Top 5: functions of a contact centre
Call centres are multi-functional and unusual in the sense that they do not follow conventional opening hours. Although settings are that of an office environment, the shift patterns and customer service aspect can somehow be likened to the hospitality industry for example.
Beside knowledgeable shift leaders along with the usual soft skills and good practice that employers look for in call-handlers such as good customer rapport, time efficiency and accurate data capture… what does it take to get the most out of a call centre?
I’ve compiled a top five list of some of the obvious and less obvious functions and skills-sets which apply to the good practice of call centre management.
1) Meeting customer expectations: When businesses outsource they want their customers treated with the same care that they would extend themselves, all while keeping calls concise and cost efficient. Your service is only as good as your agents so how is this achieved?
a) Through taking ownership of the issue while maintaining control of the call.
b) Dealing with escalations rapidly and ensuring correct departments are informed.
c) Becoming an expert in the field with skilled agents so that callers feel they are in safe hands in addition to follow ups.
2) 24 hour response can have its challenges. Absorbing clients from various sectors who require engineer call-outs and lone worker support are particularly popular for out of hours support. The solution is to remain flexible with an ability to alter scripting or rotas at short notice. Similar to extreme weather conditions or other unpredictable circumstances especially within the travel sector; good management techniques and flexibility of agents to deal with sudden influxes, combining a degree of empathy with call control is essential.
3) Up-selling and closing sales: Product knowledge but also operators with sales skills and result-focused incentives. Working in conjunction with cart-abandonment and lead generation sites for up-selling and closing sales.
4) Live Chat and Social Media support is perfect for 24 hour contact centres as agents can pick up chats or status-updates in between calls or at agreed priority level. Be it product-based sales or service enquiries it means that customers are being dealt with in real time as well as use of company websites maximised. Clients can gauge response-levels by paying per chat and being contactable 24 hours; perfect for start-ups or testing the market when trying to expand internationally.
5) Tailored caller experience: Each business knows their customers best, therefore details such as individual queue messages and music, or the choice between full call volume cover, overflow capture or out of hours only provides flexibility and offers convenience as a service.