outsourcing is an option, consider Team MAS. We provide customized solutions, experienced leadership, and an open model that lets you see exactly how your contact center is working at all times. Contact us to learn more.

Customer experience and contact centers, in particular, are great starting points to implement artificial intelligence (AI) solutions since they are a large source of customer information, generating enormous quantities of data that is impossible to process manually. Here’s how AI can be used in contact centers:

1)  AI Can Be Used to Predict Customer Intent:-

Your customers may contact you for a multitude of reasons. Some of these reasons are fairly straightforward, others are intricate, yet, rarely are they entirely novel.

With the immense data that you are collecting with every recorded phone call, chat interaction, and email, you have a strategic asset that can be used to train machine learning models to understand customer intent within conversations.

Once you understand true customer motivations, you can then use AI to optimize interactions through:

Flagging interactions for fraud and compliance risk

2) AI Can Help You to Track Customer Effort:-

Customer effort is one of the leading indicators of loyalty. Analyzing customer effort can guide companies in identifying emerging issues before they explode into major issues.

Traditionally, the effort has been quantified through structured questions on a survey. However, AI and machine learning techniques, combined with text analytics, can aid in evaluating the level of effort expressed in any piece of unstructured customer feedback.

AI can do this by interpreting word choice and sentence structure, as you can quickly understand which aspects of the customer experience cause friction in any feedback source – not just in surveys.

3) AI Is Best Implemented With the Support of the Entire Team:-

Before you deploy AI, it is worth considering that one of the biggest risk factors in any IT implementation, system upgrade, or system change is the human users of that system.

By failing to communicate in an open, honest, transparent way how this technology is going to benefit them, you will meet resistance.

If you simply say, we are rolling out this new robotic-led approach on Monday, your employees will inevitably be negative towards the technology and may even actively sabotage it.

Instead, you need to get people involved in the process. Ensure they can test out the technology in a safe environment and make sure they are comfortable with it before you even start rolling the technology out.

4) AI Increases in Value With Good Knowledge Management:-

Any AI application will only ever be a good as the knowledge at its disposal. You need to ensure that when a question is answered in the contact center, that knowledge is captured and delivered into the knowledge management system (KMS), so that customers, bots, and advisors can feed off it.

After all, how can AI be used to make decisions when it does not actually know anything? It can learn but it needs relevant data to do that.

This is why it is so important to have processes and procedures in place that enable you to feed accurate data and intelligence into the KMS.

Many businesses are too reliant on their employees as a source of knowledge and therefore run the risk that if people leave the business, they take the knowledge and understanding that they have gained with them.

5) AI Is Driven by Customer and Employee Data:-

Any strategy that uses AI and machine learning should be considered within a broader customer experience AI strategy that considers how data will be leveraged across both the customer and employee journeys.

There are many opportunities to apply AI and machine learning across the customer engagement process.

For example, knowing the right moment to proactively engage with customers online, routing to the best agent based on the desired business outcome, and assisting them to accurately handle inquiries – AI and machine learning can help drive all of that.

However, AI applies to more than just customer journeys. It can also help identify why specific agents are better than others at certain contact or customer types, increase the speed and accuracy of workforce planning and scheduling and automate task completion post-contact.

SUGGESTED READINGS: Customer Service happens when the experience breaks down – Here’s How?

TOP 6 Reasons to Invest More in Customer Experience

In its simplest definition, customer experience is the sum of all the interactions that a customer has with a company over the course of the relationship and includes the customer’s feelings, emotions, and perceptions of the brand during the course of those interactions. Some people question whether product and price are part of customer experience.

Customer experience is actually the “umbrella discipline,” so to speak, while customer service falls under that umbrella. Customer service is just one of those interactions, one touchpoint in the overall customer experience; servicing customers is one action of many that comprise the customer experience.

Journey maps are a way to walk in – and to capture – your customer’s steps and chart her course as she interacts with your organization while trying to fulfill some need or complete some task, e.g., call support, purchase a product, etc. The map (created with customers, from their viewpoint) describes what customers are doing, thinking, and feeling at each step in the journey. With the right data integrated into the map, you can identify key moments of truth, i.e., make-or-break moments or moments during which the customer decides if she will continue to do business with you or not, and ensure that those moments are executed flawlessly going forward.

Important to the journey mapping process is to have the right customers and the right stakeholders in the room to create the maps. The right customers are those for whom you’re mapping, obviously. We typically identify the personas for which we’ll map before beginning any mapping workshop; the right customers will represent those personas. The right stakeholders include individuals from the cross-functional departments that are either directly or indirectly involved in the journey that you’re mapping.

