Your call center is one of the most important points of contact with your customers. Customers can ask questions, learn about your new products, and gain more reasons for continuing their business with you. However, the customer service landscape has undergone drastic changes in recent years. What challenges does the future hold for call centers and how can companies meet those challenges successfully?
It seems like “the next big thing” is always on the horizon. For example, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology is becoming ever more reliable and feasible for call centers both large and small. VoIP can help companies save money, but depending on the type of VoIP service, the setup can be expensive.
CRM (customer relationship management) systems may also pose a challenge to call centers. While many of the programs are intuitive and cloud-based, it still takes time for employees to learn about new features and make the most out of the program.
Call center managers should always look for new opportunities in technology and research the pros and cons of each. Any shift to new gadgets should come with well-organized employee training and specific productivity goals.
People Don’t Want to Talk
While voice calls are common, some people do not want to talk to another human being. A Pew Internet study found that 31 percent of cell phone users prefer communication via text rather than a voice call. The study also found that more than half of people who send 50 or more text messages per day chose texting as their favored mode of contact.
Companies can still keep in touch with people who do not want to talk by using other customer contact options. For example, they can set up online chat and email services. Having something in writing can be useful if your customer service representatives must relay complicated information to customers.
A Lack of Expertise
One survey found that “49% of customers now only call a contact centre when they have a complex question” and that “85% of consumers say they have been put on hold because employees don’t know what to say, whilst an alarming 58% of consumers have reported that they have received better help from other customers than from employees.”
Is the training your customer service representatives receive adequate? Yes, they may know the answers to all the basic questions — but your customers can probably find those answers online on your FAQ page. Keep a record of unusual questions from customers, and make those records available for your employees. Yes, it’s inevitable that difficult inquiries will arise from time to time, but you will save customers’ time and improve their satisfaction if you improve your customer service representatives’ readiness.
Maintaining Customer and Employee Loyalty
Call centers, unless they focus solely on sales, often cost a company more money than they take in. This makes it difficult to pay experienced employees enough to keep them loyal to your company. Make your call center more profitable by training representatives to upsell products. Also look for ways to cut costs by using energy-efficient appliances and shopping for cheaper suppliers. You may also consider outsourcing your call center so you have fewer HR issues to deal with.
Retaining customers is another challenge because “easy is the new loyalty,” as one writer for Call Centre Helper noted. They may abandon your company if a process becomes too complicated or time-consuming. Refine your policies so customers have to do as little work as possible.
Quality customer service will remain an important fixture in businesses, but companies must change the way they operate to keep up with current trends. To meet common service challenges, keep a strong focus on training employees and improving the customer experience.