Whether we receive a call from a telemarketer, or have a problem with a product or service, chances are we will all have an encounter with a call center. How the call center representative responds to us helps determine our loyalty to the brand they represent. One negative experience can taint our opinion and even affect future purchases and decisions.
I have a friend who was very loyal to one of the most popular brands today. She not only purchased several products under this brand, but was saving money to purchase a new tablet and computer manufactured by this same company. She ran into an issue with one of her current products, which was still under warranty. To make a long story short, the “call center” representative provided misinformation on how to return the product and receive a replacement. Thus, a two-day process took over two weeks. She has since decided not to make any future purchases from this company. And, she made sure to discuss this experience in online reviews and across Social Media outlets. This bad experience cost the company future business and a loyal customer. What went wrong? Most likely, there was a break down in communication and training at the call center.
Consumers expect quick solutions and exceptional customer service. Whether a company has their own in-house call center or chooses to outsource these services, it is imperative for call center representatives to be provided with the latest technology and armed with correct information to accurately and effectively represent the brand. A call center with outdated technology is like trying to make an antiquated computer operating MS-DOS run like Windows 8!
Below are some ways call centers are using technology to boost performance and improve customer service:
Even call centers are catching on to the cloud! Not only can cloud services improve functionality, they can drastically cut costs. Most cloud platforms can be easily integrated and updated, eliminating the need for costly hardware and software upgrades. Cloud systems tend to perform faster and are often more reliable than physical networks. New components can be added easily at any time, and maintenance costs are virtually eliminated. There are plenty of cloud providers to choose from; research which one offers the services which best fit your needs.
Keeping call center representatives up to date with the latest policies, offerings, technical support tools and procedures is imperative. Giving outdated or incorrect information reflects badly on the brand and may cause a significant decrease in customer loyalty. Call centers can keep agents up-to-date using online training modules. This convenient and effective form of training does not require participants to sit in a class and can be completed at any time from anywhere.
Multiple Contact Methods
A call center should run more like a contact center. Provide customers with multiple ways to make contact. This can include a traditional phone call, online chat, contact through Social Media or intelligent call back, where a customer can enter their telephone number and a representative will call back at a certain time. Some companies are even offering support via video. Offering a customer a variety of contact methods allows them to choose the option which makes them most comfortable.
Smart Agent Plug-Ins
Offering the wrong product at the wrong time can frustrate a customer. A number of companies offer Smart Agent desktop plug-ins to help agents determine when and if any product offerings are appropriate. They gather information from current and previous calls and make recommendations to agents. I recently called my cable/internet/telephone provider for technical support. Upon the end of the conversation they asked me if I was interested in their home monitoring package. Their “Smart Agent” desktop knew from previous contact with me this would be a service that would perhaps interest me.
Customer Service Management
CRM++ is an example of a Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) product which
streamlines resources and helps maximize the customer experience. Its seamless integration with Oracle® Fusion CRM makes it easy to learn and use. Inbound agents are provided with relevant information about each caller, adding to the ease of interaction. Over 3000 sales, marketing and service & support organizations are using this product to help generate an increased return-on-investment (ROI) and improve their bottom lines.
These are just a few of the many technologies available to call centers. Today, being in the game means staying ahead of the game. Quick, fast, efficient, reliable, and accurate information can make or break your brand!
Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.