The International Customer Management Institute has long stood as an authority in the world of customer management in the call center, offering guidance to organizations around the globe as they optimize their service strategies and fulfill the potential of their brands. With so many strategic shifts and technological advancements taking place in recent years, the ICMI has helped call center managers stay on top of the most influential trends and make sense of key developments.
Since the organization creates and disperses such a wide variety and high volume of content, not all contact center leaders have the time to extract the invaluable lessons within these operations. Here is a roundup of the eight most useful ICMI articles to hit the Web in recent months, offering a comprehensive view of the today’s customer service environment:
“In ecommerce, instant communication is invaluable.”
Benefits of live chat
In today’s ecommerce environment, instant communication is essential, and even the most efficient call centers can benefit from offering consumers the ability to choose from a variety of interactive channels. After all, customers want to decide how they engage with their favorite brands. ICMI pointed out that contact centers are rapidly adopting chat as a viable option for support, citing increased first call resolution metrics and boosts to customer satisfaction. Call centers should focus on their primary phone service strategies, but not forget the speed, accuracy and instant feedback functionality that live chat has to offer.
Keys to agent retention:
Call center staff retention can drastically improve the efficiency and quality of an operation, and as the job market regains its footing, leaders need to proactively boost retention as a part of their management strategies. As ICMI noted, agents will be compelled to remain loyal if contact centers create positive working environments, diversify workloads, make time for training and coaching and help representatives manage stress with additional skills workshops. If agents are always learning and achieving, they’ll be much more likely to stick around.
Social media service
Customer communications are no longer shrouded in privacy, with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter developing into widely used channels of support utilized by brands across verticals. However, ICMI explained that organizations must design contact center systems capable of handling these social media demands, and given the wide public exposure of these outlets, quick and effective problem resolution is critical. Soon enough, customers everywhere will expect quality service in the social domain, so it’s time to get a head start.
Spikes and scalability
Every brand grapples with call center traffic spikes at certain points in the calendar year, but with plenty of preparation and data on hand, a company can easily overcome these challenges and plan to scale up when operations are truly under pressure to perform. Lessons from the past are vital resources in future success, as ICMI recommended that managers “leverage history to see [their] way forward,” in addition to developing strategies to successfully navigate these spikes. The best call center outsourcing teams are masters of workforce management, dedicating highly-trained agents to represent singular brands, rather than assigning multiple clients to a given team.
The power of culture
A contact center should embody every aspect of a brand’s identity in order to provide the best, most authentic experience for customers. According to ICMI, many customers only ever engage with a “real, live person ‘behind’ the brand” when interacting with a representative over the phone, meaning the cultivation of corporate culture is especially important in the contact center. The source recommended positioning the call center as the core of customer experience management, as well as promoting the transparency of key performance indicators.
Call centers across sectors have relentlessly advanced the multi-channel revolution in recent years, embracing every new method of communication that arrives on the scene. While this influx of technology has proven overwhelming for many contact center managers, ICMI suggested that leaders take a step back before taking on additional channels, first determining whether the solution in question addresses a tangible problem. In other words, decision-makers should weigh options more carefully when it comes to multi-channel strategy.
“With analytics, a call center can transform from the inside out.”
Data analytics empowerment
Despite the fact that the advantages of data analytics are common knowledge in the business environment, call center operations still appear hesitant to adopt these platforms to drive optimization in the customer service realm. ICMI found that only 67 percent of contact centers are currently managing agent performance through the use of data, while fewer than 50 percent of organizations use this information to drive customer satisfaction. With robust reporting and analytics resources to guide decision-makers, a call center can transform from the inside out.
Even the most talented, well-trained contact center agents require the support of streamlined software to confidently and effectively reach resolutions and ensure satisfaction. While many organizations leverage CRM software to fuel customer interactions, integrated call center software allows agents to manage multi-channel consumer journeys from a centralized platform. This saves representatives time and effort while dramatically improving the customer experience.