Archive for the ‘Customer Experience’ Category

What is Average Handling Time and How Can You Reduce It?

Posted on: June 23rd, 2020 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Average Handling Time (AHT) is one of the most important metrics for contact centers, measuring the average time contact center agents spends handling a call.

As the main goal of measuring AHT is to increase agent productivity and, ultimately, improve customer satisfaction levels, it should be definitely high on the list of contact center managers.

Want to improve your AHT? Below we’ve collected a few tips that will help you achieve great customer satisfaction levels while keeping average handling time as low as possible.

Create a knowledge base and cheat sheets

Providing agents with all the information they need will be your first and most important step in improving your AHT. Start by creating knowledge bases and cheat sheets based on the most frequent questions and call scenarios.

Don’t forget to make your internal documentation searchable and more importantly easily accessible to all of your agents. With the help of a knowledge base, you’ll see that only in a few weeks your agents will start handling customer queries more consistently and confidently.

Once you created your knowledge base, don’t stop there! Further user guides, tutorials, and a FAQ & Troubleshooting section will not only show your customers how to use your products, they also teach them how to solve issues themselves.

Analyze previous calls with low AHT

Recorded calls can easily indicate performance issues: if your calls are too long, your agents might need to work on their problem-solving skills or simply better understand your processes in order handle calls in a shorter period of time. On the other hand, too short calls might jeopardize customer satisfaction levels, as there is a possibility that your agents are not able to fix an issue but terminate the call anyway.

Call centers often record their calls for training purposes, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity to use recorded calls to help agents with a higher average handling time. Allow them to analyze previous calls with low AHT, so they can receive a crystal-clear example of how they can handle a call more efficiently.

Keep your databases updated

Using one up-to-date database will not only be appreciated by your customers but also by your agents. Customer calls often take too much time because agents need to update customer information in the system. However, by systematically checking and updating your databases, you can save significant time on aligning and updating customer data.

Also, make sure that the caller history is always updated with previous conversations, no matter what agent has spoken to the customer. By doing this, customer queries can be simply picked up without customers having to repeat themselves to different agents of the team.

Let agents help each other

Providing systematic training sessions to agents is a must to any call center. But have you ever thought about involving your employees in the training process?  You can, for example, team the best-performing agents with those who still need to learn and let them participate in short training sessions. Your best-performing agents can give tips and share ideas, while agents with higher AHT can even listen in to calls handled by agents with low AHT.

If you switched to remote work due to the virus situation, this can easily be done via virtual Zoom meetings. You can also allow your agents to use an internal chat feature to be able to get information from other agents if needed.

Make customer experience first!

It is true that average handling time is an essential contact center metric, however, you should never sacrifice quality calls for the sake of low AHT levels.

In other words, don’t chase the numbers! Having a low AHT will only do any good for your business if it doesn’t harm customer experience. Otherwise, it will not only ruin customer satisfaction levels but also encourage agents to approach customers with the wrong attitude. 

How a Multilingual Call Center Can Improve Customer Experience

Posted on: June 5th, 2020 by dorarapcsak No Comments

“Excuse me, do you speak English?” is an opening sentence customer service agents often start their conversations with. And while English has been the global language in business for a long time, chances are some of your customers will not speak it.

Be it English or any other language, if you fail to provide help to your customers in a language they understand, your business can easily lose opportunities worth a lifetime of value to your company.  

In today’s globalized world, businesses are constantly expanding into new territories, as well as increasingly focusing on creating a solid online presence. As a result, call center operations have changed considerably in the last decade, with multilingual call center services – providing customer service in several languages – gaining significant ground.

Providing customer service in the native languages of your customers will definitely improve your business’ overall customer experience. But how do you do it exactly? Find out below!

Determine the Languages

Although it’s the best to offer support in your customers’ native language, depending on the size of your business you may need to narrow down the list of languages your company has the resources to offer customer support in.

So, which languages should you support? In order to decide, as cliché as it sounds, you’ll need to find out what the primary languages your customers speak are. Looking at your data, in particular, will help you see the bigger picture in terms of the languages you’ll need to cover.

The languages you choose will also depend greatly on which countries you have the most customers from. In some countries, such as in Scandinavian countries, English is so commonly used as a second language that it may not be worth investing in providing customer service in local languages. In other countries, however, for example in China, there will probably be a greater need for offering customer support in the local language.

