This guest contribution comes from Sales Overdrive, an industry-leading sales and call center outsourcing firm based out of Texas. With over 15 years of professional outsourcing experience, SOD is an industry though leader on the subject and their sales blog is read by hundreds of executives from across the globe every month.
Call centers have become an integral part of many organizations because they enable them to effectively handle queries, complaints and suggestions from clients. For the customers, call centers are a welcome break from the hassles associated with going all the way to these firms to forward their concerns. For example, a client only needs to contact the call center of his bank to inquire about his bank account rather than walk all the way there.
Many organizations outsource their call center operations to other companies, which are versed in these activities. This way, they can serve their customers better while avoiding the costs of setting up a call center operation in-house. Outsourcing allows a business to save on costs, such as, paying salaries of their customer support staff and purchasing technologies for their own center. Notwithstanding, a good call center is one that takes into consideration the best practices of this industry when serving their clients.
Best Practices for Call Center Operations
• Employee/Customer Surveying
Customer surveys should be a constant feature of most call center operations, which involves asking the client about his views on the services rendered. The feedback is helpful in solving the problem of repeat calls, increasing customer retention and accountability among the call center staff. For every month, the preferable number of customer surveys ought to be 5.
Employee surveys should be conducted on a daily basis to ascertain whether the management is committed to consistent delivery of First Call Resolution (FCR). It entails the use of FCR voice of the employee concerned.
• Proper Selection of CSRs
Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) must have the prerequisite characteristics to provide quality services to clients. When recruiting new employees, it is vital to keep these traits in mind. The selection process normally involves a review of the employee’s resume, conducting a personality test, job simulation and face-to-face interview.
The personality test will determine whether the employee has consumer-friendly traits while job simulation assesses his or her suitability for the job. Call centers that undertake this rigorous selection process can avoid complaints from clients about inept CSRs.
• Improvement of Process
An efficient call center operation makes use of the PDCA improvement method, which includes Plan, Do, Check and Act. PDCA—also called the deming cycle—is an anecdote for repeat calls. The Planning stage demands the identification of unresolved calls and analysis of repeat calls, which helps in improving these services.
The Doing phase entails formulating a solution before initiating a test pilot to correct these unresolved call. During the Check stage, the call center evaluates the performance of the test pilot; at the Act stage, the firm implements a plan to improve on cases of unresolved calls.
• Performance Management Process
Every call center should have a performance management process, which every new employee should understand upon joining the center. It includes the targets every employee should receive within certain duration, modalities for reviewing performance, feedback and coaching. Although a Performance Management Process determines the duration of feedback, an employee should receive feedback—in the form of statistics—on a weekly or daily basis. Employees are expected to use the feedback to improve their services to customers.
Outsourcing call center operations has numerous pitfalls, such as, failure to understand how call centers function, employment opportunities and competition, lack of technologies. Adherence to the best practices of outsourcing call center operations is what differentiates quality call centers from the average ones. Businesses that need to outsource their customer service operations can look to the former for exemplary service.