One of the chief complaints heard by consumer experts these days is the lack of quality customer service available to them. Unavailable or poorly trained staff have been cited as two of the more egregious annoyances experienced by customers, a problem that isn't about to go away any time soon. For companies seeking to hire and retain quality workers they are faced with a double dilemma: finding competent staff to serve their customers and justifying the funds to pay and house employees.
Fortunately, there is another option worth exploring: virtual office support. Yes, by selecting a virtual office contact center companies are able to save money and still offer the professional services their customers deserve. Please read on to learn how businesses are saving thousands of dollars per month thanks to the services provided by one phone system provider.
Virtual customer service is loosely defined as a tool whereby businesses can utilize the expertise of human staff without the extensive overhead normally incurred. When it comes to a company's traditional phone system, one or more staff would usually need to be present on site during regular working hours resulting in labor and facility costs incurred. Add these costs to the price of the phone system and most businesses would find themselves paying thousands of dollars monthly for this service, no minor charge particularly for small businesses.
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The method of recording calls is one of the best approaches to coaching call center agents and ensuring quality. Here is a nine-step plan to train agents and improve quality of service in any call center:
1. Random recording is important. Do not record three calls back to back or on the same day as an employee's performance is not based on only one day but more like the average performance in specific periods. The agent may lack quality performance in a few calls, but does not necessarily become a reflection of their typical performance.
2. Review the calls, see to the strengths and note the possible improvements needed. Before meeting with your employees, hear the calls and note what they did well and identify opportunities for improving performance.
3. Play a tape and let your employee listen. During playback of the tape, there is no need to respond.
4. After the tape is played, ask your employees to respond. Most employees will be too self-critical. Many call center agents will probably take into account many opportunities for improvement and struggle to articulate what they have done well.
5. Coach the call center agents. Use the "sandwich" approach. Tell your employees they did well, followed by constructive criticisms, and then end with positive feedback. When offering constructive criticisms, share opportunities for improvement. The agent is likely observant and can probably identify several opportunities to improve but hearing encouragement will help in the improvement of their performance.
6. Gain commitment to performance improvement. Ask employees, "What specific measures will be taken in the next 5 days to improve in this area?" Write down what the employees say and repeat it. Summarize the session by reiterating the strengths and offer a vote of confidence that can be improved in the area identified.
7. Repeat steps 2-6 with a second and third tape perhaps, if necessary. During these times, each call center agent will be able to learn step by step their mistakes and shortcomings and will soon catch on wanting to improve.
8. Follow-up before the next training session. Check with your employees between training sessions to maintain the commitment for every agent. You can touch base with employees by email or a personal conversation.
9. Discuss improvement in the next training session for call center agents. Before listening to the calls in the next training session, ask the employees how they've improved themselves since the last session. Look for improvements in the calls reviewed in the next session.
This 9-step coaching model for call center agents is simple, clear and supports opportunities for improvement.