[Infographic] 9 Effective Call Center Strategies You Can’t Miss

Effective call center strategies are essential to running a contact center. It’s not as simple as setting up a few phones and handing your team a script (although we’re sure no one has thought that since 2005). But it’s equally as likely that you’re so bogged down with managing the everyday realities that you can’t see the forest through the trees.

That is, you can’t see just how cluttered the contact center has become.

From staffing and training to managing operations and tracking KPIs, you spend too much time keeping a contact center running instead of doing what you do best: Connecting with customers.

That’s where Quiq comes in. Our Conversational AI Platform uses breakthrough technology to make it easier to engage customers, whether through live chat (also known as web chat), text messaging, or social media.

Let’s take a look at ways to improve your call center efficiency and how Quiq can help you reduce the clutter with 9 effective call center strategies in a handy infographic:

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1. Streamline your current system.

How do you currently connect with your customers? Fielding phone calls, emails, and the occasional DMs can leave communications scattered and your systems fragmented.

Here’s what can happen with you don’t have a single, consolidated platform:

  • Customer conversations can slip through the cracks.
  • Your team wastes time switching between apps, programs, and windows.
  • Disparate technology becomes outdated and overpriced.
  • With no support for asynchronous communication, conversations can only happen one at a time.
  • Measuring performance requires pulling metrics from multiple sources, a time-consuming and arduous process.

Quiq lets your agents connect with customers across various channels in a singular platform. You’ll improve your contact center operational efficiency with conversations, survey results, and performance data all in one easy-to-use interface.

2. Boost agent productivity and efficiency.

How do your customer service agents go about their day? Are they handling one call at a time? Reinventing the wheel with every new conversation? Switching between apps and email and phone systems?

Outdated technology (or a complete lack of it) makes handling customer conversations inherently more difficult. Switching to a messaging-first strategy with Quiq increases the speed with which agents can tackle customer conversations.

Switching to asynchronous messaging (that is, messaging that doesn’t require both parties to be present at the same time) enables agents to handle 6–8 conversations at once. Beyond conversation management, Quiq helps optimize agent performance with AI-enhanced tools like bots, snippets, sentiment analysis, and more.

3. Drive down costs.

It’s time to stop looking at your contact center as a black hole for your profits. At the most basic level, your customer service team’s performance is measured by how many people they can serve in a period of time, which means time is money.

The longer it takes your agents to solve problems, whether they’re searching for the answer, escalating to a higher customer service level, or taking multiple conversations to find a solution, the more it impacts your bottom line.

Even simple questions, like “Where’s my order?” inquiries needlessly slow down your contact center. Managing your contact center’s operations is overwhelming, to say the least.

Need a Quiq solution? We have many. Let’s start with conversation queuing. Figuring out a customer’s problem and getting to the right person or department eats away at time that could be spent finding a solution. Quiq routes conversations to the right person, significantly reducing resolution times. Agents can also seamlessly loop in other departments or a manager to solve a problem quickly.

Beyond improving your contact center’s operational efficiency, messaging is 3x less expensive than the phone.

4. Manage seasonal spikes and fluctuating demands.

All contact centers face the eternal hiring/firing merry-go-round struggle. You probably get busy around the holidays and slow down in January. Or maybe September is your most active season, and your team shrinks through the rest of the year. While you can’t control when you’re busy and when you’re slow, you can control how you respond to those fluctuations.

Manage seasonal spikes by creating your own chatbot using Quiq’s AI engine. Work with our team to design bot conversations that use Natural Language Processing (NPL) to assist customers with simple questions. Chatbots can also improve agent resolution times by collecting customer information upfront to speed up conversations.

Daily Harvest’s chatbot, Sage, was able to contain 60% of conversations, which means their human agents saw a vast reduction in call volume. Perfect for managing the holiday rush.

5. Remove friction.

How hard is it for your customers to contact your help center? Do they have to fill out a web form, wait for an email, and set up a phone call? Is there a number in fine print in the depths of your FAQ page? Some companies make it difficult for customers to interact with their team, hoping that they’ll spend less money if there are fewer calls and emails. But engaging with customers can improve company perception, boost sales, and deepen customer loyalty.

That’s why Quiq makes it easy for your team and customers to connect. From live chat to SMS/text and Google Business Messaging to WhatsApp, customers can connect with your team on their preferred channel.

