Call center management is rarely easy. One factor that adds ongoing challenge to running a successful, high-performing call center that achieves real results? Following the latest, most innovative trends to keep delivering the customer service your callers expect.
Changes introduced to common call center processes are typically a combination of adapting to customer feedback and new business ideas. All trends, regardless of their origins, may be experimental when they are first integrated into everyday processes — and not all of them will become a permanent fixture.
Each new year brings fresh trends that deliver changes of one kind or another, but which are the most important trends that all call centers should all follow for improved results?
Let’s take a look at the top nine call center trends.
Call center trend #1: Customer experience is king
No call center on the planet can afford to underestimate the power of a positive customer experience.
Not even the biggest corporations offering the most popular, must-have products are immune to losing buyers because of poor customer experience. Consistently bad service will not be tolerated, especially when there are so many competitors to try in today’s online marketplace.
Even if those alternatives incur a higher price, many consumers will still be willing to pay more for better service. How much more? One survey revealed that 86 percent of buyers would part with 25 percent extra cash if another company treated them better.
Call centers have started to place more and more emphasis on treating each caller to the highest standard of service to secure repeat custom. Complacency is simply not acceptable anymore.
Call center trend #2: Understand the value of FCR
One of the most crucial call center trends in 2018 is first call resolution. Without doubt, this has become a priority for managers and customers alike.
Agents should be encouraged to ensure they get that first call right. While some calls are more difficult to resolve than others, it’s vital to provide customers with the very best quality of care possible in each situation.
Monitoring call center agents’ interactions with customers will help you identify mistakes that may leave the caller unsatisfied and frustrated.
Find ways to avoid these in the future and provide ongoing training to make first calls more efficient. QA software like Playvox makes monitoring agents’ performance much easier.
Call center trend #3: Every channel matters
Another of the key call center trends in 2018 is a greater emphasis on multi-channel consistency.
Customers can contact call centers via numerous methods today: phone, live chat and email. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages, but your agents should be treating interactions through all of them with the same seriousness.
Agents’ friendly, courteous attitude, professionalism, and fast responses should be present on all channels. Never make one communication method feel superior or more relevant than another: customer experience should be consistently excellent every time.
Call center trend #4: Create a rewards-based culture
You want to believe your call center agents give 100 percent all day, every day. You want to believe they have real job satisfaction and feel a buzz every time they deliver a great customer experience.
However, the truth is your agents may feel under-motivated a lot of the time. That’s why reward programs are one of the most important call center trends in 2018.
Playvox’s engagement and motivation system offers gift card rewards and an online catalog to give agents something tangible to aim for. This breeds healthy competition between agents too.
Call center trend #5: Real-time, practical agent feedback
Feedback is critical to let your agents recognize where their strengths lie and which areas demand improvement. It’s become one of the strongest call center trends for 2018.
Delivering feedback doesn’t have to be a lengthy meeting in which managers pick their techniques apart. Instead, you can provide feedback in real-time, helping to steer them in the right direction based on their performance.
This negates the need to pull agents away from their work and lets them incorporate effective new techniques organically.
Call center trend #6: Training on the fly
On a similar note to feedback, the way in which training is performed continues to be one of the big call center trends in 2018.
It’s common to host training sessions at the start of an agent’s employment at your call center. However, the sheer amount of information in these can overwhelm agents and limit their ability to absorb key details.
Training on the fly lets you measure performance and apply education where it’s needed most. There’s no sense in subjecting everyone to the same training if not all of them require it.
PlayVox’s targeted training and quizzes help to make learning more personalized and interactive. It can be performed at the agent’s own pace in a less intimidating manner.
Call center trend #7: Collaboration builds stronger team dynamics
Another of the biggest call center trends? The proliferation of collaboration
Agents should have the freedom to share ideas, encourage each other and bond while they work. Real-time messaging and collaboration software enables them to do so at their desks.
Encourage agents to work together and pass their strengths on to each other. You want a workforce that’s able to keep growing on their own initiative as well as with managerial input. More collaboration opens the door to that.
Call center trend #8: Data analysis to spot strengths and weaknesses
Measuring agents’ performance according to specific metrics is one of the fastest, simplest ways to identify where improvement is needed most.
Building your own QA forms is an outstanding technique to measure customer interactions according to your call center’s specific priorities and values. Review how agents handled what you consider key aspects of a call, such as greeting the customer properly, diagnosing a problem correctly and drawing on resources as needed.
Playvox enables you to customize QA forms to suit your preferred metrics.
Call center trend #9: Social media as a customer service channel
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter continue to become a key player in customer service.
Prospective and existing buyers can contact a business’s support team through their social accounts as an alternative to calling or emailing. Call centers should be incorporating this aspect of the customer experience into their operations to ensure they are open to consumers on as many channels as possible.
Handling queries through Facebook or Twitter is often faster than other methods. It’s vital to bear best practice in mind, though, as conversations will take place in a public forum. Responses should be given quickly and efficiently. Never let them go ignored.
As you can see, there are some fascinating call center trends for 2018 and 2019. How many of these have you already integrated into your call center’s processes, and what results have you seen?