Senior Writer: Supriya Bajaj
As customers, we constantly want to get in touch with organizations to receive quick support. So, what measures exactly do companies take to ensure that their clients can contact them any time they wish? Well, call centers are the best solution – they are the front line of customer service!
Call centers help you to keep your end customers happy. In fact, a whopping 97.5 contact center call agents view customer satisfaction as the most important metric. Most organizations invest in hosted phone systems supported by VoIP technology and set up sophisticated call centers that increase responsive levels. New technological advances such as call center software help in automating routine communication tasks, and boosting team productivity.
Many companies also invest in local phone numbers for their call center representatives. This helps them compete in foreign markets, and establishes a credible brand reputation. Since customers always gravitate towards local businesses, having a phone number with a local area code will definitely provide a strong competitive advantage.
While organizations across the globe have realized the numerous benefits of setting up call centers, the overall picture is not always rosy. It is an extremely tough work environment characterized by absenteeism, turnover, long working hours and ineffective training procedures.
Organizations need to strive towards improving optimization and driving efficiency in their call centers. Being aware of these 9 major problems faced by call centers can help managers streamline procedures and enhance task flow management:
Poor Customer Satisfaction:
Did you know that around 30 percent of calls made to call centers are for previous unresolved problems? One of the biggest challenges facing call centers is that they are unable to solve customer problems in a speedy and effective way. This leads to long-term dissatisfaction and often forces customers to move towards other responsive rival firms.
Solution- Providing an interactive voice response system that facilitates skill-based call routing is an optimal solution for this problem. These automated platforms will ensure that customers are diverted to the right department where they can require the technical assistance that they require. It can also place high-value callers at the front of the telephonic waiting queues to retain them and keep them satisfied with service levels.
High Agent Attrition:
Employee attrition is a major problem that is plaguing modern-day call centers. Since it is a stressful work environment with long hours and demanding targets, many workers quit midway and do not stay for long. This leads to the difficult proposition of hiring new talent and training them to perform duties. It results in lower morale levels and mounting expenses.
Solution- Call centers to need to take steps to keep a collaborative work environment. They can hire employees who can work remotely in a productive manner. Managers should recognize and reward hard workers so that they feel valued. Compensation levels should be amongst the best in the industry and all efforts should be made to engage employees holistically.
Low Employee Morale:
Lower performance levels and a number of team members leaving can result in decreased employee morale levels. Sometimes organizations rely very heavily on traditional parameters such as average handling time and total daily calls – this puts heavy pressure and forces agents to lower quality standards.
Solution- Organizations should get a hosted phone system that provides productivity-boosting tools and applications for call center agents. The focus should be qualitative metrics such as customer feedback and balanced scorecards. Efforts should be taken to engage employees and counsel them at regular intervals. This ensures that they remain highly motivated and deliver superior support to aggrieved clients.
Call Pick Up Rate:
Call pick can be a major challenge for call center. A lot agents efforts gets wasted because the phone number used flags the call and the customer tends to reject the call instead of picking it up. This is very common when the call center is based in a certain country and it calling customer of another country. The phone number used is often of the country from where the call is being made which shoo away the customer.
Solution- A solution is to use virtual phone number. You can procure these number for most country from any where in the world. For example, if you have to call Australia, you can procure on Australia virtual mobile number by submitting only a few document. This will give an impression to the Australian audience that the call is local and increase the call pick up rate.
Decreased Performance Levels:
Hitting moderate target levels and satisfying customers is always a problem with most call centers. Sometimes call agents are not polite with clients, thus may leave them feeling dissatisfied with the level of service provided. Company representatives may also not redirect unhappy customers to the right technician or concerned department, which will result in slow support.
Solution- If you have a VoIP phone system, you can streamline all communication processes and have a standard operating procedure for customer complaints. An audit of call recordings can be conducted and all customer conversations can be reviewed effectively. Setting up a reward system is also a good idea as it can motivate call agents to increase performance levels. Giving titles such as ‘Star Performer of the Month’ is an effective way to make sure that your call center employee base performs to the best of its ability and goes beyond the call of duty to satisfy clients.
Ineffective Training Sessions:
Many times, call centers offer frequent training sessions to their staff members so that they stay abreast of all changes in the environment. However, agents remain unable to transfer that knowledge and apply it in the actual workplace. As a result, managers constantly provide negative feedback and have to waste precious time assisting team members.
Solution- Make sure to have regularly paced continuous training sessions that reinforce proper practices. Try to infuse creativity in training, and have practical sessions such as role-play of customer conversations. Team activities, brainstorming sessions, and multimedia content can go a long way in improving the impact of training for VoIP call center representatives.
Lack of Budget:
Lack of financial resources has been a perennial problem for call centers. They often suffer monetary losses due to high staffing costs. This makes top executives view call centers as a heavy cost burden that depletes revenues and profits. Many organizations thus do not set up call centers and resort to other ineffective means to serve their customers.
Solution- If your organization has fewer financial resources and a tight budget, the best thing you can do is get a business phone system. They have economical calling prices, and most service vendors will customize pricing plans that will suit your calling requirements.
Many times there are technical IT issues with call centers. Their phone lines may stop working on a busy day or they may face difficulty in integrating other existing business systems. This leads to frustration, time wastage and has a highly detrimental impact on the overall productivity of call agents.
Solution- Go in for virtual telephony – your call center will function seamlessly as this simple technology is highly user-friendly. It is very easy to install VoIP phone lines, and there are no complex hardware or software requirements. Most service vendors just take a couple of minutes to set up a call center, and it hardly requires any further maintenance.
Lack of Time:
One of the most pressing problems of call center agents is a shortage of time, yet a high volume of customer calls. Hence, they do not solve client problems accurately or spend enough time on calls. Customers feel dissatisfied, and lose faith in call centers.
Solution- While running a call center, managers need to plan for enough phone lines and staff members. Forecasting of heavy call volumes, employee shift rotation, and increasing staff strength are simple measures that can increase operational efficiency in call centers.
Less Career Progression:
A major call center problem is that they have very flat hierarchical structures – this translates into fewer promotions and opportunities for career progression. With limited team manager or leader roles, the majority of employees remain stuck at the base level. This tempts them to move to greener pastures and results in a super-high attrition rate.
Solution- Get your call center employees involved in the daily running of operations so that they also feel valued. Give them chances to exercise leadership and contribute their opinion towards strategic decisions. The involvement and engagement of call center workers in task management is a great way to create a collaborative environment.
If you are struggling with these common call center problems, please take charge of the situation! Take proactive action, engage your staff members and help to smooth out the entire journey. This will also improve the overall quality of your call center.
Remember, investing in a virtual phone system is a long-term investment and it can give you an excellent backbone for your communication needs. So, go ahead, enjoy the tons of benefits of running an organized and successful call center!