It's been a tough couple of years for call centers.
A lot has changed in the world. Times are more uncertain than ever before.
But thanks to the hard work of contact center managers, supervisors, and software developers worldwide, we’re now seeing new call center technologies and tactics develop at an unprecedented rate.
This is great news for the industry.
It means more ways of doing things better, faster, and cheaper.
And ultimately, it means more happy customers for your organization too!
But, as we embark on another year, how do you decide on the technologies and tactics best suited to you?
How can you continue to offer top-tier service with agility, low overheads, and minimal fuss - all while keeping your customers smiling?
In this article, we'll be offering you some inspiration. We'll cover:
Let's get started!
Take a look at the tips below. Could one of the following tactics supercharge your call center transformation strategy?
You might have discussed the pros and cons of blended agents in the past, but if you've never done so, 2022 might be the year to give it a try.
If you're unfamiliar with the term, “blended call centers” usually incorporate both inbound and outbound customer service agents.
However, mixing inbound and outbound calls is not the only way you can deploy a blended approach within your contact center.
For instance, you can train your call center agents across multiple contact channels.
That way, a blended agent team can ensure your customers are always able to connect with your business in the most convenient way.
At the same time, your employees will enjoy great flexibility too.
With more multi-disciplined agents on hand, managing your team’s performance suddenly becomes a lot easier!
Following on from our last point, there are some other quick wins you can make with your workforce management strategy.
It all comes down to delegation.
For instance, how do you plan your agents’ time for the working week?
How do you create rotas and cover for staff absence or any other staffing surprises?
If you’ve ever found yourself caught out in the past, no matter how diligently you plan, it might be time to experiment.
Doing so could not only save you from any future staffing woes - it’ll also help you create a better work-life balance for your agents.
To get started with effective delegation, begin by grading the importance of all call center tasks.
Next, increase supervisor autonomy by giving them greater freedom to allocate these tasks as and when is necessary.
Finally, ensure that you’ve adopted our last tactic too - multi-skilled agents.
With these three steps completed, you’ll call center workforce will become much more robust.
If there are any hiccups to your rota or staffing plan, your supervisors can simply adjust workloads on the fly.
In turn, all crucial functions will remain covered, while the less important tasks can be picked up when staff levels are back to full capacity.
Speaking of retraining your supervisors: when was the last time you retrained your call center agents too?
When was the last time you evaluated your training processes from the ground up, even?
Making the commitment to provide the best training for your agents is invaluable.
It can bring new life into an already established team, while also levelling the playing field amongst your staff.
This allows a great opportunity for all team members to learn and develop together - improving morale as well as efficiency.
To get started, experiment with throwing out the rule book and get more personal with your staff:
Try getting rid of monthly or weekly appraisals and start holding daily sessions with your team instead.
And don’t fret if the idea sounds like it’s going to eat up all of your time!
Even a quick chat with individual agents can make a huge difference. Why?
Because daily evaluation and training sessions create a culture of learning amongst your staff.
In turn, both you and your team can take part in wider discussions to develop better working practices over time - rather than just relying on the same old tactics.
It’ll allow you to keep evolving as a contact center well into the future.
Leading on from our last point, another innovative process for you to consider is real-time call monitoring.
By listening in on live calls, you can gain valuable insights into how your agents are performing.
This is particularly useful for quality control purposes. It can also help improve performance appraisals and training too.
After all, real-time monitoring gives you the chance to identify teachable moments as and when they occur.
It means you’re far less likely to miss any coaching opportunities.
Plus, real-time monitoring is also a fantastic way to collect customer feedback data from a variety of customer segments.
The impact this data can have on reviewing contact center processes cannot be understated, so even if this kind of monitoring comes with a workforce management cost, it’s still worth considering.
Either way, whether you monitor metrics like average handling time or the wider customer experience overall, direct customer feedback from real customer service interactions can help you discover the best ways to meet your customer service goals.
In contrast to our last point, if real-time monitoring sounds a little too invasive, you might want to consider introducing more autonomy to your call center team.
