It’s no secret that expectations around customer service are changing.
Customers today don’t want to wait in a queue to speak to the right representative. They also don’t want to have to deal with things like repeating their concerns to multiple people or calling your business when they’d rather communicate via text. In an environment where customers are more demanding and digitally savvy, companies must be prepared to evolve to suit the needs of their customers. If you’re not providing the kinds of experiences that your customers want, they’ll go elsewhere.
So, how do you make sure that your customer service strategy is up to scratch?
Start by upskilling your agents.
The Importance of Upskilling Call Centre Agents
As customer service expectations continue to evolve, it’s no longer enough for companies to offer basic training to their teams once every year or two. The average call centre agent needs to learn how to adapt in an environment that’s constantly changing.
You might have upgraded your data management strategies in the last few years for GDPR. Maybe you’re using video as well as audio to support your customers today.
How to improve customer service skills in call centre
Regularly upskilling your agents means you can ensure that they’re always informed and empowered to deliver the best results.
Here are some quick ways to get started.
1. Set Clear Expectations
For your employees to perform at their best, they need clear guidelines. This means that your agents need a collection of best-practice materials and guides that they can go to whenever they’re feeling uncertain.
Look at your call centre processes and ask yourself which practices might cause confusion for your agents. Do you have a specific strategy for dealing with complaints? What does your agent need to do when a customer asks for their data to be removed from your system?
Having clear policies in place will lead to fewer mistakes and less panic in your workplace. This also means that employees can deliver what your customers need much faster.
2. Support Back-End Collaboration
Agents are always stronger when they have support from their teams.
One of the biggest frustrations that today’s customers face when they contact a call centre, is repeating their problem to multiple agents. Your customer doesn’t want to explain themselves multiple times just because the first person they get through to isn’t able to deal with their enquiry.
One way to fix this problem is to implement tools like intelligent routing to ensure that the right agent picks up the right call every time.
Another option is to create a back-end collaboration environment where team members can quickly contact colleagues and subject matter experts for help. Presence features will show team members who are available instantly, so they don’t have to put customers on hold for too long.
3. Bring Context into Training
Training your employees by asking them to imagine themselves in hypothetical situations might be fine initially. However, we all know how different it is to imagine what you would say to an angry or upset customer, and to actually address that situation.
With that in mind, bring more real-life context into training experiences. Through call recording components, you can not only improve the compliance of your business environment, but also enhance training experiences too. Recording systems mean that you can harness all of the essential information from conversations with customers and use that data to give agents a more realistic training experience.
Remember, it’s also important to ensure that you adapt your training to the individual needs of agents. Different people in your team might learn in different ways. Exploring different options like one-on-one mentoring, online learning, and practical activities could be a great way to improve knowledge retention.
4. Improve Business Visibility
If you want your agents to deliver better experiences to customers, it’s a good idea to let them see what they’re doing right, and what they’re doing wrong. Contact centre analytics and reporting tools offer a behind-the-scenes insight into things like customer satisfaction scores, agent productivity levels, and more.
These statistics can highlight areas where your employees are having the most trouble with supporting fantastic customer experiences. That means that you can set up training strategies specifically to deal with those pain points.
Some companies even set up gamification strategies that help to engage agents too. Showing your employees their number of successful calls on a wallboard and having them compete for a higher score can sometimes lead to higher levels of camaraderie.
5. Empower Agents with New Technology
Transformations in contact centre technology are driving new and improved results for contact centre agents. Today’s call centre analytics systems can feature things like sentiment analysis, to determine when a call might be going in the wrong direction.
In some cases, it’s possible to set up automated alerts that inform a supervisor or manager when a customer’s sentiment is too negative. This can lead to live call monitoring and coaching on the back-end of your call centre software. This extra support will guide more inexperienced agents through the process of handling complicated calls.
There are other ways that technology can empower agents too. For instance, as mentioned above, intelligent call routing means that agents will get the calls they’re best suited for based on their skills. What’s more, automated systems can provide customers with a kind of self-service experience that takes some of the extra pressure off your team.
Listen to your Agents and Continue to Evolve
The customer experience environment is always evolving, driven by changing customer demands and expectations. As your company continues to transform, make sure that you listen to your agents and ask for their feedback on how they can deliver better outcomes to your customers. Often, agents are the first to know about a broken process or procedure in customer service.
Give Your Call Agents The Tools They Need To Succeed
Listening to your agents and taking their feedback into account also leads to a better sense of respect and a stronger company culture for your business. Remember, the more you’re willing to learn and grow, the better your call centre will be. Give your agents the tools they need to succeed, find out which Akixi solution is suited to your needs by using our Product Selector Tool.
Discover Akixi’s award-winning call centre software by booking a free online demo.