There is a continuous and rising pressure on all businesses to turn out work and deliver the customers with the best offerings. In order to carry out the activities smoothly, an efficient workforce management is paramount. It also plays an important role in assisting business expansion thereby bringing in more profits to the business. Also, if you want to optimize your business and boost its potential performances, you need a well organised workforce management.
Let us see how we can make the best of a workforce management:
a. Pay attention to your process: Workforce management is not a solution or a software that you can buy and apply. In order to have a strong and able workforce management, you need to focus on your internal processes and find out the loopholes that you think should be addressed. Once you have a firm grip on your process and the activities occurring, you will be able to create a good workforce management where all of your deliverables will be executed efficiently.
b. Make forecasts: Making work forecasts often becomes a difficult task. In order to maintain things in order and synchronised, organisations strive to achieve so many business goals, accomplish assignments and handle different calls that planning a proper forecast becomes challenging. Hence, to achieve these, it is important to become rigorous and chase them with the help of a proper workforce management.
c. Pay attention to your agents: Your agents make your workforce stronger. Hence, it becomes imperative to keep them satisfied. Make sure you appreciate them for their diligence and hard work. Doing so will keep them gratified and happy and you will have better Return on Investment (ROI). This practice will also retain your customers and avert agent attrition.
d. Keep a track of daily updates: An agile reporting process paired with proper roles and responsibilities are imperative for quality service delivery. You need to make sure that your reports are appropriate and up to date so that there is no discrepancy. Any amendment should be communicated to all of your agents which will allow your workforce management to be up any running all the time.
e. Figure out your requirment from the workforce management: It is very important to have appropriate skills in order to propel your business. There should be proper planning amongst the team members and the ability to understand how it works. Once you get a hold of the planning cycle, the workforce management will be enhanced which will incessantly drive performance.
These are some of the best practices of workforce management, do you know some more?
We are aware that customers are impatient and tend to get annoyed when they fail to receive what they seek for. Contact centres at times are not able to offer desired assistance or services to the customers, which make them repeatedly call contact centers. It is a tedious job to regurgitate the same issue over and over again and at the end, the customer realizes that he needs to call back again because his complaints are not resolved. There are many technologies deployed by contact centers to fight this challenge, but the problem still seems to be prevailing.
Here are some of the ways that will ensure customer satisfaction and diminish repeated calls:
i. Connect customers to the right agents: Customers should be connected to the right agents so that they receive instant response to their queries. Skill based routing could be helpful in this case wherein specific workgroups can be created as per different criteria, and customers can be mapped to the right resource. High priority customers that require highly personalized services, can be redirected to Subject Matter Experts or specific workgroups within the organization or at a remote location. Such intelligent routing mechanism reduces the number of escalations and increases First Contact Resolutions.
ii. Identify the reasons of repeat calling: It is important your agents identify reasons that drive customers to make repeated calls. It could be possible that your agents are not being able to understand the issues to which the customers are seeking assistance. This could be addressed by conducting appropriate trainings for your agents. Once your agents are able to understand customer needs, they will be able to offer instant help which will lower down the hassle of customers calling in again.
iii. Try to understand the hidden concerns of your customers: There may be times when a customer would call not for one issue but multiple issues. Besides, the problems expressed by the customers, try to understand the untold problem too. Agents get used to listening to complaints and with the passage of time find it easy to figure out the other problems a customer could possibly have. This will not only prevent customers from repeating calls but also improve customer satisfaction.
iv. Improve agent’s skills: Agents play a vital role in delivering quality service to customers. As long as your agents do not perform well, your customers cannot receive what they want. Therefore, ensure that your agent’s skills and knowledge are improved so that they are able to perform their best. You may also provide an accessible help desk for agents so that they are able to seek help when facing trouble in solving problem.
What in your opinion could be the other reasons for customers to repeat calls?
Customer Relation Management (CRM), has gained popularity to a great extent as it is widely being used by businesses of all sizes. There used to be a time when CRM was thought to be a technology used only by large enterprises. However, lately small enterprises too have realized that CRM can be a handy tool for them to manage details, interactions with customers, clients and also to handle sales prospects. A CRM can be customized according to the business needs of the firms, it’s operation can be expanded from contact management capabilities, customer relationship management etc.One therefore need to assess the options to determine the solution that will cater to his/her business requirements.
