How to improve the customer experience in your call center
When it comes to customer service, quality is the name of the game.
Did you know that 70% of customers will spend more money with a company if they have a good customer experience? Or that 32% of customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved if they had just one bad customer experience?
If you can’t afford to lose one-third of your customers, then you can’t afford to have bad customer service.
Thankfully, there’s a lot of ways to improve the customer experience in your call center. From setting helpful metrics and KPIs to track and improve on, to doing customer and market research to understand your audience’s pain points, there’s a lot of call center strategies that can take your customer experience from standard to superior.
In this article, we’ll detail:
- the impact of customer experience on the customer journey
- the data points and metrics you can use to measure success
- how to identify the effectiveness of your customer service
- 6 ways to improve the customer experience
How improving your call center customer experience improves the customer journey
Although customer service may seem like just a small part of the customer’s experience, their experience with your call center or contact center actually impacts the entire customer journey. In fact, customer service experiences impact:
- how customers view your brand
- how much customers will spend with your brand in the future
- how likely you are to retain your current customers
- how loyal your customers are
- how likely your customers are to recommend your brand to others
- how many new customers find your brand
Having an excellent customer service experience is necessary to not only engage new and current customers, but also build trust, loyalty and retention.
Did you know:
- 89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience (Harris Interactive).
- 52% of consumers say they have made an additional purchase from a company after a positive customer service experience (Dimensional Research)
- Companies that excel at the customer experience drive revenues 4% to 8% higher than those of their market (Bain).
- Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95% (Harvard Business Review).
Excellent customer service isn’t just good for the customer—it’s also essential for retention, sales and the bottom line!
Understanding the data
When it comes to customer service, there’s always room for improvement.
Want to know one of the most efficient ways to improve your customer service? Tracking, understanding and analyzing your call center data. While there’s dozens of metrics you could be tracking, it’s important to identify which ones are most important for your goals.
Once you’ve identified your key metrics and data points, though, it’s even more important that you analyze and understand what that data means to measure success and improve your customer service.
Using sampling methods like CSAT and NPS can help you identify types of customer calls and analyze the customer experience. While CSAT and NPS are based on qualitative data, such as short feedback surveys, you can also use quantitative data to measure customer experience.
Quantitative data could include average time in queue, average handle time, transfer rate, speed of answer and so on. All of these metrics correlate to customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty.
Which metrics should I track to improve call center customer service?
If you want to enhance your customer service experience, a few metrics and KPIs you should be tracking include:
- CSAT (customer satisfaction) measures the overall performance of the customer service engagement based on the customer’s perception of the engagement, typically with a short survey or question at the end of the call or as a follow-up email or text.
- Quality Assurance measures the quality of an agent’s assistance and etiquette during a call. In order to measure this, you’ll need to develop a checklist of factors that will comprise your quality assurance measurement, and then have a quality management team or quality assurance manager listen to recorded calls to assess the quality. Customer Effort Score (CES) measures the amount of effort a customer has to put out to get their issue or question resolved. Factors like shorter queue times, reduced average handle times and low transfer rates can improve this score and reduce customer effort.
- Net promoter score (NPS) measures the customer satisfaction alongside how likely your customers are to promote your business. It is calculated by a post-call or post-purchase survey that asks customers how likely they are to recommend your service or business to a friend or family member.
For more information on call center metrics and data, read about the 8 call center KPIs you should be using to improve customer experience.
6 ways To improve your call center customer experience - actionable improvement strategies
So, you’re committed to improving your call center customer experience.
But where do you begin? Here’s 6 ways to improve customer service in a call center.
Understand your customers
The first step to improving the customer experience is to understand your customers—and make sure your call center teams know them too!
Create customer personas for each of your target audiences or demographics and share them with your team. Each persona should include:
- age and location data
- social relationships (are they married? Do they have kids?)
- likes and desires (what do they enjoy?)
- pain points (what do they want and need?)
Customer feedback and market research can be a great way to get further information about your customers if you have gaps in your data. If you need support in performing research, an outbound call center can help with market research and data-gathering.
Outline the customer journey
The next step in understanding your customers is to understand the customer journey.
Customer journeys can take many varying paths, but outlining or mapping out the most common customer journeys provides useful information so you can personalize each call for the customer.
To outline the customer journeys that might be taking place, you’ll need to analyze the data from your call center and CRM systems to understand:
- how customers are finding you
- which of your platforms they interact with for different tasks
- when and where they contact you
- what stage of the customer journey people are at when they approach different channels
For example, someone who messages you on social media may be at the awareness stage, not yet having purchased from you; whereas someone who calls may be needing technical support while setting up a new product.
The customer journey map for each business will be unique. But understanding where users are along their customer journey can help you personalize your interactions with them and improve their customer service experience.
Reduce customer effort
The easier it is to contact your business and get a concern resolved, the more customers will feel taken care of and valued by your business—and, in turn, the more loyal they will become to your brand.
Some of the metrics you can use to track customer effort are:
- customer effort score
- average handle time
- average time on hold
- average queue time
- abandonment rate
Abandonment rate is the percentage of inbound calls that are disconnected (either by the customer or the phone line) before they ever reach an agent. A high abandonment rate is correlated with low customer satisfaction, in part because it signals a high level of customer effort is needed to resolve their concern (or even reach an agent).
To reduce customer effort, you may want to integrate an omnichannel contact center strategy to allow customers to reach you on more channels. You also may need to scale up your contact center team or provide more training to reduce handle time.
Collect and improve on customer feedback and data
One of the most important things you can do to improve your call center customer experience is to track and implement changes based on customer feedback and data.
Begin by determining which KPIs are the most essential to your company and goals.
Next, begin tracking and implementing action based on the data.
Most importantly, ensure you are consistently gathering customer feedback alongside other metrics and KPIs. Two of the best ways to gather customer feedback is by tracking CSAT (customer satisfaction) and NPS (net promoter score) through simple feedback surveys.
Provide consistent agent training
Consistent training for your agents is an essential factor in improving your call center customer experience.
In fact, according to a study by American Express, 62% of Americans have said that the customer service agent’s knowledge or resourcefulness was key to a positive customer service experience.
This shouldn’t be surprising. After all, with more knowledgeable and highly-trained agents, you can:
- reduce the handle time of calls
- improve your first contact resolution rate
- reduce transfer rates
- reduce hold times (since calls can be resolved more efficiently)
- reduce agent turnover
All of these factors lead to increased customer satisfaction and a more consistent customer experience.
Meet your customers where they are
Finally, it’s essential that you allow customers to reach you at their convenience, on their preferred channels.
While the customer service phone call isn’t going anywhere, in the modern world, it’s necessary to have a multichannel or even omnichannel approach.
Global Response’s omnichannel contact center solutions make it easier than ever to reach your customers whenever and wherever—or to allow them to reach you whenever they need. From webchat to SMS, phone to social media and more, an omnichannel model allows you to streamline all customer communication through a centralized platform for a seamless customer experience.
An omnichannel solution not only provides ease and reduced effort access for your customers, but also reduces handle times and increases first contact resolution, since the call center agent has more information about the customer journey and previous connections.
Looking for a straightforward way to seamlessly improve your customer service experience? Reach out to an consultant at Global Response to see how our services can help you supercharge your CX.