Checking language trends can also be useful: according to this article, by offering the 16 languages mentioned in it, you’ll be able to reach up to 90% of your potential business market.

Leverage Remote Agents  

Did you know that 80% of customers prefer to be offered customer support in their own language, while 72% of them are more likely to buy a product or service when support is available in their native language?

Once you work out the languages you need to offer customer support in, it’s time to find agents who can speak those languages.

Recruiting agents with specialist language skills is no small feat, and even if you find them, they are likely to not come cheap. That is why utilizing a remote workforce is a great way to provide multilingual call center services and employ highly-skilled multilingual agents from anywhere in the world, without being limited by geographic factors.

Let’s say, for example, that your company needs to operate a call center in Hungary, but needs to provide customer service in German, Portuguese and Spanish. In such cases, by relying on remote agents, you can easily hire a native workforce, instead of struggling to find the right agents in Hungary and having to pay extra for their specialist language skills.

Provide information and self-service options online

These days, people prefer to solve their own problems by checking a company’s website before calling customer service lines. This is especially true for customers who do not speak the language you mainly use for communication. 

So, a great way to improve your customer experience with multilingual call center services is to provide as much information online as possible, in at least one globally-common language. And an even better way is to provide that information in multiple languages.

After determining your core languages, you can help keep your customer service lines less burdened by translating your FAQ page and knowledge bases into the relevant languages.

And, although it’s a bit more costly, it’s definitely worth localizing your self-service tools, such as your IVR or chatbot solutions, into several languages as well. 

Creating multilingual call center services is not easy, but at the end of the day, they offer a unique chance to be able to provide a smooth customer journey to your customers, wherever they are in the world.

Optimize Your Customer Experience Journey During Times of Disruption

Posted on: May 28th, 2020 by Norbert Simán No Comments

As the businesses are reacting to mobility restrictions by shifting to remote platforms, they are also struggling to rethink their customer experience journey. Recent developments have meant fundamental shifts in customer journey experiences from learning about products and services, all the way to purchasing. Here are a few essential steps to help you provide the best possible customer experience in a fast-phased digital landscape.

Monitor trends

Keeping up to date with your customer data is more important than ever. In times of uncertainty, you need to keep in line with rapidly changing consumer behaviors in order to keep your business afloat. This will help you determine where to focus your CX efforts in terms of products and promotions and it will help you determine how to communicate with your clients.

There are already collective efforts to help businesses monitor their industry, such as Commerce Insight. Tools such as Commerce Insight help companies keep track of daily consumer behaviors at an international level. Keeping your online communications in line with client behavior will help you keep your customer experience journey on track. Additionally, most contact center solutions have monitoring options that enable you to track your real-time client history, from which you can analyze customer behavior trends.

Use data that you already have

It is important to use data that you already have when communicating with existing clients. Expectations in relation to online customer service are changing in the accelerated business landscape of online services. Make sure that your technology is up to date, so you can provide seamless customer experience, even when your operations are fully remote. 

Use a data-driven omnichannel strategy, in order to be able to efficiently communicate with your clients on all platforms. The solution offered by VCC Live not only allows you to integrate your channels but also displays all your customer information on the same platform, helping your agents easily interact with existing customers. This way, customers don’t have to have to repeat the information they have already shared with you on a different channel.

Invest in mobile technologies

If you haven’t already started investing in mobile technologies, now is the perfect time to do so! Mobility ranks high among the benefits of digital customer experience, with customers actively preferring to carry out even the smallest customer service activity using their mobile phones. Businesses need to embrace this concept, especially given the fact that client expectations have increasingly turned towards digitalization. In light of recent developments, clients expect to manage all their interactions with you on a digital platform.

In order to follow this trend, start thinking about implementing technologies such as remote customer identification and online payment. Remote ID allows businesses to identify their customers via video chat instead of requiring them to visit a physical location to be identified. Additionally, over the phone payment technologies, such as VCC Live pay enable your clients to make secure, real-time payments during phone conversations with agents from the comfort of their home!

