Team Empowerment in the Contact Center

Everyone can agree that it’s important to empower your workforce but developing best practices to boost retention and morale in the contact center space is critical. At InfoCision, we have decades of experience, which equates to a plethora of time-tested, valuable ideas.

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s a time like no other to evaluate how your management team offers appreciation and encouragement to everyone on your workforce, especially including your team on the phone. From gamification and e-cards built-in our screens each day, to holiday-themed grand prize giveaways, we motivate our agents to provide excellent customer service in every call. However, empowerment is more than just the stuff money can buy. It’s:

    • Building an environment where people genuinely want to come to work – a place that fosters self-esteem, builds confidence, and feels like family
    • Believing in the values of the organizations and brands we’re asking others to support
    • Having supervisors and managers who practice empathy and active-listening, remembering birthdays and asking about sick grandkids
    • Visiting the call center floor regularly with senior management who are invested in acquiring feedback from agents, in person, themselves
    • Focusing on finding solutions within an atmosphere of remarkable teamwork, not just debriefings venting about common challenges
    • Ensuring your team has the tools they need to offer an unmatched customer experience

     

  • Genuine job satisfaction comes from more than appreciative Christmas cards, offering team lunches, and coordinating cheesy holiday festivities. True empowerment is generated through a culture of operational excellence, in a commitment to the continual and sincere encouragement and inspiration of your workforce – not just during the holidays, but throughout the entire year.

Keep The Creativity Coming!

In business, especially in the contact center space, it’s easy for teams to keep doing business as usual once they learn what works.  A good contact center knows their customers, all the ins and outs of their proprietary technology, and has developed an array of standardized strategies for handling challenges. However, when the ultimate desire is for a business to grow, the flow of creative ideas in every realm of the business must not only continue, but flourish.

At InfoCision, our team of marketers constantly tests new ideas, in a way that can be measured and replicated. This includes considering all aspects of the customer experience, examining and testing at all levels within the myriad of multi-channel solutions available: scripts, letter packages, call routing strategies, training materials, reporting techniques, hiring and retention, quality measurements, even ancillary services. Creativity involves utilizing our Business Analytics department to provide demographic and transactional data modeling or run a variety of scenarios to generate alternate probabilities and outcomes.  All our insights and findings are used to develop best practices, which are constantly examined for relevancy and adjusted with fine-tuning.

Having a culture of operational excellence, combined with the ingenuity and aptitude for continual testing across departments, enables us to provide excellent customer service and unmatched ROI.

 

 

A Glimpse Into InfoCision Puerto Rico

InfoCision Puerto Rico located in Aguadilla, PR

Whether in English or Spanish, at InfoCision’s contact center in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico we adapt and connect on a personal and cultural level to whomever is on the other end of the line. Employing only the finest people, our agents are mature – averaging 30+ years old – with 95% being college educated. Our turnover is less than 6%, meaning that we train peak performers and keep them. Each is intensely focused on quality, sales performance and optimal customer care. In short, we do everything possible to guarantee a positive customer engagement with every call!

Managing Your Metrics: KPIs That Drive Customer Experience

As a leader in your contact center, you’ve likely done due diligence on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). While you’re familiar with the concept, you may not be certain on which are the most important for your center to regularly analyze.

Below, we’ve laid out some of the most critical metrics that you should be tracking to optimize your contact center.

When measuring your Customer Experience, consider the following KPI recommendations:
Average Time in Queue. It goes without saying that your customers are continuously looking for the quickest resolution. Know that if you can’t provide them with that, a competitor will.
First Call Resolution (FCR). Your center’s FCR is a telltale sign for how knowledgeable your agents are.
Customer Satisfaction. Whether this includes a survey at the end of the call, or a follow-up email after the resolution, it’s important to circle back with your customers to ensure their expectations were met. They’ll appreciate your concern, and you’ll have solid feedback for your center and brand.

When measuring your Inbound and/or Outbound Calls, look at:
Abandon Rate. For legal and compliance reasons, it’s vital to keep a close pulse on your agent availability and call abandonment.
Calls Handled. Be sure your agents are making the most out of their time on the clock.
Call Disposition Codes. Tracking these codes will allow you to reference the reason, outcome, and so forth for the call.

When measuring your Efficiencies, examine your:
Forecast Accuracy. Not being properly equipped for the ebbs and flows of call volume can dig a big hole in your pocket. Forecast your calls accurately to ensure your staffing levels adhere to your staffing needs.
Average Handle Time (AHT). This metric is important for multiple reasons. For one, it’ll help you determine your center’s staffing levels. Understand though, your AHT is not a measure of success – as faster isn’t always better. It’s important to find the harmonious balance between calls that are handled rapidly and those that have exceeded in length.