Here are certain features that businesses of all sizes look for in a CRM:
i. Single centralized solution: Garnering, entering and tracking data stored in various systems may become an uphill task. Here, the right CRM solution plays as catalyst by doing everything that will untangle the mess of data collection from disparate systems. This empowers managers to keep themselves abreast of all activities. The advantage of such solutions is that it unifies data about your clients and customers that are strewn across multiple applications and systems. This makes it apparent that you save a lot time by easily collecting data with the help of a single centralized CRM.
ii. Establish consistency: A very big advantage you can have from a CRM solution is that it establishes consistency. It helps in setting up targets, notification reminders and emails after every action. It also makes it easier for managers and supervisors to gauge all activities and actions. As already mentioned, CRMs are easily customizable, you can integrate them according to your convenience and work preferences. This integration enables everyone in the team to view and harness the data and work without any hassle.
iii. Get the right customer contacts: Sales representatives cannot afford to waste time looking for the right customers to be connected to. With a CRM you can you can empower your sales staff to instantly collect data in a short span of time. The solution provides you with details that helps them connect to the right customers. By being able to connect to these customers, they can instantly run their email campaigns and close deals within the given deadline.
iv. Helps you get social: Getting social in businesses have become imperative now. Hence, find a CRM that will allow you to be a part of the social media helping you to determine new market needs, hear your customers and learn about different accounts. When we speak about social media, we are talking about platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which empower you to be specific and relevant in your business approach.
v. Take decisions: A robust CRM solution offers appropriate reports that enables business to carry out its operations smoothly. This leads to efficient measurement as well as sharing of data and other metrics that are essential to your business. Besides this, it becomes easy for everyone to receive information required which is in a legible graphical format. This clearly means that you get access to the nitty-gritties of your data.
Businesses small and large, require an agile technology that has the capability to manage interaction with clients and customers to ensure long-term success. So what is your call on CRMs?
Contact Centers as well as other enterprises focus on customer-centricity. Before we proceed with the fundamental ingredients required to build a customer-centric contact center, lets first understand what the term means. What is customer-centricity? Customer-centricity is the procedure of placing valuable customers at the center of any business or operation. Steps are taken after a proper thought about the impact it would have on customers. Since, contact centers are well known to be providing assistance to customers, they imperatively continue to clinch on to these metrics and practices that perform a great deal to elevate the satisfaction level of today’s savvy customers.
Here are some of the fundamental tips that your contact centers may follow to create customer-centricity in their organisations:
a. Listen to your customers: In order to offer the best services to your customers and understand their needs, you need to listen to them. Listening to the customers have become paramount as your customers might lose their interest in dealing with you if they feel they are not heard. For efficiently doing this, you need to invest on good technologies so that you get the desired result and also gratify your customers. A robust call recording system will do wonders through which you can limitlessly record the conversations between agents and customers. Another tool that will help you in the strategy is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which manages all call details about your customers.
b. Satisfied agents: To ensure that your customers are happy, you need to make sure your agents are happy. Satisfying customers without satisfied agents is not possible. There exists an irrefutable fact that tells us how miserable customers could be made if agents are not made happy. Agent engagement has become a buzzword and besides contact centers taking care to satisfy customers, they also ensure agent’s gratification. Recognising their efforts and rewarding them accordingly will make them feel valued and appreciated. This will propel them to perform consistently and deliver their best.
c. First-Call Resolution: One of the powerful methods to create customer-centricity is through the First Call Resolution (FCR). Customer satisfaction ratings tend to shoot upwards as compared to the second call made regurgitating the same issue. Therefore, contact centers must take care to keep an eye on this strategy and provide agents with appropriate training which will help them in solving customer queries and concerns.
d. Social Media: Customers are impatient and tend to divert their interest where they are not assured instant services. They expect organisations to respond promptly to their entreaties, comments and grievances often posted in Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Hence, contact centers should train their agents to be sociable as well as harness the power of an advanced social media tool. This makes it easy for agents to interact with customers and offer them with proactive assistance.
So, is your contact center customer-centric?
A contact center’s proper functioning and success depends on agents owing to the endeavors they put in. Agents are best known for providing quality service and solving customer queries and issues. Therefore, in order to assist them in being able to execute their work efficiently, contact centers use CIM technologies.These technologies are often feature rich and allow smooth operation. However, apart from using CIM technologies, you may also follow a lot of strategies which will not only empower the agents to assist customers but also enhance their productivity.
