In this article, we'll talk about some of the problems that many contact centers face and how they can be resolved. Let's start randomly.
Problem 1: Operators rely too much on scripts and clearly need to deepen their knowledge of the product (or service)
Template responses or scripts allow agents to respond effectively to customers. But they also hinder learning, because operators don't need to dive deep into the specifics of a product or service to do their job: process incoming requests in accordance with regulations. The bad thing is that the quality and completeness of assistance to an individual client is reduced from this.
You might think that it might be worth getting rid of scripts. But the problem is not with them. The problem is quality assurance and training. How can Quality assurance (QA) help? Here is its definition.
Quality Assurance for a call center is about creating a standard of work performance and then monitoring it through evaluation, mentoring and training so that work is consistently performed at or above the specified standard.
In other words, QA is your recipe if you are unhappy with the way operators interact with customers. Briefly, a QA procedure might look like this:
Understanding the company's mission and creating a QA process that aligns with and reinforces it.
Determining all the necessary behaviors in the course of communication with customers, helping to achieve your mission.
Create a descriptive document that allows managers, supervisors and agents to clearly understand what is expected of them in every customer contact.
Regular assessment of the quality of interaction between operators and customers and training of operators.
Coordination of the QA process with the management, making adjustments until you feel that it helps to achieve the goal.
Repeat all steps.
Recommendation: It is important to realize that if you are unhappy with the way operators interact with customers, then you need to solve this problem through the QA process. And if the company already has a quality assurance system in place, but you are still dissatisfied with the work of the operators, then it's time to revise it, taking into account the mission and goals of the company.
Problem 2: We're busy but not sure if it's time to hire more people
The redundancy of the operator staff in call centers is unlikely to ever become a trend. More often than not, you can see call center management craving to hire more agents, while finance management is horrified at the budget. This kind of disunity occurs when we make hiring decisions based on emotions rather than facts.
Solving this problem requires an understanding of HR principles, and there are a number of questions that need to be answered if you want to build a case for hiring more operators.
Is the operator's work schedule optimized to match the customer request schedule?
How do you define and measure agent productivity, and are you sure your agents are productive?
Do errors and failures in the operation of software products cause an excessive increase in the number of requests?
Are your customers able to solve problems on their own using the knowledge base and other resources of this kind, and how often does this happen?
Are operators empowered to resolve issues on their own, or are there delays due to constant escalation in resolving customer issues?
Is operator education and training provided to improve response quality and operational efficiency so that customers do not have to contact the same issue more than once?
Of course, it happens that the best way out is to hire additional employees, but a rational and efficient approach to the work of existing ones will help to avoid staff expansion.
Recommendation: Increasing staff is not the only solution to HR problems. Focus on optimizing operators' schedules, training and equipping them, and empowering operators and customers to self-manage as many issues as possible.
Problem 3: Developers are ready for more projects, but not enough input from the contact center
Startups, like any company, have limited resources to develop and must focus on those projects that help the company grow and succeed. At the same time, the call center staff is in constant contact with customers, receiving the feedback that could help the project department to properly prioritize development.
But it often happens that the call center is too absorbed in working with special cases and loads developers with a stream of daily problems, instead of stopping and thinking about what decisions can be strategically important for business development. Of course, in our work there will always be failures that require prompt resolution, as well as customers that have a great influence on the priorities in the work of the company, but these are only some of the factors that should be taken into account.
All teams are working to collect data on frequent crashes and customer requests for new features, along with employee requests for new tools to help operators work more efficiently. The next step to take in order to properly prioritize is to identify the most significant issues associated with the collected data. Below are some key points to consider:
How many customer calls are handled by agents due to a specific problem? What is the cost of these appeals?
How much will the efficiency of operators improve if this problem is solved? Will the turnaround time and the percentage of issues resolved from the first call improve?
How many clients leave because of this problem? How much revenue are we losing because of this churn, and how many new customers are we missing out on?
How much will the satisfaction of our customers improve if this problem is solved?
Metrics like this always involve some approximation in the estimate, but it's better than nothing, and the project department will be happy to listen to the contact center when setting priorities.
Recommendation: Always have a list of tools and features on hand (with ratings like those in our list above) and be prepared to show how investing in them will improve your business and customer experience.
Problem 4: We are ready to add new customer support channels, but should we?
The competition taking place in the call center industry is pushing us to use an omnichannel or multichannel strategy to connect with customers, to strive to be everywhere our customers are. But there is a point of view that customers would prefer not to contact companies at all, if there was no special need for it. Therefore, before adding new channels of communication with customers, you should think about the following things:
Is the need to use new channels of customer service caused by the poor quality of the existing channels? It may be, for example, that customers will not need a telephone support line if the response time in the chat is satisfactory. And vice versa.
How does the lack of some channels of communication with customers affect business development, customer churn and their degree of satisfaction?
Are you ready to invest in staffing a new customer channel? What if the number of messages coming to, say, e-mail, does not decrease after adding a messenger?
Are you ready to constantly maintain a new channel of communication with customers? For example, some companies have a habit of running customer chat inconsistently, resulting in out-of-order interactions with customers.
Are you willing to accept that self-service is also a customer support channel, and are you doing everything you can to help customers solve as many problems as they can on their own?
It may be worthwhile to improve the quality of support through existing channels and work to provide customers with opportunities to resolve the issue on their own before contacting support before connecting a new service channel.
Recommendation: Resist the temptation to offer your customers all possible channels of service, connect new ones only when it is really necessary for customer support. Sometimes it's much easier and more rewarding to focus on building one or two channels of communication with your customers.
There is a good chance that you, as a new leader, will be asked to offer solutions to similar problems. We hope that this article will help you soberly assess the situation, ask the right questions and approach similar problems with a holistic perception and a consistent strategy.
Original customerthink , translated by Oki-Toki.