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Optimizing your call center to provide excellent customer experience and make more money

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The following is a guest blog written by Michael Cho at Next Caller. For more information on Next Caller, visit their website

“Say please and thank you”

“Smile while you dial”

“The customer is always right”

As a customer experience executive, more likely than not, you’ve trained your call center reps to assume these proverbial pieces of advice. After all, having friendlier reps translates into better experiences for your customers. Right?

Not always.

No less than a month ago, I was on the phone with a popular eCommerce brand, trying desperately to figure out why my Christmas gift to my parents had not shipped. The agent with whom I was speaking was delightful; he did everything right, asking me about my day and apologizing after every turn of the maze that my order was quickly becoming.

Alas, after nearly 10 minutes of hold time and countless questions, he figured out that my name had been improperly spelled in their system. Upon hanging up, I was annoyed: not enough to make me want to cancel my order, but enough to make me second-guess my loyalty to the brand.

It turns out. I’m not alone. According to a study conducted by American Express, “78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.” In addition, “59% would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.”

Clearly, there is enormous financial upside to providing exceptional customer service. But as having well-trained agents is not nearly enough, what steps can you take to transform your call center into a well-oiled machine?

1) Identify Your Callers

According to Contact Babel’s Contact Center Decision Maker’s Guide, 61 percent of callers are unknown in real-time. For the call center agent, this means more time spent on gathering customer information.

“What’s your name, sir?”

“Benedict Cumberbatch.”

“Can you repeat that?”

“Benedict Cumberbatch. C as in cowboy, u as in umbrella, etc…”

On average, these cumbersome back-and-forths take call centers anywhere from 30-60 seconds per call. When you’re dealing with thousands of calls per day, the hard cost quickly accumulates. But more importantly, this cost transfers over to your customers, who more likely than not do not want to be spelling their names repeatedly just to find out the status of their orders.  Continue reading