Digital support channels have still not yet replaced the call center. Quite the contrary, in a recently published study on consumer service preferences, 49 percent stated that their preferred support option is face-to-face communication in person or via the call center. As a company, you cannot say goodbye to your call center if good service is important to your customers.
These ten figures impressively demonstrate how important great customer service is for your business. Among other things, 82 percent of your customers would turn to one of your competitors after a single bad service experience. But what exactly do customers expect when they require help and contact your call center?
First Call Resolution (FCR) Has Top Priority
As a business, you have less than 10 minutes to solve your customers’ problem – at the first attempt. The only thing more frustrating for your customers than long waiting times is when they have to pick up the phone for the second time because their problem was not properly solved at the first attempt.
The problem in practice: In 80 percent of cases, companies cannot offer an adequate solution in the first step because they lack the required know-how or the right contact person is not available. These are those hair-raising situations where the conversation goes on endlessly because your customer no longer just wants to have their initial question answered, but now also would like to complain about the bad service.
For any call center wanting to ensure an excellent customer experience resulting in customer loyalty and an improving Net Promoter Score (NPS), a solid First Call Resolution-Rate (FCR) is the crucial KPI and the ultimate benchmark. Real customer satisfaction fanatics set aside KPIs such as Average Handling Time (AHT) and put all their energy into solving customer problems right from the first contact.
Once the customer’s problem is solved quickly and at the first interaction, conventional customer satisfaction measurements get second priority and retention KPIs such as NPS will naturally improve.
Omni-Channel Customer Care Is Part of the Standard Repertoire
First Call Resolution is becoming even more important, especially in a customer care world, in which you and your customers communicate with each other on numerous channels such as telephone, chat, email and social media. If all the information is universally available to your call center team irrespective of the contact channel, then you will save your customer, who contacts you on Facebook for example, from having to contact you again by phone and repeat the information all over again.
Despite the omni-channel setup, the FCR increases, your customer is happy and your call center employees gain precious time, which they can use to answer other customer requests. In recent years, the emergence of new contact options such as chat, social media and messenger services has created a network of one-way streets in many customer care organizations.
However, the mistake has been recognized – multi-channel now means omni-channel, and no matter on which channel your customer contacts you: You can deliver consistent service quality. This is made possible by technology-based service platforms which can be used to track the entire customer journey. Although only 36 percent of call centers are managing this today, omni-channel capability is expected to be the standard in every call center in the foreseeable future.
Virtual Call Centers Serve Your Customers from the Cloud
Increasing customer needs mean that the job requirements for call center staff is also growing. As artificial intelligence becomes more and more automated in answering routine tasks, qualified call center staff of the future will only deal with complex customer requests in order to ensure an excellent FCR rate.
In the past, call center jobs were badly paid and supposedly did not require any special qualifications, but now the job profile is changing significantly. The fight for the best call center employees has commenced and the best working conditions will be the decisive factor.
Companies that can offer their team flexible job locations and working hours in a virtual organization are clearly at an advantage. This is made possible by cloud-based call center solutions, which have become the new technology standard for many organizations. This way, the number of remote jobs will annually increase by over 20 percent in the coming years. Flexible working models are an important motivation factor for call center staff – and a crucial requirement for excellent service in the end.
Remote support tools allow call center agents to share their screens and visualize tips and tricks, leading to a better understanding of issues for both agents and customers and a faster resolution, ultimately. Whenever customers are in trouble with their product and need expert help, visualization tells more than thousand words and turns a chat or call into a digital customer care experience.
Eventually, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools will be more and more integrated into customer service interactions and support agents in the background in finding the best solution to the customer’s problem based on predictive analytics. Companies who take digital transformation serious and integrate new technologies into their call center will benefit from full transparency and real-time feedback on the quality of the customer care experience they deliver.