Whether you are the leader of a company involved in helping each department overcome obstacles or part of a call center management team, you likely already understand the importance of improving internal processes designed to reach higher performance goals.
When it comes to your customer service team, offering real data in the form of call center quality analytics to give phone agents insights into how their actions affect each customer’s experience is critical. This knowledge brings many benefits to your staff as well as your clients if the research and analysis is completed correctly. There are many options in the processes you can use. Consider each one and decide which methods will work best for your particular company and industry.
The Importance of Quality Customer Service
Before you are able to implement any changes, you may need to convince members of your staff and team of the importance of having a customer-centered service mentality and the benefits it can bring to your company. The current business environment has been dubbed “The Age of the Customer” because consumers are heavily drawn to customer-focused businesses and will often rank the service they receive as more important than the actual product or brand being promoted. With endless competition in almost every area of commerce, besides brand recognition there is no reason for a modern consumer to stick with a company if they feel they are not valued and respected by its employees. This change in business interactions has driven many businesses to focus on their customer care program and recognize its importance to the success of their entire company.
This need has necessitated new developments in software and professional consultants to assist businesses in locating concerns and developing strategies for addressing them. Quality assurance services have proven effective in thousands of companies. Industry professional Etech reports that while an effectively implemented program can cause customer satisfaction to increase, it also has been shown to dramatically reduce call handle time and agent turnover. Effective changes have saved companies money by increasing the average value of each order as well as the productivity of each agent. By making changes in the customer service department, positive impacts can be felt in every division of the company.
When you have convinced fellow staff members of the importance of maintaining a high level of quality in your customer care department, you’re ready to discover faltering areas, define the vision you have for your company and build the plan necessary to get there. A clear strategy will ensure that all employees are on the same page and can work together with more understanding. There are three steps that need to be taken in order to give your plan the best chance possible at being effective:
- Research the customer experience;
- Build your vision; and
- Create a plan.
This article will discuss methods for performing research. Next month, in Part 2 of this series, we’ll offer some insights for building your vision and creating a plan.
Research the Customer Experience
No matter what tactics you decide to implement to better your company, a solid understanding of which aspects of your service need improvement will guide the direction of the changes you make. Without conducting adequate research, you may waste time working on areas that are fine and ignore those that need the most attention. The best way to understand how your customers are feeling about their interactions with your employees is to perform research through one or more of the following methods.
After a call, many businesses request that callers remain on the line for a short survey about their experience. This is a great way to gather data since customers are already on the phone, but if you’re struggling to engage customers after the call is over, you may want to offer an incentive for completing the survey.
Sending an email with a survey link is another common way to learn how callers felt about a recent experience. Be respectful of the client’s time; a long survey is much less likely to be completed. Also, feel free to explain that you’re using these surveys to improve the quality of customer interactions in the future.
Ask for Ratings
If you have an online presence and use chat customer service, asking customers to rate their experience and offer feedback can be a quick and simple way to find out how they felt about it. Numbered scales or stars may be good visuals to allow them to clarify their feelings and give you a simple way to gather precise call center quality analytics that will determine which areas need attention.
Recorded Phone Calls
Virtually everyone has been informed at the beginning of a business call that their conversation is being recorded for quality purposes. While this method relies on a supervisor’s perception of how the call went instead of the customer’s view, it can be useful in later coaching and training to point out areas that need improvement as well as aspects that were completed well. There are also software programs, like Etech’s QEval, that make this entire process simpler by providing a module where reports and statistics can be curated and agents can log in at any time to review their evaluations and effectiveness.
Organize Focus Groups
Another method for gathering data is to form a focus group to discuss participants’ experiences with your customer service team. This can be done virtually or in person, but you will usually need to compensate the participants for their time. An invitation to join a focus group can be extended to clients after they have had an interaction with a customer service agent. This method is often used in the preliminary stages of research to identify problem areas and determine which areas to focus surveys on to determine if the issue is a widespread concern.
While you hate to see a customer cancel your product or service, understanding their reasons for doing so can prove to be an invaluable learning opportunity. When a customer calls and insists on canceling with you, request that they complete a survey before doing so to make you aware of the reasons they have for ending their agreement with you. If the issues lies with the customer service experience, you’ll gain needed insight into specific problems your team can work on to avoid additional losses.
Performing outgoing phone calls to discuss customer satisfaction is another way to elicit opinions about your client’s call center experience. If you decide to utilize this route, be sure to keep calls brief and emphasize respect to avoid annoying customers.
Each of these methods can be formatted to best suit your specific needs, but often having a rating system along with the option to provide longer, thoroughly explained answers can eliminate any confusion and allow customers to offer insightful details into why they feel the way they do.
Having an in-depth understanding of how the customer views their experience will allow you to identify which aspects of the overall customer experience can be improved. It also assures that you will be able to develop a plan that sufficiently and accurately meets your needs. Once you’ve determined the areas that need help, you’ll be able to move on to the next steps—building your vision and creating a plan. Stay tuned!