Archive for October, 2018

A Handy List of Customer Service Skills Every Agent Needs

Posted on: October 24th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Working as a call center agent is very challenging – and there’s no doubt that you’ll need to possess a number of skills in order to achieve success in your job.

It may sound like a piece of cake, but in reality, call center agents have to deal with a lot. And while technical knowledge can be acquired with time, there are certain other skills that are invaluable to any call center agent.

Below we discuss what we feel are the most important abilities any call center agent needs to be successful. So, if you’re looking to start a career in the call center industry, are already employed in the industry and want to know how to improve your skills, then check out this ultimate list of customer service skills. It’s a must read!

Patience

It’s no coincidence that we start our list with “patience”.

Customers usually contact call centers when they are confused or frustrated about something. Be it a password recovery, or a complex IT issue, the customer on the other end of the phone is likely to be unhappy, and in addition may struggle to understand your instructions.

If you can’t remain patient during even the most difficult customer interaction, then being a call customer service representative is definitely not for you. You can be pretty sure you’ll talk to plenty of (for whatever reason) annoyed customers, and in such situations staying patient is essential.

Problem-solving abilities

Second on our ultimate list of customer service skills is problem solving. At a call center, you never know what tomorrow will bring. What you can be sure about, however, is that whatever day you’re talking about, you’ll face plenty of unexpected issues.

In addition, chances are you’ll get into situations where you simply cannot find the solution at first. In such cases, you’ll need to rely on your problem-solving skills in order to sort out the issue in the shortest time possible.

As well as problem-solving skills, flexibility is equally crucial when dealing with customer problems. Customer service agents typically work based on predefined call center scripts, but sometimes going off the script when necessary to resolve an issue is a vital ability.

Empathy

In order to be able to provide exceptional customer service, you’ll definitely need to be able to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. And this why empathy is included on our ultimate list of customer service skills.

To develop your empathy skills, simply practice thinking how a customer might feel in a certain situation, then think about how you can make them feel better. Sure, sometimes it will take a lot of effort, but a customer service agent’s performance will always benefit if they try their best to be empathetic.

By demonstrating empathy, you’ll be able to calm down angry customers more easily, and resolve issues to everyone’s mutual satisfaction. As a result, overall customer experience, as well as the call center’s reputation, will improve.

Thick-skinned personality

It’s part of every customer service representative’s job to deal with (often angry) complaining customers. And unfortunately, these customers tend to be very rude to customer service agents.

So, whether you like it or not, if you work as a call center agent, you will need to be prepared for such situations, and learn how to handle them with ease. Always remember that you will need to be able to let insults coming from frustrated customers bounce off you, rather than stick to you.

Don’t forget, in such situations the customer is not mad at you, they’re mad at the company you represent. Also, if the customer knows that you’re trying your best to help, chances are that it will help them calm down.

Knowledge

Having the above-mentioned skills is a great start, however, without the appropriate knowledge, you won’t be able to thrive in your agent job.

If you are not up-to-date with the company’s products, services, processes and policies, there’s no way you can answer customer issues efficiently. Furthermore, such knowledge will greatly help you increase your up- and cross-selling closed deal figures.

Last but not least, knowing the ins and outs of your agent job will help you stand out from your team, and may eventually help you get promoted to a call center supervisor.

Understanding the importance of the skills listed above will without doubt help you excel at your call center agent job. So, now that you have the ultimate list of customer service skills, time to make good use of it!

6 Telesales Tips to Increase Efficiency

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by Dan Deschidar No Comments

There’s no doubt that most customers find telesales calls annoying. So, why do businesses still rely on telesales to contact their audiences?

Because, despite its bad reputation, telesales is a great way to engage with your customers, promote your products and services, and increase your sales on a global scale. In addition, while customers may be looking for exactly the kind of product or service your company provides, they may actually not know about your company – unless they receive a call from your telesales team.

Telesales has great potential for any business – but only if you have an effective strategy. In order to be successful, you need to follow a few steps.

So, in this article, I’ll show you how to increase your telesales efficiency. Stick to my telesales tips and success will definitely follow!

1. Recruit smartly

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, telesales is not for everyone, so it’s important to know what to look for when recruiting telesales staff.

A successful telesales agent needs to be optimistic, extrovert, and emotionally intelligent. In addition, a friendly attitude and great communicational skills will without doubt help them close more deals.

