Senior Writer: Paras Kela
Managing a call center is not rocket science, but at the same time, it’s not even an easy feat. You have to look after several elements such as agent training, investing in the right call center software, regular report generation and analysis, and a lot more. Besides, you also have to adhere to call center best practices to improve sales conversions and quality assurance.
In addition, since all call centers have their own unique business model and working approach, it is necessary that you follow the specific set of contact center best practices that align with your business requirements and your organizational goals.
In this blog, we will discuss several call center management best practices, such as how to boost call center sales conversions, how to provide appropriate training to contact center agents, and how to ensure call center quality management, among other things.
Let’s start with contact center best practices for agent training programs.
7 Call Center Best Practices For Agent Training
Following are the 7 best tips or the best practices for call centers that you must follow to ensure effective call center agent training in order to reap the maximum benefits and the best results.
1. Educate Them About Your Business
Knowledge of your business is the essence of customer service. When your agents know your business entirely, they can handle any customer queries quickly. Moreover, this helps them understand their customer requirements in a better way. Thus, they will be able to serve your customers better, retain them, and grow your client base.
However, gaining information about their customers is a challenging task. But, once learned, you can use that information to improve the quality of services you provide. This eventually results in increased business revenue.
2. Address Individual Training Needs
Any typical workforce is a blend of talent from varying personal and professional backgrounds. Such diversity undoubtedly benefits an organization as well as its employees’ growth. But, you should not forget that each individual has different skills and knowledge. So, as a trainer, it’s your responsibility to gauge individual training needs.
In a nutshell, this is one of the key call center best practices that you must follow without fail. You can leverage different contact center training tips to bridge these gaps. For example, some learners respond quickly to interactive content types like graphics and videos, whereas some prefer to read and learn.
3. Teach Them How to Handle Calls
Call handling is an activity that can’t be ignored from the curriculum of a call center agent.
The new hires must receive real-time training to handle calls. If your organization is using call center software, this process turns out to be easy. Features like call recording come in handy during training as you can make new employees hear the previous records for a better understanding of issue resolution. This enables them to acquire knowledge about how to react and what to respond to under different circumstances.
Yet again, call center software allows live monitoring of your agent’s call to provide them with immediate feedback.
Some of the call center best practices for call handling are:
- Answer the call quickly
- Listen to your customer query first
- Control the tone of your voice
- Deal with frustrated customers patiently
- Don’t leave people on hold
- Be prepared to handle well-researched prospects
4. Monitor And Review Phone Calls
Encouragement and motivation are the benefactors that help employees grow and perform better. Thus, the managers must spare time to listen to the calls and praise the agents for their work. You can recognize their work publicly by giving away a token of appreciation.
Team collaboration plays a crucial role in the success of a business. Hence, you can host monthly meetings and gather representatives from different departments on a single platform. It offers them a chance to discuss their challenges and acknowledge how their peers respond to the same situation in different ways. As a result, it will make them feel incentivized to perform better.
The 5th tip of our list of call center best practices for agent training is– to establish open communication channels.
5. Establish Open Communication Channels
Your call center agents are the front face of your customer service as they interact with consumers in real-time. They know how your customers feel. So, take feedback from them to harness improvement in your services. It can also enrich your new agent training experience. Discussion forums are one of the most popular open communication channels that businesses can opt for.
6. Explain the Importance of Schedule Adherence
Schedule adherence measures the amount of time an agent worked aligned with their scheduled time. Given how staffing is the single most considerable cost of running a call center, it’s easy to see why every contact center is putting an increasing emphasis on improving schedule adherence.
The problem is that most new hires do not understand the importance of schedule adherence. A good call center trainer educates the agent about the impact of schedule adherence on key performance indicators like service level.
Apart from that, you should also inform them about the different KPIs managers will assess to measure agent performance. Finally, give out practical tips on how to hit their KPI benchmarks. This will better prepare them for how to interact with their customers and meet the company’s expectations.
The next tip to follow as a call center best practice is– embrace call center technologies.
7. Leverage Call Center Quality Assurance Training Tools
During the later stages of the training program, you can introduce your agents to some of the quality assurance tools of your contact center software. It includes call monitoring, call barging, call analytics, and more.
You can ask your managers to monitor the live calls of your agent so that they can provide feedback in real-time. Call barging can be the last resort while training agents during live calls. It helps the manager handle the situation when it seems to have slipped from an agent’s hand.
So these are the call center best practices to make your call center agents skilled and ready to handle all types of customers’ queries and concerns. In the following section, we will look at the top 7 quality assurance best practices. But before that, let us first get a brief overview of what quality assurance is.
What Is Call Center Quality Assurance?
Contact Center Quality Assurance (QA) is a call center practice that helps improve the quality of service provided to customers, increases team efficiency, and minimizes wastage of resources. It involves continuous call monitoring and management of critical metrics, call quality, and agents’ resolution/assistance.
