5 Ways Call Centers Can Improve The Customer Experience

min read
5 Ways Call Centers Can Improve The Customer Experience

This is a contributed post from our partners at RingCentral.

Do your customers happily pick up the phone to call your business knowing that they'll have a great experience? Or do they picture spending hours on hold navigating a labyrinth phone tree only to chuck their phone across the room in frustration when they can't get their questions answered. If it's closer to the latter, here is how you can improve the customer experience provided by your call centers.

Providing an enjoyable and rewarding experience to customers who call your business will not only make you stand out, it will result in significantly increased customer loyalty. And, of course, ongoing sales from repeat customers. Almost 50% of consumers report telling a friend about good customer service experiences. On the other side of the coin, a very similar percentage reported telling people about a bad one.

If your customers have a poor experience, loyalty drops precipitously. Image: superoffice.com

There are many ways that call centers can improve customer experience. Here are five important aspects to focus on.

Pay attention to the customer journey

Creating a good experience builds from a strong understanding of your customers. The first step to achieving this is to understand the customer journey. The call center might only be one part of the journey, but it must be a positive experience for the customer. To best assist your customers, it's important for the agents to understand which part of the buying journey each caller is at.

Business Intelligence can help you gain a thorough understanding of the customer experience. So what is business intelligence and how can it help in a call center? Business intelligence refers to the tools and processes that identify and analyze information. It can offer an in-depth analysis of how customers are connecting with the business. This information and analysis is key to understanding customer journeys. Identifying behavior patterns can also help you create personalized journeys for groups of your customers.

In order to utilize all of the valuable customer journey data that comes through the call center, a call tracking and conversational analytics platform needs to be part of your BI stack. This is because many of your customers will find your business online before calling to make a purchase or ask questions.

Call tracking and conversational analytics allows you to connect every call to the precise digital journey that preceded it. More importantly, AI-powered conversational analytics tools analyze the calls to automatically determine the call outcome, like whether it resulted in a sale or if it was a customer service call. This means you know the source of the call e.g. paid search, website, or social media, and what happened on the call, allowing you to optimize each of those channels to drive your desired business outcome and improve the customer experience.

Minimize hold times 

No one wants to be kept waiting, and long hold times can easily sour the customer’s opinions of the whole business. A study carried out by AMEX in 2014 reported that on average, customers were willing to wait 13 minutes on hold. Three years later, a study carried out by Arise found that nearly two-thirds of customers were only willing to wait two minutes or less. Additionally, over 13% would not accept any length of wait time. Just hearing "please hold for the next available representative" is cause to immediately hang up.

When people don't have to wait on hold, they're happy to spend more money with your business. In fact, those who have a complaint handled in less than five minutes also go on to spend more on future purchases.

On average, people spend 43 days on hold in their lifetime. Let's get this down by a few days! Image: westuc.com

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help minimize hold times by providing tools for self-service support, and efficient call routing to reduce wait times and capture and analyze data. It can also assist with monitoring and improving agent performance. Chatbots can be an effective tool to help minimize hold time still further.

They can deal with the easier cases without requiring as much, or any human intervention. Agents are able to focus on high-value calls and provide a higher level of service to those customers. This can also be a great opportunity to promote your website. The Chatbot can direct customers to resources on your website that might assist them.

Properly routing calls can also reduce hold times by reducing transfers and reducing the load on agents. AI-powered call tracking platforms can also dynamically route calls depending on the source to assure that customers get to the right agent at the right time in the customer journey.

Make Call Flow Management More Efficient

An effective way to improve customer experience is by managing the call flow. Investing in the right customer experience technology can significantly improve this process. 

A good example of this is using a phone system to help the call flow work much more efficiently. It can allow easy transfer between agents to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. Investing in one of the best VOIP phones will add value to the customer experience, as well as assist agents.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) can also assist with managing call flow. It is currently used across a wide range of sectors for both inbound and outbound calls. For example, Auto attendants are becoming more popular in call centers. They can manage initial calls, deciding to direct them to an agent or provide an automated answer.

Decrease Customer Effort

We've already discussed that customers will hang up after waiting a few minutes on hold. You can guarantee that they’re not going to persevere with a process that requires a lot of effort on their part. 89 percent of consumers are frustrated by having to repeat their issue to multiple representatives. This can be mitigated through creating a strong and consistent customer experience. 

A Unified Communications (UC) solution can enable consistent service across channels and devices. This will provide call center staff with quick access to all prior contact with a customer. They can then provide a fast and informed response, and the process will appear seamless.

It can also be beneficial to assist the client before they even realize they have a question to ask. Providing useful resources such as a guide of established telemedicine providers or handy information to customers after their purchase can answer questions. It can also help to guide them in using their product or service.

Website experience analytics platforms integrated with call tracking can help you determine what is driving customers to call from your website. Whether it’s a poor online experience like a malfunctioning shopping cart or broken buttons, missing information, or even a good online experience that leads to a sale, this type of integration gives you the insight you need to optimize the online experience and decrease friction.

Sales prospecting can offer a further chance to decrease customer effort and increase business. It's important to understand your customers and what problems they need to solve. This will enable you to suggest other solutions that might further assist them. Ensure call center staff are knowledgeable in all products and services available. This will allow them to serve the customer better, while also supporting sales.

Collect customer feedback

Customer feedback is very valuable information for a call center to collect, and it can be used in many ways. It can inform customer journey pathways and identify holes in the process. And of course, it helps to better understand the customers: what they like, and what they don't. Asking for feedback can also make customers feel like they are being listened to. The best tactic is to send short post-interaction surveys. They must be quick and easy to fill out—remember, it’s important to decrease customer effort where possible. They can be a very effective way to collect information and data about the customer’s experience.

The bottom line is that you must place the customer at the forefront of your business. Using these tools and processes can help to understand and focus on their needs. It will also help to provide a better service, improve the customer experience in the call center, and improve your conversion rates. And ultimately, your business will be able to thrive and stand out from its competitors.

Schedule a demo to learn how Invoca call tracking and conversational analytics can improve your call center experience.

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