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Are You Giving Call Center Customers Your Best?

April 16, 2014

As businesses keep getting busier, some opt to make a significant investment to set up a centralized office for the purpose of receiving or transmitting a large volume of customer requests and managing inbound and outbound calls for the enterprise. Several companies use call centers, either on- or off-site, to offer customer services and/or sell products; representatives -- at workstations equipped with a computer, headgear and attached microphone -- will engage with clientele over the phone. Alternatively, they respond via email or rely on live support software to carry out tasks.

Modern call centers invest heavily in computer-telephone integration (CTI (News - Alert)) technology and applications that help agents have control on a variety of phone functions and deliver highly efficient, call center-based CRM solutions with minimal effort. There are some companies utilizing call routing, recording and/or Voice/Data Transfer and intelligent answering services to increase the level of service given to a customer. CTI has been an important tool to propel many companies beyond mediocre customer service standards; it is used as a means to make a business more efficient, to streamline customer acquisition and make the organization more profitable.

Regardless of the call center technology in place, contact centers are an important part of an enterprise's overall customer relationship management (CRM). It is subject to improvements and innovations. Although the agents’ roles seem straightforward, there are always ways to enhance the user experience from start to finish; this can have a positive impact on customer retention and customer satisfaction.

Not all call centers are the same; some have agents that hold full-time or part-time positions in an agency, or work-from-home or satellite offices to provide a service to customers; however, what’s important is the human connection and meeting customers’ requirements and expectations.

The secret to providing good customer service is simple: Offer each customer a personalized service that is nothing less than what is considered an acceptable level of performance; all agents need to ensure the highest quality of every customer’s interaction and come across as welcoming, perceptive and empathetic to build trust and brand loyalty. At the end of the day, this is what the industry strives to achieve.

A recent Business 2 Community post, “4 Tips to Modernize Your Call Center Customer Experience from Start to Finish,” looks at making call centers more efficient and effective during interactions with customers beyond simply meeting the expected call volumes. The article shows ways (tips) to better manage and handle the calls that customers make. The modern consumer seeks a multi-tier support system for more efficient handling of calls; sometimes “[they] prefer to navigate automated solutions to resolve an issue with a product or service,” the post revealed. Even other technologies, such as Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), are said to improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction. An IVR, for example, “allows a company to intercept inbound calls, determine the needs of the caller and route them appropriately to sales, marketing or support agents,” the post explained.

In addition to incorporating automated solutions so customers can navigate and gain access to company information and offerings through digital channels, it is possible to enable a more mobile workforce; call center agents can receive calls and handle customer experiences remotely. Companies find it a way to better distribute calls and improve the customer experience.

“With the rise in mobile device use and increased reliance on cloud-based marketing solutions, many call centers have increased their efficiency by enabling a more mobile workforce,” the post explains. Some agents are now able to telecommute and still engage in customer interactions; this has positively impacted employees’ morale. What is more, “companies [are able to] reduce costs on overhead and enjoy hiring agents from a larger pool of applicants [when they] have call centers utilize home agents in some capacity,” the post affirms.

A last tip the post offered is one that has the modern call center provide its agents with resources to interact quickly and efficiently with an internal message system. With a Virtual Contact Center (VCC) and Zendesk function as a single SaaS (News - Alert), there is the ability to prioritize incoming messages according to their importance; this is engineered to support the customer, regardless of the channel.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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