The customer service experience is one of my favorite journeys to map because it is such a rich experience; it affords such huge teaching and learning opportunity.

People contact customer service when the product isn’t working right; the documentation isn’t clear; marketing set expectations that the product didn’t deliver; sales sold the dream and not what the product actually does; the invoice is not accurate or hard to decipher; or for a variety of other reasons. Something (i.e., the experience) broke down somewhere upstream, long before the customer even thought about calling – or even wanted to call – customer service.

In other words, when messages are misleading or confusing, when the customer has a complaint about an interaction or a transaction, or when something doesn’t work the way the customer expects, the experience is broken. The resultant action: the customer calls customer service to get help or to get answers.

This call isn’t customer service’s fault. This isn’t a breakdown in service; this is a breakdown in the experience. And so, customer service takes the beating and the anguish from the customer for something that could’ve been designed better upstream. Had that proper design occurred, the number of frustrated customers calling the call center would have been drastically reduced!!

Suggested Readings: TOP 6 Reasons to Invest More in Customer Experience

Have you ensured Positive CX at all touchpoints – Get your checklist

 

It’s the age of the customer and the world’s biggest brands are duking it out every day for a greater share of our hearts, minds, and wallets. Customers hold more decision power than ever in an era where information about any company’s products and services is just a mobile search away.

Where does the Voice of the Customer (VoC) land in the priorities for your company’s overall strategy? Forrester’s Customer Experience Council survey shows that 79% of all respondents believe that measuring customer experience is a top priority.

Market research shows that the Customer Experience Management (CEM) market is estimated to grow from USD 5.06 Billion in 2016 to USD 13.18 Billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 21.1%.” If you’re not investing in CX, it’s very likely that your competitors are.

The stage has been set – now let’s jump right into the top Reasons to Invest More in Customer Experience (CX):

1. The ROI customer experience

Building customer loyalty and increasing revenue go hand in hand. When compared with customers who had negative experiences, those who had positive experiences were more likely to recommend, trust, try new products or services, purchase more, and forgive your company after a mistake.

2. What gets measured gets done

Measuring customer feedback is the first step to measuring up to your customers’ expectations. Whether you’re an advanced scorecard-driven enterprise or just beginning to think about CX, the most important thing to do is to start actively listening and measuring your customers’ feedback.

3. Time to set new customer experience goals

CX is not as fluffy as it may seem. There are real science and methodology for measuring and improving customer satisfaction (CSAT). There are many metrics to consider as part of your VoC program, but Bain & Company’s Net Promoter System and Forrester’s Customer Experience Index stand out as the gold standard top-line measures in the CX industry.

4. Elevate your operational performance

Operational performance and CSAT are inextricably linked. For example, it’s no coincidence that airlines with the best CX ratings also boast the highest percentage of on-time arrivals. The best CEM programs cause cross-functional customer-centric collaboration, which requires your company to break down organizational silos to be more valuable, efficient, and enjoyable to your customers.

5. Put the customer at the center of every decision

Your customers see you as one whole cohesive brand, regardless of how complex your organization, systems, and processes might be. When your customer interacts with your company, they don’t care about any bureaucracy, different divisions, and departments, or roles and hierarchies.

6. Plug-in and empower your employees

Ready to take your CX program to the next level? Tap into your company’s most valuable assets – your people. The more customer-facing employees with access to a real-time view of customer feedback, the more awareness, focus, and unity there are around your company’s CX mission and goals.

Suggested Reading: Have you ensured Positive CX at all touchpoints – Get your checklist
5 Most important customer service reports that you can’t MISS!

Understanding the various touchpoints you have with your customers is key to delivering memorable customer experience.

Once you’ve mapped out your touchpoints, it’s often helpful to group them into channels. That’s the focus of this blog post.

The most common channels

Websites: refers to customers visiting websites to gather information about a company. Can include both mobile and regular versions of the website.

Native Mobile App: refers to customers who download a company’s iOS or Andriod app, and feedback is gathered about their experience with it.

Contact Center: an important touchpoint where customers call for more information or assistance. Online chat is another part of modern contact centers.

In Location: refers to actual in-person customer experiences, such as a retail store, restaurant, or hotel.

Field Services: customers interact with a company in their home.

Mapping your touchpoints

When you look at all the touchpoints on your map, each of them will likely fall into one of these five channels.

No matter how your customer interacts with you, the ultimate goal is to have a consistent “omnichannel” experience.

When your in-location experience is different from your web experience, or when your web experience is different from the experience a customer has with your native mobile app, this inconsistent CX will create problems.

Customers might feel like the company cares about them after a positive field service experience, but if the contact center fails to provide the same level of experience, the customer will be disappointed.