Though most contemporary contact centers use specialized QA tools to evaluate quality, many are unaware of the call center best practices to optimize QA results. In the later section, we will discuss how call centers can improve quality assurance by adopting the industry-tested QA best practices in 2022 and beyond.
Top 7 Contact Center Quality Assurance Best Practices
Following are the 7 quality assurance tips for call centers.
1. Assess Your Current Position
Self-assessment is the first step that organizations need to take to improve. To improve quality assurance, organizations must understand what customers feel about them and how they fare against the competition. A little market research and feedback gained from customers can significantly help understand organizational shortfalls and fulfill them.
Using post-call surveys and other feedback mechanisms, companies can gain critical insights into the improvements they need. Organizations can also hire a third-party consultant to evaluate call center quality assurance to get an unbiased and neutral view of the changes necessary.
2. Create A Strategy
Creating a strategy is indeed one of the key call center best practices that you must follow without a fail.
After receiving insights from the above sources, you would be able to assess where changes are necessary for you and strategize accordingly. Contact center metrics usually offer a lot of data points to work with. However, identifying which metrics are adversely affecting the bottom line and planning how to fix them is the key to success. Organizations must, therefore, create dynamic goals and work towards them to ensure improved overall quality.
3. Monitor As Many Calls As Possible
The most crucial of all call center best practices is also the most basic one: listening to customers. If customer calls are monitored effectively by managers, it will provide them with all the information necessary to coach their agents better and make quality improvements.
Listening to every single call isn’t always possible, so there are many call monitoring software available in the market. However, if you are not using one for your organization, you can also try and listen to your agents’ most unconventional calls.
Pick up the ones bordering on extremes, like your best, worst, or most prolonged calls on any given day. Then, analyze what went right or wrong, what customers kept complaining about, and where agents struggle most. This will help you formulate future strategies and improve customer experience.
4. Proper Agent Hiring & Management
Along with following the 3 call center best practices listed above, make sure you hire qualified agents only.
Poor quality assurance handling usually takes it to your best agents. With increasing pressure, such agents tend to become resentful towards their organization. Thus, keeping them informed, motivated, and inspired is also crucial to your success. Speaking to agents periodically and regularly taking feedback from them can also help your contact center get better over time.
Another major factor that affects customer experience is the type of agents they speak to. Ensure that you have well-trained agents with good soft skills and product knowledge speaking to customers, and the results will likely be positive. In addition, proper training must be provided about expected behavior, adherence to script, call handling time, net promoter score, etc., to yield favorable results.
5. Use The Best Call Center Scripts
Utilizing stellar scripts can greatly improve the quality of your call center, helping you create a good customer impression and gaining helpful feedback. Along with call scripts, utilizing your employees and involving them in the QA process also has its perks.
Agents are seldom involved in the QA process in a contact center. This is why they are often skeptical and fearful of the entire process. Involving agents in the call center’s quality process makes them understand its usefulness. It makes teams appreciate quality assurance methodologies, standards, and call center best practices, helping them perform better.
6. Acknowledge Your Strengths & Weaknesses
Most of the QA feedback that agents receive is negative or corrective, which often causes agents to perceive them negatively. Therefore, feedback should ideally be provided both on the positive and negative aspects of a call so that agents are rewarded for their positive actions and are corrected on the negative ones. Also, rather than punitive measures, rewards for positive steps have been shown to yield better results.
7. Allow Room For Dispute
Feedback received from QA practices might not always be correct or fair. However, organizations allow little room for agents to dispute them.
Providing agents the chance to register their discontent with an evaluation and receiving a secondary-level assessment helps the QA process in two ways. Firstly, it lets them get their voice heard and gives them a sense of power. Secondly, it shows that the organization has faith in its agents and paves the way to detect system errors or improvements.
The above techniques can significantly optimize your call center’s QA practices and improve customers’ service quality. In addition, this would help you improve customer perception, call center efficiency, and brand loyalty.
Now, let’s move on to the final chapter of this post, where we’ll learn about call center best practices for increasing sales conversions.
10 Call Center Best Practices To Improve Sales Conversion Rate
Surviving and thriving in this highly competitive environment, where each morning brings new challenges, is indeed a difficult task. If you do not follow proven contact center best practices or invest in the best call center software, your business will be wiped out of the market.
We don’t mean to frighten you. But this is the truth. However, as the saying goes, every problem comes with a solution. So, in this case, all you have to do is follow the tips and best practices listed below.
1. Build a Relationship with Customers
Forge a connection with your prospects to develop lasting relationships. Customers who feel an emotional connection with brands will have a 306% higher lifetime value as compared to those who do not.
Ensure your outbound sales script contains the right questions and statements to make prospects share your values and develop a lasting bond. Listen to their problems and give them targeted solutions in a positive manner for the best results.