When it comes to recruiting telesales staff, I would recommend considering hiring part-time workers. As we already talked about in a previous article, the gig-economy workforce model works perfectly in call centers, so maybe it’s time for you to give it a shot.

Last but not least, always bear in mind that it’s a bad idea to try to ‘convert’ customer service agents into telesales agents. As mentioned above, telesales agents need to have specific skills that are very much different from the skills needed by customer service agents.

2. Invest in training

Having previous telesales experience, while ideal, is not essential for someone with the right attitude and personality.

That is why you should invest a lot of energy and resources into training. Make sure to take induction periods seriously, and organize in-depth training sessions to ensure your agents can master their telesales skills before they start working on your campaigns.

Furthermore, comprehensive knowledge of your products and services is a key to success. In order to close as many deals as possible, your telesales agents will need to know your products and services like the back of their hand.

And, as we all know, there’s always room for improvement, so it’s also important to offer ongoing support to agents once they successfully pass the induction period. Make sure to organize systematic training sessions and empower your agents with the opportunity to improve their skillsets.

3. Start with the manager

One thing is certain, a good team needs a good leader. So, once you have the right telesales agent team in place, you’ll also need to appoint a manager who will empower them to thrive.

Managing a team of telesales agents is no small feat, so don’t just appoint someone who seems to be promising but is not ready for the position yet.  

Telesales managers really have to be able to see the whole picture as they are responsible for the overall performance and budget of the telesales department. In addition, they will not only need to cope with processes, technology and customers, but also with employees.

In fact, good telesales managers don’t just give instructions to their team, they actively coach and motivate them. Therefore, if one of your potential candidates is exceptionally good business-wise but lacks people management skills, it may be a good idea to keep on looking.

Last but not least, bear in mind that a good leader needs to give plenty of feedback to their team. And if you haven’t mastered the method of giving feedback, make sure to check out our article on it.

4. Have realistic targets and appropriate tools

‘Anything is possible’ is a well-known saying, but let’s admit it, in business, one normally has to be a bit more down-to-earth. In order to reap success in telesales, you’ll need to set realistic targets, meaning you shouldn’t aim too high or too low.

Furthermore, as technology is advancing at lightning speed, and changing the world around us every day, in order to increase your telesales efficiency, you’ll definitely need to rely on a comprehensive software solution.

Software options these days come with many powerful features, such as predictive dialers or real-time statistics, which are vital when looking to increase your team’s efficiency. VCC Live®’s predictive dialer, for example, allows telesales teams to process a large number of calls and sign more successful deals by maximizing talk time per hour.

In addition, real-time statistics allow your team to make the most of customer data, as well as react to real-time situations including allocating more resources during peak times.

5. Have a powerful script

When it comes to telesales, having a powerful script can help your agents close more deals. Luckily, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create a powerful sales script. Just make sure to do your research, check out how your competitors achieve success using scripts, and you can start creating your own.

Not so long ago, agents printed out their scripts, and read them out from their hard copy. Fortunately, these days, you can easily create powerful telesales scripts and integrate them within call center software.

Our call center software, for example, allows you to build and customize your scripts using an intuitive drag-and-drop editing interface.

6. Be patient

Last but not least: it requires patience to achieve success in telesales. My experience is that it takes about 2-3 months for even the best telesales operators to start performing well at their job. For most telesales agents this period is between 4-6 months, while for those who develop a bit slower than others, this period is normally about 10 months.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should fire your agents just because they need more time to perform well in their role than you would like. As mentioned above, it is definitely worth focusing on hiring and investing in training programs, as in the long term they will help you build the team of high-performing telesales agents you’ll need to maximize your success!

So, these are my telesales tips that will definitely help you put your business on the path to success. Make sure to follow them, and reap success in telesales!

How to Use Video for Customer Service

Posted on: October 16th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Information is power, especially in our connected world. And these days, customers expect to be offered all the information they need before making a purchase.

The traditional way of contacting customer service lines via phone is becoming less and less popular. Instead, the trend is for customers researching and resolving their own problems.

So, if you want to stand out from the competition, don’t expect your customers to wait on your customer service line until being transferred to an agent.

You need to come up with something that will educate them, entertain them, and most importantly, quickly resolve their issues. So why not use video for customer service purposes? 

In this article, I’ll show you some ways in which video can be a great tool for delivering exceptional customer experience.  Read on and make sure you know how you can leverage video for customer service!