Keep in mind that if you’re working with a premium brand, all channels will need to deliver an outstanding customer experience. If you’re working with a mid-tier, value-oriented brand, the goal may be to achieve a certain standard throughout each channel, such as professionalism or efficiency.

Gathering Omnichannel feedback

If you want a consistent omnichannel experience, make sure you are listening to your customers on each channel! You can gather feedback from these five channels in various ways.

For example, you might ask about their most recent experience with a field services representative through an email survey. How satisfied were you with our technician’s most recent visit to your home? Why? Were there any problems? If so, please describe them.

Or you can gather feedback via methods that are channel-specific.

For website feedback, pop-up surveys can ask the customer for feedback while they are on the website or after they leave.

When a customer uses a mobile app, a survey can be embedded into the app asking them to provide feedback.

An interactive voice response (IVR) survey or a computer-generated survey can be used after a customer interacts with a contact center—the system directs the customer to the survey when the call is complete.

We are also seeing more and more text surveys, or Short Message Surveys (SMS), these days as a substitute for email surveys.

SUGGESTED READING: 5 Ways to Increase Conversion With Customer Service Experience

The goal is to obtain feedback from the customer in whichever way they prefer to provide you with that feedback.

It will largely depend on the customer. If your primary customers are millennials, they might prefer a text message survey. If you’re working with baby boomers, they probably prefer completing a survey via email at a time that’s convenient for them.

 

Providing a stellar customer experience  has been a cornerstone of business practically since spending and consumption have existed. However, now that the business landscape is growing increasingly competitive and companies are competing for customers’ attention more than ever before, delivering a great customer experience is even more important to increase conversions.

Here are some ways you can boost your conversions by keeping customers satisfied.

  1. Focus On Customer Lifetime Value:-

    A significant part of increasing conversions is promoting customer loyalty — and, concurrently, customer lifetime value. Customer experience is closely linked with this, as 64% of companies rate customer experience as the best tactic for improving customer lifetime value.

    By shifting your focus on how to boost customer lifetime value, you’ll establish the right mindset to make customer experience work to increase conversions. Gear your strategies towards boosting the value of your customers, and the customer experience part will fall into place more naturally.

  2. Provide Great Customer Service:-This goes further than just greeting customers with a smile; customer service includes every interaction before, during, and after a purchase. You need to be thorough to turn your one-time buyers into repeat customers, as 47% of customers would take their business to a competitor within a day of experiencing poor customer service.
  3. Get To Know Your Customers:-On average, companies make more money by retaining customers than by acquiring new ones. By getting to know your customers through social media, phone calls, and email, you can identify your most valuable customers and pay special attention to them to build the relationship — and generate more conversions.
  4. Use Personalization:-Personalizing your interactions – in person or online – with your customers can do wonders for your conversions, as customized experiences can increase sales up to 20%. Customers want to feel special, so provide them with personalized content to show them you care.
  5. Give Out Rewards To Loyal Customers:-To build up loyalty among your customers, it’s important to reward them for buying from your business. Seventy three percent of loyalty program members recommend the brand to others – meaning that treating your customers well through rewards like discounts, gifts, and more can quickly translate into revenues.

Data Source- Forbes

Irrespective of the customer’s location, call centers play an important role in delivering reliable customer experience on a daily basis. Different call centers have their own unique goals that have to be met but at the end of the day it all boils down to providing quality service to the customers. Industry surveys have indicated that despite the surge in self-service technologies, customer service professionals (CSP) are preferred the most when it comes to experiencing quality service.

Customers too are more knowledgeable regarding the products they purchase and hence prefer interacting with CSPs who possess superior language, communication, and problem-solving skills to resolve their issues. A research revealed that more than 50% of the time, customer service agents failed to answer customer queries. It therefore becomes imperative for companies with call centers to constantly work on improving the quality of service to the level that the customers expect from them. A reliable customer care call center service expert can provide you with the necessary support required to set up and run an excellent contact center.

Here are a few strategies that Call Center management can implement in order to improve their performance:

It’s always better to hire the right call center representative when they are young. Prospective candidates must be hired at the very beginning of their professional career and trained to be the best at what they do. During the hiring process, the emotional quotient of the candidate must be gauged as it can have a profound effect on job performance, teamwork and most importantly decision making. They must also be provided with good incentives and benefits considering the high attrition rate of employees that the call center industry witnesses every year.

More often than not, working professionals face scenarios, which they are never trained on how to handle. This can happen due to various reasons such as outdated training methodologies, no contact between trainers and front line managers and so on. The trainees must be taught the craft on the floor with the trainers and front line managers working in tandem. The managers should also take up the role of mentoring the trainees with the ultimate goal of enhancing their performance.