Engaged and accountable employees

Engaged, solution-oriented, and accountable employees are some of the fundamental elements of a good customer journey experience. Whether remote or not, make sure that you are able to easily assess your agents’ work and give them instant feedback in order to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction, regardless of the situation you are in.

There are a variety of tools available for this, including VCC Live’s Quality Management tool, that enables you to give instant feedback to your employees. Additionally, VCC Live’s real-time monitoring option can also give you direct insights into ongoing agent conversations, and call-whispering features allow you to give feedback or help an agent without the customer hearing. If necessary you are also able to join agent-client conversations in a conference mode. 

With the right data and technologies in hand, you should be able to become a responsive, fast decision-maker, enabling you to provide a seamless customer journey experience. By monitoring trends, using data and technologies the right way, and establishing tools to motivate your employees, you will be well on your way to establishing a resilient infrastructure, regardless of disruptions.

Customer Satisfaction Measurement Methods That Are Key to Your Business

Posted on: April 28th, 2020 by Dániel Severa No Comments

In our ever-competitive world, unhappy customers will never buy from you again. That is why keeping customer satisfaction high should be one of the main goals for any business that wants to strive in the long run.

And what better way to ensure your customers are satisfied, than by asking them directly? In this article I’ll show you some of the most important customer satisfaction measurement methods your business needs to utilize!

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The most popular way to measure customer satisfaction is definitely through customer surveys, and there’s a good reason for that. Usually carried out after customers make a purchase from you, and normally consisting of a few brief questions, they are the most effective way of asking for your customers’ honest opinion on how satisfied they are with your products or services.

Customer satisfaction surveys will not only show you whether your services are good enough, but also provide you with some of the most valuable business insights you can gather. By analyzing survey answers, you can define your business’ weak points and create a plan to address the issues repeatedly mentioned by your customers.

Surveys are a popular form of measuring customer satisfaction as they are an effective method for collecting customer feedback. With advanced survey tools, such as Survey Monkey, allowing you to build surveys in as little as a few minutes, it is also a quick and easy process.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score is another very popular customer satisfaction metric. It measures customer loyalty by asking them how likely they are to recommend your products or services to someone else, on a scale of usually 1 to 5 or 1 to 10.

NPS helps your business examine customers’ loyalty to your brand, while also showing whether your products or services are good enough to create a strong and consistent customer base.

When analyzing NPS results, divide customers into different groups based on their ratings. For example, customers who rate your services between 9 and 10 are considered promoters who are very likely to recommend your business. On the other hand, if you see a large number of customers rating your business between 0 and 5 it clearly shows that your brand reputation needs significant improvement.

The main advantage of Net Promoter Score is that instead of focusing on a single interaction it measures customers’ overall satisfaction with your business.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT is a simple and effective customer satisfaction metric that asks your customers to rate how satisfied they are with your business on a scale typically ranging between 1 – 3, 1 – 5 or 1 – 10. The smaller the number range you offer, the easier it will be to analyze the results.

Customer Satisfaction Score examines how satisfied customers are with a business, and if they are not satisfied what action should be taken in order to improve the figures. This metric is normally used to help businesses evaluate and improve their customer retention rate.

As with surveys, CSAT is a quick, inexpensive and easy-to-understand way of collecting customer feedback. It can be also enhanced with additional questions encouraging customers to leave detailed feedback, which can be later used to improve your business’ overall customer experience.

Social Media Interactions

Over the last years the rise of social media platforms has completely changed the face of customer service, and paved the way for the concept of social customer service. Allowing customers to leave their opinion on your business’ social media channels is not an option anymore; it’s a must for forward-thinking businesses.

Luckily, the growing popularity of social media has also brought many benefits for businesses. Amongst other things, it is now the perfect platform to monitor what your customers are saying about your business.

Depending on your industry, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are all relevant channels to monitor, but you can also experiment with less popular platforms like Quora or Reddit.

How do you do it? My number one tip is to assign a person or a team to be responsible for not only reading and answering comments but also collecting valuable business insights from what your customers are saying. My second tip is to try to make keeping track of your social inquiries easy by, for example, relying on a customer service software solution that can be integrated with your social media channels.

Keeping customer satisfaction as high as possible is vital, and an integral part of creating and keeping a loyal customer base.