6. Improve the quality of your conversations with rich messaging.

Email and phone conversations are, in a word, boring. Whether you’re an e-commerce company selling products or a service provider helping customers troubleshoot problems with their latest device, words aren’t always enough. That’s why Quiq offers rich messaging.

What is rich messaging? It’s an advanced form of text messaging that includes multimedia, like GIFs, high-resolution photos, or video. It also includes interactive tools, like appointment scheduling, transaction processing, and more.

You can use rich messaging to give customers a better service experience. Whether sending them product recommendations or a video walkthrough, they’ll get a fully immersed experience.

7. Engage more qualified leads.

Do leads die in your contact center? Let’s face it: your contact center isn’t the place to handle high-value leads. Yet when warm leads find themselves there, you need a way to track, qualify, and engage them.

Here’s where chatbots can help with marketing. Quiq’s chatbots can help you identify qualified leads by engaging with your prospect and collecting information before it ever gets to your sales team.

A great example we’ve seen is from General Assembly. With the Quiq team by their side, they created a bot that helped administer a quiz and captured and nurtured leads interested in specific courses. This helped them strengthen the quality of their leads and achieve a 26% conversion rate, which leads us to our next factor for an effective call center strategy.

8. Increase conversions.

If you haven’t stopped viewing your call center as a cost center, this next topic should change your mind. While many contact centers focus on customer service, which can lean heavily toward complaints and post-purchase problems, there’s also tons of profit potential via effective call center strategies.

Adding messaging to your contact center opens up more opportunities to engage with your customers across the web. Live chat is a great way to talk to your customers at key points in the buyers’ journey. Using a chatbot to assist shoppers in navigating your website makes shoppers 3x more likely to convert to a sale than unassisted visitors.

Combining AI and human agents with Quiq’s conversational platform gives your customers the best experience possible without adding to your contact center’s workload—and it can lead to an 85% reduction in abandoned shopping carts. Plus, Quiq integrates with your ERP system so customer data is always at your team’s fingertips.

9. Increase customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction is likely your call center’s #1 goal. Yet outdated phone systems and substandard technology isn’t the best solution to improve call center agent performance.

Quiq empowers agents to be more efficient, which reduces your customer’s wait time and helps ensure customers get the best service possible. Quiq customers often increase their customer satisfaction ratings by about 15 points.

And the best way to increase your ratings? With regular, in-context surveys. Our conversational platform helps you and your agents get instant customer feedback. Customers can seamlessly respond to surveys right from within the channel they used to connect with your customer service.

Give contact center clutter a Quiq goodbye with effective call center strategies.

There’s no place in an efficient business for a cluttered contact center. Outdated systems, slow processes, and a lack of support can overwhelm your agents—and keep them from performing their best for your customers.

Now that you’re equipped with ways to improve call center efficiency, it’s time to see it in action. Quiq’s Conversational AI Platform empowers your team to work more efficiently and create happier customers.

Best Practices for Call Center Agents

No, the call center isn’t dead.

In the last few years, digital channels have seen tremendous growth. People can go online to find answers, send a text, chat with a bot, or even reach out on social media.

But while the industry’s focus has shifted to text-based communications, call centers aren’t going anywhere.

Last year, Salesforce reported that customers ranked “phone” as their second most preferred customer service channel. That’s up from their #3 spot in 2019—overtaking in-person interactions (for obvious reasons).

Since customers are still dialing, we’ve put together some best practices to help call center agents shine.

Show customers you care.

Providing great customer service starts and ends with emotions. Answering customers’ questions is vital, but you’re really there to connect with them. And it starts with communicating effectively.

Listen.

Listening is the first step. It needs to be said because it sometimes conflicts with other productivity goals. Take the time to listen to a customer’s complaints before diving into a script. Not only will you be better equipped to solve their problems (without a bunch of clarifying questions), but you also give the customer a chance to vent their frustrations and feel heard.

Demonstrate empathy.

There’s a big gap between customer expectations and reality. Salesforce reports that 68% of customers expect brands to demonstrate empathy, only 37% of customers feel brands actually do.

Make sure to use phrases like “I understand,” or try repeating back what your customer said to show you were listening. These types of responses are especially important over the phone when you can’t rely on visual cues like eye contact and head nodding.

Go off-script.