Video for customer service is more important than ever

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and for good reason: images and videos can deliver a message much faster than any other way, so it’s no surprise that visual content has started to dominate our lives.

You may not think so, but using video for customer service purposes is also definitely on the increase. Leveraging visual engagement, through tools such as video, allows businesses to add personalization to their customer service, reduce customer complaints, improve first call resolution and reduce call-backs.

How? It’s simple: video solutions help agents be better understood, and customers connect emotionally to a brand. A friendly and smiling agent, for example, conveys a positive attitude that can help reduce customer frustration. In addition, video for customer service can provide the perfect solution for reducing call-back requests and improving FCR rate by teaching customers how to solve certain issues.

So, what kind of videos can be used for customer service purposes? Check out our list below!

Video chat

As we all know, companies are constantly on the lookout for new customer service channels. Amongst other new innovations, the popularity of video chat is, without doubt, on the rise.

Perhaps one of the main advantages of video chat is that it gives customer service agents the ability to provide enhanced real-time support. In fact, customers often choose video chat support so as to better understand the do’s and don’ts while using a product or service.

For example, during video communication, agents can analyze facial expressions, as well as gestures, to make it easier to interpret what the other person is really trying to say. Because of this, video chat is probably your best channel for receiving and delivering clear messages without them getting lost in translation or complexity.

Furthermore, video chat has the potential to work effectively with features such as co-browsing and screen sharing, allowing your agents to remotely guide customers and gain control of their screen when necessary. (If you want to know why co-browsing is unbeatable in call centers, make sure to check out our recent article on it.)

How-to videos

When it comes to resolving an issue, would you rather watch a 3-minute how-to video or read a 5-page long article? There’s no doubt, most customers would go for the first option.

By creating how-to videos and using them for customer service purposes, you can walk your customers through important issues such as how to set up an account, essential workflows, and other procedures, depending on the nature of your service.

How-to videos can not only convey important instructions in a straight-forward and easy-to-understand way, but also help your customers better engage with your brand. For example, in practical terms, if a customer is struggling to keep up with the contents of a video, they can simply watch it again, instead of requesting a time-consuming call back from your customer service team.

As a result, you’ll be able to free up your customer service lines, and your agents can allocate more time to taking care of complex issues that require their full attention.

FAQ videos

There are probably a number of questions that your customers ask all the time. And, as the majority of such questions can be quickly answered without the help of a customer service agent, chances are you already set up a self-service portal or FAQ page to address these questions.

However, FAQ pages often contain too much written information, and if your customers are unable to find the right documents, then your page becomes useless. So, why not add some videos, addressing the most important questions? By leveraging FAQ videos, your customers will receive a quick answer to their questions without having to read through your way-too-long documentation.

In addition, as we all know, customers like to buy from innovative companies. By having a video FAQ page, a feature that is still rare, you’ll be able to offer a customer service channel that will highlight your commitment to innovation. So maybe it’s time to implement it before your competitors do.

Webinars

There’s no doubt that personalization dominates customer service. Customers can choose from plenty of products or services online, and sometimes it’s not easy to find what they are looking for.

However, by giving a (literally) human face to your business, you can stand out from the competition and easily build more personal relationships with your customers. By using webinars, for example, your customer service team can offer personalized onboarding and training sessions, while also presenting the agents who are at the other end of the phone when customers call.

Besides building more personal relationships, agents can also show their positive attitude towards customers via one-way video, creating trust and personalizing interactions.

Last but not least, by creating education webinars, you can share your industry expertise with your audience and perhaps even create a community who will crave new content.

If you need some inspiration, check out how Hubspot created their own academy using high-quality training courses and webinars to educate their customers.

 

So, as you can see, using video for customer service purposes has plenty of potential. Video is a great channel for helping create personalization for your customer service and build relationships with your customers, potentially reducing the time they spend looking for answers to their questions, and highlighting your organizations commitment to innovation.

Co-Browsing in Contact Centers: Take Your Customer Service to the Next Level

Posted on: October 12th, 2018 by Magdalena Horváth No Comments

The technological boom in recent years has made the business environment ever-more competitive: companies need to keep up with the latest customer service technologies in order to stay ahead of the competition.

There’s no doubt that new technologies are also revolutionizing customer experience, with the aim of making it as smooth and simple as possible.

