The Best Call Center Customer Care Services Are Achievable With the Right Mix
August 09, 2006
By Susan J. Campbell, Workforce Management Contributing Editor
The best call center customer care services consists of the perfect mix of an inbound call center with 24x7 access, a proper workforce management that provides appropriate call center scheduling and call center training, effective call center software that affords the appropriate tools for efficiency and a talented and enthusiastic pool of agents.
What sounds like the ideal call center operation, yet far from reality, really can be achievable when you know what you need and where to look. It doesn’t necessarily require the outlay of excessive capital, but it does require an understanding of how each element contributes to delivering the best call center customer care services.
Converting to a 24x7 operation may seem insignificant, but today’s technology has trained consumers to want access to what they want, when they want it. If a customer cannot access your call center after hours, the result can be that the customer views your company as being less than innovative that service is not your top priority. This perception can result in losing customers to companies that offer this service – a competitive advantage that is easy to overcome.
A properly managed workforce can be best achieved with a hosted workforce management solution. The call center environment is nothing if not dynamic. Ensuring proper scheduling and appropriate agent-to-caller matching can be difficult to orchestrate without help from a proper solution. Benefits for the call center include intraday forecasting performance capabilities, real-time adherence modules and ease of use, maintenance and administration.
Proper agent training is probably the most important element to creating the ideal call center with a perfect customer care service. Agents that are not properly trained to do their job are much more likely to get stressed and frustrated and leave their position. In addition, if the customer does not receive the desired level of service, a company runs the risk of losing the customer as well. When considering the cost of replacing the agent and the customer, it can be in the tens of thousands, so proper training is a smart investment for the call center.
Finding the proper call center software to help your center perform at its best can also be daunting. Many solutions are available that appear to offer the same features. Differentiating between the best and the generic can be difficult, but not impossible.
The first step is to identify what your call center needs in order to be the most efficient. Then, look for a solution that can be customized to your specific needs. You can consider out-of-the-box solutions, but be sure that they are flexible enough to fit your environment; if not, you’ll waste money on features that you either don’t need or can’t use.
When it comes to available employees in the area, you cannot necessarily dictate the talent pool of potential agents in the geographic region in which your call center is located. You can, however, select your location with this element in mind. Lower cost real estate means nothing if the area cannot supply educated and skilled individuals to fill agent positions.
All of the elements discussed here may appear to be elementary considerations for the call center, but many corporations lose sight of the impact each can have in establishing the perfect call center.
The inbound call center is often the primary customer contact for a corporation and companies cannot afford to deliver sub-standard customer service because the cost may be too great or because strategies have gotten away from a customer-centric basis. Getting the focus back on these services can ensure future success of the call center and the company.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.