Self-monitoring is a great way to get started with this approach.
In essence, self-monitoring invites your call center agents to monitor their own performance against key call center metrics.
For example, if you're looking for improvements in average handling time, you could ask your team to monitor this metric during the course of their working day.
However your agents measure their performance, allowing this kind of autonomous working allows your call center agents to reflect on their performance and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
By taking ownership of their roles, they’ll feel a greater sense of pride in their role - which can also have profound effects on your staff’s overall performance.
After all, who’s more likely to perform to their best: a customer service representative who feels motivated to help customers in a meaningful way, or a support agent who's only watching the clock?
Let's face it.
Some customer service metrics and their abbreviations get repeated so often that the words lose all meaning.
You can probably reel off a bunch yourself, from CSAT scores to FRTs.
Of course, we’re not advocating that you do away with these metrics completely.
You do need to measure at least some metrics within your call center.
It’s the same for setting key performance indicators too.
However, as an organization, you should be looking at the big picture.
Not only should you reappraise your most commonly used metrics and KPIs, you should also understand why you settle on your final choices.
After all, no two organizations will have the same goals, so it’s vital that any KPIs you set truly reflect your center’s specific business objectives.
For instance, you could be focussing too much on lowering call volume levels when you should be focussing on first call resolution.
Either way, identifying the most important metrics and KPIs for your team will allow you to focus on the right improvements and the right steps forward.
Now that we've discussed some key ideas on how to improve your call center processes, let's take a look at the technological innovations you can implement to supercharge your call center customer experience.
There are more communication channels available to the public than ever before.
As such, consumers now expect organizations to be available via several communication methods - from traditional phone calls to website-embedded live chat.
So, how do you keep up with customer demand?
By deploying a multichannel customer engagement platform for your contact center.
In essence, this kind of platform connects your users’ website journeys with your other call center technologies.
And installing such a platform?
It’ll greatly improve customer satisfaction rates and improve efficiency. How?
As customers will be able to connect with your organization in the way that is most convenient for them, you’ll be able to keep customers smiling and limit any queues that your most popular channels face.
For example, say you get a lot of callers who have navigated your website but only need answers to basic queries.
To assist these users and save your staff time, you could deploy a customer service chatbot within your website, ready to help deal with these questions quickly and efficiently.
Next, you could install a live chat function within your website too.
Of course, where the multichannel approach really shines is the interconnectivity between communication methods.
Take the above examples in mind: chatbots and live chat.
With a platform like Talkative, for instance, you can connect these channels and many others, allowing you to create a more superior and seamless customer experience overall.
What’s more, this interconnectivity also greatly aids your support agents.
With customer journeys tracked throughout escalated interactions, all pertinent information is easily accessible at every stage of every interaction.
In turn, you can offer the best service possible and get them their answer fast - whether it’s by a chatbot, live chat, or any other channel you offer.
If you're interested in serving more customers more efficiently, automation and artificial intelligence are two of the most effective innovations you can consider in 2022.
This is because these bots are known to deliver immediate answers without any risk of queuing.
This advantage also benefits your organization, as well as your customer: thanks to automation and AI, these bots can deliver speed and scalability at a reduced cost.
All you need to do is programme the chatbot with your needs in mind, and you’ll be able to defer queues from other channels and provide convenient automated service to countless website visitors.
You could even deploy a social media chatbot for your customers, better connecting your organisations' social channels with your contact centre team.
Just remember: when deploying a chatbot on your site, you'll also want to connect to other channels that are maintained by a human support team.
This way, customers who prefer a more personalized experience can connect with your contact center staff upon request.
What’s more, you avoid the risk of frustrating customers who have more complex queries - a very real risk with chatbots and a digital customer service mistake you certainly want to avoid!
Call centers sometimes get a bad reputation amongst consumers. But why is this the case?
If you’ve ever been on hold with a contact center yourself, you already know the answer:
Long wait times are one of the worst examples of poor customer service.
Nevertheless, every call center manager or supervisor knows that they are sometimes unavoidable.
