Like it or not, the cheapest method for reaching out to customers is not the face-to-face option. While that might be more effective, it's unreasonable to expect a company to have the resources to pull that off. And given the needs of the upcoming generation of consumers, a less personal approach is actually preferred. The inbound call center is probably the biggest economic driver for most companies.
The agents behind those phones in the inbound call center wield significant power as they are often the only personal contact, albeit by phone, that the customer has with the company. These operators need to have the skills to resolve issues and sense what is necessary in bringing the call to a positive resolution.
Establishing trust with the customer is an excellent place to start, according to this Resource Nation blog. Simply letting the customer know that they are there to help them through their issue or through their transaction is a solid technique. Bringing the issue to a positive resolution might take some assistance from other departments or another member of the immediate staff, and if that's the case, constant communication is the key to maintaining that trust.
Trust is further established by letting the customer know that any problem they are having is the agents' problem too. The agent deals with many people in an inbound call center on any given shift, but every problem has to be addressed as if it was the only one they have had all day. Obviously, the agent values the customer’s business, but the customer needs to know that the agent values them as a person, too.
One of the skills that should be developed by each agent is knowing how to react to a customer by the tone of their voice. If the customer is completely confused, it often is revealed in the tone they convey. An angry tone should be dealt with immediately with an apology. Most customers who have a complaint are frustrated, and they need to be reassured that the issue will be resolved.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software goes a long way in an inbound call center. A robust system will give agents a multitude of tools that can assist in a more efficient inbound call center. Notation tools are especially valuable in an inbound call center because they give agents the information they need to resolve issues and transactions.
At the end of the day, the customer doesn’t care what technology is in place to streamline the interaction; they just want their issue resolved quickly and to their satisfaction. It’s up to the inbound call center leaders to determine what elements should be in place to create the happy – and loyal – customer base.
Edited by Rich Steeves