So far we have seen that live chat benefits a business in a number of ways. It can help reduce the bounce rates and site abandonment rate, boost sales and build strong customer relationships. There’s one more benefit of using live chat on your website. Wondering what it is? Well, live chat if used appropriately can increase your business’s conversion rates. Want to know how? Read on.
As mentioned earlier, brand building refers to the process of generating awareness, establishing and promoting company using strategies and tactics. It is basically the visual voice of your company that differentiates you from your competitors and convinces people as to why they should choose you. You need an efficacious visual representation of your company that is capable of conveying the branding of your company. For this, you need to opt for an exceptional brand building platform. Let’s have a look at the best ones:
Brand building refers to boosting a brand’s equity directly through advertising campaigns and indirectly through promotions such as event sponsorship. In order to build your brand effectively, you need to employ an exceptional brand building process. Now, what all does an effective brand building process do? Well, It does a lot! For instance, it:
This is an era of digitization. You can find everything from a newspaper to books to apparels online. There is no need to hop stores to purchase something that you require. You just need to browse and click and that’s it! Though online shoppers experience convenience with the help of online shopping, there are a number of difficulties they have to face:
Lead generation refers to the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing sales pipeline. It is very important to have qualified leads so as to have qualified leads.
Lead generation is all about brand awareness, pulling down leads and making sales. Therefore, employing the best lead generation strategies can prove to be beneficial for any business in the long run. Here we have piled up the best lead generation strategies that you can leverage to boost your lead generation:
The quality of customer service you provide to your customers plays a vital role in the success of your business irrespective of its size. Therefore, almost all companies try to improve their customer service performance by employing the best strategies. Also, a productive support team will be consistent at all times. Here are the best strategies employed by the most successful businesses in order to maximize their performance in customer service:
Customer relationships need to be nurtured as they play a vital role in the success of a business. Companies should work towards the enhancement of customer relationships. Here are a few tips on how you can deepen the customer relationships:
Customer retention basically means customers of the product or business tend to return to, continue to buy or in some other way not defect to another product or business, or to non-use entirely. Selling organizations fear customer defections and hence try to minimize them by employing effective strategies to retain the customers.
Researchers have proved that acquiring new customers cost more than retaining the existing ones. Moreover, customer retention is directly proportional to profitability. So, companies need to implement certain customer retention strategies so as to grow their business. Here are the best strategies to curb customer defection and develop long-term relationships:
In a typical situation, customer queries are addressed when they arise. Though an instant query resolution would make them happy this reactive approach may not provide you with the desired customer satisfaction level. So, a better option for an inflated customer contentment rate is the “proactive approach”.Now, what exactly is a proactive approach? Well, it means, you solve problems before customers have to call you. With a proactive customer support, you can solve customer queries even before they become aware of them. Let’s see how you can accomplish this highly efficacious strategy.
ASA stands for “Average Speed of Answer”.
ASA is a call center key performance indicator (KPI) typically referenced by managers while assessing their team’s performance, efficacy and degree of accessibility to their callers. It is a term pertaining to the service industry where it is also known as “Average Seconds to Answer” and “Average Time to Answer” (ATA). It is further defined as the average waiting time for a caller before he is acknowledged by a service representative.
The mathematical formula is:
Average Speed of Answer = Total Waiting Time for Answered Calls/Total Number of Answered Calls
Factors affecting ASA:
1. Customer satisfaction:
Customer satisfaction is associated with an average speed of answer. This is because the time spent queueing is one of the main factors that affect how customers judge the level of service. Low waiting times do not automatically indicate high CSat. Customer satisfaction is understood from the contact center’s perspective. It starts from the instant when the customer is placed in a queue after they have navigated IVR. As a matter of fact, long or confusing IVR processes can lead to a bad customer experience. This is because lengthy IVR processes cause frustration in the customers. Moreover, they make the customer experience much more drawn out than the ASA figures would ideally indicate.
2. Call abandonment rate:
Call abandon rate is yet another factor that affects the average speed of answer data. In the cases where customers end the calls before they are connected to an agent, their calls do not count towards the ASA figure. Various factors may be responsible for the agents abandoning a call. Of all the possible reasons, a prolonged wait has the highest probability of triggering call abandonment. As a result, the worst offenders, in terms of answer speed, are often discounted from the understanding of the actual figure.
