19 February 2015

10 Call Center Best Practices To Help You Gain Trust

For the most part, customer service really does stink. Especially—and unfortunately—for consumers.

While 80% of companies think they’re delivering “superior customer service,” their customers think differently—only 8% think these same companies are delivering superior service. In fact, most of them think customer service is a joke. What can businesses do better to gain back their customers’ trust? It starts at the very first sign of trouble, with the employees who are your company’s face to the customer. Here are 10 call center best practices you can use to show your customers that you actually value them.

  1. Implement customer service from the top down. Everyone in your organization should make the customer experience a priority; ensuring that starts with management.

    “It is very important that frontline views management, at all levels and departments, as customer-centric and that all employees truly know what it means to be customer-centric. Management should convey to all employees that the call center’s main purpose is to retain customers by resolving their call on the first call.”
    Mike Desmarais

  2. Have a trained escalation team to handle the calls that get out of hand.

  3. Measure something. Better yet, measure everything. Set customer and performance targets and chase them down with call analytics. Our white paper, 7 Reasons Marketers Need To Implement Call Tracking Today, can help you find out more about how measurement can change your company’s reputation for the better.

  4. Use a secret shopper strategy that enlists real calls with real customers, not a phony script. You can learn more about what makes a secret shopping campaign successful here.

  5. Eliminate hold times. Never let a customer wait longer than two minutes in queue. Great companies get customers going in the right direction quickly. Take a look at just how long you’re making your customers wait, and what they’re saying about you because of those wait times.

    Twitter hold time complaints

    An excellent interactive voice response (IVR) can help you provide easy access to specific branches or departments of businesses, which saves your customer time, makes them happier, and simplifies the purchase interaction process.

  6. Call customers back if they’re not satisfied.

  7. Train CSRs to listen to the whole problem. Your front line shouldn’t guess about the problem, or assume they know what’s going on. Train them to listen to the whole situation from the customer’s perspective.

  8. Make sure you know how your customers are being treated every single time. 20% of your agents are having a bad day, and it’s coming across in performance. Are you aware? If not you could be missing disasters like these and not even know about them until it’s too late. Keep your CSRs on their A game with call evaluation.

  9. Hire and train for customer service. If you’re already recording and measuring your phone calls, you have a good idea of the qualitative and quantitative information that makes a call a winner or a loser. Use those real calls to coach your agents and set specific performance targets with each of them.

  10. Make great customer service a competition. Everyone likes a challenge, so design one around team and individual performance data. Just make sure that your contest goals are reachable enough for the entire team (or most of it) to reach, or you won’t get the participation you hope for.

By working hard to encourage human interaction and make customer service one of your company’s values, you’ll empower your employees to better serve customers. That’s good business for your customers, and also for your team.