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.
Tag Archives: contact-center
It was just last year that Air Canada was flying high after being named Best Airline in North America by Skytrax, an independent U.K. research firm that surveys 20 million global travelers yearly. Another fun fact: Air Canada is the only four-star-rated international carrier in North America. This certified airline rating system is recognized as an industry benchmark of airline standards in airport and cabin staff services’ onboard products; and business-class lounge offerings. Air Canada even won the Air Transport World’s Eco-Airline of the Year in 2018 and, the year before that, was listed as one of Canada’s top 100 employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc.
On paper, our beloved national airline, this flag carrier, is a nerdy octogenarian with an affinity for collecting accolades. So what, you may ask, is Air Canada doing in OnHoldWith.com’s top three worst company overall and top four in the airline industry in terms of the number of customer complaints in the Twitterverse?
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.
Contact center software and CRM software have been on a slow collision course for decades. It’s not hard to understand why: They both deal with customer communication so the boundary was destined to get blurry. Now that both worlds are increasingly cloud-based, the collision is accelerating.
How can we make this more concrete? How can we figure out how far along the process is? Well, it would be great to look at how companies were paying for the whole “customer service” apparatus and see which share is going to CRM companies versus call center companies. But this “share of spend” approach is very hard to do.
Another way to do that is to look at what’s happening at the agent desktop.
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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When it comes to contact center ‘best practices,’ the library runneth over: Hundreds of articles and reports have been written on the practical ways contact centers can reduce operating expenses without sacrificing quality. This is because senior management are typically reluctant to pump money into call centers, seeing them as a cost center and not a profit center. This in turn increases the pressure to identify ways to reduce cost. The challenge is that a majority of these “cost-reductions” lead to markedly poorer customer service quality. So, can you reduce contact center costs and improve customer service? To many contact center managers and executives, achieving this would be akin to finding the Holy Grail.
To achieve the kind of cost savings that truly impact the bottom line, contact center leaders need to reconsider the typical ho-hum tactics. Improving scripts and workflows to shorten calls will only get your organization so far. The answer? Invest in cost-saving technology that will reduce overheads and improve the quality of your customer care.
… And we’re back with another round of the latest and greatest in the customer experience game. Let’s put our hands together and give it up for the 2019 winners of Fonolo’s Customer Experience Excellence Awards!
Now in its 4th year, the Customer Experience Excellence Awards examine the work of outstanding contact centers from all industries and regions. It recognizes those who are leading the pack and spearheading the delivery of a superior customer experience for their customers by significantly reducing hold times. This year we are honored to acknowledge two distinguished businesses for their outstanding achievement in improving their customers’ experiences through the offering of call-backs.
Let’s roll out the carpet and congratulate the 2019 Customer Experience Excellence Award Winners of 2019 (#CXAwards):
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.
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.