The best agents can predict what customers are calling about within seconds. This enables them to provide quality service to each caller, boosting customer loyalty and the brand’s image.
With that said, there are a few things every customer who calls in wants in a call center experience. Anticipating their most common needs and tendencies allows your service representatives to be as effective as possible.
What should your reps prioritize in every call? Let’s take a look:
1. Issue Resolution
More than anything, customers want the problem they’re calling in about to be resolved. While every customer is unique, your reps will start to see trends after fielding a number of calls. Ensure training periods last long enough for new recruits to get a feel for these.
For unexpected issues, triage is key. Reps may not be able to solve a website malfunction themselves, but they can get it handled quickly by reaching out to the IT team.
2. Personal Interaction
A Talk Desk survey found personalized agent interaction to be the second most desired aspect of a call center experience, directly behind issue resolution. Pleasant conversation makes any problem a little less frustrating.
Agents who are personable tend to provide better experiences than those who are brash or awkward. Personalized interactions also make customers feel heard, which is key in a situation where they worry they’ll be treated as just another number.
3. Low Wait Times
Nobody wants to sit on hold for an hour to have a five-minute conversation. But the truth is, 60% of customers feel that being on hold for even 60 seconds is too long. The shorter the wait time, the happier the customer.
On the agent side, there’s not much that can be done to solve this problem. The ebb and flow of call volumes is the single biggest factor in wait times. Hiring more reps can help if volumes stay high. Improving workflows by, for example, automating call transcription can also make a difference.
4. Voice Recognition
Some callers aren’t a huge fan of this new technology, but others are. While unable to perform complex tasks, voice recognition software can greatly improve a call center’s effectiveness when implemented correctly.
Voice recognition systems work by using machine learning to translate key phrases into commands. They can be used to verify caller information and direct calls to the proper agents. Customers who ask common questions may never need to speak to a human agent to solve their issue.
Callers are notorious for not exercising a lot of patience. Ironically, they still expect it in return. In a “the customer is always right” world, customer service reps need to exercise patience when handling even the most difficult of calls.
Regardless of the caller’s demeanor, exercising patience can keep problems from escalating. Simple steps like speaking calmly, saying “thank you,” and asking the caller to hold when necessary can make a world of difference.
6. Clear Instruction
Customer service reps often forget callers aren’t as well versed on common issues as reps themselves are. To get the message across, reps must speak clearly and be ready to explain things repeatedly.
Using clear language and familiar terminology requires practice. Pair reps up to allow them to practice putting themselves in the caller’s shoes.
7. Prompt Follow-Up
Customers don’t want an unnecessary call back, but they do expect some sort of follow-up from your company. A simple email with a survey asking for feedback is a great way to reach out, as well as to aid in training future callers.
When should you consider calling a customer back? If their problem couldn’t be resolved during the call, if they escalated the issue to a manager, or if they explicitly asked for a follow-up call.
8. Access to Management
No matter how well you train your reps, not every call will be a perfect one. When a misunderstanding happens, customers may ask to speak with a manager.
The bottom line is, customers want to feel heard. Many call center managers have the same tools and abilities their reps do. But simply by virtue of their authority, they can put an upset customer at ease.
9. Multilingual Reps
These days, call centers need to be as diverse as their customers are. Even if someone can speak English, they may feel more comfortable describing the issue in their native language.
Make sure you have reps on staff who can speak languages common to your customer base. Even if these reps aren’t fluent, they’ll make a positive impression on customers who would prefer to communicate in a foreign language.
Knowing what customers are looking for when they call is half the battle. The second half is treating them like you’d want to be treated if you needed to call a customer service line. Follow the Golden Rule, and you’ll get it right more often than not.