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Do THIS to Radically Improve Your Call Center Agents' Performance

Posted by Francine Haliva on Dec 1, 2015 2:34:47 AM

Only 19 percent of customers are satisfied with the service they receive on the phone from support contact centers.  

(Source: Forrester Consulting, EMEA 2011 Consumer Preference Report – Contact Centers)

Let's take a moment to let this sad statistic sink in

And yet, despite a high level of dissatisfaction, 80 percent of people surveyed responded that speaking with a support agent is still their preferred channel of communication.

So what do today's customers expect from support call centers? Further findings from Forrester's report indicate that callers would like (in order) to have their problem solved quickly, desire personal interaction with an agent, and to speak with a skilled agent.  The more engaged your customer service agent is with a customer, the more they feel that you truly appreciate and value their business.

For call centers, this means more time, money and effort to be invested in training programs for call center agents, call center software, as well as employee onboarding to prepare agents with this new level of support. Failure to focus on these initiatives not only hurts customer service levels, but may also lead to higher attrition rates, greater employee turnover and more wasted resources - an enormous cost to any employer.

To gain a better perspective of things customer's don't want, a customer service survey (ClickFox's Second Annual Consumer Tipping Points ) reveals exactly which customer service issues callers find the most frustrating.  By understanding these pain points, companies can focus on the solutions to address these issues to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenue for their business.

Here are the top 3 customer complaints about call centers and how customer service leaders solve these problems with performance support technology:

#1 Complaint: Having to repeat information again and again

Needing to repeat (and rekey) the same information repeatedly is frustrating for both the customer and the agent.   Best case scenario, the customer gets annoyed; worst case scenario, they lose patience and end the call.  And for call center managers looking to reduce AHT this can cause a major setback.

Problem solved! Performance Support's guidance and automation software enables an end-to-end, seamless business process that allows the agent to concentrate on the customer rather than the system. Manual and repetitive tasks such as navigating multiple screens, rekeying data, and documenting interactions are performed automatically, cutting down on average handling time and improving customer service.

#2 Complaint: Speaking with an inexperienced agent

Most onboarding and training programs consist of a combination of classroom training and eLearning. What these programs overlook is the fact that once employees leave the training environment, they have to put all their newly gained knowledge to work right away, with an impatient and unsympathetic customer on the line.  Even the best training programs with the best performing agents can't deliver 100% retention – it just isn't humanly possible.  Take into account that today's new hires need to be educated on using technical systems that require detailed step-by-step processes such as ERP solutions, billing software and now you are dealing with not only frustrated customers, but also frustrated agents. 

*Keep in mind that a new hire that doesn’t work out doesn’t just cost the company what was invested in hiring and training - it also reduces manpower that is needed to support business functions, which directly reduces your overall productivity. 

Problem solved! Performance Support Systems (PSS) use in-application guidance and automation to ensure your agents will perform at the expected level from the first time, every time.  This can make even new hires act like seasoned veterans.

A real world example of PSS in action was covered in a recent news article on icmi. The article reviewed Israel's largest mobile telecom operator rollout of Leo Performance Support by Kryon Systems. Pelephone communications was able to reduce its onboarding costs by 50 percent, while substantially reducing the time to proficiency of new customer service agents. In other words, the new agents received less hours of training and less assistance during the nesting period, while at the same time they performed better as they entered their job.

Just look at what one support agent had to say after her company's implementation of LEO performance support:

“In my opinion, I think that LEO was really helpful in reminding me what OTC’s I should be entering. When you are nesting and just starting out on the phones, talking to the customer and keeping that great rapport can make remembering OTC’s challenging. Watching LEO do it gave me the ability to learn my OTC’s and still converse with the customer.”

#3 Complaint: Being kept on hold for long periods of time

The third and most common customer complaint we hear is being kept waiting while the agent performs a function or being put on hold. In the age of 'I want everything now,' long wait times can wreak havoc on your bottom line.  Customers just don't have as much patience as they once did.  If you are constantly putting people on hold for excessive amounts of time then be prepared to deal with irritated customers or hang ups. 

*Keep in mind that due to social media, it is now very easy for customers to immediately share their experience with the world – for good and for bad – and this can have a direct impact on the company's bottom line.

Problem solved! Performance Supports Systems help fix this frustration by providing assistance directly within the business application and guiding the employee through the steps for the process without the need to look for the information, learn how to do it and then return to the task to apply this knowledge. More advanced variations of this can even automate the process so employees simply click a button to accomplish what they want without having to learn it. This is especially popular when dealing with infrequently asked requests that aren't covered in training.

To Summarize

There are many instances in which your customer can experience annoyance with your customer support services:  Long hold times, issues that aren't resolved in a timely manner, needing to repeat information – just to name a few.  According to Forrester Research a shocking 89% of consumers who experience poor service with your brand will leave for your competition.

Performance support solutions go a long way to alleviate customer frustration. Using in context, process guidance that adapts to the actual conversation, customer service reps that use performance support are able to offer the best solution quickly. Automation enables a seamless business process so that they can concentrate on the customer rather than the system. And manual tasks such as reentering data are performed automatically - cutting down on call handling time and improving the customer experience.

Topics: Employee training, Contact Centers


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