Image Credit: Marketing Donut
Image Credit: Marketing Donut

Call centers provide an invaluable service for businesses that want to build customer loyalty. Unfortunately, despite the good intentions of businesses that use call centers to serve their customers better, the overall public perception of call centers has been negative.

According to a YouGov study carried out in the UK and the US: “76% of adults surveyed said that just one unpleasant contact centre experience was likely to make them take their business elsewhere…59% of people said the main reason for their dissatisfaction with a company is poor customer service (50%) or a bad contact centre experience (9%).”

If you want to improve the quality of your call center so that it bucks these statistical industry trends and provides your clients with a high level of service, you need to make two primary changes: first, invest in the latest technology; and, second, improve the quality of service your agents offer.

Invest in the Latest Technology
There is no point in working on improving the quality of agent training if their work is hampered by outdated technology. It’s essential to bring your call center/customer service to the next level with technology. While there have been numerous technological innovations that have recently happened, the most promising one to date has been the use of the cloud. Cloud call center technology has completely restructured how call centers work. Instead of complicated on-premise systems, a cloud-based system is a virtual call center. This means that there are no maintenance costs, no frustrating integration projects, no obsolete technology, no costly administration, and no extensive hardware investment.

Improve the Quality of Agent Service
It doesn’t matter how talented the agents you hire for the job unless you provide them with the right training, it won’t improve the quality of service.

Here are two tips to create dramatic improvements:

  1. Get performance feedback.

You won’t know how well your call center is doing unless you get feedback from callers, as well as feedback from agents. Once you get reliable feedback, you can make appropriate adjustments. Without this feedback, everything you do to make improvements will be mere guesswork.

After a call, customers should be asked if they are willing to respond to a short survey to evaluate their level of satisfaction. This is a good way to close any gaps in between perception and reality between the caller and the call center.

Agents should also be surveyed. Perhaps, they did their best, but were hampered by a lack of senior management support to help them resolve a complex problem, a slow connection, or an inability to understand what the customer was saying.

By surveying both customers and agents, you’ll get to hear both sides of an issue and get a bigger picture of the interaction.

While not all low customer satisfaction issues can be resolved—for instance, it’s not the agent’s fault if the caller had speech difficulties that made it hard to understand what they were saying—a sufficiently large number of issues will give you more than enough data on how to improve the quality of service.

  1. Improve staff training.

It’s easy for staff training to slip through the cracks, either because of scheduling difficulties or because of poor training materials.

However, unless the staff is properly trained about the products or services customers are inquiring about they will not be able to provide an enhanced customer service experience.

Here are 4 ways to ensure high quality training:

  1.  The training material should be periodically reviewed to see if it is outdated or inaccurate, and any corrections should be made as soon as possible.
  2. The training should be done regularly to ensure that agents are on top of things. However, if the training has not changed much since an agent last attended a class, then it may be enough to assess agent’s knowledge to exempt them from retaking the training class.
  3. The training should use multimodal ways of teaching, like video tutorials, reading, and hands-on training from instructors. People learn better from one modality than another. Some are auditory learners, some visual learners, and some kinesthetic learners.
  4. The training should not just focus on product knowledge. There should also be trainings on communication skills and best practices.