So, how do you make sure that your customers are receiving assistance in a timely manner, while also reducing queues and increasing efficiency?
That’s where web callbacks come in.
With a solution like Talkative, you can embed callback options straight within your website.
That way, your customers can request a free callback at any time that suits them.
It means your agents can be free to take on more inbound calls, while you and the team face reduced pressure.
It also means you'll diffuse any tension with unhappy customers who would’ve been kept waiting without this option, making web callbacks a very smart choice for connecting your call center and website.
One fantastic way to give your call center a competitive edge is to provide support in a number of languages.
Globalization and multi-culturalism mean that your customers don't just converse in your country's native language.
For example, a local authority serving a city with a large Spanish population needs to deliver the same quality of service to those as native English speakers.
So, by providing multilingual support from your contact center, you can set yourself apart with more personalized customer service - a great move for increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Nevertheless - as you might be thinking - this tactic does come with its challenges.
For instance, it's unlikely that you'll be able to train the majority of your current agents to a fluent standard.
What's more, any new staff you do hire will need training in customer service too.
With these issues in mind, what's the best way to offer multilingual customer service fast?
The answer lies in deploying a customer service platform with built-in multilingual translation.
For example, Talkative's live chat comes with instant automatic multilingual translation capabilities.
It means your support agents can instantly converse with your customers in +100 languages, giving your customers greater accessibility and your organization a competitive edge.
Since the early days of the pandemic, more and more customers have come to appreciate the advent of video customer service.
It's because organizations quickly recognized the advantages that online video chat provides: direct and immediate face-to-face communication, from any location or device.
These benefits are great for creating a more personal and convenient customer experience.
However, the real benefits of a video call center lie in the channel’s ability to boost sales and increase contact center efficiency.
For instance, thanks to the rapport support agents can build via video, some of Talkative's customers have used our video chat solution to increase average order value by 30%!
This ability to build rapport and understanding is also the core reason video chat support is so efficient.
Non-verbal cues, facial expressions, and body language are all crucial elements of an in-person conversation.
As such, video chat allows customers and call center support agents to better understand each other, faster.
Case in point: the average live chat interaction is usually concluded in around ten minutes.
The average video chat session, on the other hand, finishes up at around six minutes!
That time difference adds up throughout the day, leaving you and your team more time to deal with other customers.
So, if you're looking for a true innovation for your call center, give video chat a try today with Talkative’s free trial.
Once upon a time, social media channels were regarded as wholly separate communication channels.
While customers might've used them to discover products and read reviews, efficiently engaging customers via platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram often proved a challenge.
Way back when, you'd have to log into each separately and constantly checking for customer messages.
But now, all that has changed.
These days, you can seamlessly connect channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with your call center - all thanks to social media live chat integration.
In essence, this technology allows your support agents to connect with your customers on their platform of choice.
For instance, say your organization has a Facebook page that sees more engagement than your website. As such, you frequently get questions on Facebook Messenger from customers.
With Talkative's social media messaging, your support agents can answer these queries like they would any other live chat message or email - all from a single dashboard.
It's another fantastic way to speed up response times and reduce friction, allowing you to boost customer satisfaction and efficiency once again.
As we've seen from the innovative ideas above, many new contact center transformation tactics focus on connecting previously disparate contact channels.
Take two of the above points for example: introducing a multichannel approach or adopting blended agents.
Both tactics lead towards similar goals, despite one being a technological innovation and one being a workforce management tactic.
Either way, both of these ideas strive to increase efficiency and streamline customer communication.
As such, one of the best ways to reinvigorate your call center in 2022 is to make sure that each of your customer contact channels is working in tandem with the rest.
After all, if your website and your call center are still acting as separate entities, you'll need to accept a difficult truth:
You won't be able to keep up with your competitors, nor your customers.
It's why Talkative's customers adopted our suite of intelligent contact channels.
With low overheads and rapid deployment, they've been able to boost efficiency and drive revenue, all while increasing convenience and personalization for their end customers.
So, if you’re looking to achieve the same - or exploring other call center innovation ideas for the coming year - get in touch today.
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