Delivering great customer service is essential to business success, but maintaining service quality can be challenging, especially as your company scales up and your staff’s workload increases. Call center satisfaction reached its lowest level in nine years in 2015, dropping to 68 on the CFI Group’s 100-point Contact Center Satisfaction Index, Toister Performance Solutions, Inc. says. Leading contributors to dissatisfaction included time to resolve issues, poor self-service design, policies that fail to address non-standard problems and flawed use of interactive voice response systems.
Dealing with these types of issues can be daunting, but fortunately there are some steps you can take to get call center complaints under control. Here are four ways to maintain high call center satisfaction rates as your company scales up.
1. Set Measurable Goals
A foundation for improving your customer service is tracking your performance by monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs). International Finance Corporation recommends monitoring KPIs in four key areas to maintain high call center satisfaction:
1. Telephone benchmarks include the percent of calls that are answered by a human agent within 20 seconds (service level), average speed to answer and abandonment rate.
2. Important efficiency benchmarks include accuracy of call volume forecasting, adherence of agents to schedule, percent of time agents are occupied on calls, average call duration and average time to wrap up call paperwork after the call ends.
3. Significant human resource benchmarks include absenteeism and attrition turnover.
4. Top service benchmarks include customer satisfaction rate, first call resolution rate and adherence of agents to quality assurance points such as how calls are answered and ended.
You’ll find it easiest to track these types of key performance indicators if you adopt call center software that facilitates KPI monitoring. For instance, 8×8 Virtual Contact Center enables you to view a customized display of KPIs and business insight analytics metrics.
2. Automate Effectively
Using automation is essential for maintaining efficiency as your customer base grows larger and your staff’s workload grows. However, clumsy use of automation can backfire. For instance, American customers’ top service complaint is being unable to reach a live human being on the phone, a Consumer Reports survey reports.
A key to using automation efficiently without diminishing your service quality is to harness technology to deliver personalized customer service. For example, you can use interactive voice response (IVR) analytics to analyze a caller’s previous history and predict what they’re most likely calling about based on their account information, recent transactions, location or other relevant data. This can enable you to more quickly route a customer to a live agent if their issue requires it. You can even use IVR proactively to contact customers with pre-emptive notifications, reminders and personalized offers.
3. Support Self-Service
Customer service tracking polls consistently show that consumers prefer self-service as their first option for resolving issues. Last year, for the second year in a row, Forrester research found that consumers employed web or mobile self-service more frequently than speaking to agents over the phone.
As with IVR, self-service must be deployed carefully in order to be effective. When customers can’t find the answers they need through self-service options, they end up wasting more time before contacting your agent, lowering satisfaction. Make sure your self-service database is responsive to customer needs by using analytics to track which questions customers type most often in your on-site search bar, which help pages they visit most frequently,and which keywords they use when landing on your site with questions. Make it as easy as possible for customers to access your self-service tools through highly visible navigation options and features such as search bars and FAQ pages. Integrate chatbots with self-service options so that chatbots automatically call up relevant self-service answers. Test your self-service tools’ performance to make sure they’re meeting user needs.
4. Provide Integrated Omnichannel Service
Effective use of automation and self-service tools requires taking an omnichannel approach to customer service. Whereas your representatives experience customer interactions through a diverse range of channels, for customers, their interaction with your company is a single experience whether they’re using self-service, live chat, the phone or email. Having to repeat information on one channel they’ve already provided on another channel increases customer wait time and irritation levels.
By using a call center that integrates information about customers across all channels, you can allow representatives to see the customer’s entire history at a glance so that they don’t need to waste time soliciting previously-provided information. An omnichannel approach also provides context to customer inquiries so that automated self-service and live chat tools can employ analytics to deliver customers more relevant, more satisfying options and solutions.