Call center executives are constantly under pressure to find cost-savings. Yet, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.” The key takeaway is that you cannot skimp on customer service. So, how do you reduce costs while not damaging your customer service function? Investing in the right technology can go a long way in reducing costs while actually improving the overall quality of customer service. From effortlessly providing customer support in any language to managing staffing requirements as a result of call volume spikes, implementing the right technology can be transformational.
Category Archives: Customer Experience
It’s our turn.
If you’ve had your eyes on the Fonolo blog for the past nine years, you know that in that time we have dedicated ourselves to bringing you news and views of all kinds that impact the customer service and contact center spaces. Sometimes, though, we have to turn the microphone towards ourselves and give voice to our own customer service happenings and the hard-working customer support contingent that buoys our own brand. Today, we welcome Fonolo Solutions Engineer James R. K. Dantow into the writers’ fold. In addition to talking ‘call-backs’, he has a confession to make.
— The Fonolo Team
My Fonolo story begins like many other engineers: I’ve always had a knack for computers.
Actually, I had a knack for technology in general. This was partially due to proximity: My father began his career in IT in the early 1990s at IBM. This meant many days of my childhood were spent in computer training rooms littered with state-of-the-art IBM Pentium II desktops, huge SVGA projectors, and other fantastic gadgets. To kill time while I waited for him to finish work, I used these computers to play, explore, learn (and honestly, break) all of the training machines that he had spent so much time setting up. And so, naturally, I too looked forward to a career in IT. And like many others, this meant starting out in a call center, answering the phone calls of helpless software users, as a lowly, humble Technical Support Representative (TSR).
It’s imperative in a time of high competition and demand that your contact center is in optimal condition. Much like ensuring that our young are safe from harm’s way, yet still have the freedom to explore and grow, contact center leadership must ensure that their departments are safe-guarded while still maintaining the capability to grow internally and externally both in service and in excellence.
Business consultant Peter Drucker noted, “the purpose of a business is to create a customer,” and the purpose of the call center is to maintain the customer. Ultimately, contact centers exist to serve and help your customers while providing an exceptional experience; this above-and-beyond service leads to more satisfied consumers who, given the right experience, will stay on as loyal customers and continue to invest in the brand. Now, that sounds easy enough, but contact centers are well aware of how much of a challenge that is, as keeping customers happy is their primary focus.
With these realities in mind, let’s take a look at three proven ways to baby-proof your own contact center by providing exceptional customer experience and keeping the bottom line in mind.
Certain commentators in the customer service space have been predicting the death of the call center. While it’s true that channel preferences are shifting, it would be incorrect to conclude that the voice channel will be buying the farm anytime soon. In fact, as we’ve argued before, phone calls are still essential to the success of customer service.
It’s true that self-serve options have become more effective at handling “easy” transactions: For example, large swathes of consumers use these online interfaces to track packages or confirm reservations. This means that when customers make a phone call, their queries are typically more complex and contentious. So, the stakes are raised, and it’s even more imperative that call centers exceed the expectations of customers.
To help with this, here are five things customers want (and expect) when they phone in to a call center.
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One of our goals with the Fonolo blog is to expose our readers to a broad range of voices on a broad range of topics. We share a lot of diverse content, including lists of industry reports, links to discussion groups, and our own white papers. I know it can be hard work to keep up with all that reading.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, you’re in the mood for some lean-back content. So, this week, we put together some video you can queue up and watch.
Here at Fonolo, we understand the many issues call centers face in regards to staffing, spikes, hold times, call abandonment, and more. That is why we’ve tasked ourselves to research the best solutions to deal with these problems head-on. While nothing can beat call-backs in improving your call center experience for both customers and agents, we are happy to announce the findings from our years of research.
You might already be thinking you know the answer:
Internet of Things?
What is it?
From furry to feathery, and everything in between, they are here to take your animal farm of a call center to the next level. Our latest report will show you how, now.
Contact center managers are, at their core, problem-solvers. One of the most challenging problems they often face is dealing with unpredictable spikes in call volume. Sometimes the causes of call spikes are understood, even anticipated. Yet, in many cases, these periods of peak call volume come as a real shock to everyone in the contact center. For example, a marketing event promoting a product sale would be an easy predictor for an influx in calls, whereas an unexpected power outage or sudden bout of the flu in the contact center isn’t something that can be readily planned for. Or is it?
While on a call with a customer, the language used is incredibly important. Call center agents are likely to have many, many conversations over the course of a work day, so it’s easy to forget the importance of each and every interaction you have with a customer on the line.
When handling multiple customer service tickets each day, using certain phrases or expressions can become second nature. Certain repeated phrases can make customers feel like they are not being heard, or as if they are being spoken down to – these are not ideal results, and indicate a language problem that, luckily, is easily solved.
Let’s take a look at a few commonly-used phrases that call center agents should avoid at all costs.
Utility companies provide people with critical and valuable services: Heat, hydro, and other essentials that consumers have come to rely on. Given the increasing number of customers they must support, these companies would certainly benefit from implementing strong customer service offerings. Poor customer service and disorganized call centers can not only be frustrating for consumers, but also have a negative impact on the company’s revenue, customer retention, and business acquisition.
Utility companies have a huge opportunity to improve their customer service strategies and reap the rewards. By embracing modern customer service technology as a must-have ‘utility’, these brands can set themselves apart from their competitors.
The buying experience often gets the most attention in customer service. Conversions are the name of the game for most businesses, so it would make sense that importance is placed on the process leading up to a purchase. For example, retail brands focus heavily on ensuring that sales associates help shoppers find the right sizes, greet guests warmly, create quick and easy checkout processes, and include thoughtful touches like water bottles in change rooms.
These are all important components of a great customer service experience, but so are the processes that take place after the fact. Indeed, the post-purchase experience can be just as important, if not more so, in securing customer loyalty. Customers want to feel that they are important even after they have handed over their money. So, how do you ensure you make your clients and customers feel valued after they’ve purchased something from your company? Here are a few strategies that can help.