One of the latest technologies to become available is co-browsing, which allows two or more people to browse a website simultaneously. Amongst other benefits, co-browsing provides a lucrative opportunity to win customers by providing them with a fast and hassle-free customer experience.

In this article, I’ll discuss the advantages of co-browsing for your customer experience. Read on and make sure to put co-browsing on your list of customer service technologies you implement in the coming year. 

What is co-browsing?

Co-browsing is a technology that allows customer service representatives to navigate web pages together with their customers. By leveraging co-browsing, agents and customers can literally be on the same page, as it allows agents to access customers’ screen with one click and remotely guide them, as if they were sitting next to them.

The term “co-browsing” is often used interchangeably with screen sharing. It’s important to note, however, that the two are different solutions, with co-browsing offering a lot more than screen sharing. During an interaction, screen sharing can let an agent show a customer what they should do. But with co-browsing, an agent can actually gain control over a customer’s screen, meaning they can not only highlight where to click, but also actually click for them.

This new technology is definitely your next great opportunity to improve your customer experience, as it will allow you to provide customers with fast, personalized and real-time assistance.

And what makes co-browsing unbeatable? It requires no download or installation, meaning it is an easy solution to utilize, both for your agents and customers. All your customers need is a browser and you’re good to go.

Advantages of co-browsing in contact centers

Although co-browsing just recently appeared on the market, we can expect it to become one of the most popular customer service channels in the next few years.

Nothing demonstrates this better than the numbers shown by recent studies and surveys.

According to a survey carried out by Deloitte, 66% of customers interacting with contact centers highly value the accuracy and quality of information provided, and 62% of them highly appreciate easy-to-use customer service channels.

Furthermore, the survey predicts that figures in 2019 will prove that chat and collaboration web channels have accounted for the highest rises in contact distribution in the last two years, from 6% in 2017 to 16% in 2019.

And as the table below, based on a report by Aberdeen Group, shows, when used effectively, co-browsing allows businesses to increase revenue, cut costs and improve customer satisfaction.

co-browsing vcc live blogWith consumer behaviour developing as it is, customers expect answers quickly, demand personalized support experience, and assume they will be able to use hassle-free communication channels. And luckily, co-browsing addresses all three of these trends perfectly.

So, what advantages could co-browsing have on your business? Let’s check out the list below!

1. Increase up- and cross-selling

According to the above-mentioned survey conducted by Aberdeen Group, companies leveraging co-browsing showed an increase in annual up- and cross-selling revenue of 3%.

One reason for this is the power of visual content within a simple sales pitch. Let’s say, for example, that your customer is browsing your website and struggling to find the information they need in order to finalize their purchase. By using co-browsing, you can literally take your customer round your website, including creating opportunities to up- and cross-sell your products.

Co-browsing also provides companies with deeper insights into client problems, providing information that can fuel cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and offers.  

In addition, by relying on your customer data, co-browsing can take your personalized customer service to a whole new level. Imagine co-browsing with a customer while being able to see their purchase history in front of you. There’s no doubt that you’ll be able to offer them products that will be truly interesting to them.

2. Less miscommunication with customers

Call center representatives and customers often miscommunicate, especially when it comes to complex technical issues. It’s no surprise, since customers, who usually lack technical knowledge, can struggle to keep up with agents’ explanations.

“Do you see that button at the top of the page? No? Okay, what page are you on?” – is a typical customer service conversation that happens too often. How frustrating is that?

Furthermore, as we all know, most miscommunication and misunderstandings result from written communication forms such as email and chat. With these forms of communication there is no opportunity to analyze facial expression, tone of voice, and gesture, making it more than difficult to interpret what the other person is trying to tell us.

Luckily, co-browsing is the perfect tool to overcome this challenge. Whenever customers feel they are lagging behind or find an issue too complex to navigate through themselves, they can simply give control to agents, who can resolve the issue on behalf of them.

3. Increased FCR rate

Times have changed, and so have customer demands. These days customers are simply not willing to wait on the phone for an indefinite time. Especially if they contacted you because they experienced an unexpected issue with a product or service of yours.

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, first call resolution (FCR) is one of the most important call center metrics around. By leveraging co-browsing, you can reduce communication barriers and resolve your customers’ issues more quickly. As a result, your FCR will increase, and your customers will most likely forget their frustration and remain your satisfied customers.

