The main purpose of a contact center is to retain and expand a company’s established customer base. The contact center contributes to growth and marketing of the business, while actively attending to the concerns and experiences of its consumers. Without a call center, businesses would struggle to find effective methods of directly engaging with their customers and ensuring their continued satisfaction.
Consumers are most satisfied and loyal to businesses that offer accommodating customer service. They expect to receive friendly customer service, not only when they make their purchase, but before and after the sale as well. Contact centers provide customers the convenience of direct contact with a representative of your company, without having to go out of their way to meet someone in person. It also gives them after-hour assistance with placing orders or answering questions about the products or services offered by your company.
Several factors can contribute to a call center’s success and effectiveness.
- Measurable business goals: First and foremost, the contact or call center must have a measurable set of business goals identified and established. It’s important for service to be consistent and aligned with the overall mission of the business to accomplish their goals.
- Easy access for customers: Also, the customer service center must be easily accessible to all consumers. Both existing and potential clients must be able to speak with a representative. If the number is difficult to locate or consumers find it impossible to get through to a live agent, the communication barrier becomes a strain and alienates the consumers. As a result, your business will receive lower ratings and cultivate a community of dissatisfied customers.
- Insight reports: Additionally, customer service centers are the most effective and successful when they have methods to track, process, and analyze the various calls that come in. The data collected can empower your business to enhance the customer service experience, and expose opportunities for improvement or growth. Without an automated process to measure customer satisfaction, grievances, and trending requests, it’s difficult for businesses to stay in touch with consumer demands and meet their needs effectively.
Also be sure to implement other measurement tools for other communication channels. Monitor and track correspondence, and assess the effectiveness and quality of the service delivered. Set goals and review them on a regular basis to ensure your business of moving towards your goals, not away from them. This way, issues can be identified and corrected quickly, before they grow into bigger problems down the line.
- English-speaking home base: Centers located within American borders are most preferred by U.S. customers, but foreign centers do provide other benefits for businesses' bottom lines. The cost of hiring foreign customer contact centers to handle the businesses' customer service needs is less expensive than operating a dedicated facility that is home based. Labor costs are cheaper overseas and overhead costs are virtually eliminated.
The problem comes with the language barriers between the customers and the representatives. Some foreign accents are not clearly audible and understandable for those who speak U.S. English. The frustration resulting from that language barriers places more distance between your business and your consumer base, which could result in sale declines and lost opportunities for up-sells. On the other hand, having a representative that consumers can relate to increases the effectiveness of communication. It also reinforces the appeal of your business, reassuring the customer base that you’re in touch with their needs. Having a home based center helps to ensure your center is performing in line with your goals.
- Qualified customer service representatives: The customer's perception of a representative makes a significant difference. Customers expect to speak with a professional, friendly, dedicated, and knowledgeable representative. Having a representative who lacks those skills in any capacity will represent your business in a negative way, and may cause damage to your business brand and reputation. Not only should your call center representative be fully trained, but the training should be engaging and informative in order to be effective. If the training is dull and unexciting, it will be difficult for the representative to take an upbeat approach when handling customer calls. By providing the training in an enjoyable manner, representatives will become excited about the product, and be able to convey that excitement in their calls.
- Updated call center technology: Technology is constantly evolving and improving the way contact centers operate, and it is important to stay abreast of that. For instance, an effective contact center will have multi-line phones, with the ability to transfer calls to another representative. The technologies connecting the phone lines to computers used by representatives should be able to pull up a current customer's file, as well as capture and extract information about potential customers when they call. They should also empower representatives with the ability to connect with their customers in various ways. Faxing, emailing and connecting on social media platforms are just a few of the technological capabilities a modern contact center must have.