We made you familiar with the concept of occupancy in our previous post. Now, let’s have a look at the most effective tips for improving call center occupancy:
1. Agent utilization during the quiet periods:
There might be days when the traffic at a call center is not much. These days are referred to as the quiet periods. Productivity and occupancy levels can be increased by asking agents to take on different tasks during these quiet periods. As an example, call centers that normally handle only incoming calls ask agents to make outbound calls during quiet periods or ontact customers to ask if they were satisfied with the service they received. These periods are even utilized to call customers who have recently purchased a product to offer them information on other products of interest. This ultimately improves the call center ocupancy.
2. Self service facilities:
You can consider offering customer self-service facilities through website, e-mail or voice mail. These facilities help reduce staffing levels and call volumes Providing customers with self-service options for services such as requesting service calls, placing and tracking order etc. ultimately reduces the call volumes and helps in optimizing the call center occupancy.
3. Call monitoring:
Call monitoring is yet another powerful strategy for improving call center occupancy. You can consider monitoring the call volumes at different times of the day and on different days in order to identify busy periods and quiet periods. Thereafter, you can schedule staff levels to reduce the time customers have to wait in a queue during busy periods.
4. Call center outsourcing:
You can provide additional resources for peak periods by outsourcing a part of your call center operations. Moreover, you can consider switching resources between the main call center and the outsourced call center instead of asking permanent staff to attend more calls during peak hours. Apart from improving the occupancy rate of each staff, it also ensures that their efficiency is not getting affected during peak hours.
Agent occupancy refers to the percentage of time that call agents spend handling incoming calls against the available or idle time, which is determined by dividing workload hours by staff hours. It is a statistic used in calculating the productivity of a call center. When agent occupancy is the final outcome of how staffing is matched to incoming call patterns to a call center, the desired level of occupancy may drive staffing decisions in a sequential work environment. This useful metric can be utilized to measure instant messaging interactions as well.
Utilization rate, also known as call center occupancy, is measured as:
Handle time (talk time + after call work time) / time signed into a queue.
This metric is expressed as a percentage and tells you the amount of time that work is being performed in support of the call center’s queue. It also tells you how hard the call center agents are being driven. Higher the occupancy rate, shorter is the amount of time between calls. According to a research, 80% occupancy rate means that 20% of the time the representative was available for a call and the remaining 80% the representative was either on a call or in after call work status.
Call center utilization or agent occupancy is not controlled at an individual level. It is rather a group, queue or center measure. Also, it is a function of forecasting and staffing, the workload offered by the calls arriving randomly and the handle times. As a matter of fact, smaller groups have lower occupancy than the larger ones. Also, higher occupancy rates do not always correlate to an increased productivity. Therefore, call center agents can generally handle short bursts of increased activity but sustained high occupancy can lead to burnout. You need to know that call center occupancy needs to be considered along with other factors such as overall productivity, error rates, quality scores etc. in order to make the most out of it.
1. Consider agent priorities:
According to a research, agents who have worked in the contact center for more than six months have these top three priorities namely:
iii) nice environment
On the other hand, the top three priorities for those who have been in the role for less than six months are as follows:
i) nice environment
iii) company culture
Therefore, incentive planning needs to be done on the basis of these priorities in order to lower agent attrition levels in customer support centers. This further helps you can gain the most out of the rewards that are offered. Apart from this, customer support managers also need to focus on the salaries of jobs which require similar skills to the agent role. Also, they need to make sure that the rates of pay that you offer are competitive.
2. Consider benchmarking against good agent skills:
The act of benchmarking the skills of new agents against their well-skilled counterparts will help benefit the quality of calls and provide the required guidance. In order to reduce agent attrition, benchmark advisors against their colleagues instead of alongside metric based targets. Further, suggest them what to pick up from them in call quality monitoring sessions.
3. Monitor customer-centric metrics:
As a matter of fact, the most effective call center agents are typically the ones that make a personalized connection with their callers and derive the most satisfaction from their job. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor customer-centric metrics such as contact quality, customer satisfaction, and first contact resolution. Thereafter, measures need to be taken to enhance them. Also, the contact center managers need to ensure that quantitative metrics such as average handle time or calls per hour are not overvalued. This will help increase customer satisfaction and curb agent attrition.
1. Improve the working conditions:
Agent satisfaction is the key to reducing agent attrition. This can be achieved by allowing agents the opportunity to work from home, on a flexible schedule, or in an office with an ergonomic workspace. This will make them more satisfied with their work and achieve a healthy work-life balance. Simply put, if you want that each agent loves coming to work, you need to provide them with satisfactory working conditions.