Lastly, measuring your Cost entails knowing your:
Cost Per Call. Following this metric is beneficial in determining the value of your center. If your inhouse center isn’t making a solid profit, consider an external vendor.
Agent Attrition. The contact center industry has some of the highest attrition rates in the workforce. Ensure your employee retention is on par to avoid excessive expenses on employees lost.

As a full service, turnkey direct marketing solution, partnering with InfoCision means you’ll have access to our robust reporting and metric management through our Command Center and Business Intelligence group.

To learn more about InfoCision’s services, visit www.infocision.com

Building a Business Case: Outsourcing Your Contact Center

If your company looks at your contact center as an expense rather than a return on investment, it’s likely you underestimate the critical role contact centers play in delivering outstanding customer service.  Understand though, your contact center is the best way to keep a pulse on your customer satisfaction and experience, from acquisition to retention, and even win-back. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to build a successful business case on investing more in your Customer Experience.

Consider the following reasons as to why you should be outsourcing your contact center to build your brand:

1. When you outsource with a trusted vendor, you are able to focus on your core function and let the vendor do what they do best, which brings us to the next point:

2.The executives and operational management of outsourced contact centers have specialized industry knowledge and best practices.

3. Flexibility and scalability is crucial. Your in-house center is doing its best, but it simply can’t compete with what others offer. Partnering with a contact center like InfoCision allows you to quickly ramp up or dial back in size, depending on what your call volume looks like. This type of efficiency reduces your cost per call, and keeps customers happy by minimizing hold times.

4. Bilingual capabilities are vital in connecting with your audience. According to the most recent census,  Hispanics make up over 17% of the US population – and that number will only continue to grow. If you don’t have bilingual capabilities, you’ll likely see your brand take a hit.

5. Last, but certainly not least, we are living in an economy based on experience. If your customer service is anything less than exceptional, your customers will take their business elsewhere. Take care of them, meet their expectations, and have consistent touch points to ensure that the loyalty is there between your valued customers and your brand.

The Phone is Still Vital for Your Business

In a society full of tweets, texts and typing, it may come as a surprise that phone calls remain the preferred channel of communication when it comes to your brand’s customer service. Tried and true, customers prefer actual voice communication for a plethora of reasons, but above all else, simply because it is the easiest option when looking to connect with a brand’s customer service department.

Consider this: When you are trying to get a hold of an organization’s customer service department, more times than not it’s because you have an urgent problem needing to be resolved. From a customer perspective, you don’t want to be typing in circles to a chatbot trying to explain your issues. Further, sending emails back and forth is even more time consuming than the chatbot. Yet, if you simply call into the customer service department, an agent is able to quickly look up your profile and guide you to a resolution.

More so, depending on your brand’s target market, they may not all be internet-savvy, or even have access to the internet. According to this study, only 66% of U.S. adults ages 65+ are using internet, making it worthwhile to stay accessible with offline communication.

Reasonably so, your brand’s voice communication can be the distinguishing factor amongst your competitors.  Show your customers that you value them by giving them exceptional live-person interaction rather than a chatbot or IVR system. In doing so, you will create a positive customer experience, and in turn find increased satisfaction and loyalty.

The take-away: Understand that voice communication, done well, is vital to your brand’s success and can set your brand apart. Finding the right contact center partner to handle your voice communication is critical in fostering your brand’s growth.

To learn more on how InfoCision provides the highest quality contact center solutions, visit www.infocision.com

You Get What You Pay For, Period.

Picture this: You’re driving home from work and pondering what to pick up for dinner for your family. To your left, you see a drive thru with those famous gold arches, and to your right is a health foods grocery store. You’re contemplating whether you should spend a quick $15 on some greasy fries and burgers – or, if you should spend a few extra bucks and pick up some nutrient dense eats from the grab-n-go counter at the health foods store.

If you’re vested in providing the best for your family’s health, you’d undoubtedly hang a right and run into the grocery store over the cheaper, fast-food option. You get what you pay for, right?

Now apply that thinking when you’re partnering with a contact center. If you’re trying to cut costs in outsourcing your customer service, you can likely expect to be cutting corners, too.

Contact center pricing directly corresponds to the quality of service you will be receiving; The pricier contact center has higher quality agents – with higher education, which lends a hand to a higher wage expectation, and uses higher quality technology. In short, the price point they charge is a direct correlation to the money they put into their employees and infrastructure.

Sure, you could go with the cheaper route when outsourcing – but then you’d be dealing with the “greasy cheeseburger and fries” version of a contact center provider… and swim suit season is just around the corner.

Build Brand Loyalty with Active Listening

It’s been said time and time again that effective communication is key to any successful relationship. While applicable to the conversations between you and your children, significant other, and coworkers – one of the most important places for this principle to occur is within your contact center.

