The conception people have as customers about the call centre is a negative one.
Whilst many companies are busy investing in Digital Transformation and improving engagement with the customer via many methods such as Multichannel and Omnichannel communication mode.
Which provides customers with options of a seamless shopping experience, whether they’re shopping online from a Desktop PC or mobile devices, as well as brick-and-mortar high street stores.
Unfortunately whilst these improvements are making strides to make customer experience much better and slicker, the same commitment has not yet stretched into the forgotten platform of the organization the call centre.
The culture that employees have to endure is not a pleasant one. They have their duty to perform, which is measured by such unrealistic out of date benchmark KPI’s.
Then they have the pressure placed on them by Managers that have indoctrinated practices in the workplace that times the employee for every action they take, when leaving their desk area.
As well as performance log timing the length of calls to customers and the volume of calls they have taken during the day.
All this for what, to prove that the employees have done X amount of calls in X amount of minutes, to sustain its SLA.
Call centre staff are constantly watched and stress is used as a management strategy.
There need to be sweeping changes, in the way that Call Centres run, management overviews, processes and procedures need to be reviewed as to whether they are fit for purpose.
Senior Executives need to pipe up and condone any behaviour that does not align the organisations values and ethics which includes people’s behaviour.
It’s time to change the call centre culture
When there is a toxic environment in a call centre, you’ll usually have a lack of people management in play, noted by a dictatorial management style, micromanagement; poor leadership, but moreover plenty of negative autocratic behaviour.
With the organisations, all changing their business model and instilling a culture that encourages trust and transparency, leadership styles such as those used in call centres, will need to change.
The fact that organizations are working hard to improve customer experience, should stem from the organization’s values and ethics, treating everyone with humility and kindness, take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business.
Managers should understand that their workforce are often:-
Effective steps to change your call centre and customer service culture
Put people first!
Embracing people first culture businesses will reap the reward not only for better results but the benefit of happier employees.
• Change Your Environment
make the desk layout different, break the monotony up
Looking for the best candidate is not necessarily the best fit, choosing a person with attitude and effort, an entrepreneur attitude type of person. Qualities like Integrity, Strong Work Ethic, Flexibility, Bravery, and Passion.
• Start the Shift differently
Encourage engagement with everyone check in on what needs to be done, cover any outstanding issues as a team
• Frequent unofficial 1to1’s
Talk to staff about any problems lack discipline or reminding of values and ethics and listen to any problems or concerns Individual staff may have.
• Personal Development Plan
Individual development plans for each person in the team, create a career development plan, implement 360 feedbacks, to ensure concerns are addressed.
• Training for Both Customer & Staff Retention
Business Organizations need to develop its frontline call centres, by improving the business benefits of increasing customer as well as employee retention.
Call centres are renowned for their high staff turnover in the UK. This is a trend that needs to change and Senior Executives need to look very closely at investing and adopting better training to their call centres, with the aim to reach a high-level customer experience of excellence.
Investing in great training can also make your teams feel competent, confident and valued, encouraging them to stay with the company and increasing ROI.
Rather than seeing this purely as a cost, good call centre training should be seen as a cost-saving measure and a business investment.
By bringing in a leading eLearning company to create a bespoke package which includes both technical and soft skills development, should be able to help keep your staff, your customers and your business happy.
• Management Training
Management training plan encompasses leadership skill training, ensure attitude and leadership are in alignment with the company values.
Develop trust in a programme that encourages trust with each other and with customers which will help to champion the value of competence, integrity and empathy in the business.
Select leadership candidates effectively. Apply personality, values, and integrity with motivation assessments to gain a complete picture of your leadership candidates before they’re appointed.
Provide feedback. Leaders at all levels can benefit from performance feedback that not only highlights their behaviour but shows whether it aligns with corporate values and ethics. Equipping managers with higher levels of emotional intelligence helps them to lead by example and facilitate behavioural change.
Metrics to use to measure Customer service
Customer Satisfaction Csat
Establishing a new metric that will better signify the organisation’s performance to provide better customer service and improve customer experience.
- A post-call IVR survey
- Follow-up email survey
Popular survey question “How satisfied were you with our service today, on a scale of 1-10?”
This helps to provide a great indication of customer intentions, lifetime value and customer retention rate.
First Contact Resolution
FCR not only helps gauge customer satisfaction but the higher your first-call resolution rate, the more satisfied your customers tend to be.