2. Choose the new agents wisely:
As a matter of fact, if someone left their last role as a contact centre advisor after six to nine months, there is a possibility that they will leave again. This happens because agents who leave after this time often do so as they realise that there was not much room for job progression in their previous role. Hiring process needs to be more specific so as to find the most appropriate agents. So, in order to reduce agent attrition, you need to consider this factor to ensure that they are aware of possible growth within the contact center.
3. Try to find the right balance:
Agents who are good at taking calls may not necessarily be good at managing people. However, keeping them in the same position for too long may frustrate them due to the lack of progression and move on. Therefore, it is necessary to find the right balance to curb agent attrition. For this, consider developing leadership in the contact centre to find agents who have the right leadership capabilities, such as organisation, influence, and motivation. Also, ensure you don’t make the decision based on call handling alone. Moreover, if you are seen to be helping the agents progress their skills by developing their leadership, you can lower attrition. This is because they will interpret your actions as preparing them for future opportunities and their betterment.
1. Provide rewards and internal promotions:
Implementing peer recognition and rewards program is yet another powerful method of curbing agent attrition. It involves ensuring that each agent receives feedback that is directly tied to their performance and that they receive rewards when they meet key milestones. This enhances an agent’s motivation and helps build engagement with their work. On the other hand, filling open positions within call centers by promoting internal candidates can also help motivate them to work better. This can actually be used as an incentive for agents to work harder at their job and be sure to promote top performers.
2. Strive to tackle your advisors’ grievances:
Exit interviews are the ones conducted to gather information on why an advisor is leaving and to learn how a customer support center can stop attrition. Instead of these exit interviews, conducting internal interviews, after an employee’s first few weeks of joining, can help tackle their grievances and know their pain points before it is too late. Thereafter, strategies can be employed to exempt these grievances. These interviews convince the employees that the company cares and supports for each of them. It further boosts their morale and job satisfaction and leads to a lowered agent attrition rate.
3. Ease down the shift swapping process:
The rigidness of the schedule in a customer support center can result in staff missing important external events and lower job satisfaction. As a matter of fact, customer support centers are hesitant to allow shift swaps due to the negative impact it may have on workplace cohesion, contact between supervisors and advisors and service quality. However, working towards lowering the rigidness of the schedule and providing an easy swapping of shifts can greatly enhance employee morale. This can eventually result in a reduced agent attrition.
1.Provide adequate training to all the agents:
Skipping or shortening the training period, based on the fact that some agents need intense training while others do not can lead to the omission of useful experiences. This may further result in feelings of exclusion, inadequacy, and disorganization and in the worst cases, the agent leaving your company. Therefore, you should consider training each agent equally. Make sure that all the agents are subjected to the same training period so they can acquire the necessary knowledge and skills, become acculturated to the company’s values, and cultivate relationships with colleagues. This training period will enhance team collaboration and bond and will further lead to the exemption of agent attrition to a large extent.
2. Schedule the staff appropriately:
One of the most effective strategies in curbing agent attrition is focusing on the work-life balance of employees. This strategy works on the principle of mutual understanding, such that, employees need to understand that the business must meet its customers’ demands, while the business must understand that employees have external pressures as well. Thus, you need to develop a flexible approach creating a number of lifestyle schedule options that give employees more choices, whilst still meeting the business needs. Providing options is a great way of finding a suitable solution and satisfying all.
3. Leverage the power of skill development:
Providing skill development programs is yet another powerful strategy that can help curb agent attrition in customer support centers. As a matter of fact, agents who feel their on the job skill-set is not at all progressive are more likely to disengage with their work and are more prone to leaving. However, all these insecurities can be eliminated and job satisfaction can be increased with opportunities for agents to learn new skills and new technologies. This will help them be more competent and confident, perform their work-related duties and stay longer with your company.
An attrition refers to a common problem when call center employees feel stressed, unrecognized or underpaid. It can further be defined as the rate at which members of staff voluntarily leave the workforce over a given period of time. A thorough understanding of all of the reasons employees resign from call center positions can help determine which factors contribute to the call center’s attrition rate. Thereafter employing effective strategies can help combat this situation:
1. Optimized recruitment:
Hiring the right agents for your team is the very first step in curbing agent attrition. Implementing a referral program as well as allowing agents to work from home can help increase the quality of applicants. Consider personality, communication skills, cultural fit, team-oriented attitudes and the skills of the applicant, while hiring. A clear description of job roles, common tasks and performance expectations will help them know what is expected of them and can opt out of the job if it is not a suitable one.