Scripts are great tools to help call center agents solve customer problems, but they can sound stiff and stale. Customers can tell when you’re reading from a script, and it can immediately put a wall up between you.

While it’s helpful to follow the general outline to ensure you don’t miss any important information, inject some of your own personality and mannerisms into it.

Add humor when appropriate, double-back if a customer didn’t give a clear answer, or pull together language from a variety of scenarios.

Customers will appreciate it. (Just make sure it’s within company policy first.)

Avoid transferring calls.

This one’s tough because it relies on so many other determining factors. But customers have come to expect quick resolutions to their problems, especially when choosing to call customer service over other channels.

In fact, Salesforce reports that 83% of consumers expect to solve their complex problems by speaking with one person.

The truth is, customers don’t want to speak with multiple people to solve their problems. It often means they have to repeat themselves (something customers don’t like), and it increases the time they spend on hold.

The best way to limit transfers?

It often comes down to infrastructure—something that is outside of call center agents’ control. This often includes bigger organizational initiatives like:

  • Setting up a knowledge base: Information should be easily accessible. That way, when you don’t know the answer, you can pull it up in the knowledge base instead of transferring the call to someone who does know.
  • Utilizing call center software: There are tons of call center software options that enhance agent and customer experience alike. Some offer options to notify a manager and have them listen to a call to help agents navigate more complex interactions.
  • Having a system to direct calls: If your company has multiple specialized departments, customer service centers should immediately direct calls to the right person. Call centers can accomplish this using an interactive voice response (IVR) system, web chat, or other self-service tools.
  • Training agents thoroughly: A knowledge base and customer service software are great tools, but they can’t replace thorough training. Agents should spend time learning the ins and outs of the business, in addition to customer service tactics.

Prepare to tackle complex issues.

Call centers aren’t the hub for information anymore. Online communications are growing in popularity.

Between easily accessible information and various other communication channels, making a phone call isn’t the go-to reflex for many customers.

According to Zendesk’s 2020 CX Trends report, 40% of customers choose a channel based on the complexity of their issue. That means when customers have a difficult problem, they’re reaching out to the call center.

Their problem is either too difficult to explain in an email, they’ve tried and failed to search for answers themselves, or they had a bad experience with online customer service in the past. Heck, some people just prefer to talk to someone over the phone. (Yes, they still exist!)

So what does that mean for call center agents? You need to be prepared for anything.

In addition to knowing your products and services inside out, consider conflict resolution training to help upset customers.

Keep these steps in mind when you have to deal with an angry customer:

  1. Stay calm: Easier said than done (we know), but you’ll only escalate the problem if you respond aggressively or defensively. Take deep breaths, and try not to take any of it personally.
  2. Validate your customers’ concerns: Tap into that empathy we talked about earlier. Show you’re listening and actually try to understand the core issue. Most of the time, customers just want to know that they’re talking to someone who can actually fix their problem.
  3. Try not to argue: As much as you want to give the customer all the facts, now’s not the time to correct them. If they’re upset, they aren’t thinking rationally. So trying to rationalize with them won’t make a difference.
  4. Take responsibility: Check with your company policy on this one first, but it’s generally a good idea to accept responsibility. Apologize when necessary.
  5. Find the solution: Once you’ve figured out the problem, try to find a solution that works within the bounds of your capabilities and satisfies the customer.

Sometimes it’s walking them through a difficult application setup. Other times it’s offering a replacement product when there’s failed. Ask call center supervisors for guidance on what’s acceptable to offer a customer to keep them coming back.

Measure what matters.

There are all kinds of measurements used to evaluate call center agents. A lot of them have to do with speed. How quickly do you resolve calls? How many calls can you take in a day? How quickly do you answer calls?

As a call center agent, it’s important to know which measurements matter to management. But it doesn’t stop there.

To blow customers away with excellent service, focus on these metrics:

  1. First-call resolution: Like we mentioned before, customers expect even their complex problems to be solved with just one call to customer service. If you focus too much on speed, this number is likely to drop.
  2. Customer satisfaction: Many call centers send a CSAT survey immediately after a customer service interaction. In this case, that survey reflects directly on the call center agent.
  3. Customer effort score: CES measures how easy the interaction was for the customer. Customers are hoping for easy interactions, so do your best to keep things simple. This often translates to not putting them on hold for too long, not transferring them to multiple departments, and providing answers that are easy to understand.

