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How to Run an Effective Call Center

Aug 5, 2008
In today's diversified global marketplace, where face-to-face customer service is increasingly rare, creating a dynamic call center staffed with capable, enthusiastic employees is absolutely essential for any company looking to expand its clientele while simultaneously maintaining a high level of satisfaction among current customers.

According to the Technology Marketing Corporation, up to 75% of customers surveyed will refuse to continue doing business with a company that they feel has offered them sub par service. With customer service such an important element of your business, and the call center as your main tool of providing that service, how can you make sure that your call center is up to the task of representing your brand to the public and taking care of their concerns? Are there special challenges and concerns that arise when you decide to outsource your call center to a different location than your primary offices? What are the keys to outsource call center success?

The first consideration that must be addressed in order for a call center to flourish is, naturally, staffing; taking care to hire the best agents available for your call center will make an enormous difference in how much time and energy you'll need to invest in agent training and management down the road.

Look at the quality of education received by your prospective staffers. Did they attend prestigious universities, or schools with strong customer service training programs? Did they perform well in school? Do they have the necessary degree or certificate? Are they already knowledgeable about the products or services your company provides?

Obviously, details of your specific product can and will be taught in training, but hiring staffers who already have some background in your field could be a huge advantage. When outsourcing, it helps to make sure the offshore company you're intending to work with has educated employees who are committed to high standards of quality, and that the company itself comes recommended in your industry.

Another one of the most important elements in creating an effective call center for your business comes down to simple psychology. Do you understand you customers? Can you put yourself in their shoes? What would you want from a customer service experience?

Many customers will be contacting you call center with questions or complaints, which means that they're already frustrated and upset before they even dial your number; how they feel at the end of the call is entirely in the hands of your call center agents. Customers want and expect your company's representatives to behave thoughtfully and with empathy, to ask pertinent questions, to speak with authority on the matters at hand, and who take control of the situation without seeming domineering or rude.

When you've outsourced your call center, keep in mind that cultural differences may mean that your offshore employees will not necessarily know what customers expect of them.

What, then, is the answer to this customer service conundrum? Thorough training and meticulous management! Employ all of these keys to success and you'll be unlocking the secret to customer satisfaction in no time.
About the Author
Adir Le writes on the topics of outsourcing customer service, offshore call centers, and other topics related to business process outsourcing.
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