Once you have your important customer satisfaction measurement methods up and running, make sure to systematically optimize them for better results. You’ll soon see how much it is helping you grow your business.

Crisis Communications Tips for Customer Service Teams

Posted on: March 31st, 2020 by dorarapcsak No Comments

For customer service teams across many industries all over the world, a global crisis like the current pandemic brings a dramatic increase in customer queries.

In such a tense situation, where customers are often angry, stressed and even afraid, maintaining the level of service they expect is no small feat. We’ve collected some crisis communications tips to help your team keep customer service levels as high as possible!

Prepare Your Team

Having to respond to an increased number of customer queries can be quite challenging for any customers service team. And while your team has probably dealt with peak times already, this time they will need to provide customers with systematic updates about how the pandemic will influence your products and services. Depending on the nature of your campaigns, you might receive an influx of new orders, while other customers will request cancellations or refunds.

In such a situation, providing your team with all the necessary information is our first and one of the most important crisis communications tips. Create a document, let’s say an internal knowledge base, and include all the information you gathered so far and your team needs in order to assist customers. Make the document accessible to your team and easy to update. Make sure to systematically update the document whenever you receive a new piece of information.

Create a Specific Page for Customers

In an unexpected situation when your incoming calls skyrocket, you’ll need to find ways to ease your customer service lines. One useful method to at least partly free up your phone lines is to create a specific page which will serve as a public information point for your customers.

Create a user-friendly, easily accessible and organized page your customers will be able to browse and understand without getting lost in a messy page structure.

Also, make sure to share all the information regarding your product and services your customers need in order to know when to expect disruptions or delays, what to do in case they request cancellation or refund, and so on. Keep it short and simple!

Create a FAQ section

In a global crisis like the current one, even if you have a specific information page, your customer service team should expect to receive a great number of questions from customers. The good news is that some of these questions will be repeated over and over again. That is why your information page should contain a FAQ section.

Start listing the questions your team has to repeatedly answer. Check your social channels as well for repeated topics. Then it’s time to set up your FAQ section:  It is often said that designing an FAQ section is very difficult, but in reality, perhaps it’s not as tricky as you think. If you still need any help with that, this article will definitely help.

What do your visitors want to achieve? To find answers as soon as possible, especially in a crisis scenario. So don’t let visitors get lost in endless number of questions. Make sure the content is well organized, so it’s easy to scan and navigate.

Support Your Team During the Crisis

Working in a call center can be emotionally exhausting even during an average day. Agents spend most of their time on the phone talking to customers, resolving complex issues with often angry customers. During a crisis, working as a call center agents can become overwhelming due to the increased number of calls and impatient customers, resulting in reduced support quality and high e. In this difficult situation, you need to support your team while they are doing their best to deliver service.

Adapting to an unexpected scenario is not only challenging for you but also for your employees. Also, as you’ve hopefully already switched to remote work, your team needs constant updates. So, make sure you consistently communicate with your agents, providing them all the information they need to support customers.

As we all know some channels are more difficult to handle than others. It is no question that dealing with an angry or impatient customer is worsts via phone. As such, it’s also a good idea to rotate your agents through channels if possible, allowing them to calm down after handling too many phone calls.

Managing a crisis is never easy, but eventually call volumes will drop and things get back to normal. Until then, with thorough preparation and clear communication, you can help your team to keep your service level as high as expected. What your crisis communications tips? Share them with us in the comments section!

How to Build Customer Rapport for Your Telesales Business

Posted on: March 9th, 2020 by Dorottya Márton No Comments

Customer rapport is a term often talked about in relation to a number of businesses including telesales where success depends on whether you can build trust with your customers and convince them over the phone. 

How can customer rapport help you in establishing a healthy and sustainable relationship with your customers? And more importantly, how can it help you as a developing professional?

The Importance of Customer Rapport in Telesales 

Rapport can be defined as the ability to communicate well with someone, or, simply, a good sense of understanding and trust. When it comes to telesales, rapport is essential for building a good relationship with your clients. Through harmonious relationships, you can meet your business goals, increase your sales, and build long lasting, sustainable contacts. 

Customer rapport is also important at a personal level. On bad days, being in contact with customers all day can not only feel monotonous, and tedious but also stressful. Some clients can get particularly hard to deal with, and maintaining an aura of professionalism can get extremely challenging. In these cases, the ability to communicate well is essential in not just keeping your business targets but also your spirits high.

