1. Empower your agentsFeedback is essential to empower your agents. Positive feedback should be specific, public and genuine. Look for something to praise a member of your team on every day and rotate the team member receiving the praise fairly. You may have to go looking for things to praise but it is a good habit to get into.
2. Effective internal trainingMake sure your advisers training includes: Listening – The first ten seconds of a call are crucial for securing rapport. The adviser must listen to determine the caller’s reason for calling and their mood so that they can tailor their approach and build rapport. Reason – Customer service and efficiency are served well when the reason for calling can be swiftly and satisfactorily fulfilled. Resolution – Are the caller and adviser clear on what will happen next? Failure to clarify may result in call backs, decreased efficiency and damaged customer service reputation. Positive ending – The end of a call should be all about the positives. This is the lasting memory for a customer; make it the right one.
3. Customer retentionA huge part of making customers stay loyal is not just by meeting expectations, but exceeding them. Empower your employees to make quick decisions, particularly when resolving problems and complaints. By turning a negative experience into a good one can help retain customers.
4. Experience it for yourselfIf you don’t already make calls to your own call centre then now is a good time to start. By experiencing what your call centre sounds like down the telephone and the energy, empathy and knowledge of your advisers –you can identify improvements for your customers.
5. Consider Speech analyticsThere are many measurements to evaluate the quality and result of interactions with customers; including holding times, disconnection rates and customer satisfaction. Speech analytics makes a big difference by describing and measuring events that occurred during the call and the success of the interaction with the customer. This information is invaluable when training agents and optimising business processes.
6. Manage your top performing agentsTop performers are usually charismatic, bright and easily distracted. To ensure they continue to perform and don’t distract others. Keep them busy and challenge them. Find out the types of tasks they are interested in and create projects to match. Offer mentoring opportunities with more timid members of staff.
7. Make social customer service the responsibility of the entire businessSocial customer service needs to be a collaborative approach to successfully plan and maintain an effective social customer service strategy. Your customer service staff needs to learn how to deliver customer service in 140 characters, as a Facebook post, the content of conversations and the ability to know when to take the conversations offline.
8. Encourage team spiritWhether you love or loathe BBC 3’s ‘Call Centre’ Manager Neville Wilshire, he creates team spirit and it starts with him and support and friendships are all part of this unique and wonderful close knit environment. When you and your team leave the office at the end of a shift knowing you helped people, learned life skills, got paid and had fun, you leave a happy team and you and your contact centre will shine! Carolyn Blunt is managing director of Real Results Training Consultancy
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