Call center agents are the frontline.

Call centers are still the backbone of the customer service industry. And the most important thing to remember as a call center agent is this: You are your company’s representatives.

Follow company policy, but don’t stop there. Put these best practices to use to deliver stellar customer service experiences.

How to Scale Customer Service to Keep up With Business Growth

Consumers need information, and they need it right away. It’s a retailer’s job to make sure every buyer or lead receives the customer support they need. That’s why it’s important to foster growth with the help of scalable methods and technology.

Scaling your customer support strategy takes time and careful planning. There are several methods that can help reduce the burden on customer service agents and provide shoppers with the answers they need faster.

How to Scale Customer Support to Keep up With Business Growth

As a retail business grows, so does the number of people who need customer service. Responding to each question individually takes time, and this can be a major inconvenience for shoppers who have immediate needs. Scaling customer support ticket volume is a detailed process, and it’s important to understand what to prioritize before you get started. 

Hire More Agents

In some cases, hiring more agents is the best way to respond to the increasing demand for customer support. A greater number of agents helps retailers divide responsibilities more evenly and reduce individual workloads.

While hiring more agents is a less cost-effective way to scale customer service than using some of the technology available today, it can be a smart option for expanding retailers who want to improve customer management.

Prioritize Important Customers

Although every shopper matters, some customers have more urgent needs than others. It’s important for service representatives to take this into account when deciding which inquiries to answer first.

Marking questions by urgency is an effective way to separate and prioritize the buyers who need assistance right away. Those with less urgent questions may be able to wait a little bit longer for answers.

Manage the Workload and Tickets Effectively

If you want to prevent customer service agents from becoming overwhelmed by the number of tickets, it may be time to consider a more effective management strategy. For example, developing specific emails for tickets can keep messages organized for agents.

Assigning tickets to service representatives who specialize in specific topics or separating questions by key phrases can also help simplify the process.

Implement Software

Today’s retailers can enhance their customer support with the help of messaging software. SMS communication software allows for easy integration across multiple channels and creates a more personalized experience for shoppers.

Quiq offers a Conversational Customer Engagement Platform for retailers looking to implement efficient communication technology. Our platform expands your mobile presence and improves customer satisfaction.

Learn and Implement Improvements

One of the best ways to scale customer service is to implement improvements for training, records, and technology. For instance, chatbots from Quiq can speed up customer support by providing individuals with immediate answers.

Keeping organized documentation and developing training programs for agents can also help streamline operations.

Contact Quiq for a Demo Today

You can save time and money this holiday season by organizing the customer service process and integrating the latest software. Quiq offers numerous platforms and messaging solutions to help growing retailers scale their customer support options, so contact us today for a demo. 

5 Tips to Ramp Up Your Retail Business to Prepare for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is fast approaching, and retail businesses are preparing for another boom in sales throughout November and December. Cyber Monday 2019 alone generated over 9.4 billion dollars in the U.S., which is just a small indication of how critical online sales are to holiday shoppers.

Online shopping is more prevalent in 2020 than ever before thanks to the current restrictions placed on traditional retail. With these tips, you can learn how to prepare your retail business for the holiday season while taking advantage of all the capabilities that digital media has to offer.

5 Tips to Prepare for the Holidays

When you prepare your retail business for the holidays, it’s important to find new ways to reach and interact with consumers. Shoppers expect to find what they’re looking for quickly and at an affordable price. A personalized experience can go a long way toward helping someone find the perfect holiday gift for their loved one. These five tips will provide this personalized experience and ensure consumers feel comfortable while shopping.

1. Prioritize Mobile

Using mobile devices to communicate, conduct business, and shop online has become mainstream for the general public across the U.S. That’s why developing a mobile-friendly shopping experience is an essential part of today’s retail engagement strategies.

Shopping sites and applications look different on mobile devices than they do on PCs. It’s important to optimize visuals, text, and interactive components so mobile shoppers can access information easily.

2. Support Multichannel Experiences

Retailers can provide a more holistic experience by using multiple channels to reach potential buyers. Multichannel experiences can make communication between the consumer and the representative more convenient and efficient.

For example, retailers have the power to use apps, SMS messaging, and even live chat to connect with consumers on different types of media.

