With the holiday season upon us, call centers are busy pushing to close the year on a high note. Now is the time of year that Consumer Reports releases its “Naughty & Nice Holiday List” of companies – and it turns out that call center management has an impact on how a company ranks on that list.
Is your contact center engaged in customer management well enough to hit the “nice” list? Here are some tips to consider for contact center management:
1. Pay attention. Most customers want to feel like the company they do business with understands their needs. Take one of the “nice” companies – Orvis: the outdoor enthusiast retailer employs hover technology on its website that initiates a call center engagement when a visitor lingers on an image or product description. Can’t make a decision about a particular fishing pole? Bam, there is a contact center agent offering to answer questions.
2. Be there – anytime. Customer management has no day off, or no hour, for that matter. Round-the-clock contact center support is vital to providing a positive customer experience. “Nice” company Crutchfield provides a robust technical support staff in its call center to route calls appropriately any time of the day.
3. Act proactively but timely. The Verizon contact center uses outbound messaging to alert customers reaching their talk and data limits. However, it made the “naughty” list because some call center agents were sending messages after some customers exceeded their limit – and tried to upsell during contentious engagements. This led to the industry’s trade group, CTIA-The Wireless Association, to implement a policy of sending alerts only in advance of impending overages.
4. Empathize. When a customer complains, your call center agents must allow the complainant to voice concerns and hear support. If there is a return policy in place, the contact center should accommodate unhappy customers as early as possible in order to save face.
5. Empower contact center agents. Strong customer management requires front line employees to be able to make decisions that will deliver customer satisfaction. “Nice” companies like American Express, Microsoft and Costco allow call center agents to actively make judgments regarding returns and warranty policies on the spot. It may be tricky for some companies, but, with the right agents, the empowerment will pay off.
Your call center may not solely be responsible for moving a company from “naughty” to “nice”; however, the call center management policies you put in place can fill your stockings with presents or a lump of coal.