Open the Call With a Smile

Ever yawned because the person in front of you was yawning? You’re not the only one. According to neuroscience, we are coded to mirror others. For this, a brain circuit called the insula is responsible, the area of our brain regulating our emotions. The psychology of mirroring translates into very specific consequences when it comes to sales. 

As Tímea, one of our key account managers discusses, if you do not asses your own mood, you’ll end up automatically mirroring others. In telesales, this can get problematic when dealing with frustrated or impatient clients. 

While it might be a challenge in the beginning, try making your reaction to situations with your clients into an active choice. Behave in a way that you want the conversation to go. Is the client rude? Be extra polite, and see what happens. Is he being irrational and demanding? Keep a cool head and stick to the facts. Is he bored and uninterested? Take an excited, enthusiastic tone. And most of all, smile. Smile, even if you are on the phone, because it shows. 

Having a longstanding career in telesales, Tímea worked for a number of years as a call center operator. She remembers listening to her recorded voice conversations, and being astonished by what she heard. In every single interaction, you could tell when she was smiling. “Simply starting the conversation with a smile, lays ground for a completely different interaction. Both you and your customers’ mood will start off with a positive note, and in the long term, this will lead to quantifiably better sales results.”

Stay Authentic

Most importantly, remember to maintain authenticity. When you are communicating to clients, keep in mind that you are talking to another human being. This might simply mean listening to them with empathy. 

Tímea discusses that showing empathetic gestures could involve very simple things. “When I had to make outgoing calls during my time as a telesales agent, clients would often pick up the phone in the middle of an activity (taking their children somewhere, going to the vet, etc.). If I managed to reschedule a call with them, the next time I called, I asked about the activity they were doing when we last spoke. How their dog was, about their daughter’s ballet recital. The effect was immediate, their tones changed and they became way more open to our conversation.”

Authenticity is important not just in your relationship with your clients but also in your relationship to the product or service you are trying to sell. If not necessary, don’t obsess about sticking to the call script. Try to explain why your product is relevant to the customer with your own words. By putting your own personality into it, you will sound more authentic instead of just another telesales agent who reads information from a script. 

Remember to Stand Your Ground

At the end of the day, sales is not about trying to desperately impress the person on the other side of the line. Behave with your clients on an equal footing. This establishes a sense of partnership and trust, regardless of whether or not you are communicating with them over the phone or in person. 

When it comes to particularly difficult clients, standing your ground and establishing your boundaries can actually help your sales, as it makes you come across as consistent, reliable and ultimately, a trustable person.

Behave with others the way you would want others to behave with you.  Remember the importance of customer rapport and open the call with a smile, stay authentic, and stand your ground. The power of mirroring can help increase your sales, build long standing relationships with your clients, and most importantly, it can help you maintain a healthy state of mind at the workplace.

Omnichannel Customer Service for Utility Companies

Posted on: March 5th, 2020 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Utility firms typically offer services that are taken for granted, and which normally remain invisible to customers. Until, that is, those customers receive an inaccurate bill, a notification with incorrect meter readings or information about price increases.

In such cases, they pick up the phone and expect providers to fix their problem as soon as possible. But what happens if a provider fails to meet customers’ expectations? The answer: they will most likely switch to a competitor in the hope of getting better customer experience. 

As competition gets fiercer than ever, with most regions now offering multiple utility supplier options, utility providers need to step up their game in order to stay ahead of the competitors. One trend utilities can benefit from is omnichannel customer service. Here’s why!

Utilities Customers Go Omnichannel

Today’s customers expect to be able to interact with their utility providers via multiple channels as well as have more control over how they are contacted. It seems utility customers have already gone omnichannel, and providers who have not implemented omnichannel technologies yet will definitely need to do as soon as possible.

So once you decided to implement an efficient omnichannel strategy, first you’ll need to understand your customers’ expectations across the variety of digital channels that omnichannel offers. And, instead of being present on every possible channel, you should focus on identifying channels that are preferred by customers.

For example, you might not think so but utility customers commonly use social media sites to take care of their utility activities. Due to this ever-increasing popularity of social media channels, utilities companies must learn how to utilize social media channels as well in order to provide a better digital customer experience.

