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7 Ways to Improve Your Inbound Call Center’s Performance Today

A constant ringing of VoIP-based phones, rhythmic clicks on keyboards, and busy agents putting their heart and soul to resolve every issue and answer all queries. If you own or run an inbound call center, then all this must be familiar to you.

Starting an inbound call center has never been easier and more convenient than it is in the present day. But let’s be honest; sustaining the day-to-day operations of an inbound call center has never been more challenging and demanding due to rising customer expectations, intense competition, and changing digital landscape.

Failing to adopt new technology, ineffective agent training, lack of visibility, and the inability to satisfy customers are some common reasons why inbound call centers fail. Just like there are factors responsible for call centers’ failure, there are many factors that can contribute to their success.

This blog post discusses how you can enhance your inbound call center’s performance using these seven simple strategies. Read on and thank us later.

  1. Invest in sophisticated and feature-rich call center software

Eminent software engineer Grady Booch rightly said, “The function of good software is to make the complex appear to be simple.” Let’s be honest; running an inbound call center is not simple, but the right call center software can streamline operations and automate many manual and repetitive tasks. It plays a huge role in enhancing agents’ productivity and customer satisfaction.

The inbound call center software should be loaded with cutting-edge features such as automatic call distribution, call recording, call monitoring, call barging and whispering, CRM integration, least-cost routing, real-time analytics and reports, and more.

This is where partnering with a trustworthy and reputable call center software provider can make all the difference. When looking for a software provider, look for their track record and experience. Also, make sure to avail yourself of free demos to help you make informed decisions.

  1. Improve First Call Resolution (FCR) rate

Did you know that nine out of every ten customers expect their issues to be resolved and queries to be answered on the very first call? A study conducted by Canadian software company SQM Group revealed. The research also found a disturbing stat—every follow-up call slashes customer satisfaction by 15 percent!

Even though the industry standard for a good FCR rate is between 70 and 80 percent, you should aim for a higher rate. Because as per the study’s finding, 93 percent of customers expect FCR and if there is a difference of 10-20 percent, it can alienate many customers.

By routing customers to the right agents you can increase the chances of first call resolution. This is where Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and skill-based routing in sophisticated call center software can prove to be extremely useful. The former will get key customer information such as language preference, which department the customer wants to speak to, and what’s the issue. After that, it will route the call to an agent who has the necessary expertise and experience to resolve the issue.

  1. Reduce average hold time

Do you know what the most irritating phrase in the customer service industry is? Answer: “Dear customer, your call is important to us. Please hold, while we connect your call to our customer support representative.” A survey found that the expression garnered the highest number of thumbs down with 36 percent of respondents voting for it.

When a customer hears the recorded message while being on hold, it annoys them. But it becomes excruciatingly frustrating when they are put on wait for more than a minute. In a study conducted by Maryland-based live chat software-as-a-service provider Velaro, six out of every ten respondents said they wouldn’t like to be put on hold for a minute. Another survey found that 13 percent of the respondents will hang up even if they are kept on hold only for a few seconds.

To reduce your average hold time, leverage the call-back option. A poll that surveyed more than 1,100 people revealed that almost two-thirds of respondents preferred callback to hold. Reliable call center software includes a call-back feature, which can help you manage high call volumes and reduce on-hold time.

Provide self-service options

“The best form of customer service is self service. Constantly empower customers to get their own answers themselves.” The quote by American investor and entrepreneur Daniel Steven Peña Sr., who is also known as ‘The Trillion Dollar Man,’ is so true in the present-day context.

A study conducted by American Express found that six out of every ten customers would prefer self-service over speaking with a customer service representative. Another stat revealed that more than three-quarters of customers have a positive perception towards those businesses that provide more self-service options to facilitate customer support.

The right inbound call center software can enable you to provide a wide range of self-service options to your customers. Features such as AI-powered chatbots, multi-level IVR systems, knowledge bases, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can help customers perform simple tasks and find answers to common queries.

  1. Continuously monitor your agents’ performance

“When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” The sage words of Thomas Monson are so apt for inbound call centers where continuous monitoring of agents’ performance is the key to success.

Now when it comes to monitoring agents’ performance, you can do it in multiple ways. The first is to assign some dedicated people to listen to live and recorded calls. While recorded calls are useful for quality and training purposes, listening to live calls provides the opportunity to intervene and guide the agents at the right time.

Another effective way of monitoring is to observe the key performance indicators (KPIs) such as FCR rate, average handling time (AHT), average speed of answer, on-hold time, and many important metrics. Equipped with real-time analytics and reporting, contemporary call center software can help supervisors and managers generate real-time reports on all important KPIs. 

  1. Train your agents

Before going on the call floor, agents should be knowledgeable about the product (or service), the process, and the way they need to handle customer queries. If they aren’t adequately trained, then it can have a huge negative impact on customer experience. A study by American Express found that six out of every ten respondents said that the resourcefulness and knowledge of agents played a huge role in positive experiences. 

That’s why you must prioritize training each agent before anything else. To quote Former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, “Job training empowers people to realize their dreams and improve their lives.”

 Choosing the right call center software can help you impart high-quality training to your agents. While training your agents make sure that they know all relevant things about the product and the process. Also, ensure that they are up-to-date on the industry standards. Make them part of every discussion on policy-making levels and seek their feedback.

  1. Take customer feedback

There are many commonalities between best-selling authors Ken Blanchard, the author of ‘One Minute Manager,’ and Stephen R. Covey, the author of ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’ But what’s one extremely important thing businesses can learn from them? Their passion for seeking feedback! The former famously said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” As per the latter, “It takes humility to seek feedback.”

Many studies and stats also corroborate that. As per data published in a Forbes article, more than three-fourths of customers have a more favorable perception towards businesses if the latter seeks the former’s feedback. Another stat revealed that more than half of customers expect businesses to respond to their negative feedback within a week.

As a call center owner, you can find multiple ways to conduct surveys and seek customer feedback. Sending survey links through email or text messages just after completing the call is a good way to go. You can also integrate your call center software with survey systems to get prompt customer feedback. You can use the results to understand customers’ pain points, agents’ performance, and satisfaction levels, as well as the scope for improvement.

To wrap up,

Including these seven powerful strategies in your inbound call center operations will not only enhance your overall performance but also set new standards of excellence. Partnering with the right software provider and handpicking the right software solution can go a long way in empowering your agents and making exceptional customer service the defining trait of your inbound call center.

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