Want to level up your call center for 2023? Follow these five best practices.
Call center success relies heavily on effective internal and customer communication. So we’ve put together a list of best practices that will strengthen the core of your call center so you can start the year off right.
#1. Provide Thorough Training
Training is often an afterthought at call centers. But, in 2023, it’s time to change that. Every single agent needs comprehensive training to fully understand the job at hand and achieve the unique goals at your call center (more on that in the next point).
So how can you offer thorough training for all the agents you hire? Use this checklist:
- Implement a shadowing period: When you hire someone new, that person will need at least a week to shadow an experienced agent. During this time, your new hire can see how your team communicates and solves problems, what processes and procedures happen regularly, and the expectations in this new role.
- Build a knowledge base: It would take a lot of work for newly-hired agents to retain all the new information they get upon starting at your call center. Keeping a knowledge base ready for them is a great way to ensure essential information is available to them whenever they need it. This could be a folder on your call center’s hard drive or a list of standard operating procedures (SOPs) at the office — whatever works for your call center.
- Technology training: Whether you’ve hired someone for their first job or an experienced call center agent, technology training still needs to be a priority. Every call center uses different technology for internal and external procedures, and some nuances come along with every software and its tools. Technology training will always strengthen agent abilities and support high performance.
#2. Establish Clear Individual Goals
You may have already established company-wide goals at your call center, but have you outlined individual goals for each agent? Individual goals make up that larger goal that you have in mind for each quarter or year, and if you don’t make agents aware of them, you are setting them up for failure.
Depending on company needs, individual goals for agents can look different for every call center and could be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. However, design these goals to be attainable and measurable — they build upon each other so your company can thrive. Plus, you can use these goals when assessing agent performance during quarterly reviews.
Here are a few individual goal examples to get you started:
- Acquire 3 new customers per month through cold calling
- Meet 90% satisfaction rate on customer surveys
- Reduce customer wait times by an average of 30%
- Ensure a turnaround time of 3 hours for technical challenges
Established individual goals help agents remember what’s important and give them something specific to work toward.
#3. Leverage Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is crucial at every call center because it reflects what is working and what isn’t. Unfortunately, many call centers send out customer surveys but don’t spend time reviewing the feedback.
In 2023, take customer feedback seriously and leverage it to your highest advantage. If you receive negative feedback, review this with agents and work through the situation so you can address the root of the problem.
And if you receive positive feedback, congratulate agents for their job well done and note what you’re doing well so progress can continue.
#4. Achieve a Balanced Workflow
Call centers thrive when they achieve balance. For example, when a team is too large, there won’t be enough work to keep everyone busy. But when a team is too small, there will be too much work for too few people, and you won’t be able to meet all customer needs.
Call center leaders need to maintain a balanced workflow to meet company demands. It’s necessary to review staffing levels so you know how many team members are necessary for various situations. To do this, you can look over variables like:
- Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly call volume
- Peak call times throughout the year
- The number of team members required to avoid long wait times for every scenario
With this information supporting you, you will be able to accurately predict call volume at your company and create schedules that ensure a balanced workflow.
#5. Invest in the Best Technology
Not all call center technology is equal — the best software will streamline agents’ jobs, making it easier for them to communicate both internally and externally. Investing in the best call center technology in 2023 is crucial in beating the competition. The best call center technology includes features like:
- Screen-Pop: This tool automatically displays caller information from the customer relationship management (CRM) database on an agent’s screen when a call comes in, ensuring that agents are informed and prepared.
- Custom Reporting: Call reporting includes crucial metrics like call, queue, talk and hold time. Understanding these metrics makes it easier for you to prepare for the future and achieve that balanced workflow we mentioned earlier.
- Click2Call: Want to streamline the way that customers contact you? This VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) tool removes the need for customers to copy and paste your call center’s phone number so they can simply click and get through to an agent instantly.
- Jobs Engine: This tool synchronizes products, systems, databases, web services and more. It eliminates unnecessary manual work and redundancy for agents, allowing them to focus on what matters most — like communication with customers.
- Call Recording and Voice Mail Integration: Having call recording and voicemail integration means that these customer interactions automatically archive into your system so that you can access them at any time. This gives all call center staff the option to listen to calls and voicemails to assess what’s working and what isn’t.
Technology advancements and communication improvements continue to pave the way for changes in call center best practices. And you can remain ahead of the competition in 2023 by offering training, setting clear individual goals, utilizing customer feedback, creating a balanced workflow, and implementing the best technology.