One of our media partners for our NACCM Customers 1st event, 1 to 1 Media, discussed the relationship between call centers and customer service on this post from their blog today. These are some of the points that the author noted after discussing ways to achieve success with individuals who worked there.- Managers want to use e-learning modules for training, but are torn about taking agents off the phones to train.
- There’s a need for bilingual capabilities, but confusion about how to implement them.
- Getting all departments in the enterprise, from R&D to marketing, to give all necessary information to the contact center for agent training purposes.
– Department heads and executives need to spend more time in the contact center listening and learning.
– Some contact centers are partnering agent training with recruiting.
– Daycare workers (college educated moms) and retirees are becoming the hot new workforce in contact centers.
- Agents are getting coached about how to hear and manage a lifecycle change on a customer call.In summary, many of these points highlight on the need for improved training, and the importance of integrating the departments in a more cohesive manner. This is imperative for employees at these call centers, since they are often times the main point of contact for consumers.
A new Genesys Global Communication Survey, detailed here at The Perfect Customer Experience shows that customers make important decisions based on the interactions they have during customer service calls. Some of the interesting statistics detailed were: -38% of customers state that call centers have the biggest impact on their cusomter loyalty -50% of customers have stopped using a service because of a poor customer service call -84% of customers would like to hear about more of your products if they are products that can be beneficial to business
How does one keep customer service calls as short as possible, while still maintaining superior service at the same time? This latest post on callcentrehelper.com details a list of things to do in order to balance customer service with efficiency compiled by Carolyn Blunt, training consultant with the Training Consultancy Real Results.
Here’s the list: 1. BE READY
Don’t wrap up previous call notes while taking on a new phone call. The next customer deserves undivided attention so you must be completely ready before taking it on.
2. ACTIVELY LISTEN
Listening to the customer during the first couple of seconds are crucial. You must understand the customer’s needs and their mood, and then tailor your approach accordingly. 3. LIKE THE CALLER
Establish rapport with your customers. Think about callers in a positive way so that rapport will develop naturally.
4. ACTION THEIR NEED
Make sure that their needs are taken care of. Many companies have different teams working on different problem areas, but the best customer experience happens when the front line is able to solve their conflict.
5. NOW WHAT HAPPENS?
Be clear on the next steps that are to come. If a technical engineer will get back to them, give them a specified timeframe in which that is expected to happen. Most of all, make sure your engineers or whomever follows up with them actually stick to that timeframe that was mentioned.
6. CONTROL THE CALL
Always stay calm no matter how frustrated the caller might sound. Customers might also stray away from the problem onto other conversations, stay focused and address the problem at hand.
7. END ON A GOOD NOTE
Do not apologize at the end for the customer’s experience as this should be only done in the beginning. Ending the call should remind the customer of positive thoughts, so thank the customer for calling and wish them a happy day.
In a recent article at the New York Times, Alina Tugend discusses the current state of call centers within in the United States. The worst customer service we’ve all seen usually comes from an automated phone system when trying to call into a company. In the 1980s, with the invention of IVRs, companies lost the desire to deal with customers, and chose to save money and use the automated phone systems instead of having people talk with customers live. As a result, their desire to keep customers was outweighed by how much cheaper it was to use the IVRs. Today, Tugend points out that companies are changing that. Contrary to what people think, only 10% of customer call centers are located outside the United States. Companies have also discovered two things about the way customers perceive their call centers. They’ve noticed that it’s cheaper to keep customers in the first place, rather than constantly find new ones to replace the old ones they loose as a result of poor customer service over the phone. They’ve also had to deal with the technology of today’s world spreading word about 1) customers are spreading word about their poor customer service and 2) websites that tell customer show to get past the automated system and communicate with a human.
In a recent post at the Mavericks at Work blog, Bill Taylor sheds light on the customer strategy that the growing Internet shoe brand has to keep its customers. Tony Hsien, the president of Zappos, took time to explain the procedures that were taken to ensure customers were the first priority of the brand. Currently, Zappos ships over four million pairs of shoes a year and is expected to reach $1 billion in revenue this 2008 year. Since this is an internet company, Zappos focuses on allowing the customer have a good customer experience while never having an actual store, so they focus on the call centers. Contrary to most other internet sites, they have their 1-800 number on every page. When you pick up the phone and call, you’ll be greeted by a living, breathing, customer service employee. Zappos a different approach to training these customer service representatives. They are trained for four weeks while being paid a full salary. Two weeks into the process, every employee is offered what they’ve made the last two weeks as well as a $1000. Hsieh believes that those who turn down this truly show the characteristics of the employees Zappos wants to have behind their name. Zappos is a company that focuses on it’s relations with the customer. It also belives it’s employees happiness and availability to please the customer. As a result, in the call centers, there are no scripts and the employees can take any action in order to please the customer. The blog concludes with this thought: It’s a small practice with big implications: Companies don’t engage emotionally with their customers’people do. If you want to create a memorable company, you have to fill your company with memorable people.