Lets have a look at some of these ways:
a. Decide projects and fix deadlines: Prioritizing activities and scheduling them on a daily basis is a good way to start. Once, the routine is decided, fix a deadline and inform your agents about it. This will help them work accordingly and turn out work within the stipulated time. Another way you could help agents boost productivity could be through a call back schedule. The application helps agents trace customers who have called them but could not get connected to them due to their unavailability. Once they are available, the tool initiates the call according to the time provided by the caller. The agent is then able to assist the customer basis the message dropped by the latter.
b. Route calls to the right agents: Customers do not want to get stuck with agents who take time to understand their problem and offer delayed solution to the same. Hence, make sure that your customer’s calls are getting routed to the right agents. You may use personal agent routing which ensures that customers are provided with consistently high quality of service from every interaction. The time spent in diagnosing the issue by the agent is minimized and this leads to a faster query resolution and much lower Average Handling Time. The solution is aimed at support processes for contact centers and enterprises that require a technology to enhance customer satisfaction and experience.
c. Make your agents feel comfortable: Contact centers should have an environment that lightens agent’s tension and makes them feel stress free. We know it very well that an agent spends the entire hour of his time at work by attending or making calls with a computer in front. This is enough to get him exhausted due to which he may not be able to perform well. You may therefore deploy tools which will automate their daily tasks. An IVR for example will liberate the agent from regurgitating the same welcome speech for customers. It will play automatically once the number is dialed.
d. Quality monitoring: Agents who do not perform well require a proper training and monitoring. Till the time they do not get a proper hold of the process and its work, they will definitely not yield good result. This will lead to low productivity. To enhance their productivity and performance, tools like quality monitoring could be used. The tool will empower you to conduct monitoring, gauge at agent performance and minimize errors.
e. Offer adequate training: There is a huge loss of time owing to agents repeatedly asking questions to customers on calls and taking time to understand. This could be possible if your agent is not properly trained. Therefore, make sure you have the best resources to train and support them in their work. You may do this by hiring an external training consultant and conduct exercises post the training. Once your agents assure you of good performance, there will be an obvious increase in their productivity which will undoubtedly be conducive to your business.
f. Create FAQ’s: FAQ’s are Frequently Asked Questions wherein customers find answers to their frequent queries. In this section, there are lots of questions posted by customers and are more or less common to one another. The FAQ repository thereafter can be connected with your company CRM which will make it easy for all agents to work efficiently. Therefore, instead of customers calling the agents for queries, they can visit the FAQ section and find solution. This will help agents concentrate on the other customer complaints which might be difficult to answer instantly and require their undivided attention.
So, are you practicing these steps to boost your agent’s productivity?
With contact centers finding out more ways to deliver customers with the best services and offerings, web chats are yet another channel being chosen by them. In today’s world, where being fast and easy is paramount, the ability to chat on web with a live person is a standout feature.
So, lets see how to get the best out of webchats:
i Reduce phone calls: Contact center agents are best known for sticking with their headphones and attending calls. There comes a time when agents are tired of attending calls and crib about it. Similarly, customers complaining about long wait time has been perennial. There have been many ways and technologies found out to deal with the same. Despite of all these processes, it is the web chat that seems to have taken a significant place at contact centers due to its ability to offer instant responses to their queries. Customers type their queries over a chat to which they get a prompt reply. This has significantly brought down the call rates and liberated contact centre agents from the hassle of sticking to headphones for hours.
ii Reduces cost: Web chat has become mandatory as the customers find it trustworthy and reliable due to human involvement. It also saves time as there is no waiting for the customers and is cost efficient for the contact centers. Web chat implementation reduces expenditure involving total cost of ownership. A web chat is preferred owing to various advantages for both the agents and the customers. No matter how developed a technology is, man being a social animal, is inclined towards direct communication like web chat.
iii. Enhance customer support: Another advantage of deploying web chat is that it has excellent features of real time communication and Real time chats. With real time chat, agents are empowered to interact directly with the customers thereby provide them with high level of support. Likewise, multiple chats and messages keep the agents alert. The entire chat is further kept for future references.
iv. Traceability: Contact centres tend to spend a significant amount of time in tracing back the recorded telephone calls and conversations. This is time consuming as one has to also listen to them. However, with the live chat texts, the capability to gather conversations becomes easy and does not consume much time.
v. Receive customer feedbacks: There is no more waiting for your emails to be answered by your customers asking them if they have been satisfied with the assistance offered. With web chats, your agents get an instant feedback from the customers. These feedbacks empower your contact centers to strive to improve the services incase of complaints and grievances.
