Call Center Best Practices You Can Apply To Your Small Business
A call center is crucial to the success of any business. The performance of your call center can make or break your relationship with customers. In turn, it also greatly affects the profitability of your business. So, whether you take calls in-house or outsource a call center service provider, you need to know how to do it best.
The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is vast, and it is still growing. As such, there are plenty of call center practices out there. Some companies may even have their own unique practices. While all of them may yield profit for your business, there are call center techniques and practices that are more effective than the rest. To guarantee your success, here are some practices you should follow.
Best practices for hiring
Delivering great call center services starts with having a great staff. This is why you should pay close attention to your call center hiring practices. When recruiting your agents, here are some points to keep in mind:
Provide transparency regarding the duties and responsibilities for the position.
Manage the candidate’s expectations by telling them the pros and cons of the job.
The employment contract should be clearly worded, with well-documented employment terms and conditions.
Give your candidates a proper onboarding orientation and call center training.
Partner the candidates with mentors to ensure that each candidate assimilates to the organization rapidly.
Be honest in giving your feedback to a candidate’s application.
These are some of the most effective practices when it comes to hiring call center agents. However, there are also harmful (but common) practices that you need to avoid. Here are some examples of bad practices that you should NOT do:
Treating candidates only as a means to an end.
Giving the candidates false hopes by exaggerating and embellishing the true scope of the position.
The employment contract is poorly and vaguely worded. The benefits are also verbally committed, but were not included in the contract.
The candidates were plugged into their tasks, without proper orientation and mentoring.
Candidates were not informed of the true status of their application (e.g. the recruiter tells the candidate that she/he is still “under consideration”, but, in reality, the position is already closed).
This may not be a concern if you are outsourcing your call center agents. However, it is still best to make sure that even your call center service provider adheres to these practices.
Best practices for customer service
Every customer interaction is crucial in ensuring customer satisfaction. When answering phone calls or even talking to customers on social media, your agents should be able to represent the brand positively. For that reason, you should empower agents with the right techniques to be a successful call center.
Make a positive first impression: first impressions matter, even in customer service. When your customer calls, they should feel like they were able to reach a live agent. Practice active listening and patience. As much as your agent can, you should ensure that call resolution happens on the first call.
Nurture healthy habits among your staff:your agents need to have certain soft and hard skills to be successful customer care representatives, such as documentation techniques, product/brand knowledge, call center escalation, and active listening. You must also keep these skills sharp through regular training and assessment.
Manage your knowledge base wisely:curate all your call center data and resources in one place. Keep it organized, updated, and accurate. This way, your staff can easily access customer data and personalize their caller’s experience.
Automate call center processes:automating your workflow helps you optimize your internal efficiency and improve customer service. There are plenty of call center software in the market which can help you with different tasks, from customer relations management to communication platforms.
Classify your customers:classifying your customers based on their loyalty and profitability is an excellent strategy. It would help you learn the real value of satisfied customers and the cost of unhappy ones. This way, you can choose which areas in your business need the most investment.
Track important metrics closely:effective monitoring is crucial in optimizing the performance of a call center. While there may be a lot of metrics and KPIs to track, you need to focus on the ones that matter. Live broadcasting your company metrics and KPIs can also motivate employees.
Call center metrics to focus on
There are plenty of call center metrics and KPIs. While all of them are important, some of these metrics need to be prioritized over the others. Focusing on the right metrics is crucial to the success of your call center. Below are some call center metrics that you need to focus on:
Service level: the percentage of calls that were answered within a specific period of time.
Issue types:the tally of types of issues that your call center has to resolve.
Response time:the average time that the call center takes to answer an inbound call.
Abandoned calls:the number of calls that were abandoned before an agent can answer.
Average handle time:the average time that agents spend on a cal, including the other tasks that are necessary to resolve a call.
Average wait time:the average time that a caller spends waiting to connect to an agent.
Resolution rate:the percentage of calls resolved by the call center. Here, you can also highlight the percentage of calls resolved in the first call.
Quality assurance or monitoring scores:the scores that evaluators give to live monitoring or recordings of your agents’ interactions with customers.
Customer satisfaction rating: the score which your customers give on how your agents handled their calls.
Outsourcing a call center service provider
Having your in-house call center has its perks, but outsourcing call center services to a third party organization may be more beneficial. It is a cost-effective strategy for businesses of all sizes and industries. Given the specialty of your service provider, you will also be able to avoid any costly call center mishaps that can happen in-house.
Despite the benefits of call center outsourcing, it has its drawbacks. Most of these stem from choosing the wrong service provider. When it comes to selecting your outsourcing partner, practice the following:
Establish the kind of call center and services that your business needs. For example, consider whether you need an outbound or inbound call center, or whether you simply need an answering service. You also need to specify your preferences for the service.
Research potential service providers, their practices, and reviews from previous clients.
Choose a call center outsourcing company that has been in the industry for a long time. This denotes profound experience in handling customers.
Learn how your service provider hires and trains their staff. Make sure that they adhere to the best practices in call center hiring, and that they train their agents regularly.
To ensure that your information is safe with your outsourced call center, check if they adhere to industry standards, such as ISO and HIPAA.
Aside from being well within your budget, your service provider should guarantee high quality services. Hire a call center company that offers flexible rates, without compromising the quality of their service.
At Magellan Solutions, we strive to provide high quality services at any price point. Our company maintains ISO and HIPAA certifications to guarantee safe, secure, and reliable services. Contact us today, and learn how we can help your business.
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