The Three Keys to Master Call Center CX Success
The Three Keys to Master Call Center CX Success
The Customer's Experience (CX) with a Contact Center Agent is often the difference between continuing business and switching to a competitor. And no matter how good your CX strategy looks on the C-suite level, it’s your agents who are the primary point of contact for customer experience management. 68% of customers say the customer service representative is key to a positive service experience. If their customer engagement is not good, your customer service metrics will suffer.
The call center is at the very heart of your CX opportunity or loss.
Customer Experience (CX) is more than just a marketing buzzword; it's a critical part of business strategy and has now become a competitive differentiator. So many companies offer similar products and services, the only way for business owners to stand apart is through superior Customer Satisfaction. That means to win, you need to improve your Customer Experience.
Unhappy customers don't always tell you they're unhappy. If they've had a poor experience, they usually don't return, but you can bet they've spread the word. Customers tell an average of nine people about a positive experience with a brand, but they tell 16 people about a bad customer experience. Positive customer feedback is that important. If you don't focus on improving CX, you won't be able to survive.
But how do you make sure you're doing everything you can to improve your call center's CX? Focus on these 3 critical elements: Talent, Tools, Trust.
Talent: Hiring the Right Call Center Agents
Each call center agent acts as an ambassador to your customer – it’s a role with great influence. Just one agent-customer interaction can forever define a customer's opinion (good or bad) of your organization. So don’t rush to fill seats, consider each hire carefully, and look for candidates with this skillset:
- Excellent Communicator
- Calm Under Pressure
- Creative Problem Solver
- Demonstrates Empathy
- Detail Oriented
- Ability to Multitask
- Follows Directions
Think of every quality you’d want in a good employee/friend/neighbor. You'd want someone who can understand, assess and solve problems quickly. That’s what makes an exceptional agent.
“I’m a People Person.”
Great customer service agents have to do much more than read from a script. They must be able to listen carefully and solve problems effectively. During the interview, ask your candidates to demonstrate their skills with role-playing exercises so you can evaluate their ability to communicate effectively. Ask them about a good experience they’ve had as well as a negative one. Ask them to explain what they could have done differently. Getting the right team on board will accelerate your training process and elevate your organization’s Customer Experience.
Tools: Single Platform and User-Friendly Technology
Have you ever gone to the doctor and been handed a clipboard with forms to fill out? It’s usually several pages of questions, but you comply. But then, the nurse brings you into an exam room and asks you the very same questions you just answered in the waiting room. It's annoying, but you comply again. But when the doctor finally shows up and starts asking you the same questions AGAIN, now you’re frustrated. Because it seems that no one is listening to you.
That’s exactly why a single platform is so important for agent success. When a customer makes contact, agents must be able to see all the customer’s previous communications in every form – whether it was via email, voicemail, or chat. This may be the first time the agent has connected with this customer, but from the customer’s POV, this is one of many attempts they’ve made to resolve a problem. If the agent cannot see immediately that this is the fourth time a customer has contacted customer service then they might not be expecting a highly elevated client.
Also, the technology needs to be easy to use in order to facilitate seamless communication. Your agents shouldn’t have to be software experts in order to do their jobs effectively. An agent who is frustrated because technology is not easy to use will spill over into their interaction with the customer. The more productive and effective the interaction, the more satisfied the customer (and agent) will be.
Trust: Build it with Empathy
Of all of the skills required for excellent agent-ing, the ability to establish and build trust is one of the most important. Agents need to utilize empathy, which indicates they understand and acknowledge their customers’ feelings, in order to build trust. Customers need to feel that a company understands them, or they will often take their business elsewhere. Trust helps manage customer expectations and fosters remarkable customer experiences.
But what if your agents are uncomfortable with this idea of empathy, or have no idea how to improve this as a skill? There are several ways you can help agents convey empathy. Start with giving them examples of statements they could make. These statements should always focus and acknowledge how the customer is feeling first. They should make the customer feel valued, put the agent in the customer’s shoes, clarify their situation, and include offers and suggestions.
You can start with some phrases agents can use.
- “I understand why you are frustrated.”
- “Thank you for reaching out to us about this. This is not the experience we want for you.”
- “You have every right to be upset, let me find a solution for you.”
- “I appreciate your patience. Do you think [offer] could help?”
- “I want to make sure I understand you correctly.”
Have them practice these verbatims at first, then have them come up with their own empathetic statement. Spend time practicing various scenarios and improvise these conversations. It’s important to make sure your agents don’t sound scripted, so they should be able to weave these kinds of phrases naturally in all interactions. Authentic empathy creates trust. Trust builds personalized experiences, satisfied customers, and less churn.
All of these features will have a positive influence on your Customer Experience. Now, more than ever before, customers crave connection when it comes to service and support. The right agents, with the right technology who can create trust in your organization, will help ensure CX success.