Because there are so many rapidly moving pieces and invested stakeholders, managing inbound call centers, which answer incoming customer calls, can be challenging. Spikes in call volume, blizzards, and agent absences may disrupt your capacity to handle a call volume you cannot control. Thus, nimbleness is a must for effective leadership. These executives must also be aware of those with an indirect or direct stake in the inbound call center, including customers, agents, and support personnel. Even the marketing and product teams are interested in the call center. It can be challenging for managers to focus when so many stakeholders are vying for attention. It will assist to concentrate on these eight excellent practices. Please take note that it begins with the client.
1. Focus on customer experience
Businesses are increasingly attempting to differentiate themselves based on the experiences they offer, having gone past price and product competition. It’s a wise strategy because, according to our consumer benchmark survey, 87% of consumers are eager to spend more money with companies that offer positive customer experiences. Inbound call centers largely deliver these revenue-generating experiences. Hence, everything from the standard greeting to agent training to creating KPIs must be built with the client in mind. Additionally, businesses should routinely solicit client feedback regarding their experiences with call centers by distributing surveys that gauge NPS, CSAT, and CES.
2. Engage agents
Although the adage “happy agents make happy customers” may be overdone, it still holds true. Employees emotionally invested in their employers are more invested in seeing their businesses flourish. High staff engagement increases consumer engagement, reduces employee turnover, and boosts profitability by 21%, according to a Gallup survey. Recognize outstanding performance in your agents and keep them informed through regular, efficient contact. Businesses have been shown to increase agent engagement by gamifying particular agent behaviors and making individual performance numbers visible on agent dashboards.
3. Choose and focus on the right metrics
Because inbound call centers may track so many metrics, treating them all equally significant can be easy. As a result, data can be overabundant, and the crucial indicators might need to be noticed. Call centers should employ 5-8 KPIs, a mix of operational and customer-related indicators, to gauge the operation’s health. Each inbound call center must have its own priorities, but some of them are major and note-worthy –
- Average handle times
- Abandon rate
- Average wait time
- Service levels
- First call resolution
- Schedule adherence
- Customer satisfaction
- Forecast accuracy
- Net Promoter Score
- Quality scores
4. Invest in your supervisors
When inbound call centers are treated like cost centers, they typically run on tight budgets. This often squeezes training funds, especially ones earmarked for training supervisors. Call centers should resist the attitude that “supervisors will pick it up as they go.” Instead, they should invest in supervisor development to be competent in everything from agent coaching to handling escalated calls to understanding and managing metrics. One sure way to increase agent attrition is to make them work with an undeveloped supervisor. Fight the urge. Train your supervisors.
5. Automate where possible
Inbound call centers now have a rare chance for automation thanks to modern technologies. To eliminate the need for customers to communicate with an agent, routine actions like checking account balances and paying bills can be automated through interactive voice response (IVR) systems. Chatbots help customers with simple inquiries, and if the problem is complex and requires agent assistance, the chatbot may provide all the pertinent information to the agent to shorten the time the human must spend handling the issue. 100% of recorded calls can be screened by speech analytics techniques to find common problems and specific calls that require further attention. These automation and self-service approaches significantly positively influence inbound call centers since they enable customers to self-serve while reducing labor costs and overall inbound call volume. Nearly by itself, the business case can be written.
6. Give agents the tools and data they need
The level of agent preparation significantly impacts the quality of the client experience provided by inbound call centers. Agents must be given technical tools and data, including information on everything from business policies to specifics of the customer’s prior experiences with the company, in addition to receiving training, which is a significant component of that. While customer relationship management (CRM) software puts client data at agents’ fingertips, centralized knowledge bases can store essential static information in easily searchable formats.
7. Get professional input regarding compliance
Although the subject of compliance could be forgetful, being out of compliance can be very exciting. Destructive exuberance costs thousands of dollars in fines. The best software contains functions that aid inbound call centers in adhering to legal and regulatory requirements, but ultimately, it is up to the firm. A specialist’s work is valuable and worth the cost because they are informed about federal, state, and local regulations.
8. Plan for the digital transformation
It will be soon that businesses that exclusively provide inbound call center help are a thing of the past. Customers want to be able to choose how they contact businesses, including having more options for online help through services like chat and social media. Ahead of the time when they start serving more channels, inbound call centers should make plans and prepare themselves, including selecting call center software that can accommodate these needs.
Outbound call center is different as it is primarily for making promotional offers and telemarketing so that the customers get to know your business better. Start looking for the right outsourcing partner for your small business now.