3. Have Personalized Shopping Experiences

Buyers love it when shopping experiences are tailored to their needs. Personalizing solutions is a great way for retailers to show consumers that they care about them and their interests.

Today, retailers often use the power of data and one-on-one engagement to personalize the customer experience. Real-time messaging and analytics can also help representatives create a more individualized approach.

4. Prepare Customer Service Agents

Customer service agents need to be prepared for the demands of digital sales and engagement. Retailers need agents who can keep shoppers informed and provide useful updates. 

Friendly and knowledgeable service agents inspire trust, and they can help build loyalty over time. Consumers who have had positive interactions with a representative are often more likely to return in the future.

5. Use Chatbots

Covid-19 Chatbot

Instead of assigning a customer service agent to answer every question or provide every service, you can prepare your retail business for the holidays by integrating the use of chatbots.

Chatbot technology is highly advanced, capable of finding solutions and answering simple questions for engaged consumers. It also helps potential buyers get answers faster, which saves time in the long run. Quiq’s Conversational Engagement Platform allows you to integrate both AI and human interaction for the optimal customer experience.

How Quiq Can Help You Prepare for This Holiday Season

Messaging and mobile solutions can help retailers everywhere succeed this holiday season. If your retail business needs help preparing for the holidays, Quiq provides a smart and cost-effective way to manage messaging channels. To learn more, contact Quiq for a demo today. 

How Contact Centers Can Better Report Agent Efficiency

The customer service a company provides has a direct impact on that company’s sales numbers. A positive experience with a contact center agent can serve as the nudge customers need to make a purchase, while a frustrating conversation can deter existing customers and put off new customers entirely.

Across industries, customer service plays a vital role in financial success. As a result, it’s important to track customer service strategies and performance continuously and make adjustments to maximize your return on investment.

Customers want agents to answer their messages and calls quickly and provide accurate, helpful information. To improve contact center efficiency, companies need to improve the performance of individual agents and the customer service team as a whole.

Before you can make strategic changes to streamline processes and increase your return on investment, you need to understand how the current customer service center operates. Below, take a closer look at how contact centers can measure customer service performance and boost their efficiency.

What Metrics Should You Be Monitoring?

Contact centers today have the ability to gather endless data about customers and conversations. To make meaningful improvements to operations, companies need to pick out the most powerful metrics for contact center reporting. These include:

  • Service level: This metric is defined as the percentage of messages and calls that are answered by a live agent within the organization’s target time frame. A high service level serves as an indication that contact center agents are performing efficiently.
  • Response time: Related to service level, answer speed refers to how long, on average, it takes for a caller to reach an agent. Reduce the amount of time it takes to respond to increase customer satisfaction and prevent customer abandonment.
  • Occupancy: Occupancy is the amount of time an individual agent spends actively occupied on a customer interaction. An excessively low occupancy suggests the contact center has hired more agents than contact volume demands. At the same time, an excessively high occupancy may lead to agent burnout and turnover, which have their own negative effects on efficiency.
  • Customer satisfaction: What may be considered the most important contact center performance metric, customer satisfaction indicates the quality of a contact center’s service and directly relates to conversions and customer retention. You can gather data about customer satisfaction through surveys or through independent analysis of conversations and interactions.

How to Improve Contact Center Metrics

Once supervisors have collected the data they need, they can take action to improve performance metrics and boost customer satisfaction. Try these tips to improve contact center efficiency:

Use Historical Data

Trends reveal themselves in data over months and years. To maximize efficiency and improvement, utilize historical data and revisit past conversations as you track your customer service center’s progress.

Use Insights to Guide Improvements

Once you have analyzed the data, make changes designed to target specific metrics. For example, if the data shows your agents are being overwhelmed with too many customer conversations, consider equipping them with the software necessary to manage their conversations more effectively. By identifying areas of weakness and offering actionable insights, reports give managers the tools they need to boost team performance.

Quiq’s Conversational Customer Engagement Software

If you want to improve your contact center’s efficiency and customer satisfaction ratings, Quiq’s conversational customer engagement software offers the features you need. Quiq’s software enables agents to manage multiple conversations simultaneously and message customers across multiple channels, including text and web chat.

By giving customers more options for engaging with customer service, Quiq reduces call volume and allows agents to focus on the conversations with the highest priority.

To discover how Quiq will improve your contact center’s metrics, request a quote today.