Top 10 ways to improve the quality of service in a call center

Any call center has its goal to provide excellent customer service, exceptional customer experience strategy, and high customer satisfaction scores for users. Nonetheless, it is easier to say that than to delight customers in real life – there are too many pitfalls awaiting, including difficult and angry customers, lack of customer feedback, unexpected peak hours with inbound call volumes, and so on.

So, we decided to provide you with 10 tips on how to improve your customer service quality.

1. IVR system optimization for automated service

IVR system is a tool everybody knows, but a few of us experienced positive service from this system. This isn’t because IVR (Interactive Voice Response) software is bad, but because most contact center teams use it improperly.

IVR software has multiple benefits, including:

  1. Self-service options: IVR software can help clients resolve common customer issues on their own, including changing delivery settings, checking balance, operating subscription settings, and so on.
  2. Call queue management: IVR software helps to reduce call abandonement rate for clients who wait in call queues. The system can notify clients about estimated wait time, their queue position and offer to order the IVR callback.
  3. Customer data collection: IVR software collects customer data before the call is routed to appropriate agent, so it is the only system that can help you build intelligent call routing – besides ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) that routes incoming calls.

2. Personalized work with clients thanks to the CRM system

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is the key to building trustful relationships with your customers, but the goal is to integrate data from the CRM system and contact center software, and there is a solution – modern call center solutions offer an option to integrate CRM software, which means customer service agents will be able to see customer data during customer conversations, manage salespipelines, and the systemwill send automatic notification sfor customers on certain stages of customer journey. Thus, you get rid of repetitive tasks and routine work and improve the quality of service, as well as improve employee engagement.

3. WFM system for working time management

You also have to use your contact center software features for workforce management – to manage schedule adherence for your call center agents, prevent call avoidance and other kinds of work avoidance in your call center. Wise workforce management strategy will allow you to deal with peak hours, save operational costs on contact center agent scheduling, improve agent productivity agent experience (contact center employee experience) and agent satisfaction respectively.

4. Finding a solution for agent burnout 

For call centers all over the world, agent burnout and agent attrition are two main issues – the turnover rates are strating at 20% and rising up to 40% yearly. This means that from 10 agents you have hired, 4 will quit their job in less than a year, in most cases – less than three months. This harms not only your upfront costs and budget planning but also your contact center performance – it is impossible to build positive working environment when half of your staff leaves regularly. This demotivates current employees and destroys any opportunity for building stable and self-confident customers service teams. Moreover, you have to pay for onboarding again and again, as if you suffer from such burnout rates, there is no good option to find experienced agents.

To deal with burnout, you have to gather employee feedback, find compromises – especially about vital aspects of work, such as salary and scheduling.

5. KPIs and data-driven decision making

Key performance indicators of a call center are divided into a number of groups:

  • Performance KPIs;
  • Agent performance KPIs
  • Customer satisfaction KPIs;
  • Service quality KPIs;
  • financial KPIs, and others.

You have to track them separately, as every group of KPIs and call center metrics covers one aspect of your call center work. Agent productivity KPIs point out how agents are working and where they feel or don’t feel lack in soft skills, customer satisfaction KPIs show what kind of customer experience you provide, service quality KPIs show how you follow service level standards, and so on.

6. Training and supervision of agents

You have to train your agents regularly, and this doesn’t relate to onboarding training sessions only. First of all, you have to adpat your training programs and training sessions to real requirements of the work – agents have to gain required hard skills and soft skills, especially such as communication skills and active listening skills to service customers with the service of highest quality.

Secondly, you have to provide agents with different training tactics, including gamification, work in pairs, and so on, so they can learn information in conditions taht are adapted to real work situations. Finally, agent training has to include permanent and detailed communication between agents and mentors, so they can see their progress in real time and discuss different aspects of their regular training to improve its productivity.

7. Reward system as main motivation for agents

You have to build reward motivational system for agents so they will have relevant motivation to overperform and achieve their goals and KPIs you set for them. In such stressful environment as call center work, agents often give up and quit their job as it doesn’t offer visible career opportunities and good salary, and consequently, there is no motivation for young employees to do their best. On the other hand, if you offer them possible career growth opportunities and material bonuses for overperformance, they will be more likely to show their best and perform better – as you want them to do.

Motivational system has to include career growth opportunities too – as agents often leave call center job because it seems to be “temporarily”. Let’s be honest – no one wants to be call center agent till the end of his days.

8. Call scripts to ensure service quality

Call script is a scenario of a customer conversation with a call center agent that is formed as document where agent can see phrases he needs to use during conversation to achieve expected result of the communication. In other words, call scripts are precise guidelines for agents to manage call flow in the right direction. Yes, most experienced agents don’t use call scripts to convince prospective customers to accept their offers, but call script guarantees that you will never be lost on topic of the conversation or caught off guard by any customer’s question.

Call scripts can also be dynamic, which means they can have different scenarios that change depending on customer answers.

9. Provide quality assurance procedures for agents

Quality assurance, or quality control procedures, are a vital part of call center operations, as they are focused on making sure that agents are performing their work in accordance with rules and regulations set in place by the internal policies and service standards of the company. As both sales agents and csutomer service agents are direct representatives of the brand, you can’t let them harm brand’s reputation or image when communicating with customers, so you have to control their work with specific procedure – besides the fact that you have to monitor their customer phone calls too.

10. Focus on improvement of customer satisfaction

Customer experience and customer satisfaction are two main goals for any comany that is looking for stable business growth and development, as we all know that customer retention is much cheaper and, what’s more important, profitable than customer acquisition. For instance, 80% of your profit is generated by only 20% of your current customers – and add here that customer acquisition is on average 5 times more expensive than customer retention, and you will understand why successful brands try to focus on saving their existing customers rather than on acquiring new ones.

Customer retention is built on positive customer experience, and customer experience consists of four key elements: customer effort, customer satisfaction, customer brand advocacy, customer loyalty, and your ability to resolve customer issues within one contact – and finally, your ability to meet and exceed customer expectations. If you want to improve customer experience and make it positive for all customers you have, you should focus on improving each of its components separately – then the result will surprise you.