Co-browsing has already proven to be a high-performing customer service channel. In fact, according to the above-mentioned report conducted by Aberdeen, companies implementing co-browsing have seen an 18% improvement in their first call resolution.

In addition, co-browsing allows your agents to resolve customer issues more quickly, and improve issue resolution time. As a result, you can reduce costs by shortening customer interaction times, and by using less resources to resolve customer queries.

4. Improved customer satisfaction

Today, businesses provide customer service via an increasingly large number of channels. Channel diversity is very much characteristic of modern customer care.

In addition, speed has become vital to customers. They value their time, and expect you to resolve their issues as soon as possible, without any hassles.

Arranging call backs or exchanging multiple emails may be frustrating, especially if the issue is still not resolved. So why not leverage co-browsing and see the issue through your customers’ eyes?

Customers become satisfied and loyal if their issues are resolved at the first time of asking, via call or chat. And companies can best meet their customers’ expectations by using services that provide fast and real-time customer service – like co-browsing.

Furthermore, with the help of co-browsing, customers can see how their problems are solved, which will help increase their trust in your business. Thanks to fast problem-solving, your customers will more likely recommend your product or services to their acquaintances, bringing you an ever-increasing multitude of sales opportunities.

5. The image of an innovative company

Last but not least, by offering the option of co-browsing to your customers, you create the image of being an innovative company.

Being innovative is not only important to companies, but to customers as well. Customers like companies that are innovative, and want to buy from them.

And in the digital age, innovation is increasingly being fueled by customer experience. Companies who listen to customers and respond to their needs, providing them with tailor-made and innovative solutions that are not very common in the industry, are more likely to win those customers, and so become more successful.

Customer service is evolving, and the opportunities to better serve your customers are ever-increasing. All you need to do is to keep up with the trends influencing customer behavior, implement the latest solutions, and the rest will follow.

VCC Live® to Participate as a Diamond Partner in the XIV National Customer Service Conference

Posted on: October 10th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

We’re delighted to announce that VCC Live® will be participating as a Diamond Partner in the annual Hungarian National Customer Service Conference, which takes place on 17-19 October. It is an honor to be able to contribute to Hungary’s leading customer service event as the highest-ranked partner, and we are very much looking forward to hearing our fellow customer service experts talk at the conference about their latest experiences and best practices.

This year the conference will take place in Tapolca, near Lake Balaton, attracting industry leaders, customer service professionals, companies and anyone who’s interested in the industry. The event promises to be an unmissable opportunity to gain inspiration, participate in brainstorming sessions and leverage networking.

Furthermore, we’re proud to confirm that Péter Málhai, VCC Live®’s Head of Business Development, will be amongst the impressive lineup of presenters. On day one of the conference Péter will talk about the latest trends in international customer services, and on the following day he will share his thoughts on AI and chatbot usage.

The main focus for this year’s conference is the hotly-debated subject of man vs. machine, with both the latest technological trends and the continuing importance of the human factor being discussed at the event. In addition, there will be exciting customer experience business insight discussions and debates, featuring industrial leaders and experts from throughout Hungary. As gastronomy (an important element of customer care) is the conference’s specific theme, speakers including restaurant owner Hubert Hlatky-Slichter and gastro blogger András Jókuti will share their experiences with attendees.

On the first day of the three-day conference, presenters will discuss the latest customer care methods, highlighting in particular the factors that contribute to the delivery of high-quality customer service and positive customer experience. Attendees will be able to hear about the latest industry trends via case studies, thought-provoking presentations and exciting roundtable discussions.

The second day will focus on the human factor. What are the challenges of human resource management in our digitalized world? What will the role of humans be in a world where most activities can be carried out by robots? The conference’s keynote speakers, including experts from Microsoft, Chatler.ai and Comnica, will discuss various topics, including the rise of artificial intelligence, chatbots, and trending digital solutions, and will have all the answers to share with attendees.

During the afternoon, attendees will be invited to take a gastronomic journey through presentations by prestigious gastro bloggers and fine-dining restaurant owners, who will share their thoughts on the challenges of gastro customer care.

The third day will be devoted to case studies and success stories. Management experiences, gamification, cloud-based solutions and text analytics will be discussed by various panels of experts. The conference will be closed by Gabriella Jakupcsek and Iván Fenyő, who will talk about the power of communication.