You can, for instance, send out notification messages such as payment reminders through Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, and handle customer communication via your Facebook account. Again, a thorough assessment of which social media channels are most popular with your customers ought to be the first step in your strategy.

It’s All About Data

In a digital age, decision making has to be backed up by data. Recent technological advancements have transformed the way decision making is approached, and utility providers, who normally store a huge amount of data, cannot afford to miss out on taking advantage of this.

In particular, when it comes to customer service, customers are becoming more and more demanding. Recent research shows that utility customers, for example, tend to get frustrated when they have to repeat information they have already shared with their utility provider on a different channel.

This clearly shows that utility firms should focus on creating a data-driven omnichannel strategy by aligning and constantly analyzing data in order to be able to better pinpoint customers’ behavior and overall preferences.  

To benefit from omnichannel customer service, integrating your channels to be able to see all data on one platform is key, as he experience will only be valuable if it’s actually a good one.

Mobility Is Key

Mobility ranks high among the benefits of digital customer experience, with customers actively preferring to carry out even the smallest customer service activity using their mobile phones. And, as with many other industries, utility providers need to embrace this concept.

Omnichannel customer service is the ideal solution for utilities to provide customers with increased mobility, by enabling them to use their remote devices to take care of issues on their preferred channel.  

Smartphones and tablets, for example, are often used by customers to stay connected with a business while they are on the go. And utility providers who offer the convenience of resolving services such as billing issues remotely will definitely have a better chance of retaining their customers’ loyalty.

Another example of omnichannel customer experience utilities can benefit from is remote customer identification. This new innovation allows businesses to identify their customers via video chat instead of requiring them to visit a physical location only to wait in a queue to be identified.

With fierce competition commonplace in the utilities industry, excellent customer service can make or break your business. With this in mind, as a utilities provider you must go the extra mile to provide the level of support your customers expect – fast, efficient and via their preferred channel.

How to Provide Excellent Social Media Customer Service

Posted on: January 31st, 2020 by dorarapcsak 2 Comments

Providing social media customer service is not an option anymore. It’s an absolute must for any business that wants to survive the fierce competition.

Research from the Institute of Customer Service reveals 1 in every 3 customers turns to social media to seek advice or communicate with a business.

Building a better relationship with customers by supporting them on their most used channels is the opportunity you cannot miss out on. So how do you do it? Below are a few tips from us!

Sometimes less is more

These days most companies represent themselves on as many social media platforms as possible. However, having a social media profile will only do any good for your company if you have the resources to take care of them.  

Keeping several social media platforms up to date is particularly time-consuming. What is more, some of these platforms might be completely useless for your business. Therefore, I suggest that instead of being everywhere you rather focus on the platforms where your customers are.

Also, don’t make the mistake of assuming that the most popular channel is the best fit for your audience. If you don’t know where your customers are, just simply ask them. An online survey, for instance, will be a great idea to do that.

Listen to what they say

Rule number one: make sure to have a person or a team (depending on the size of your business) who is responsible for not only reading and answering but also listening to what your customers say.

Your social media sites are not simply platforms where your marketing team can share photos and interesting stories about your brand. These are channels your customers will most probably use for communicating with your businesses.

But replying won’t be enough, you’ll also need to listen to what they say. Listening to your customers’ opinions on social sites will provide you with some of the most important information, particularly in terms of product development. After all, it is customers who use your services. 

Track and monitor volume

I’m sure you’ve already noticed that every year more and more people start using social media platforms in order to reach out to a business. As a result, chances are that the volume of your customer inquiries via these channels is on the rise as well.

Another important rule of social media customer service is to track and monitor the volume of your incoming queries, which will not only allow you to manage them in a timely manner but also help you plan your staffing responsible for social media messages.

You can easily keep track of your social inquiries by relying on contact center software that can be integrated with your social media channels. Our system, VCC Live, can be integrated with Facebook Messenger, the world’s most used social network, with only one click. This way, your agents will be able to handle your customers’ Facebook messages directly in your customer service system. As simple as that!

Hopefully, this article showed you the importance of social media customer service, and you’ve managed to pick up some essential strategies for providing efficient support your channels! Good luck!