5 Ways to Improve Your Call Center
For companies who are looking to really evolve into a world-class call center, we’ve got ways to help you head down that road. These are all easy things you can do today without any help from IT. Each of these tips has been discussed in-depth previously, so if you’d like more information head over to our podcast page where you can hear more.
Hire for Your Culture
Call centers seem to be forever looking for more agents, better agents. While looking at all of the applications that come in, it’s important to look at more than if they have experience in this field. Just because they have worked in a center before does not mean they will fit the culture you have worked so hard to build. It is up to each center to define their culture.
Expivia’s culture is “a sunshine attitude with an entrepreneur mindset,” which comes down to attitude and effort. Because we feel so strongly about our culture, we have learned ways to incent and hire based on that. But, do not dismiss an applicant simply because they have no experience in our industry. You can always educate new hires to do the job well, but coming in with the right attitude is key.
Educate Your Associates
When a new hire comes into our organization, they will spend 20-30 hours learning about our organization, our culture, our policies and procedures, and how they will fit into it all. Taking this time to educate them will save the company money in the long run because it will lead to a lower turnover rate which will reduce the amount you are spending on agents who aren’t even on the floor.
Our lead associates will meet newly hired agents and talk to them about the office culture and the fun stuff we do before they start to learn what to click on or what to say to a caller. Making sure they understand what is being asked of them from a cultural standpoint is key. We use the word culture a lot because it is so important to our daily work. If new agents don’t understand our culture, customer service will go down, making everyone miserable and leading to a high turnover rate.
While educating new associates, role-playing the part of a customer calling in is a must. Emphasis is placed on the tone of the agent because the tone is the message that they are putting out. A call can go 100% correctly on paper, but if the agent’s tone is dismissive, rude, or bored, that will not matter. If their tone is upbeat and positive, the agent stands a good chance of having a customer thank them, even if they don’t get what they wanted.
Agent Analysis Program
Each agent needs to look at their weekly goals and know where they stand, so we meet with each rep for fifteen minutes every week. We discuss where they want to be. We want to help them get to their goal whether that be as a supervisor, in another department, or in a totally different role. What is holding them back? They may have a dress code issue, be late to the floor, or use the wrong tone with their callers. This time is used weekly, so there are no surprises later.
“You Own the Call” is our QA monitoring program. When someone gets a really highly rated call, that positive news is pushed out onto the floor with lots of fanfare. Celebrating good things on the floor is a must! However, coaching is always done off the floor so that no one is embarrassed by any negative feedback they get.
When there is an issue to be corrected, we will listen to that same associate in 30-minutes to be sure the issue has been fixed. Live calls are listened to during every shift to be sure things are going well with our reps. When listening to recorded calls, we are looking at the overall program analysis.
Understand the Proper Metrics
Many of us are measuring the wrong things. We are holding reps accountable for things that have nothing to do with the customer experience. Maybe your call center is just looking at an average speed of answer, surface-level time, or other telephony metrics, but that’s just telling you about your center’s efficiency.
If you want to move your organization towards being a world-class center, you need to start measuring other things. Listen to your customers. While you can get by without it, speech analytics is helpful because you get both agent and customer sentiment scores. Those scores can even be used to incentivize our agents. If your company doesn’t use speech analytics, this is where using NPS (net promoter score) and CSAT (customer satisfaction score) is very useful.
These scores should be used to incent your reps more than doing so off of telephony metrics. We should be high-fiving each other for a customer having an awesome experience, not just because we have a 95% customer service level. Often these two numbers do not match, so you need to be sure you are measuring the proper things. Using the right metrics will lead you towards becoming a world-class call center.
Everyone knows that this job can be brutal for some days. In customer service, we will simply have to deal with some unhappy people. It comes with the job. Not very often do people call in just to say thanks or tell us that they love the products, but when they do it is awesome!
Because of this rarity, we have to do everything we can to keep our centers fun. Every day there should be some type of game being played on the floor. The games can be played as teams or individuals–mix it up to keep it interesting. The main idea is to do something that will get their minds off of the negative. A game that can get them off of the phone for five minutes to throw a ball, shoot a hoop, or move a game piece is a great way to do this.
These brief breaks are an awesome way to break up the day and keep your agents in a light-hearted mood. Supervisor buy-in is important to make sure that these breaks keep the call center fun.
BONUS TIP — We have implemented an attendance policy, and have increased our attendance by 37%. Click on the link to check it out. It has made an unbelievable change in our culture and billable hours. When people are here, it’s more fun!
How are you going to be different? How are you going to improve your call center? How are you going to inspire agents to stay with you, rather than going across the street to the competitor? Use these tips to help!
Want more call center operations content? Head over to our weekly call center operations podcast “Advice from a Call Center Geek!” at expiviausa.com/call-center-geek-podcast/
Advice from a Call Center Geek is a weekly podcast with a focus on all things call center and contact center. We discuss topics such as call center operations, hiring, culture, technology, and training and have fun doing it! #callcenter #contactcenter #CX #custserv #callcentergeek