Multi-tasking is critical for any customer service professional to provide efficient customer service. The job requires not only speaking over the phone but also other activities such as data input and using reference materials for answering any customer query, all of this while maintaining sound interpersonal and communication skills. But the process of teaching these aspects must involve an integrated approach. A study conducted by Peppers and Rogers Group has found out that 65% of companies train their agents using effective tools to gain their customer’s trust. Soft skills and technical skills must not be taught separately. The training must be built around the call and how to handle them efficiently to provide the best customer service.

Automating business processes or using software is not what CRM is all about. Basically, it is a culture within the organization which focuses on providing the best customer service by leveraging the resources and having a holistic view of the customer. Customer service agents are immensely benefited by a robust CRM as they are able to access the required information about the history of a customer in real-time to deliver impeccable customer experience during online support calls. A Forrester Research has noted that close to 66% of enterprise organizations have implemented various capabilities of CRM.

Customers with queries, who are already frustrated, hate it when they have to wait for a long time for a qualified CSP to answer their call or resolve their issue. This directly has an effect on customer satisfaction. Most of the customers will just hang up the call after holding the call for less than a minute. For customers who abandon the call when they are requested to wait till the right CSP can resolve their query, an option of call-back must be provided. A Benchmark Portal study suggests, “If the call center’s data indicates that caller satisfaction improves 1 percent for every 2% improvement in first call resolution, the center could expect a 3.5% increase in caller satisfaction”.

Implementing contact center technology has the potential to satisfy customers and help the organization reduce their expenses of retaining old customers and acquiring new ones and become more competitive in the business world. Technologies such as advanced routing, reporting and analytics tool, courtesy call backs, speech recognition, cloud and many more can be used for improving first call resolution rates, reduce costs per call and improve call per agent per hour. According to DMG Consulting, in 2018-2019, contact centers utilizing cloud-based technology will increase by 50%.

Utilizing cloud computing technology in call centers has benefits written all over it. Call centers invest a huge sum of money on solutions, technology and infrastructure to provide flawless customer service and stay ahead of their competitors. Cloud allows organizations to utilize an agile operational expenditure (OPEX) budget to deploy solutions thereby avoiding expenditure on expensive infrastructure. Another advantage of implementing cloud technology is flexibility and scalability. Call centers have to keep evolving in accordance with the ever changing market demand. Cloud makes it easier to add new functionality, as and when it is required, in a cost effective manner.

Finding out who is well suited for the job is one of the challenges every call center faces. The hiring process or the training phase is the ideal time for finding the right person who will fulfill his/her duties without fail.  It happens so often that new recruits expect a stress free work environment but in reality are confronted with customers who are angry, frustrated or upset. Many leave their job as they find it too demanding. This leads to a huge loss for the company as a lot of time and money goes into training a candidate. A case study conducted by Contact Center World has revealed that annual attrition rates in India hovers around 50% whereas in other countries it is even higher. Therefore it becomes necessary to expose candidates to training that is close to real-life scenarios and let go of candidates who are not able to cope up.

Call centers, these days, use multi-channel avenues for interacting with customers. They utilize various tools for carrying out simple as well as complex tasks. Fulfilling these tasks in the most efficient manner is what results in a satisfied customer. Simple tasks can be handed out to less experienced professionals or the customers can be directed to self-help tools for the speedy redressal of their issues. Complex tasks on the other hand can be carried out by qualified professionals. Improving first call resolution rates must be the sole objective. By following this strategy of separating tasks based on complexity, companies can minimize operational costs and make the best use of resources.

After a customer’s query has been cleared, feedback must be prompted either through an email to the customer or through other non-intrusive means. Customers usually tend to vent their anger in social media forums if the customer service representative was unsuccessful in resolving their issue. This too is considered as feedback though it brings a bad name to the company. Implementing change management as an integral part of the organization’s project and program management can bring about positive growth. Change is necessary for organizations to demonstrate real value in their projects. Social media, as well as direct feedback, can be used to identify and rectify any shortcomings that might have unknowingly crept into the company’s operations.

Most of the technical aspects of customer service are largely hidden from a customer and it is the language, decision making, and communication skills of a customer service professional that matters the most when it comes to providing excellent customer service. Moreover, advanced call center technologies have been instrumental in helping call centers reduce cost per call, segment customers for personalized services, reduce average queue time, and most importantly improve first call resolution rates. Companies need to adopt these strategies to improve the overall operational performance of their call center. An experienced call center outsourcing service provider can help you improve the performance of your call center.

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