Top class customer service is one of the cornerstones to build a successful business. Call centers appear at the front line of providing customer services. However, often a number of factors stand between a call center and its goal of optimum customer service provision.
While there are several issues that can bog down a call center agents and impact its efficiency and output, 5 common problems stand out. By overcoming these issues, businesses can effectively chart out their route towards improving customer experiences.
The conjunction of a stressful work environment and erratic schedules at call centers leave employees physically, mentally, and emotional drained and they often call in sick. According to the statistics provided by benchmarking firm Dimension Data – the average rate of annual absence in call centres across the world is 11%.
While it may not seem to be such a high percentage, in reality – this figure of absenteeism can immensely impact the quality of service. As remaining call center agents shoulder the responsibilities of the absentees, the increased work volume hampers customer interactions. Over a period of time, absenteeism impacts staff morale and hinders the growth of the business.
An effective way to overcome this problem is to track absenteeism by keeping a tab on the trend of absence. For instance, follow whether the rate of absence increases during weekends or during the festive season. Once you are in possession of the data, elucidate the impact of absenteeism on your employees. Chalk out and implement a strong absence management policy. Be sure to communicate to your employees that repeated and unsubstantiated absence will lead to formal action.
High staff attrition is a sad reality at call centres. Though call center jobs pay well, the taxing nature of the job and the pressure situation causes employees to look for better options outside the industry. With the loss of experienced agents, the quality of customer service takes a hit. On top of that, the huge cost and time involved in recruiting, training, and developing new staff to deliver optimum performance is an added disadvantage.
To tackle this issue, follow the adage ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Start from the recruitment stage by selecting candidates who want to adopt call center as a career option and not a stop-gap arrangement. Consider providing incentives and rewards to keep employees motivated and attached to their job. Ensure to provide enough opportunities for career growth, so that employees do not feel stagnant. Remember that it’s all about making every employee feel like a valued asset of the business.
3. Call Center Agent Engagement
After a period of time, the tedious nature of a call center job and the constant stress of attaining targets erode away the enthusiasm of most employees. This results in call center agents losing interest in their work and becoming demoralized, followed by absenteeism and finally, attrition.
As a preventive measure for agent’s productivity, try innovative measures to increase the motivation level of employees. Simple strategies like incorporating recreational activities during work days, organizing team building activities, etc. can go a long way in boosting the morale of employees and keeping them interested in their job. Another effective measure is to recognize and encourage employee achievements. Such small changes can create an enjoyable work environment and keep employees engaged.
4. Lack of a Defined Career Graph
The flat structure of call centres provides limited career prospects for employees. Though a large chunk of the call center industry takes initiatives to up-skill their call center agents regularly, most of the call centres do not have a defined career development path for their employees. The lack of a defined path for career growth leaves call center agents clueless about where they are proceeding in their career. The inevitable result is that organizations run the risk of losing talented and trained staff.
To keep employees interested in their job and the organization, make sure to explain to them about the opportunities that exist and the realistic timescale needed to attain them. If there are no short term opportunities available, involve your employees in other aspects of the business. Try to create prospects where they can attain skills needed for future management positions.
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5. Low First Call Resolution Rate
First call resolution (FCR) is one of the most critical facets of attaining customer satisfaction. But the growing nature of complex queries from customers often makes it impossible for call center agents to offer an immediate reply or solution. If the caller has to end up calling more than once to resolve the same issue, obviously customer satisfaction drops down.
A good way to handle the issue is to engage in root-cause analysis. This involves investigating the reasons for customers calling a contact center and using that information to neutralize specific issues at source. Building a knowledge base of questions coming from the customers and adding suitable responses to them is also an effective strategy. To provide training to agents and to ensure clear communication with callers are other important measures to deal with the problem.