The importance of call centers cannot be stressed enough. Call centers are the first line of contact with customers for many companies – depending on its function, either as a telemarketing call center, product order helpline, or after sales service and support center where it usually works as the clean-up crew.
It is fundamental that your call center staff is highly customer-centric and well trained in phone etiquette and customer service skills. If that is not the case, then pretty soon you might see new sales through new customers, but no recurring sales from customers you worked so hard to get onboard.
There are several steps that you can take to ensure that the standard of customer service in your call center is at its best.
It all starts here, employers make the mistake of thinking that it is not difficult to answer a couple of questions and show empathy to people, and end up hiring anyone who can speak well. The fact of the matter is, it’s the attitude and behavior that needs to be ascertained. Most large organizations run an assessment program to select suitable candidates to see if they can handle the pressure. Customers calling in for after sales service or support are not always nice – your call center agents should be able to take the heat.
Once you have hired the ideal agent, the next step is to make sure that they are equipped with the right product knowledge and soft skills to handle incoming calls or to make outgoing ones. Make sure that the trainer you hire is associated with the call center industry and your specific niche. The trainer must have the expertise to understand the problems and issues faced by call center staff and know how to develop the necessary skills.
You have trained your agents and now they are taking calls, but it’s not just about taking calls. They need to have goals to follow and need to be given recognition where it is due. The goals with regards to their calls should be achievable, yet challenging. Having KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) enables agents to assess their own performance and set a benchmark for themselves.
Having given the goals or KPI to follow and achieve, the next step is that their performance on calls needs to be evaluated as well as their soft skills. It is also good to let them know that they are being watched with regards to their communication with customers. This is where the Quality Assurance department plays a key role. It is best that they give the feedback themselves in the presence of the supervisor or a team lead.
All of these steps, if used together, can greatly improve your customer’s experience when they call your customer service helpline or if they are called by your call center staff. Besides this, it is best to treat your call center agents the way you would treat your customers – as your agents are the ones who handle your customers.
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