So, how can something so vital to success get lost in the daily shuffle for your agents? It’s instilled in call center representatives to follow their script when attempting to extinguish customer service fires, yet, words spelled out in a script don’t always convey the proper empathy that your valued customers are yearning – rather, they sound quite robotic.

Empathy and active listening are a duo that go hand in hand – think peanut butter and jelly… You don’t split up combination like that, and if you do, the end results aren’t as great.

For an agent to properly empathize with their customer, said agent must be actively listening to the customer’s frustrations and complaints. Exhibiting active listening in a call center entails asking follow-up questions to fully catch the fine points, not interrupting or cutting off the customer while they express their concerns, and occasionally repeating back what the customer has stated . While active listening may require a bit more time conversing between agent and customer, the customer will always appreciate the extra mile your agent has taken – building brand loyalty and cultivating future conversations.

Coach your agents on the importance of active listening and watch the results come back in a tenfold.

Key Takeaways from Deloitte Global Contact Center Study

Global businesses are utilizing contact centers to enhance the customer experience in increasingly complex ways. Customer choice is behind the wheel, driving contact centers towards greater emphasis on consumer needs and preferences. Deloitte’s Global Contact Center Survey provides insights from over 450 contact centers, shedding light on how business is changing for the better.

 

1.Customer Experience

Now a top priority, customer experience is driving contact center growth even more so than operational expansion. Customer experience and expectations are a key driver for 88% of the contact centers studied in 2017, with improvements in customer satisfaction (46%) outweighing revenue growth (3%) in importance.

 

Today, companies are reporting that customer feedback (54%) will motivate core business decisions moving forward. How will they do it? Technologies such as text analytics and social media listening are improving in quality, streamlining the process of feedback collection. For the customer, businesses view ease and accuracy of information (66%) as most important to future contact center interactions.

 

2.Complexity and Diversity of Channels

Context of contact and mediums for customer engagement are adding to the complexity and diversity of contact center interactions. Phone contact is expected to fall from 64% to 47% over the coming years, with chat and social media expanding as channels for customer engagement. Advancements in technology such as  “chat bots” are predicted to streamline integration challenges, growing to an estimated 16% by 2019, up from 6% in 2017.

 

Survey respondents have a major thing in common: investment in new technologies for return interactions. Advanced analytics (66%) and voice of the customer (54%) top the list of emerging capabilities that companies seek to invest in over the next two years.

 

Contact centers expect web capabilities (29%) and mobile applications (23%) will generate the greatest return on investment. What’s the main challenge to realizing investment potential? Integration of existing systems (63%) for the ultimate omnichannel customer experience, along with budget (56%) and change management (55%) for overseaing company transformation.

 

3.Talent

Focus is placed on improving talent for all survey respondents, citing the use of analytics (73%) and training programs (63%) as the key initiatives towards boosting staff. Outsourcing as a strategic method has reached a state of equilibrium, and flexible work programs are popular in the retention of employees, with 52% of companies planning on undertaking the initiative over the next two years.

 

The Moral of the Story

Maximizing the potential of technological advancements and its integration with multifaceted channels is improving the customer experience for corporate contact centers. Quality of talent is a developing initiative towards growth. And with customer experience at the forefront of contact center executives’ minds, the customer truly is “always right.”

Are You Chasing the Wrong Metrics?

You’re going on a trip to a new place three hours away, so you plug the address into your GPS and hit the road. Unwittingly, you type the right address, but in the wrong town. But without any proper context for your surroundings, you only learn of your mistake after you arrive at the wrong location, hours out of your way.

These kinds of things happen all the time. We get so focused on the data in front of our eyes that we don’t stop to look at the big picture, or to see if our data is really leading us where we think we’re going.

The same can certainly be true in the contact center, where you’re practically swimming in data. It can all be used to help drive new initiatives, support your bottom line and improve your ability to provide superior service. But if you’re chasing the wrong metrics, you may not know it until it’s too late.

If you’re not sure where to focus your attention, here are several suggestions to get you started.

First contact resolution rate: Customers are happy when their inquiry is resolved without having to repeat themselves or have their call transferred. In addition, it ensures that extra resources aren’t needed to resolve one person’s issue.

Forecasting accuracy: Modern contact center solutions empower businesses with predictive modeling for call volumes, which in turn provides a template for staffing needs. If your forecasts are accurate, it is likely you have the right number of people for the job, which in turn means happy customers and agents. If your forecasts are off, you may want to consider scaling up through outsourcing.

Cost per call: Your agents are both your greatest asset and your greatest liability. A well-trained and enthusiastic agent can transform service and foster lifelong business relationships. A poorly trained agent can send customers running for the hills in a matter of moments. Cost per call helps you determine how well your agents are being utilized, and to what ends. Follow this figure and you’ll have more control over your labor.

What else can you learn when you dig into the right data behind your contact center operations? Click here to learn more.