If you are ready to improve the customer experience and efficiency of the operations in your contact center, the smartest place to begin making improvements is with those who are performing the work– your call center agents. With proper training, easy access to relevant resources, and a full picture of the customer’s history, your agents will be empowered to provide your customers with a positive experience.
Broaden Your Training & Train Often
When considering employee performance, it is important to train your employees in both hard skills and soft skills. Your employees need to know more than how to use the computer, what products or services you provide, and general company policy. They also need to know how to think with a problem-solving mindset and how to show empathy to the customer. Your employees need more than tutorial videos and how-to guides. While those are valuable, they need to be able to have discussions with colleagues who can share real experiences and insight. And they need regularly scheduled training beyond what they receive upon being hired.
Yes, training new call center agents is overwhelming. Finding time for continued education and providing training in broader skill sets probably feels impossible. What you should do is create an atmosphere where your agents can learn from each other. There are two ways you can implement this initiative:
- Create an internal discussion forum where employees can ask questions and provide suggestions to one another.
- Set up a mentor/mentee program, encouraging regular Q&A training sessions that don’t require management’s participation at every touchpoint.
Create a Knowledge Hub
If you want to improve the accuracy and pace at which your call center agents can resolve customer issues, it is imperative that you provide them with a knowledge hub. This hub should be filled with:
- Industry-Specific Resources
Slim down scripts to key bullet points rather than lengthy monologues. You want your call center agents to feel confident by having the right answers in front of them, but you also want them to feel empowered and comfortable in their conversation with the customer. Customers want to speak to a human, not a robot reciting lines.
It is important to log answers to common problems to save time by avoiding unnecessary and repetitive problem-solving. Something you want to remember when organizing these FAQs is to make the answers as short and direct as possible. Information that is organized into easily digestible snippets will make it easier for your call center agents to answer customer questions quickly.
If you want to take it up a notch, consider making these same FAQs available to the public so customers have the potential to solve their problems before they even pick up the phone.
There are many types of documents you can include in your knowledge hub that are specific to your industry. While this requires your expertise in the industry itself, you might consider the following as you begin to fill the hub:
- Sales enablement tools should an upsell opportunity present itself
- Forms commonly requested by customers
- Visuals such as infographics or tutorial videos
Most importantly, the information within this knowledge hub should be organized in a way that is intuitive and easily searchable. The goal here is to enable the first call center agent that the customer comes in contact with to have quick access to the resources they need to solve the issue. This prevents unnecessary hold time or a need to be transferred to a new agent.
Thoroughly Document Customer History
One of the greatest resources you can give your agents is a thorough record of a customer’s past conversations. The greatest thing your agents can do for each other is take notes that will prove useful in the customer’s record. When a customer calls your contact center, your agents should give them ample opportunity to explain their issue while the agent listens closely and takes notes.
Thorough record-keeping can be easily managed through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. This allows all points of contact the customer has with your call center to build upon each other rather than start from scratch. This includes emails, chats, calls, and past product or service purchases. By giving your agents access to such a database, the likelihood of your customers having to repeat themselves will decrease, and your customer satisfaction scores will rise.
Invest in Future Savings
Properly training and providing your agents with adequate resources is an investment worth your time and money. Employee performance is incredibly important. In fact, your employees are one of the three key pillars of your call center that need to remain in equilibrium if you want to see maximum success. You can choose to continue to struggle with your workforce management systems, or you can choose to implement appropriate technology solutions that will improve employee performance, increase your bottom line, and decrease turnover in your call center.
If you need help finding the right place to start, download our whitepaper discussing the five most important metrics you should be tracking in your call center. These metrics will help you identify where your contact center is falling short so you can prioritize your operational improvements and move your contact center towards maximum success.