With many things in business, it’s often easier to identify customer support issues than to solve those issues. Our article titled “Why You Need to Resolve These Common Customer Support Issues Today”, discusses the benefits of overcoming the most common customer service issues, such as employee turnover and training, effective CRM/CSM integration and disconnected departments. Here, we will dive into what specific tactics Customer Service Leaders can take to solve common problems and achieve new benefits in their contact center.
Call centers should have a clear methodology and process for the agent “employment-cycle” that spans recruitment (agent criteria), interviewing, onboarding and training. When the process is defined and made part of a system, it can be continually monitored, refined, and adjusted based on historical data and metrics to increase retention as well as employee growth and fulfillment. Furthermore, it ensures that every agent has a consistent and good experience during their employment, making them more likely to stay and thrive in their role.
It’s also important to foster a sense of ownership for agents in terms of their customer encounters by giving them as much authority as possible to resolve customer issues. Agents are in the best position to see process inefficiencies, so hearing their voice as part of process improvement meetings can improve agent performance and support center performance. This is one of several ways to lower call center turnover.
Formalized Training and Support Processes
Ongoing training is the foundation of agent effectiveness, personal fulfillment and increasing customer satisfaction through fast encounter resolution. When contact center managers focus on teaching new skills to employees, the on-boarding process becomes faster and agent performance continually improves.
While managers must find an approach to process improvement that lifts agent performance simultaneously, that doesn’t necessarily mean providing the same training across the board. Support Center metrics can provide the impetus for training that targets improvement processes based on individual agent performance needs. Tailoring training content to the specific areas of improvement needed for an individual means that they can more easily catch up with the higher performing agents.
Schedule courses/classes to address specific “problem” areas so that groups of agents who may be struggling in the same area can get help without feeling singled-out. Support centers can dedicate a small team of senior-level call center agents to oversee training and the content presented during training sessions. This enables more effective analysis of performance metrics to identify areas of improvement and training opportunities.
Training, agent input and system process reviews intersect in other ways to resolve customer support issues of attrition and lowering AHT. Targeted training and agent input can be part of a grooming process for promotions, management, and additional responsibilities. This becomes achievable with the support of internal or external training teams focused on excellence and process improvements.
Breaking Down Interdepartmental Silos
The best way to break down interdepartmental silos that keep call centers and other departments disconnected is to create a process of shared communication. This can be done by creating regular points of contact between department heads to discuss issues and ways to share data that enhances interdepartmental and intra-departmental efficiencies.
Call centers can work to implement data-directed routing that makes the most of technologies that can easily identify customers and customers’ assets, contracts and entitlements. This helps to streamline call direction to the appropriate agent based on profile criteria. It can also enable more effective call routing based on department needs such as sales, support or collections.
Data-directed routing delivers greater efficiency across departments, skilled agents, and CSM/CRM/help desk software. The idea is to create a plan that leverages efficiencies between these elements to:
- Limit transfer times
- Lower the risk of routing a caller to an agent with insufficient knowledge to resolve problems
- Allows agents to see the resolution path across various organizations that are involved in fixing problems
- Eliminates the likelihood of a caller choosing an incorrect prompt on an IVR
- Ensure that system data is integrated and available, so that agents can quickly determine specific customer need and route the call to the right person or department
These approaches are dependent on the type of CRM/CSM system and its agility. That’s why call centers should avoid proprietary homegrown systems that are difficult to manage and require expensive maintenance. Forward-thinking enterprises are looking to more agile solutions like cloud-based systems that can integrate with multiple departments for a streamlined customer experience. These systems can break down silos across departments for greater communication and more reliable data that agents can depend on for proper customer support.
Many, if not all, common customer support issues are connected, so shifting focus from attacking a single issue to looking at the larger picture and identifying root causes can be extremely advantageous for proactive issue handling. By implementing changes that have a holistic effect call centers can lower call center turnover while boosting customer service and company value.