Learning about the advantages of Web Chats, what is your take on it?
Whether your business is small or large, maintaining a good and reliable collection strategy is important to ensure the proper flow of cash. There are many factors which need to be considered before creating a streamlined collection which will help you in assisting your business, cash flow and also help you in handling procrastinated payments.
Mentioned are some of the ways that will assist you in building effective collection strategy:
i. Offer assorted payment options: Offer a wide range of payment modes to expedite collections. Some of them may be credit cards, debit cards, corporate purchasing cards etc. This procedure will help your clients make their payments in accordance to their convenience and on time.
ii. Tracking system: Creating a tracking system is an important and easy way to track payments which are overdue. This empowers you to take actions accordingly as you get to know about unpaid payments. You may also hunt for softwares specially fabricated to track payments. The softwares will display a complete detail of your customers and their last date of payment as well as the next payment date.
iii. Extended payment terms should be avoided: If you wish your collections to be on time and without any hassle, ensure that you have not extended the payment periods. You may also opt for offering discounts which will drive your customers for a faster payment.
iv. Protocols for missed payments: With the help of your tracking system, you may create a contract that lucidly enlists the payment guidelines which will prevent your clients from any sort of confusion. Post this, you can ask your client to sign the guideline as a proof to agreeing to the terms and conditions. Also, keep your clients informed of the consequences of missed payments. Follow up with a phone call which will propel them make prompt payments.
v. Accurate invoices: Make sure you are accurate when generating invoices. A minor error at your end may give your clients a convenient excuse for a delayed payment for a long time. As long as you do not rectify yourself, the payment might be withheld or may involve other hassles which will affect the payment.
Vi. Keep a record: Maintaining accurate reports is very important. This becomes critical when you have an agent or an employee doing this for you. Hold separate files for different clients with proper details for each of them. This will help the employee deal properly with the client and get the payment done on time.
So, what is your strategy for an effective collection?
Contact centers and enterprises, in their quest to improve and enhance customer satisfaction have come a long way to use new technologies. One such technology which is growing rapidly is the Speech Analytics. It is a device which empowers managers and supervisors to find out which agents are not being proactive, or which are not succeeding in satisfying customers. Post that, they provide them with the required training and education to improve agent performance. With the tool, one is also able to identify calls which are difficult for agents to handle and design different strategies to deal with them.
Here are some of the distinctive advantages of speech analytics:
a.Enhance customer experience: Improving customer experience has become an important objective for all businesses owing to which there has been the increasing deployment of speech analytics. The instrument has the capability to recognise and analyse audio data and also detect a customer’s purpose of calling and his requirements. The supervisors, through the speech analytics determine the speech of the agents and make sure adequate services are provided to them and all their queries are resolved with utmost courtesy and benevolence.
b. Monitor and train call center agents: Speech analytics help the supervisors to monitor customer-agent interaction simultaneously. They are also able to monitor an agent’s adherence to scripts and the protocol to be followed mandatorily. The speech analytics technology helps supervisors gauge at the agent’s performance, conduct necessary trainings and also reduce call volume.Operational and performance issues that occur off and on can be managed which improves service, quality and support.
c. Reduce cost and increase profit: Apart from detecting speech, the tool also has the ability to reduce contact center costs by identifying cost savings and ways to avert expenses. The speech analytics no doubt yields substantial benefits however, there is a need for significant investment for its deployment.
d. Reduce customer attrition: Speech analytics also help in reducing customer attrition. Since speech analytics help in monitoring customer and agent interaction, contact centers are able to find out the reason why customers are leaving. This helps them plan for better ways to offer services to customers and retain them. Quality service improves customer experiences which prevents them from leaving.
e. Enhance revenue: Apart from the contact centers, the enterprises also reap benefits from using speech analytics. Sales organisations may use the device to track up-sell and cross-sell opportunities which leads to increased sales. With the speech analytics, sales managers can learn about the sales and the impact it has left on the customer.
Speech analytics have acquired a significant position in both the contact center as well as enterprise worlds. The technology has been found useful as it has the ability to provide customer and operational insight as compared to any other application. So are you too using a Speech Analytics?