We hope to see you at the conference! After all, customers are at the heart of every organization…

To register as an attendee, or to see the conference schedule and more details, please click here: www.uszkonferencia.hu 

Microsoft Launches AI Features for Dynamics 365

Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

We’re always excited to hear about the latest technology advancements in the call center and customer service industry. And luckily, there are plenty of them at the moment.  

The industry’s leading companies are always competing with their rivals to rule the market. And in order to rule the market, they need to continuously innovate their technologies and processes.

Just recently we talked about Google Duplex and Contact Center AI, Google’s artificial intelligent applications that are capable of communicating with customers over the phone.

This time, it was Microsoft’s turn to introduce something big, and they certainly did: the tech giant announced the release of new AI features in Dynamics 365, a CRM system that was introduced two years ago.

It seems that the rise of machine learning continues to grow, but how does the latest AI technology affect the customer service industry, and more precisely call centers? Read on to find out for yourself!

What is Dynamics 365?

Two years ago Microsoft – in a similar way to other tech giants – embarked on a mission to help businesses accelerate their digital transformations by launching a business application, called Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based system that brings together the best of Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions into one integrated, cloud-based service.  

Amongst other things, the software has a customer service module that helps businesses manage and track customer service activities, while allowing them to deliver a fast and personalized service.

This customer service hub was designed to help customer service agents keep up with ever-changing customer demands. Its advanced features allow call centers to track customer issues, record every customer interaction, manage performance and productivity through reports and dashboards, and create and schedule services.   

Also included are some more call center-specific features that help empower customer service representatives to deliver an exceptional customer service across several channels.

Dynamics 365 AI features

Two years after its introduction, a number of AI features have now been added to Dynamics 365.

By announcing these new features, Microsoft has taken its journey into AI one step further. As Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Alysa Taylor noted, “the new class of AI applications will not only unify customer data but also infuse it with advanced intelligence to guide decisions and empower organizations to take informed actions”.

The solution now includes customer data and insights, LinkedIn integration, and other intelligent technology, such as machine learning and predictive analytics.

Previously, Microsoft introduced Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, its first AI features added to the Dynamics 365 solution, with the aim of helping sales teams improve their performance by using features such as sentiment analysis and warnings about deals being at risk.

Now, the company has further expanded its portfolio by adding two new solutions, Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service and Market Insights. The Customer Service feature focuses on leveraging natural language understanding to predict customer service problems, as well as helping with the deployment of chatbots that can handle customer queries.

The Market Insights app will allow businesses to access a great amount of social sentiment, and help them increase their brand loyalty by analyzing these insights.

Calls centers utilizing Dynamics 365 AI

This set of new AI features introduced by Microsoft is clearly promising for call centers.

However, it’s important to mention here that AI usage is nothing new in the customer service industry. In fact, most call centers already utilize AI solutions, such as virtual agents who resolve customer issues on agents’ behalf, and virtual assistants that support them with suggested answers during a customer interaction.

The main advantage of AI solutions in call centers is that they can improve customer experience by making it more personalized. And, as already mentioned in a previous article, when it comes to customer care, personalized customer service can make all the difference in our ever-more competitive business environment.

AI solutions used in call centers can analyze huge amounts of customer data, including purchase history, and are able to use this information to deliver personalized offers.

Furthermore, as Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service is able to predict customer service problems, it can allow call centers to increase their First Call Resolution by helping agents resolve queries more efficiently. In addition, AI-powered chatbots can help provide a fast and smooth call center experience for customers, and thus increase customer satisfaction significantly.

For example, chatbots can be programmed to answer routine questions and therefore take responsibility for some automated conversations with your customers – however, if any problem occurs, a live agent can always intervene in the situation and take over the communication.

Chatbots can also carry out repetitive tasks instead of call center agents, thus allowing agents to handle more complex tasks. As a result, agent workload and potential burn out, due to the struggle of dealing with never-ending and low-value repetitive tasks, can be reduced.

Take away

There’s no doubt that AI technologies have already changed a multitude of industries, including the call center and customer service industry. There are many pending questions yet to be answered, but one thing is certain: artificial intelligence continues to evolve each year, impacting how we live and work.

Forward-thinking call centers already leverage solutions as Google’s Contact Center AI and Amazon’s Dynamics 365 AI on a daily basis. And we expect many more solutions to appear in the next few years.

