All too often, call centers are either mistaken or purposely referred to as more of a “cost-center” than anything. While call centers typically don’t bring in revenue directly, they do contribute to the company’s goals in many valuable ways. If you’re looking to raise the visibility of your call center as a valuable contributor to such things as your company’s growth and bottom line profits, you should first sit down and seriously ask yourself the following questions as presented by Peggy Carlaw.
1.) Do you know where you’re going?
To maintain a successful call center, you must first cover the basics, just as with any important goal. First off, what exactly are you trying to achieve and what are the goals of your company? Once you’ve figured this out, you can then get better insight into how your call center can support what you want. Some things you can do to help move this along are by meeting with senior executives; they will have the know-how information on how to get your company perceived in the market – something you will definitely want to hold a strong competitive edge. Also try talking with the department of finance to answer critical customer questions concerning customer lifetime value and call costs. Last, meet with the marketing department to collaborate on upcoming campaigns and strategies to make a lasting impression in the industry – nothing’s more important than leaving your mark wherever you go.
2.) Are you hiring the right people?
This may be the hardest aspect of running a successful call center. “Regardless of how difficult it is to attract and retain quality agents…it’s crucial that you take great care in hiring for your center,” writes Carlaw. Don’t be in a rush to fill seats, either; not only is it expensive to replace employees after hiring, but it’s also “demoralizing for the rest of your term to see high turnover.” By successfully accomplishing point number one, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of people you want internally operating your call center.
3.) Are you training for success?
Once you have a staff you feel confidently in, you must also be confident that they are fully equipped with the knowledge and behaviors necessary to meet your company’s specific business goals. You want to make sure your investment pays off many times over, and more importantly, you want to make sure you won’t be another call center with a high turnover rate. Keep in mind that effective research leads to an effective staff with effective learning techniques.
4.) Are you coaching for continuous improvement?
You’ve made sure you started off strongly and on the right foot, now make sure you continue these efforts by coaching for continuous improvement. Just like any journey in life, maintaining a continuously successful call center requires constant work and supervision to guarantee the very best for customers. Carlaw explains, “Giving feedback to call center agents isn’t a luxury. It isn’t a maybe. It isn’t a one-of-these-days-I’ll-get-around-to-doing-it aspect of your job. Making sure your reps get consistent feedback and recognition for a job well-done is one of the two or three most critical things you’ll do as a call center manager.” In fact, studies have shown dramatic results as a result of simply pairing coaching with training.
To see the full list of suggestions/questions for best call center practices, click here for the full article.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli