Best Practices for Call Center Outsourcing
When considering call center outsourcing, high-performing call centers understand that being innovative and employing industry best practices are the best ways to create efficient, productive, happy workplaces. BPO providers who aim to deliver value-added services and develop long-term partnerships must integrate these four call center best practices into their organizational philosophy and processes:
Empower the Customer Service Representative
The Contact Center Pipeline reports that reducing agent turnover is still the top challenge for contact centers to conquer. In addition to contributing to negative customer satisfaction and team morale, high attrition results in a loss of thousands of dollars per employee. Increasing workforce stability requires developing strong recruitment procedures that vet candidates for organizational skills, a friendly attitude, creativity and clear communication competencies.
Other effective strategies for empowering agents include offering incentives, recognition, professional development and career growth opportunities as well as flexible working environments, customer-centered KPIs, competitive pay and benefits. Call centers must also provide the tools that agents need to succeed in their jobs. Beyond the required computer, headset and internet connection, agents need robust customer relationship management software and flexible scripts that guide yet allow for improvisation when necessary.
Develop Comprehensive Training Programs
Investing in quality agent training is essential to running productive call center outsourcing. Alongside technology training, onboarding programs should cover tangible tools for staying calm under pressure, active listening, dealing with emotional customers, problem-solving and managing stressful days due to high call volumes. Whether they are using a shared or dedicated agent model, each client’s team should also be well versed in the brand messaging and product details. The entry-level nature of the industry means that employees new to the workforce may need additional coaching to develop proficient business skills. This comprehensive approach empowers agents to do their job competently.
Conduct A/B Tests
Keeping customers happy requires more than measuring how well your call center is currently performing. High-value call centers continually strive to provide the best customer experiences possible by experimenting with new software, hardware and program strategies. Due to a variety of variables, analyzing if things have changed after rollout does not paint a complete picture. In contrast, an A/B test allows you to isolate the actual impact of the changes.
The most insightful A/B results are produced when a team is assembled from the same location, workgroup, job function and experience and just half the agents test the campaign. Ideally, the new variation is also equally split demographically amongst the customers. Call centers have begun experimenting with this staple marketing technique to identify best practices for customer journey mapping, personalizing multichannel communication, optimizing follow-up times and effective agent scripting.
Monitor Customer Experience
Key performance indicators (KPI) are the backbone of call centers. Data generated from average handle time, calls per hour and first call resolution is used to measure productivity and efficiency against return on investment. However, successful call center outsourcing looks further than bottom-line profits to understand if customers are receiving quality experiences.
While it is more difficult to measure qualitative experiences, monitoring customer-centric metrics provides insights on how a customer care center can enhance its service quality. These KPIs can include looking at customer satisfaction, contact quality, length of call and agent courteousness. Combining them with call quality monitoring tools, such as call recording, screen captures, in-call coaching and consumer surveys, provides a more accurate view of each agent’s performance and each customer’s level of satisfaction. Armed with this information, you will be able to pinpoint specific areas for process improvement and where additional training is needed.