There is one common misconception about contact centers that seriously undermines their service capabilities: they are often confused as beingthe same as call centers. In reality, a contact center does more than the average customer call center, offering omnichannel customer support through all formats including chat, email, voice, live chat and social media. This makes contact center administration and working in a contact center difficult.
The most common contact center challenges include:
These challenges combined with several dynamic personnel factors lead serve to diminish contact center productivity. Every contact center must fine-tune its performance regularly to achieve the service level targets and customer success metrics. While there are no shortcuts, contact centers that invest in focused agent training programs can maximize efficiency and productivity.
According to Training Magazine's Training Industry Report, $90.6 Billion was spent in the U.S. for employee training in 2017. It is no secret that over the past few decades, the investments in staff training budgets have been consistently increasing. Organizations and C-suite members have already recognized several benefits that training can bring to businesses, among them: increased employee retention, better employee engagement and a competitive workforce.
The positive influence and effects of training within the contact center environment are just as significant. In fact, training agents in contact centers can deliver unique benefits such as:
The first reaction of any agent to an angry customer is an apology. Unfortunately, an apology is not always sufficientto set things right. The truth about customer service is that customers need solutions, not excuses.
To render the right solution, the agent must be in a position to empathize with the customer and their real-time situation to deduce the corrective action. Also, contact centers are more geared toward providing customer experiences which is a notch above traditional customer service.
It is here that empathy comes in. In a recent survey conducted by Businesssolver, almost 80% of CEOs recognized empathy as a key to success. In contact center jargon, empathy is an ability to understand a customer’s situation and offer multiple options to make things easy for them. Empathy is not necessarily an inborn trait, nor is it a professional skill taught at universities. Rather, it is a skill that can be masteredthrough training and practice.
Training is the ideal way contact center agents can be made more empathetic towards customer needs and wants. It will have a positive influence on the way agents talk to callers, their tone of voice and the phrases they use to gather information and provide solutions.
A contact center’s efficiency and productivity is always measured with its metrics. Some of the critical metrics include First Contact Resolution, Service Level Agreement, Average Speed of Answer, Average Handle Time, Customer Satisfaction Score, etc.
Each of these metrics indicates how a contact center is performing in a specific area. For instance, first contact resolution indicates how efficient the agents are in resolving the issue in the first contact itself rather than extending the call with extended information exchange.
An average day at a contact center is busy with calls of all types. While some customer calls carry basic questions like troubleshooting, there are others which are grave and need expert intervention. Let’s look at an example from the banking industry. A bank’s contact center is bound to get frequent calls reporting lost/stolen credit cards. Incidents like these must be acted on with swiftness and specific remedies.
It is not possible for every agent to become an expert at handling these kind of incidents. An elite team of specialists who are designated specifically to address these issues has to be created. Such elite teams can be created only through focused training programs. The training can impart them with the necessary skills for quick information gathering, empathetic responding and swift problem-solving that will lead to customer success.
Today’s customers want their problems solved through the most convenient platform for them. Social media has raced to the front as a top choice for seeking customer service compared to email and phone. A call center cannot address customer queries coming from all platforms. Only a contact center can tend to customer queries from all platforms.
Agents working in a contact center require training to be efficient at their roles and also to work productively. Training will make them respond to customers with empathy, enhance call center metrics and also create an in-house team of specialists who can cater to high priority requests.
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