Call Center Tips you Can’t Afford to Ignore

Undoubtedly, if you’re looking for call center tips, you have come to the right place. Resolutions are not within target time spans  wait times are high, or the people performing the job are for some reason having trouble being effective. These problems and many more may be going on right now, and you’ve seen these warning signs for what they are – danger.

Call centers are more or less a necessary evil in our business world. For the longest time, telephones were the only reliable two-way instant communication. By the time internet became viable, telephones were so utterly ubiquitous that deprecating them in favor of IP for customer service was just unthinkable.

Despite recent integration of the net into daily life, and many platforms springing up on it that are perfect for customer service, call centers still dominate the customer service industry. And well, they’re kind of awful on a good day. It’s not anyone’s fault per say, it’s just not a good system for the volume of customer service a company must handle. It’s not a comfortable platform to spend lengths of time using, and it is inherent with many annoyances. Hold times are the biggest gripe of most, and rightfully so. Still, communications breakdowns and resolution failure are prone too.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few call center tips that may be able to help you get the most out of your center. Remember, this is a point of diminishing returns after a time, and given that the call center system is flawed by nature, perfect fixes cannot exist in this universe.

#1 – Hold Times

You need to decrease your hold times. Shortening hold times is just a matter of increasing the numbers of agents applied to a given directory on the tree. This is a case of being less greedy, everybody.

Beyond that, the next major issue is what is experienced during these hold times. Looping music can be soothing, if it’s varied and generically pleasant. Classical music or low key jazz are often considered favorable. Having recordings repeat, constantly, “your call will be dealt with soon”, or in randomly recycling advertisements, will enrage the customer. The hold time will just get several powers of ten longer by perception.

#2 – Phone Trees (Directories)

Phone trees are another nuisance that cannot be eliminated entirely. The key here is to keep it simple. Factor what most customers will be calling about, and make these central directories to choose from. Categorize anything further in a separate “other” directory or something similar.

Make backtracking easy. Make an operator available with the press of zero.

It’s best to avoid voice recognizing phone directories for now. They don’t work well enough yet, the technology simply isn’t there for such broad recognition. Stick to touch tone interface, it’s actually less frustrating for the time being.

#3 – Linguistics and Communication

We don’t like talking about issues of nationality. But, we have to touch on it somewhat now. Ideally, the operators should speak the language of the customers fluently enough to fool them into believing they could be from some region of their country.

If this is a second language, only the best speakers of it as such should be given the job of using it. A mild accent is fine, as long as it’s completely clear and not awkward.

In the defense of international agents, though, the practice of using fabricated “local” sounding names by overseas agents needs to stop. Customers don’t find it cute. Employees should have a simple ID number they can provide if customers can’t pronounce their name, but need to call back. Dignity and the removal of a stereotype along with good linguistics will ensure good communications.

Good communications are key to resolutions, especially first call resolutions.

Follow these call center tips, and you should see a drastic improvement from your center in the future. Don’t expect miracles, just expect it to actually work!

Kevin Goldberg