Take the proactive approach. You will be pleased to find that the numbers will fully exceed your expectations.
Posted May 17, 2004
Your company has outsourced its call center operations, and now you must manage service levels and metrics. Beyond looking at the numbers, how can you ensure your customers are receiving a quality experience? Here are six tactical approaches:
Is the call center using well-trained, top quality representatives on the program? Exceptional customer experiences start with exceptional reps, and call center professionals certainly play a key role in increasing profitability and customer satisfaction. Ask the vendor about hiring criteria, which should include call center skills testing procedures.
2. Knowledge base
Do the call center reps know everything there is to know about your product or service? It is your responsibility to make sure the vendor and its reps have all the information they need to seamlessly represent your company. Give the call center and the agents a robust knowledge base, including training, FAQs, and sales/service tools. Keep information up to date, and have the vendor conduct regular training updates and product/service knowledge tests.
3. Representative reports
Are you taking advantage of the reporting capabilities your call center has to offer? Along with regular daily or weekly call reports, ask for reports on representatives' service levels. There is a confirmed relationship between service level and quality; this will be demonstrated as reps strive for exceptional service levels. The result is improved quality representation for your customers.
4. Call monitoring
Does the call center have the technology to record and monitor calls? If so, be sure it's being it to evaluate agents' customer service skills. The ability to capture data and voice gives call center operations managers the tools they need to effectively train reps and ultimately increase productivity and profits for your company. Have the vendor regularly email you recordings of randomly selected calls; review them together and make sure the vendor hears the same opportunities to improve call quality that you hear.
5. Test calls
How are the call center reps really doing? Find out for yourself by making anonymous test calls to the call center on a regular basis. Test calls are a great way to determine the effectiveness of your training. You can also judge quality levels firsthand, and can provide feedback to the call center. Your vendor will appreciate your input.
Are your vendor communications limited to reports by email and the occasional phone call? Regular, open communications with your outsourced partner is an important tool in the quality process. Set up a weekly teleconference with your vendor to discuss program progress and outstanding issues. Answer vendor emails and voicemails in a timely manner, and make sure they extend the same courtesy.
You may have selected your outsourced partner because it has the latest technology and operational capabilities or an impressive record of success and experience. Don't let the firm rest on these laurels: Focus your vendor on call quality and you will be able to maintain, improve, and enhance customer contact management operations. Take the proactive approach. You will be pleased to find that the numbers will fully exceed your expectations.