It’s hard to believe that CSR has been in business for 27 years this August. Wow. Happy birthday to CSR Inc.!
Customer Service Starts With Coaching the Coaches
Many times when we think about Call Center Quality Assurance, we focus our attention on the front line agents. We also tend to focus most of the training & coaching in a customer service organization on customer service reps (CSRs). Front line agents can only perform to the level of quality they are trained to know.
QA: Measure All You Want, but Measuring Alone Won’t Change Anything
Getting in shape and losing weight is a great analogy for call center quality assurance (unless you’ve decided your New Year’s fitness resolution was just so last year!). In a fitness program, we measure (or weigh) ourselves often – perhaps even daily. In quality assurance, we measure ourselves often as well – by evaluating calls.
While mystery calling incentive programs remain one of the most effective ways to encourage agent growth and improvement, it’s important to handle them right. The key word is incentive. Time and again we’ve found that agents respond more favorably to programs they see as opportunities for reward rather than “gotchas” that lead to punishment.
Earlier this month, I discussed the growing trend towards home-based call center agents. It’s a field that – without a doubt – has been exclusively enabled by technology. But the role of tech in the call center industry stretches well beyond enabling virtual agents.
There are so many examples of truly horrible call center experiences out there. Just Google ‘worst customer service stories’ and browse through some of the 13.8 million results. As you read about some of these customer service incidents, believe me – the outrage will build:
For the last few years, the mantra of most customer service organizations has been “let’s provide memorable customer experiences.” The customer experience has quickly – and quite firmly – taken the top spot in the goals of most (but not all) organizations.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve read several roundup articles of predictions for the call center industry – most of which were written end-of-year in 2015. The predictions largely fell into one of two categories: technical or procedural (though there can be some overlap).
No matter how skilled a front line customer service agent is, they can always benefit from coaching. Coaching equips a less experienced agent or poor performer with the tools to improve, and motivates high achievers to stay at the top of their abilities. It also lays out a clear path for them to keep challenging themselves to improve.
Yes, the customer experience is ‘all important.’ But even pros will tell you it can sometimes be a challenge.
Practically everyone in business has encountered an angry, hostile customer.
Effortless Transactions for Effortless Customer Experiences
Divining future trends in the call center industry is guess-work, at best. Predictions tend to run the gamut – more automation, improved workflows, better and more accurate QA. But we’re all in agreement on the rising importance of the ‘effortless transaction.’
Trained Agents Translate Into Customer Retention
Is it any wonder companies are waking up to the power of the customer experience? When customers calculate whether they had a good experience with your company...
I recently read a good Small Business Trends article (Encourage Customer Loyalty with Your Call Center) that discussed an issue I’ve previously mentioned in the context of Shake Shack: it is okay for call center agents to leave the script behind when dealing with customers.
Using Customer Data is Effective, But Respect Privacy
A few weeks ago, I read an interesting piece on ‘crossing the creepy line’ published back in 2013 on PACE’s blog (‘Using Context to Avoid Creepy’). The article got me thinking about the fine line between ‘creepy’ and ‘customer service excellence.’ When I hear amazing customer service stories like the Morton’s Steakhouse flight dinner delivery, it’s clear that there are avenues for a personalized customer experience without the unsettling ‘big brother-style’ intrusion.
The Value of Feedback
First things first: accurate, timely feedback offers tremendous value to both call center front line agents and their employers. Mystery calls – calls where a third party evaluates customer service performance as well as adherence to specific company policies remotely via telephone – are a widely-used practice that let companies keep tabs on agent performance while providing the feedback they need to improve.
Every year, the Tempkin Group rates the best and worst in customer service. 2014’s ‘worst of’ results mirrored the previous years, with several industries consistently scoring at the bottom of customer service experience. Who are they?
Knowledgeable, Trained Call Center Directors and Managers the Key to Improving Quality
Quality Training Pays Huge Dividends
Wandering around a tradeshow floor, I found myself following two gentleman down an aisle. “It sounds like you’ve got quality problems. You’ll definitely want to pour money into agent training,” one said to the other. “I would, but my budget is getting hammered,” was the reply. The other nodded in agreement: “Yeah, quality costs.” (I admit to eavesdropping. I had to. They dropped the ‘Q’ word.)
The rise of competitive providers over the last 15 years has slowly eroded a portion of traditional cable subscribers. Cable TV providers nationwide have experienced high degrees of customer retention issues, and have (accordingly) expressed varying degrees of apprehension over the growth of competitive providers.
Call Center QA programs have many components that are mission critical. Coaching – a training and development tool to ensure employees have the knowledge & skills necessary to perform their work at a high level – is a popular tool for QA-focused call center managers.
In my last post on call center agent coaching, I mentioned the importance of employee development, and creating an atmosphere in which it’s a constant, ongoing focus. A commitment to call center employee development benefits both front-line personnel and the company. It’s a sure-fire way to consistently improve service, sales and customer satisfaction on the business side (bottom-line improvements), while also raising employee morale and retention.