July 15, 2015
In this age of instant, anonymous contact, some customers still will have the need to speak to a real person in real time. Unfortunately, very few of them call to compliment you on what a great job you’re doing. More likely than not they’re calling with a problem or complaint, and it’s in times like these that your contact center people earn their pay.
Still, not everyone who’s answering your phones is completely up to speed. That’s why it’s important to focus on a few critical points, and make sure everyone is on board with at least the basics.
In a recent blog post, Brian Olesen, Director of Enterprise Operations at cloud contact center leader inContact, highlighted four points he believes contact centers must emphasize to maintain good customer relations and keep those customers coming back. His ideas are worth sharing:
Be Human: While it may sound simplistic, it just makes good sense to treat your callers as you’d like to be treated. “Too often, the customer experience doesn’t factor in the human aspect of the interaction,” Olesen notes. “Although we might think of customers as records with account numbers, it’s critical that you make a human connection with the other person on the phone.”
Educate Your People: If your staff doesn’t know about new products or incentives, how can they possibly spread the word to customers? “They should be the first people to know what’s been released so they can answer customer questions,” Olesen says. “Additionally, all contact center employees and managers should receive training on customer service skills, how to maximize the customer experience, and how to handle angry or upset customers with poise and grace.”
Provide Access to Tools and Information: “It’s paramount the agent has the right tools to do the best job they can,” Olesen emphasizes. “No one would dream of asking a mechanic to do car maintenance without a wrench; why then do we deny our contact center employees access to the tools they need?” Again, it seems simple, but it’s amazing how many ignore this critical step.
Implement an Employee Rotation Program: When an employee knows how each department in a company works, they can better answer customer queries more quickly and efficiently, or direct them to someone who can. “A job shadowing arrangement where contact center employees can observe and learn from other groups can not only widen the employee’s perspective but also improve retention, which is a continuous challenge for contact centers,” Olesen says.
Be real, be smart, be prepared and be mindful. The steps are easily implemented, and the payoff can be huge.