How to Make the Best of Your Customer Service Database

Posted on: October 5th, 2018 by Norbert Simán No Comments

Relying on a customer service database that has inaccurate customer information in it is one of the things that can most seriously harm the success of your call center. 

1. Inaccurate customer information means you have duplicate contacts in your database.

2. Having duplicate contacts obviously reduces your team’s productivity as your agents will call the same contacts several times.

3. And there’s no doubt that your customers will get frustrated after being called several times with the same issue. Which would be embarrassing, right?

As we all know, call centers are basically data centers. And as data continually flows through call centers, keeping data clean and accurate is not just an option for any forward-thinking call center, it’s a must.

Leveraging an up-to-date customer service database, for example, will allow you to better understand your customers’ behaviors and needs, and thus help you increase your customer experience.

In this article, I’ll show you why it’s important to keep your data up-to-date, and give you some tips on how to get the most of your customer service database. Read on, take notes, and find success in your data!

The importance of having an up-to-date customer service database

These days, customers are ever-more demanding and want to feel they are valued by the company they have chosen. Therefore, one of the best ways to win customers is by providing them with a customer experience that is as personalized as possible. Check out our recent personalized customer service article for more details on this.

As customer personalization starts with knowing your customers, one thing is certain: by relying on accurate data, you can easily avoid customer irritation. If you keep calling them with the same offer again and again just because you do not have up-to-date call records in your CRM, they will easily get frustrated and you can be sure that it will seriously hurt your business in the long term.  

Speaking of personalized customer service, by keeping your database clean and accurate, you can better keep up with your customers’ preferences. Amongst other things, it will be a great help to your telesales strategy, as you’ll be able to better predict customer needs and approach them with an offer that will be truly interesting to them.

Furthermore, as I’m sure you’ll be aware, call centers are all about efficiency. Call centers aim to constantly improve their efficiency in, amongst other things, telesales, customer satisfaction, dialer performance and agent productivity.  You may not even realize, but one thing that will definitely help raise your call center’s efficiency is having an up-to-date customer service database.

You can raise your efficiency, for example, by clearing out no-longer valid contacts from your database. If someone’s not interested in your services and already told you this several times, then why keep contacting them?

Similarly, you can raise your dialer efficiency by having an up-to-date customer service database. In addition to what was mentioned above, after a certain period of time, customers who never pick up the phone should not be in your database either. Time is money, and it’s a waste of time to keep on calling them.

I cannot emphasize enough that customer service works best when it’s driven by data. That data, however, needs to be clean and accurate. In fact, every successful call center manager needs to constantly keep an eye on accurate customer data.

If your call center ensures it utilizes up-to-date customer information, your reports will be as accurate as possible, giving you the full picture of your team’s performance. Using outdated data, on the other hand, will result in inaccurate reports that will not only damage your business but also give you a false picture of your team’s performance.

Of course, GDPR is also relevant here. As the new legislation is now officially in effect, having an up-to-date customer service database has become more important than ever. Make sure to check out our ultimate GDPR guide and ensure your call center is playing by the rules when it comes to data storing and processing.

Tips for keeping your customer service database up-to-date

Now that you understand why it’s essential to have clean and accurate data in your customer service database, let me give you some tips on how to get the best out of your database:  

Try and rely on automated processes

Although it’s possible to update your database manually, there’s no doubt that it will be a huge burden for your call center supervisors. And of course, even the best employees make mistakes, which can be very costly to any company. Luckily, these days by leveraging semi-automated or fully-automated processes, you can easily keep your database up-to-date without placing your call center in jeopardy.

API integration

If you use several systems and databases in your call center (and I’m sure you do), integrating them is essential.

The best way to integrate your systems is by using API integration. As for your databases, you can easily synchronize and update them with the help of a webhook, called Database API. You can even set event rules, meaning when X is updated in your system, Y gets updated in your database as well.

Periodic reviews

As already mentioned, knowing your customers is the ultimate key to success. Therefore, make sure to have periodic reviews of your databases, and catch up with your customers to ensure that all your customer data is up-to-date.

It may be a good idea to pre-set and automate your reviews for, let’s say, every 3 months. Again, my advice is to rely on an automated process in order to eliminate the risk of human errors.

Data cleansing

In order to keep your customer service database up-to-date, you’ll also need to carry out systematic data cleansing processes. Getting rid of unnecessary customer data is not only recommended, with GDPR in effect, it is now mandatory.