2. Work towards the empowerment of your team:
Agents should have clearly defined expectations, receive feedback based on these expectations and should know who to talk to when they have an issue or concern. Moreover, they should be involved in business decisions, informed about company goals and strategies and be polled about their experience working in the company. Establishing clear communication channels and including agents in decision-making processes will make them feel more empowered and motivated. This will further reduce the problem of agent attrition.
3. Provide your agents with progressive software and applications:
Providing your agents with progressive call center software that is easy to learn and use, can help them start working sooner and be better at what they do. Providing them with adequate software and applications increases the agents’ satisfaction with their work and reduce agent attrition.
As mentioned earlier, ANI is a feature of a telecommunications network for determining the origination telephone number on toll calls for billing purposes. This amazing feature provides a number of benefits to the customer support centers employing it. We have mentioned some of those benefits below:
1. Call forwarding without operator intervention:
An operator call forwarding will become aware of the caller’s phone number and automatically thank them for forwarding their lines as well as give them the option to go to an operator and arrive in check-in mode ready to get their messages. This will reduce the live operator time and subsequently the billable time.
2. Call blocking:
Your answering service can block all the unwanted, irritating calls with the help of automatic number identification.
3. Exemption of call screening bills:
Call screening is the process of evaluating the characteristics of a telephone call before deciding how or whether to answer it. The screening process can be excluded from your answering service bill by employing an ANI system. This highly effective technology can help identify their caller ID and dump these calls before an operator ever has to speak with them.
4. An increase in agent efficiency:
ANI ensures that the most appropriate number is always displayed. With automatic caller ID, the agents will never have to manually select a number. This exempts all the chances of errors. Moreover, it saves them time and effort, thus, increasing their efficiency.
5. Boosts call backs and connection rates:
6. Increases first call resolution on callbacks:
Using ANI recipients can be immediately connected with the most appropriate agent when they have missed a call and thereafter call back.
ANI is an abbreviation for Automatic Number Identification. It is a service that provides the receiver of a telephone call with the number of the calling phone. The method of providing this particular information is determined by the service provider (such as AT&T, MCI, Sprint, and so forth). Mostly, the service is provided by sending the digital tone multi frequency (DTMF) tones along with the call. This technology is commonly used by emergency center dispatchers to save the caller having to report the information and. It can further be used to help locate callers. Moreover, the telephone company’s 9-1-1 service to a public safety point usually includes the automatic number identification feature. It is extensively used in call centers.
In call centers, it displays the number of the calling party to the call center agent in real time. The call center can use the provided information to forward calls to different people for different geographic areas. Automatic number identification is also employed to describe the functions of two-way radio selective calling that identify the transmitting user.
In cases where the caller ID blocking is activated, the caller’s telephone number and line type are captured by ANI service. The destination telephone company switching office can relay the originating telephone number to ANI delivery services subscribers. Toll-free subscribers and large companies normally have access to to this information as follows:
i) instantly via installed equipment
ii) from a monthly billing statement.
In case of residential subscribers, access to ANI information can be obtained through third party companies that charge for the service. ANI is generally not transmitted when a call is operator assisted. In such cases, only the area code of the last switch to route the call is sent. If a call is placed through an outbound-only VoIP service or some calling cards will cause a non-working number to be sent as the ANI. It is also not supported adequately for calls originated from four-party lines.
Customer service at a call center is defined as the process of waiting for people to call in with a question and then answering the question or solving the caller’s problem. A high-touch customer service can be regarded as an advanced version of the traditional approach. In this kind of approach, the basic aim is to anticipate what questions or issues callers will have at different instants of time. A high-touch customer service also means evaluating ‘first-call resolution,’ which is resolving the callers’ issue the first time they call. Simply put, high-touch customer service is a category of contact center interaction that requires human interaction. Some contact centers train specific agents to deal with high-value customers and complex problems in order to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.
Software technical support systems employ a grading system for customers. According to this system, the low-touch requests may be handled through mediums such as an online community FAQ section or a customer self-service portal. Such that low-touch customer service often enlists FAQ sections or knowledge bases of articles with how-to answers. On the other hand, the complex issues may require the high-touch approach of a customer service agent who is well-trained in resolving these kinds of problems. In other words, high-touch solutions almost always require human intervention and guidance from a customer service agent for query resolution.
In order to anticipate the problems or issues that customers may have, a thorough study of the data accumulated over time needs to be done. This data is generally based on the types of questions for which the customers contact the call center. This can help identify areas of the program that require more detailed descriptions and information. This data can also be used by the call center employees for reaching out and educating members or customers in a more personalized and proactive way.