Kunnect recently posted an article about the fast-changing benchmarks in the call center industry as well as in customer service. In the summary below, you’ll read about how to keep your call center and customer service tactics current to ensure continued employee and customer satisfaction.
1. Before: Call Length - Now: Customer Satisfaction
Reducing the average call length has always been considered a measure of success. Shorter talk times mean shorter wait times and happier customers, right? Not always.
Paying attention to call length is still important; unusually long calls could indicate that customers are having trouble getting the resolution they need. However, pushing employees to get off the phone faster is a slippery slope. They might be short-changing the customer in terms of service just to get better numbers. You’re better off prioritizing and rewarding customer service benchmarks and bringing up call times only if they become a problem.
2. Before: Low Salaries - Now: Strong Retention
There’s constant pressure in the contact center to keep costs down, and many companies do this by keeping salaries low. There’s a limit to how much you can spend on wages, of course, but when your wages are not competitive you’re going to see high turnover, which can be even more costly. The Center for American Progress estimates that for each $30,000 employee lost, most companies spend more than $5,000 in recruiting, hiring and training costs.
3. Before: Reactive Customer Service - Now: Proactive Customer Service
Call centers were designed around waiting for the customer to come to you with a problem or question. In the modern world of social media and high customer expectations, you need to be seeking out the customer, too. The most successful contact centers proactively reach out to customers through social media, email marketing and more to address problems as early as possible. Respond to customer complaints on Twitter and Facebook, offering solutions to the problem, and send customer feedback surveys via email to gauge satisfaction.
4. Before: Script Memorization - Now: Adaptive Skills
Your customers don’t want to speak to robots; they want to chat with empathetic people who can offer creative solutions. If your call center agents are reading from a script, they’re not going to come off as caring, and they lose the ability to think on their feet. Some operations managers are going as far as bringing in an expert to teach their agents adaptive skills. Empower your employees to take a more natural approach.
5. Before: Dispute Resolution - Now: Exceeding Expectations
Solving a customer’s problem used to be enough. Service isn’t working? Fix the issue. Shipment didn’t arrive? Resend the product. These solutions will probably keep you from losing the customer, but they don’t boost your brand.
The modern customer wants more, and they appreciate brands that go above and beyond to make them happy. These are the brands they Tweet about, praise on Facebook and recommend to their friends. Talking to a customer who needs a shipment of contacts before vacation? Overnight them for free. A customer who returned a defective item? Offer 15 percent off the next purchase. The money you spend (or lose) will pay for itself in positive brand exposure.
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