Please hold, your call is important to us
Many of us who have contacted a call centre can relate to the words of Adele in her 2015 chart-topping single Hello “Hello from the other side, I must’ve called a thousand times…”. Bad communication down to excessive transfers and long queues can quickly lose customer interest. Here Doug Mulvihill, UK marketing manager at call centre software provider Ringover, explores how companies can ensure their call centre service is always a hit with customers.
How many times have you needed to contact a company, but debated whether calling the helpline would provide a worthwhile result, or just leave you frustrated from long hold times and multiple transfers? Most of us have at least one helpline horror story, leaving call centres with a bad reputation.
However, despite their call centre qualms, many customers feel they must talk through their queries and concerns over the phone to solve them even in the age of social media. Thus, call centres are still a valuable asset in a company’s customer contact service.
In addition, efficient helplines will support companies to meet rising incoming customer contact volumes. In fact, in a survey by UK Contact Centre Forum, two thirds of contact centre organisations reported an increase in incoming customer contact over the past year.
With all this in mind, it’s imperative that companies ensure their call centres leave customers impressed, not depressed.
Raging from repeating
A common grievance for call centre callers is having to repeat their information over and over again. In fact, Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report found a third of customers to agree that this was the most frustrating aspect of a poor customer service experience.
If a customer has to provide their data and repeat their problem every time they make a new call or get transferred to a different person, it’s certain they’ll get annoyed. As well as sending the caller mad, it wastes a huge amount of time and leaves queuing callers waiting.
Instead of prompting customers to repeat their information at every step, call centre managers should integrate their customer relationship management (CRM) software with other applications and software within the call centre. This allows all operators to view each customer’s history and information instantly as a call comes in.
CRM integration allows customer service data to be merged with larger databases of customer information, incorporating data about returns, repairs and warranties, for example. Having easy access to this wealth of information allows operators to provide a personalised customer experience and improve efficiency.
Being passed between operators excessively is another regular complaint from callers. Being transferred over and over again gives the customer the impression that the call centre team is unknowledgeable, and that no employee can answer their query. It also wastes the caller’s and operators’ time.
In addition, while the customer is being transferred to the next operator, they are often put on hold, which adds to their frustration. According to a survey by live chat software developer Velaro, 60% of callers will hang up after being on hold for one minute, and 32% are not willing to wait on hold at all.
To avoid putting customers through an endless cycle of transfers and holds, call centre managers should use an automated call routing tool. Such a tool can automatically organise and distribute calls to ensure each caller reaches the best-fit person at the centre straightaway.
The call routing preferences can be inputted in line with employee skills, shift times and languages. The CRM system can also be used to develop criteria for call routing based on data such as purchase history and geographical area.
Software to support
Features like automated call routing and CRM integration can all be achieved by call centre managers who implement inbound call centre software. For instance, Ringover’s Inbound Call Centre System can be activated in a CRM to simplify customer call management and improve customer experience.
The software allows call centres to efficiently manage incoming calls, using features such as advanced call routing and live conversation monitoring to ensure high quality customer support. In addition, the software has coaching tools that improve support training, such as being able to discreetly give advice to a team member during a customer call to help when needed.
What’s more, as a cloud-based solution, the software allows call centre operators to answer incoming calls from anywhere. All team members need is an app on their desktop, laptop or smartphone to support customers from their location, allowing them to work at the office or remotely.
While many callers to call centres, like Adele in her hit single, have found it hard to get their message through, there are tools call centre managers can use to improve customer experience. With a cloud-based incoming call management system, customers are directed to the best-suited team member, who has an instant view of their personal information, to get queries sorted fast.
The author is Doug Mulvihill, UK marketing manager at call centre software provider Ringover.