Here are some common ways that contact centres measure First Contact Resolution (FCR):
To remove the subjectivity, some contact centres are now beginning to measure FCR across their most common contact reasons, so that each has an individual score. This helps to show which call types are resulting in the most call-backs, instead of having a subjective overall score for the contact centre.
Quality Scores – Random scoring of advisor calls per month
Quality Scores are a measurement of advisor performance to assess the overall caller experience, focusing on the conversations that advisors are having with customers.
While these scores can be accumulated to track how well the contact centre is performing, they measure an advisor level. This helps management to identify Advisors that require more coaching to help improve, as well as rewarding those that have done well. An assigned quality team usually rotates listening to a sample of calls each month.
Remember, advisors should not be pressured to rush through calls just to meet service level; it is best used as an operational metric, not as a quality measurement.
This Metric is a great way of working out how many advisors are needed in the contact centre at any given time to lower queue times for customers.
This is a measure of the contact centre team’s happiness, which can be measured by surveys.
Some contact centres carry out the frequent capture of Advisor Satisfaction surveys to identify trends from the results over the months.
Net Promoter (NP)
Net Promoter Score is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships
Changing the Call Centre Performance Process
- Advisor processes, scripting engagement, is what the staff should be focused on.
- Looking at the end to end customer experience, questioning, do we exceed their expectations?
Empathy engagement with the customer and how they judge the business is a better KPI metric to use to establish the end outcome, as to whether the customers are happier.
Feedback programs will indicate whether progress and whether the culture is having a major difference on the employees if you making a difference then you can implement a referral program
Creating an Employee Centric Culture
Fix your broken processes
Many calls coming into the contact centre are the end result of broken processes and systems in the wider business.
Advisors can be trained on how to handle unhappy customers. But when having to deal with these types of calls day in, day out, they will likely to become emotionally exhausted.
Allowing Advisors to regularly review and identify processes that are failing and causing bottlenecks in the system need a way for them to raise report and escalate to management.
Protect your team from the stress of the Head Office
It is a contact centre manager’s responsibility to protect their team from the unnecessary stress and targets that come in from head office.
Utilize Team meetings to share information that will affect the team, and give them the space they need to focus on the customer.
Advisors need to understand their purpose in the wider organisation
With a sense of purpose, employees can underpin a positive workplace culture.
Advisors should be informed by meetings to have a firm understanding of the company’s vision and how their role feeds into it.
Raising Concerns about their experience in the contact centre
Take the opportunity to let the team ask questions and raise concerns about issues happening in regular 1to 1 and team meetings:-
- Problems they regularly encounter with customers Career aspirations and transferable skills they can build in the contact centre
- How the tools they use help (or hinder) their ability to fulfil their job role
- Shift Rota pattern concerns
Feedback programs to allow employees have to say
Make a conscious effort to ask questions and listen to what your staffs have to say.
Utilize various options of communication channels to encourage the staff to feedback to managers, ideas, concerns or grievances they may have.
You can show your staff that you are really listening to them by following up any discussions as soon as possible.
Involve staff to participate in decision-making processes
The gathering of advisors input of a task or target during a team meeting, to talk things through with your very best and longest-serving, to your newest advisors, will create a much-engaged environment where staff will feel more responsive, involved and appreciated.
This will help you to see how a new initiative would impact everyone in your team, from a variety of perspectives.
Empower staff with autonomy to make decisions, advise what the boundaries are and allow them the employee tools to make those decisions.
- Revenue – will the decision I’m making for the customer, cost the company extra money?
- Retention – Will the decision I’m making for the customer, cause them to want to continue to do business with us?
- Reputation – Will a decision I’m making for the customer enhance the reputation of the organisation?
- Referrals – Will the decision I’m making for the customer make them want to refer the company?
Advisors need to practice a non-scripted voice to reduce the customer judgement that they are calling and responding to a form of a computer with scripted questions.
Individuals will be mentored to learn how to listen and diagnose issues, emphasizing interaction and empathy with the customer to raise the customer experience level of satisfaction.
How to give great customer service
The L.A.S.T. method should be used in customer problem solving, by being empathetic and understanding to their situation.
- Listen to their problem
- Apologize that they had a bad experience
- Solve the problem
- Thank you for bringing this to our attention
Always end on a positive note with the customer.