Empower your advisors and give them the confidence to engage with the customer.
When customers call into a contact centre, they are expecting a quick, efficient and polite service. This should be the minimum level of service that any contact centre is providing. What makes a customer’s day is when the person they interact with is friendly, helpful and builds a rapport with them. It can really make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful call outcome.
The Loyalty Ladder is a tool used in business to illustrate the journey that customers take when building a relationship with the company or brand.
The first stage of the ladder is suspect referring to those who are aware of the activities of the business but are not customers or service users yet. Suspects progress to a prospect who are considering buying from the business, but may have some doubts. This is an ideal opportunity for an agent to approach a prospect and convert them to a customer using sales techniques and great people skills. From one time customer, a successful agent can convert the consumer to a client, who uses the services regularly. The most important stage of the loyalty ladder is the advocate. The advocate not only continues to use the services, but recommends them to others and is effectively providing free marketing for the business. The deciding factor that inevitably converts a client to an advocate is the level of service they receive. There will most likely be a number of other companies providing a similar service or product and with today’s highly competitive price wars, it is more challenging to retain customers. Exceptional service is often the defining factor that decides the customer, even when the price has been beaten elsewhere.
Building your suspects into advocates is a crucial aspect of customer relationship management. Not only does it secure custom from that particular consumer, it also increases sales generated by their endorsements. As an outsourcing contact centre or in-house customer service centre, your agents are on the frontline and therefore need to be trained so that they are delivering the very best service to your customers.
Here are some tips for utilising your workforce:
Empower them with knowledge and responsibility. Extensive training on products and services will give your advisors the self-assurance to speak comprehensively to the caller. This will not only reassure the customer, but give the advisor confidence in themselves and their ability as a representative of your company.
Use videos available online to illustrate good or bad conversations. Then ask your trainees to take part in a role play and demonstrate how the call should have been handled.
Entrust supervisors to train small teams on key topics. Not only will this improve advisor productivity, it will empower the supervisor and strengthen the team.
Teach advisors to approach each new call with a positive attitude. Negativity can be detected and is infectious. If the caller can detect that their enquiry is going to end in disappointment the call will be strained from the outset. Train advisors to speak positively, even if the outcome isn’t what the caller was hoping for.
Ongoing training is an often overlooked, yet a crucial element to empowering your staff. Refresher courses and monitoring sessions will help to keep the standards high and adapt to changing needs of the business as well as letting the staff know that they have continued support.
Teach the correct protocols. No matter how well they know the product, service or company, there will be times when an advisor taking a call will reach a limit with the enquiry or order when they can no longer help. This is the time when they need to pass over to a supervisor, following the correct procedure to make the customer aware of the situation.
Give your agents the right tools. The key to enabling the best possible customer service from your advisors is to give them the top tools available to allow them to engage with the caller. Use an application that provides the advisor with the relevant information when they need it so that they are in constant communication with the customer. No silences and no long periods of hold time.
The increase in customer expectation means that customers now expect more than just their question answered or issue resolved. They want a personal interaction with a skilled advisor. Even when interactions do not deliver the desired outcome, the engagement of the advisor with the caller can make a world of difference and the outcome can still be positive.
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