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.
The Enterprise Connect conference is one of the largest events in communications technology. It’s often the venue for major announcements from the biggest vendors. It was here that Twilio announced Flex. It was here that Avaya announced Breeze, SnappIns, and Zang. It was here that Amazon launched Connect.
Big announcements this year include the launch of two new cloud contact centers called Edify and Thrio; a new contact center from Vonage called CX Cloud Express (based on their acquisition of NVM which we covered here); and the rebranding of Polycom/Plantronics as “Poly.”
But as for the big call center vendors, their announcements were less dramatic, and all revolved around AI.
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.
Text-based communication plays a growing role in customer service. There are several big questions around how it will evolve. The most important one, in my mind, is how text should work alongside voice. What is the ideal arrangement between typing and talking?
The second big question is: What channel will carry the messages? We have four broad categories: Web-based chat, SMS, social media (e.g. Twitter DMs), and proprietary networks (e.g. Facebook Messenger, Apple Chat). I know that other people divide things differently, but this structure makes sense to me. On that second question, there’s been quite a bit of news in recent months. Let’s go through it.
After graduating from university, I spent a sun-soaked 18 months living in Southern California. Having moved from Ireland, my family and friends back home were interested to hear what I liked and disliked about my new life “state side.” They did not expect to hear about my adoration for the supermarket chain Trader Joe’s, which happened to be conveniently located two blocks from my apartment.
I never considered trips to supermarkets to be transcendent experiences. So, why was I suddenly enjoying this erstwhile chore? It’s because Trader Joe’s (or “TJ’s” as it’s affectionately known) is no ordinary supermarket. It’s quirky. It’s affordable. It stocks good products. There is an essence of good vibes, partially attributable to the Hawaiian-shirt-attired employees and handwritten signs. Plus, when you’re in a crowded store after a long day of work, the friendly folks that work there lighten your mood.
I’m not the only TJ’s fan. In fact, there’s a dedicated fan club for people who are as equally smitten as me. TJ’s has also picked up some notable awards for customer experience, most recently ranking first among multichannel retailers in Forrester Research’s 2018 U.S. Customer Experience Index. So, how has TJ’s turned CX into its competitive advantage?
When I first stepped foot into the Fonolo office nearly a year ago, I was also knowingly dipping my toes into the customer service ecology. With the abundance of experts, thought leaders, Twitter handles, and publications that make up the DNA of both the customer service and customer experience industries, it quickly became clear that the learning curve would be steep. Luckily, though, there exist a host of organizations whose resources caught me up to speed in fairly short order.
Are you new to the customer service space and currently seeking a) some fundamental orientation information; and b) membership in some pivotal circles where important CS knowledge is shared? One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself in your education is exposure to some vital organizations that offer resources, events, and other educational pieces that will make you an expert in no time. Read on to learn about (and bookmark!) eight customer-focused organizations, acronyms and all, that you should be following this year and beyond.*
Customer service is a difficult job at the best of times. However, when your customers are patients, the dynamic becomes all the more challenging. Dealing with patients who are in crisis or pain, and on top of that, are emotionally drained, can create increasingly sensitive scenarios for call center agents to handle.
This is why handling call center conversations within the healthcare field requires a unique set of skills. In order to ensure that communication is as positive and productive as possible, here are a few tips we think all call center agents working in the healthcare space could benefit from.
This year, the only transmission that companies should be ‘tuning in to’ is customer experience (CX). We are firmly in a CX renaissance: 89% of companies now compete on the basis of customer experience alone. So, in 2019, breaking through the noise coming from the competition and providing a static-free customer experience are both increasingly important.
Companies are striving to take customer experience more seriously than in the past and, as a result, are realizing that CX is what makes the difference in ROI, sales, customer loyalty, and overall success. However, this is easier said than done. The customer of today is informed, connected, and possesses more product and service knowledge than ever before. To succeed, companies must continuously meet the extraordinary demands and expectations of today’s connected consumer.