Furthermore, by removing inconsistencies and clearing out inactive users from your database, you’ll empower your agent team to work with the information needed in order to most efficiently serve your customers – resulting in a happier and loyal customer base.

Back up your customer data  

There’s no doubt, customer data needs to be backed up. I suggest that you opt for cloud-based backup solutions, so that if your servers go down your information can be easily accessed. After all, when your business is at stake, it’s better to play it safe.

How the Rise of Gig Economy Workers Affects Call Centers

Posted on: October 3rd, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

As call centers have a bad reputation for being soul-killing environments to work in, it’s no surprise that agent retention has always been a challenge for customer service departments.

While stereotypes are often exaggerated, let’s face it: call center life is not easy. But is there a way to make call centers more attractive to job seekers? Luckily, there is.

Over the last few years, the concept of gig economy working has become more and more popular among call centers, and for good reason: it can help call center managers win in their fight to find talent for their agent team.

In this article, I’ll discuss how the rise of gig economy workers affects call centers. Make sure to read on and find out how you can leverage the gig workforce model in your call center!

Gig economy and call centers

With Baby Boomers starting to retire, Millennials and GenZers are taking over the workforce. Of course, these generations are a lot different from Baby Boomers: amongst other things, they are more individualistic and value their work-life balance highly.

There’s no question about it: the changing needs of these new generations have paved the way for a new workforce model, namely the “gig” economy.

The gig economy concept is based on companies offering workers the ability to work when they can or want to by utilizing part-time working and independent contractors for short-term projects.

And call centers, who usually struggle with extremely high employee turnover levels, can truly benefit from the gig economy.

For call centers, the gig economy allows for cost-effectiveness and flexibility in terms of agent retention. For customers, on the other hand, gig economy enables better customer experiences, as businesses are able to deliver swift support even during peak times.

  1.  Adding staff during peak periods

As we all know, in every business there are peak times when calls to customer service increase significantly. During these peak seasons, call center agents often struggle to deal with these high call volumes.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the gig economy for call centers is that they can easily scale up the business by adding staff during peak periods.

Indeed, by leveraging part-time gig workers, your call center can proactively plan ahead for peak and idle times, matching agent team sizes to call volumes. As a result, there will be no interruption in your customer care which will keep both your customers and agents happy.

  1.    Finding the best talent

In the global business environment, you have to speak the language of your customers, whoever and wherever they are. And as many customer service departments operate internationally, call centers often need to rely on multilingual workforces. Of course, finding multilingual talent is challenging, especially if your options are limited by geographic factors.

For instance, let’s say your customer service department is located in Hungary but you need to deliver customer service in Spanish and Portuguese as well. There’s no doubt you’ll struggle to find local skilled agents with appropriate language proficiency, and relocating them will require significant investment.

So why not rely on virtual agents who can carry out the work from a different country? You may not think so, but by using a flexible workforce in other countries, you’ll open your business up to an incredible amount of high-quality talent available, because your options will be geographically limitless.

  1.    Cost-efficiency

As the cost of providing customer service is extremely high, cost-efficiency is of major importance to call centers.

As we already mentioned, keeping up with peak time demand often presents a nightmare scenario for call centers. However, by leveraging gig economy workers, you can not only easily scale up during peak times, but also save costs by only paying your agents when they are needed.

In fact, a study conducted by KellyOCG showed that companies using gig economy workers save over 30% on labor cost.

That’s no surprise, as by hiring part-time workers and independent contractors you can reduce your expenses significantly as you are not required to pay benefits such as payroll taxes, vacation time or health benefits.

  1.    Improved customer service

It’s no secret that businesses struggle to find skilled employees these days, and call centers, usually seen as a particularly stressful work environment, are definitely no exception.

As gig economy workers usually work on performance-based projects, they are self-motivated, require less supervision and are ready to work whenever they are needed.

Therefore, one major advantage of gig economy workers in a call center is that you’ll be able to work with people who are motivated to be experts in customer care; thus, your overall customer experience levels will improve.  

Take away

Call centers have always relied on full-time agents and tried to cut costs by outsourcing their customer service activities. However, by utilizing flexible workforces, you can scale up your business when needed, find the best talent, cut costs significantly and improve your customer experience. There are plenty of gig economy workers out there, you just need to find them – so what are you waiting for?