Are your customers happy when they deal with your organization? Have you tried calling your organization’s customer service line to experience the level of quality delivered for yourself? Have you received calls from your organization’s customer service team to see how the sales or follow-up is delivered?
If your satisfaction metrics are down and your business has received complaints or is suffering from lackluster sales, it could be time to dust off and update your call center process.
Stages of a call
A customer can experience a range of emotions while dealing with your company, and these emotions can shift dramatically within the space of just a few seconds.
If an inbound call rings too many times before being picked up, if the call is picked up by a machine vs. a live representative, or if the caller is put on hold for an inordinate amount of time, your representative may already have a disgruntled customer on their hands the moment the call starts. The same is true if an outbound call lacks a natural flow or the handoff from the system to the operator is clumsy.
During your team’s interaction with the caller, several things need to happen to foster customer satisfaction. Your representative needs to succinctly state their reason for calling (for outbound calls) or understand the caller’s issue (for inbound calls). In either case, your representative needs to know the company’s products and policies, and clearly express a desire to be of service. At the end of the call, your representative should make sure they have either provided the customer with what they were seeking or explained the next steps.
Regardless of whether the call is inbound or outbound, understand that your organization gets the chance to impress or annoy your customers approximately every five seconds. While it’s easy to place blame on representatives, this means you need to scrutinize every step of the call process to ensure your system and policies are designed to maximize customer satisfaction.
Map out expectations
Map out your expectations for each stage of the process and adjust your call software or live process to meet these expectations. Ensure your automatic system picks up by the third ring, and if you use an option tree for customers to select, test it frequently to ensure it is quick to use, simple to understand, and properly functioning.
If your call center offers live operator assistance, give your team incentives for picking up calls between the second and third ring and reducing hold times. Investigate past data to find out when call volumes are greatest. And ensure you have additional staff on duty to meet this expectation of answering every call by the third ring. When using predictive dialers, confirm that the handoff to the live representative is smooth and seamless.
Collect the details
For callers who have multiple points of contact with your organization, nothing frustrates a caller more than having to repeat themselves to several different representatives. Ensure that your front-line team is capturing as many details about the call as possible in the software interface. You can even incentivize this with goals for quality word counts or number of fields completed.
Collecting details from customer interactions is one of the most important aspects of improving not only customer service but product quality and process efficiency. This helps management identify customer needs, pain points, and new areas for development, in addition to delivering a top-quality customer service experience.
The bottom line is that customers need to associate your company and your product or service with a positive experience. If your organization isn’t delivering on that expectation today, dissect your call center process from start to finish to find clues.