During the holiday season, everything gets kicked up a few notches. Call center services certainly aren’t spared from the effects of this exciting but often hectic cultural phenomenon. High call volumes will lead to longer wait times and likely more impatient customers in general; escalations are a near-certainty in this, the most wonderful time of the year.
Here are some helpful hints on providing ideal customer service throughout the weeks of holiday havoc while keeping your call center or business answering service—and its employees’ morale—staunchly steadfast.
Gather as Much Info as Possible About Your Target Demographic
- Consumer and economic trends are in constant flux, which is often difficult—but always critically important—to stay current on. The capacity to anticipate a customer’s needs will naturally lead to a smoother, more productive call that satisfies both client and staffer with time well spent.
- In the same vein, by collecting/analyzing highly specific demographic information about your intended consumer base, you’ll be able to better assess their actions and behavior—prior to writing call scripts and training employees for new interactions, with both processes potentially improved and streamlined as a result.
- Most crucially, “knowing your audience” in this context will help your call service center to not only anticipate but meet, exceed and adjust customer expectations more seamlessly in real-time when it comes to potentially escalatory interactions or subjects (e.g., potential wait and response times, offering additional products/services, conversationally gauging a given client’s individual knowledge base and commensurate capability to help you help them…)
Delegate Appropriately to Ensure Top-Notch Customer Service and Satisfaction
- Per recent surveys/studies, the most common call center customer service subjects fell overwhelmingly into six categories (or some combination therein): returns/exchanges, the status of pending orders and shipment tracking, billing issues, assistance with cancellations, guidance on specific products/offerings, and information on account statuses. -Incidentally, these are listed in order of most common to (relative) least, with the first and final items respectively, accounting for around 60 and 20% of client interactions.
- Based off these criteria, staff should be trained in appropriate ratios to meet these quantified, anticipatable needs. For example, at least half of your team should be extremely well-versed in fielding calls regarding returns and exchanges, and a slimmer 20% or so should “specialize” in interactions involving account information.
Take Advantage of the Tech Options Available
- Another useful application of a vast store of customer data is the ability to cater to their preferred modes of communications and interaction. Polling typically indicates that, for call center services and business answering services alike, clientele typically prefer telephone or online chatting with, as it were, a fellow human being to automated menus or AI interpreters.
- Notably, callers consistently rated video chatting as their least preferred chat format. However, it’s important to factor in clients’ ages to pinpoint the best technological approach to fielding potentially high-stress calls at high volume. Generation Z and Millennials tend to have a greater familiarity/comfort with and preference for virtual interactions. Additionally, ample data demonstrate that those aged 60 and above also wind up having a much better customer service experience over the telephone, but prefer a slower-paced, more meticulous/comprehensive interaction.
- In any event, a range of communication channels are available and should be utilized to maximize productivity, thoroughness, and client satisfaction. Recent advances in software integration technology allow for the convenient streamlining and interconnection of various interaction modes. It also offers the possibility of switching from one format to another throughout a particular interaction—per the client’s evident needs/desires as the conversation progresses.
Practice Patience—The Call Center and Business Answering Service Equivalent of “Good Cheer”
- This “most wonderful time of the year” can often begin to feel like the most stressful time of the year. As regards solid customer service, patience isn’t just a virtue—it’s an outright necessity.
- Script rehearsal, interoffice training, roleplaying (etc.) can all be useful methods of preparing employees to stay calm, collected, and helpful should a customer become frustrated or even hostile. Of course, no one wants to feel patronized or pandered to, and avoidance of such circumstances is largely contingent upon the quality of your company’s call scripts.
- Modern customers expect quick response times, and may become flustered or caustic if they feel an interaction is progressing too slowly. Email responses should ideally be sent within 24 hours of a client’s original inquiry.
- Nobody likes waiting, and the longer communication continues, the more prone to lashing out a caller might become. Staff should rely on their training to never engage in matching escalatory tones or speech mannerisms in a touchy situation. Staff members are, of course, people!—so taking abusive behavior in stride while remaining courteous and professional is both counterintuitive (on an instinctual level) and highly valuable as an employee trait. Be sure that such commendable work gets the recognition and recompense it deserved.
Experience the Benefits of Call Center Services from TeleRep
Whether you need help with an inbound call center or an outbound call center, TeleRep is here to help. If you still have more questions, our trained professionals are ready to answer them. We know how important customer feedback is to you and your business, so let them know that you care with an answering service. To learn how TeleRep can help you today, visit us online or give us a call at 1-800-638-2000. To keep up with our work and to see what we have been up to, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.