10 Ways to Disrupt Your Call Center with Best Practices, Technology Updated
1. Stop Pushing Your Customer to a Single Channel
Stop pushing your customers to either just chat or just email. There are a few reasons companies do this. They may not know how to do a real customer support program, or they’re too lazy to. It’s not cost. Without a great customer service program, you’re losing out on the opportunity to create brand loyalty, you’re losing out on the ability to engage your customer positively, and you’re missing out on opportunities for cross-sell and upsell.
Using the Cloud, you can create a customer support multichannel or omnichannel platform for $200-$250 per seat per month. If you’re doing it right with cross-sell/upsell, you will make money on this program.
2. Utilize Newest Technologies in Self-Service
Offer your customer an easy way to perform basic tasks without talking to an agent. When done right, it’s an awesome channel. Some great new technologies to get into are chatbots and AI. Chatbots are much simpler than they seem, so don’t be discourages if they seem confusing or complicated. It’s a great way to provide customer service through mobile for basic tasks.
At Expivia, we have our own homepage chatbot. Its main task is to send your customers white papers and marketing material, things like that. A well-made chatbot can handle a lot of the tasks your agents do. Remember though that it needs to be seamlessly integrated back into your call center, in the event that a customer needs to talk to an actual person.
3. Disrupt Your Call Center Culture
Can you describe your call center’s culture in a sentence? Most of you probably couldn’t do that, which is understandable. Your call center culture is important because it’s basically the working plan that ties everything together and determines how people interact, how they talk, and what is and isn’t acceptable. When done right, it funnels down to your associate level. It’s a powerful tool that differentiates you from other centers and other companies.
Your corporate culture is not your call center culture. What happens in finance and other departments may different than what type of customers you have in the call center, and you want to differentiate that interaction style to better fit your customers in your individual call center.
Our call center culture here is boiled down to attitude and effort. We hire, incent, and promote based on these two pillars. This allows us an advantage. Hiring based on your culture is important for your customer experience.
4. Disrupt Your Education
Technology is important and great, but at the heart of your service enterprise is your agents. The amount of time you put into them, your most valuable assets, is going to be a huge differentiator in how you do things. One of the biggest issues we see when we consult is a lack of ongoing education.
How do you get information out to your associates in real-time? Do you focus more on Process or Technique? Do you just tell your reps where to click and why to click? Or do you show them how to talk to people and why you’re doing this, being sure to engage your reps, and showing them what’s important?
One thing we do here is agent analysis. It’s a 15-minute weekly review with our supervisor, with a chill atmosphere, and discuss things holding back our reps from being successful. We focus on things related to attitude and effort, discussing weekly and daily goals. We discuss their progression.
We also do weekly education with all of our associates. We pull each of our associates for an hour and talk about soft skills, like how to speak, to smile, to delight the customers. This makes us a little better than everyone else. You can do this in your center to enhance your operation.
Also, look at your initial training operation. Train them on how to do the job well. Do you do anything interesting, like onboarding or high-fiving, or just throw them out on the floor? Look at your education and training and if it’s any fun or not. Look at your turnover.
5. Disrupt your QA
Your QA’s team’s task is to catch associates doing something wrong. We have a quota where we try to get 3-5 calls scored per rep per week based on some criteria. What if you could listen to every call your agents handle? You can, with speech analytics.
We use speech analytics, which has revolutionized our QA. The QA staff no longer looks for quality issues – that’s the program’s jobs. We’re focusing on what our reps are saying, some keywords that are or aren’t being said, focus on sentiment in our customers, see if we have an agent using the wrong tone. We can catch this right away.
This helps us get the voice of the customer, picking out specific frequent keywords. For example, if a client has launched a new program, but customers frequently call in using the words ‘too expensive’, we can come back and say, “36% of your calls yesterday came back with customers using the phrase ‘too expensive’, so you may need to pivot on your price point.” We’ve also seen hospitality clients who were having issues with a broken elevator when the hotel didn’t even know the elevator was broken. You can give your company real-time marketing data.
Using sentiment reporting can also help you incent attitude. You can pay your reps more when they have high positive sentiment, which is basically like paying them to be in a good mood because it helps your customers be in a good mood.
6. Disrupt the Workspace
Stop being boring. Have some games and make things fun. Try to foster a somewhat loose atmosphere. There should be a level of fun. Every day at our call center, every supervisor has to have a game from one of the 156 games we have in our book to play on their team. We happen to have a podcast episode dedicated to the topic of motivational games in your call center. This helps get your reps off the phones for a little bit.
Having a little fun is important for morale. It’s also easy to do to disrupt your center.
7. Disrupt Your Middle Management
Do you have solid middle management, or are you just pulling reps from the floor and putting them into a leadership role? A management training program not only enhances your center but also show career progression. It helps to instill traditions and creating something to strive for.
Here at Expivia, we do uniforms. Our management and management trainees have uniforms. We do weekly meetings with our trainees, discussing leadership, handling confrontation, legal issues, attitude and effort, monitoring, and those types of issues. Our management trainees are our team leads, acting as junior supervisors. Once they understand what we want from our culture, we give them a final test, and they take an oath, and they have a graduation party. They then don the red jacket and become a supervisor.
Promote the right people, promote properly, then train the heck out of them. You want them to do a good job because middle management drives the call center. When they’re’ strong, the whole call center is.
8. Disrupt How You Start Your Call Center Day
Your supervisors need to dominate their team’s first 30 minutes of their shift. Start the day and motivate your reps the right way, give out the goals, and make sure your associates are ready to do their jobs. We talked about this in-depth in another podcast episode about starting your day the right way.
Make your call center fun from the start of the day, welcome your reps with enthusiasm, and build relationships. Recap your team and individual goals.
9. Disrupt Your KPIs
We all want to be the best customer service providers. Metrics keep moving, and we keep losing track of what’s really important. The agent and customer sentiment reporting from speech analytics is the best way to show the full breadth of customer experience. We see what percentage of customers call in with a negative sentiment.
Consider if 52% of your customers are calling in with a negative sentiment, ticked about something completely unrelated to your agent. Look at keywords, and come up with a plan to drill down on factors that may be causing negative sentiment.
10. Disrupt What You Already Have
Think about your processors, procedures, your software, your Telephony platform. Are you using all your tools and dashboards? Dig into all of it and explore that technology. You may be paying for things you’re not even using.
Use technology like tablets, headsets, multiple monitors, Intel compute sticks, and other available technology to change up the work experience. Keep your supervisors moving instead of chained to their booths, so they can walk and talk and be interacting with the reps. Take the technology you have now, and learn new ways to use it and make it work for you. Learn what you’re paying for.
A quote from Will Rogers I like is, “Remember, even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” You need to constantly evolve and disrupt your call center. Evolve your customer experience, evolve your workplace. Your reps will get complacent if you do.
Look at your technology, operations, education, and culture. Always strive to keep moving.