The next call center best practice to improve sales conversion rate is to improve team performance.
2. Improve Agent Performance
Your agents are the foundation pillars for your outbound call center. Make sure they perform to optimum capability to drive sales and increase revenue.
Decreased performance levels and inadequate training are some common challenges faced by call centers. However, you can overcome these by investing in professional outbound calling software to automate time-consuming tasks and reduce the work word on agents.
Devise call center key performance indicators to know how your agents are performing on the job. Give agents required training to enhance their customer service levels, sales script, and tone. Investing in your agents is a win-win situation that will lead to a happy and productive workforce!
3. Invest In A Trusted Outbound Call Center Software
Technology is a game-changer for outbound call centers!
One of the key call center best practices you can follow or the best thing you can do for your outbound call center is investing in trusted outbound contact center software. Companies using advanced call analytics software can reduce the average handling time by 40%. Imagine the time and energy that you can save!
With professional outbound calling software, your organization can accrue these amazing benefits:
- Multi-channel support
- Higher first-call resolution
- Decreased costs
- Real-Time KPI measurement
- Call analytics
The best part about outbound call center software is that you can choose a trusted service provider to customize a solution to meet your exact requirements – a sure-shot formula to success! However, if you are confused about whether you need outbound call center software or not, read this blog to clear your doubts.
4. Harness Speech Analytics
Speech analytics is where the future of contact centers lies!
Investing in outbound calling software with speech analytics can help you increase voice-based calling processes. It enables managers to mine and analyzes speech patterns to understand customer requirements better and provide better service levels. For this reason, make sure you follow this one of the most sought after call center best practices at present.
Below image shows some groundbreaking researches to highlight the advantages of speech analytics for outbound call centers:
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5. Leverage VoIP Service Providers
Along with following the 4 call center best practices listed above, you must also embrace a VoIP service provider.
VoIP phone systems can help organizations reduce costs associated with cold calling. With a range of cost-effective national and international calling plans, investing in a credible VoIP service provider is the best way to cut down your calling budget and drive business revenues.
VoIP phone solutions can also help your organization build a positive brand image. For example, you can call long-distance prospects and display a local area code – the best way to instill brand confidence and open on a positive note!
6. Use The Omni-Channel Approach
Did you know that 66% of customers use an average of two-three touchpoints for contact with their favorite brands? Outbound call centers need to adopt an omnichannel support approach to get qualified leads and increase conversions.
Outbound call center software allows you to contact prospects through email, chat, social media, SMS, and phone calls. This multi-pronged strategy is likely to work in the current digital business environment where customers have multiple channels to choose from to connect with an organization.
The next one on our list of “Call Center Best Practices To Improve Conversion Rate” is– automate recurring tasks.
7. Automate The Repetitive Dialing Process
One of the most repetitive and challenging tasks for outbound call center reps is to dial prospect numbers. Undoubtedly, the main advantage of outbound call center software is to automate repetitive processes such as dialing the number of leads.
Modern outbound calling software has a power dialer feature that can speed up the process of dialing numbers and distribute calls to available agents. It allows your call center representatives to become more efficient as they don’t have to figure out the next number to dial and waste time in manual operations.
8. Know Your Audience
One of the top call center best practices or tips for cold calling is to know your audience members well. Personalize conversations to go beyond small talk. One way to make your customers feel special is to use their names and address them directly instead of an impersonal sales script.
Segment the target market into small groups and use data mining techniques to know more about their preferences. This will enable contact center agents to tailor conversations and cater to customer needs better, thus driving more conversions.
9. Make Sure To Send A Greeting Message
Another smart tip for cold callers is to break the ice by sending a warm-up email or message. This is a great way to catch the attention of your prospects and give them a heads up before talking to them on the phone.
You can briefly introduce your product or service in the introductory email and let prospects know that you will be getting in touch with them personally soon. This is likely to make customers pay attention and listen closely when you call, rather than catch them off-guard.
10. Remain Polite and Positive During The Conversation
It is essential for outbound sales agents to maintain a positive tone of voice and have a pleasant conversation. Work on vocal dynamics to maintain a pleasing pitch, tonality, and volume.
Never push your prospects to close a sale. Instead, listen to their concerns and give genuine advice that will serve their purpose. Counter any objections with empathy and move on gracefully if prospects decline your final offer.
These are the top 10 call center best practices to boost sales conversion that you should think about and implement if you want to generate more revenue.
We are certain that if implemented appropriately and regularly, these contact center best practices will benefit your contact center in a number of ways, including increased revenue generation, improved customer satisfaction, and increased employee competency.
The Bottom Line: Adopting new technologies and approaches is critical for any organization to remain relevant and profitable. Call centres are no exception. If you want your call center to outperform your competition and be successful, make sure you follow all of the call center best practices outlined above. These tips will help you improve your agent’s skill level, sales conversion rate, and quality assurance.