Call centers are the very first line of response to customers and often become the first line of discrepancy in service. This is because call centers are often considered to be one of the toughest environments to work in. This process often results in absenteeism from agents, agent turnover and costs while steadily lowering customer service quality, morale, and effectiveness. However, there are a plethora of deeper-rooted issues that plague such workplaces. Some of the most common call center problems alongside their solutions have been outlined below.
Attrition on the part of the agent, has been a common occurrence in workplaces that handle a lot of incoming client traffic. Cramped work areas, low wages, and stunted vertical movement inside the company explain why these places have such a high attrition and turnover rate. There is less room for professional and personal growth. This becomes extremely demotivating for the employees overtime.
Some of the common ways to handle such call centre problems could be as discussed.
(a) Competitive pay and benefit: Call center employees work hard and are often required to monotonously repeat the same tasks. Company rewards can be compared to similar players in the market and agents can be allowed incentives and rewards to keep up their best work.
(b) Gamification – Gamification is changing the ways employees interact with the company and clients with the business. The correct game tools, tactics, and techniques can help managers change their call center into a client-centered operation by motivating employee engagement and achievement. Businesses should invest in helpdesk solutions to streamline most of the processes, reducing redundant workload.
The combination of strange work times and a very high-stress environment is not very conducive for sustaining performance. The issue further complicates because the employees present and working have to shoulder the workload for the absentees. This not only impacts the quality of services being provided but also decreases employee morale. It also sets unacceptable standards for what is normal at the workplace.
It can be solved by
(a) Tracking absentee data – This is to keep tabs on when and under what circumstances employees make the most absentees. It can help identify patterns that can then be used to create official policies.
(b) Creating absentee policies – Once the patterns of absenteeism have been identified, it can be used to create a policy that regulates unwanted behavior from employees. This can be formally communicated to them that repeated absence could lead to formal action.
It is a challenging task in any industry to keep employees engaged. It is more so in a call center owing to the nature of the work. It is monotonous, repetitive, and seldom offers any novel situations. This can lead to further detachment by employees and a drop in quality of service. However, there are ways to solve these call center problems.
(a) Employees should feel empowered – Numerous sets of data show that most employees in such places feel they do not have enough authority or resources to effectively help a customer. Employing CRM systems can effectively resolve this issue.
(b) Automation – Using appropriate automation can take away the mundane task and let the employee/agent get involved in more intricate matters. A chatbot or a virtual assistant can free up employees to answer more complex, engaging questions that require attention.
One of the most telling metrics of workplace efficiency is the first call resolution rate. According to multiple surveys, a huge bulk of incoming queries are from previously unresolved complainants. However, there are ways to solve these issues too.
(a) Common knowledge base – It is important for any business to have a platform for shared resources. This knowledge base should be filled with the most common queries alongside their most widely approved responses.
(b) Assessing key performance indicators (KPIs) - It is not enough to merely gather metrics. It is important to also track whether the correct metrics are being gathered and if they, at all, are helping increase company efficiency.
(c) Omnichannel customer service – Customer has multiple touchpoints to reach out to brand. But it is very important for the agent to know the past interactions of the customer. This empowers the agent with a 360° customer view and be more informed.
A lot of what employees have to work with at a call center revolves around them switching between multiple platforms. A lot of failures in FCR owe from the employees being unable to access data or knowing where to find it. For this reason, it is important to make the process seamless for employees, and the following are the ways to achieve that.
(a) Adopting flexible helpdesk software – Quality and new software often come with the option of integrating into the already existing systems. Thus, it is important to choose the right kind of software.
(b) Software that has pre-integrated tools – It is wise and advisable for companies to choose systems and software that already come with a large selection of tools built into their system. This becomes handy when a customer is on the line waiting for an instant solution. C-Zentrix offers contact center solution that can readily integrate with other third party CRMs.
Call centers often rely on both real-time and historical data to formulate policies and courses of action. Traditionally, these include the speed of answering, first call resolution rates, and the likes. However, looking at non-traditional metrics often helps paint a bigger picture.
(a) Non-traditional metrics – Looking at insights like social media comments and engagement, net promoter scores, and the likes help to chalk out certain data that can grow the business.
(b) Providing customers with metrics – Any customer today would like to have as much control over their interaction as they can. Such customers can be satisfied by providing them with certain metrics. They can be informed of average wait times and their position in the queue, which can further help them make more informed choices.
It is often seen that owing to the flat structure of the workplace and the lack of upward mobility, most employees do not know what to expect or set up unreasonable expectations for themselves. These call center problems can cause unnecessary friction in the workplace.
It can be managed by
(a) Providing opportunities – High performing employees should be given opportunities to head new initiatives or even be given a larger role. This will help them develop skills and stay motivated.
(b) Manage expectations – It is important for managers to be upfront about what opportunities are offered by the company and if there will be any in the future to help employees navigate the workplace realistically.
It is seen in many workplaces that even though onboarding is provided, employees are unable to retain information and perform when required. As a result, performance is much lower than expected. It can be solved by scheduling and following through with multiple training sessions. These training sessions should be scheduled across all departments, albeit they would involve the issues specific to a certain department.
Instead of long sessions, which can wear out employees – it is advisable to schedule multiple short sessions over a week. Finding novel ways to conduct these will keep employees engaged and make them feel motivated to perform more.
A huge chunk of customers take delight in and feel satisfied in finding solutions to their problems on their own. This is understandable as going through a customer service system is often a strenuous process. This way, customers feel more satisfied while simultaneously freeing up agents to tend to whoever requires it the most.
(a) Using simple IVR menus – Simple phone menus can be set up to help the customer serve themselves while providing a common knowledge base.
(b) Customer knowledge base – The previously discussed employee knowledge base can be used to create one for the customers in which they can look up the issues they want to find solutions to.
A traditional way a call center is set up is usually an open space with multiple agents sharing the space, chatting up people on the phone, and in general, a loud, unorganized environment. The solution to this particular problem is to create private spaces for employees to conduct their business. It is not to say that they can all be provided with their own room; however, even a 2-3 ft wall is enough to drown out distractions and other noises. This will drastically improve focus and help employees deliver better overall performances.
The contact center ecosystem should be very energetic and enthusiastic as happy employees can only create happy customers. So it is a mix of right technology, training and attitude that will make the call center a very dynamic place and successfully keep creating happy customers.
Author Bio: Sweta is a growing technical writer with an experience in digital marketing. Outside work, she is a devoted Esports advocate.