Don't Get Hung Up on Bad Customer Service

By Tristan Anwyn

Your company’s call center can make or break your customer service record. A well-run call center will provide your customers with quick and knowledgeable service that will leave them satisfied that your business cares about them and can help solve their problems. Poor customer service on the other hand casts your business in a bad light; after all, your call center attendants are the voice of your business to the customers who contact them. 

To make the most of your customer call center, make sure you tackle these four common challenges....

1. Agents Who Lack Knowledge 

When your customers call you, they expect to have their questions answered and problems solved. Your customers are used to a fast-moving social and mobile world, where information can be found swiftly and responses are instant, and they will expect the same expediency when they get in touch with you. Solution: Good training is vital, whether you have a call center staff of two or two hundred. You can run the training in-house, or invite an outside team. In either event, make sure your training program is comprehensive, and run by someone who really knows your business. Consider using an online database that your agents can access while at work to answer questions.

Read related content: 5 Tips for Delivering World Class Customer Service

2. Customers Being Transferred Multiple Times

As pointed out in the article "Top 4 Customer Complaints about Call Center Phone Systems", being transferred between multiple people is very frustrating. If you can cut down the amount of time your customers spend being passed from person to person, they'll be much happier with your service. Solution: Using auto-attendant software will help direct callers to the right person or department, cutting down the number of transfers. In case your customers don't reach the right person first time, make sure your call center staff is well-versed in who should receive the call and how to properly conduct the transfer.

Read related content: Top Tips for Training the Millennial Workforce

3. Long Hold Times 

At some point, you've probably been there. Left hanging on the phone for a frustratingly long time, oftentimes with bad, canned music or meaningless automated announcements playing in the background. Long hold times will frustrate your customers, and make your customer service look slow and unhelpful. Solution: Use good reporting to track your call center activity so you can plan your staff schedule around busier times. Cut down the number of escalated calls by making sure your staff has access to good information, and by giving them enough authority to deal with common problems. If a call needs to be escalated, offer your customers the option to stay on hold or receive a call back.

Read related content: Key Takeaways for Hiring Business Leaders and Managers

4. Lack of Engagement

Keeping call center staff motivated and engaged can be challenging at times. A lack of engagement leads to absenteeism and high turnover. This impacts your customer service both in terms of not retaining knowledgeable staff, and in terms of agents lacking enthusiasm for their work. Solution: Make good performance worthwhile for your agents with rewards, whether as large as the potential for promotion, or smaller rewards such as gift certificates or being entered into a raffle. Listen to your staff; work with them to cut down on stress and make their work rewarding. Make sure you have skilled supervisors with strong people skills in place.

Read related content: How to Create a Positive Work Culture

By tackling these steps you will improve your call center, making sure that when your customers pick up the phone they will be greeted with a quick, knowledgeable and useful service.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including social media, SEO, call centers and customer service.

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