Call centers are the front line of customer service but many common call center problems can stand in the way of top-tier customer service.
It is well known a call center is one of the toughest work environments, which can result in increased agent absenteeism, agent turnover and costs while decreasing customer service quality, team morale and effectiveness. Therefore, when the professional environment is unhealthy, business dooms.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are several other concerns that need to be addressed, and companies have now started focusing on enhancing the quality of service. Agents should be skilled and equipped not just for script reading but for more complex problems. They need to act autonomously should a problem arise.
So what are the biggest problems that call centers are facing today? And how can you improve efficiency and optimization?
1. Agent Attrition
Employee attrition has long been an issue in high-volume hiring environments, such as call centers. Cramped in a cubicle 9-10 hours a day, answering calls of frustrated customers, low pay, and slim benefits could be why agents do not see a future in this environment.
According to a recent Linkedin report, besides the low wages, compensation remains one of the biggest call center challenges in recruitment.
In addition, a call center employee with aspirations can easily get discouraged given the little or no room for growth in a monotonous job. As a result, agents and employees have high rates of burnout, turnover, and poor performance.Related: 7 ways to reduce call center turnover forever
Recognize and reward
Most call center agents only communicate with superiors when something is going wrong. However, call center managers should recognize and acknowledge the effort and outstanding performance. It is the easiest approach to build trust, strengthen agent-manager relationships and bring positive energy to the workplace.
Competitive pay and benefits
Call center agents work hard, and rewarding them for a job well done, will keep them motivated and willing to stay in the company. Compare company benefits and wages to other call centers in the industry and offer incentives and even reward programs to compete for the best talent.
Control and training
It is crucial that skilled and motivated agents can handle a conversation successfully and gain customer trust. Coaching agents with traditional training methods can be quite time consuming and not necessarily the most effective way.
Instead, a trained agent should provide value to the company. See how you can teach agents to deliver personalized customer service.
Gamification is transforming call centers. With the right game mechanics, tools, tactics and techniques, managers can transform their call center into a customer-centric operation by motivating employee engagement and achievement.
2. Low Customer Satisfaction
According to SQM, a U.S. customer survey research, 20 to 30 percent of a call center’s call volumes are callbacks from previous, unresolved issues.
Although most dissatisfied customers will not complain, even worse, they will leave and never come back.
And even if the call center compensates customers to make up for their bad experience, it takes seven positive experiences on average to make up for one bad one.
An optimal solution to enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty is by providing an Interactive Voice Response or else skills-based routing. When the customers call, they will have a more personalized experience.
IVRs collect information about customer’s needs and will transfer the customer to the most appropriate agent or department. Besides the reduction of operational costs, the advanced system can place high-value callers to the front of the waiting queue, meaning that even if all agents are busy, the team will never lose a high-value customer.
Make customers the spotlight of your call center and constantly ask for feedback and opinions. Customers will provide you with a wealth of information about your product, service, agents and more. All you need to do is listen.
Reassess your KPIs
Metrics by which you measure agent performance could potentially harm your customer service. KPIs such as AHT pressure agents to handle calls within a certain amount of time, leading them to transfer the call more than necessary, "accidentally" get disconnected and provide a generic service.
Review your scorecard and make sure agents are focusing on metrics that really matter and don't backfire.
3. Not Putting Employees First
A decrease in call center performance levels can result from many things, including low morale. Call centers have learned to place a lot of importance on their customers, forgetting to check in on their staff every once in a while.
KPIs such as customer satisfaction (CSAT) are more commonly used than employee satisfaction (ESAT). According to a recent survey by ICMI, nearly half of respondents do not track employee satisfaction within the call center.
An overreliance on traditional metrics such as Average Handling Time and Speed To Answer, make it difficult for agents to improve because such metrics ignore quality, overwork agents and ultimately lead to a decrease in performance.
Focus on non-traditional metrics
Focus on qualitative and quantitative metrics, such as real-time customer feedback, balanced scorecards, and Net Promoter Score which all work to further improve performance levels.
4. Too Many Tools
Many call centers are using multiple and outdated software to help them with their day-to-day operations instead of using a single tool.
This means agents in some call centers are opening and closing up to 10 different programs to resolve a single query and spending an enormous amount of time on administrative tasks.
Zendesk provides a cloud-based customer support platform that allows quicker and easier interaction between businesses and customers, giving agents the ability to handle multiple systems from one source.
Playvox, which easily integrates with Zendesk, provides the tools to run the QA operations of your call center, centralizing training, coaching and evaluation tools.
5. Struggling To Boost Performance
Hitting targets and satisfying customers consistently is a common issue for call centers. As a company, you want to make sure your customers receive the service they deserve.
However, it may feel you’ve taken your team as far as they can go. They’re achieving good (but not great) results and solving your customers’ issues. The problem is, you want to take performance to the next level but don’t have the knowledge.
Reward good behavior
Setting up a reward system might be what your employees need to increase their performance. Set metrics goals and depending on the level of difficulty, reward them with prizes on par with the challenge. Whether it be intrinsic or extrinsic rewards, find out what motivates your team and give it to them!
Upgrade your quality assurance software
With Playvox’s quality assurance software, you can monitor, train, coach and reward your agents, all from the same platform. By keeping a closer eye of your agents’ performance, you’ll be able to easily spot areas of improvement and train accordingly.
6. Agents Are Not Retaining Information Well
You’re offering onboarding training sessions for your new hires and giving them all the information they need to know, but when the time comes for them to apply their knowledge, they don’t seem to have retained much.
As a result, performance is lower than expected and your call center managers continuously must assist their agents.
Create engaging and continuous training sessions
Training continuously is a great way to reinforce good practices and fix nasty habits.
It’s normal if the information doesn’t always sink in the first time so it’s important to refresh and discuss any updates since the last training.
You can offer different training based on content needs. Get creative and move away from the traditional classroom setting. Training through multimedia content, short quizzes, team reunions over dinner and drinks, and team buildings are a great way to engage staff and get them excited about learning.
Training sessions don’t have to be boring. Playvox’s solution gives agents targeted assistance to boost their knowledge and performance on a specific subject the agent is struggling with. Quizzes, videos and other multimedia content make training more interactive, fun and rewarding for the individual, rather than delivering cookie-cutter classroom lessons.
7. Agents Struggle To Concentrate
The classic call center is usually an open space with dozens of call center agents on the phone at the same time trying to listen and assist their customer over the loud chatter of agents all doing the same thing.
This is not only stressful but can distract and make focusing on calls harder than it should be.
Create private space
Though cubicles may seem constrictive, they can make a big difference in reducing noise and distractions. Even short 2-foot walls around each desk can help your agents focus. Not to mention, dividing office space allows agents to have their own personal area and avoid fighting with their neighbors about a messy tabletop.
Are you struggling with one of these common call center problems? Share with us how you tackled the issue and resolved it in the comment box down below!