As South African businesses create more personalised services, many do not realise that frontline staff, especially those addressing customer enquiries directly are some of the best ways to maintain great CRM.
Setting up a small business customer service call centre is a relatively easy task
, but it is what you do with your call centre agents that makes all the difference in achieving long-term success for your CRM efforts.
1. Monitor stress levels in your call centre
It is said that stress is the number one killer in a typical workplace. It is no different at a call centre. What you should do to decrease stress levels at your call centre is to monitor your frontline staff and review their work so that they may not be overwhelmed by responsibilities and tasks they cannot handle.
This creates a two-way communication path with employees, thus encouraging productivity, streamlining work process, and in a nutshell, drives performance to new levels.
Several techniques that will allow you to effectively eliminate stress within your call centre include:
- Identify and assess stress levels by interviewing your agents and analysing their concerns.
- Take note of major stress causes, then create an actionable plan to battle them.
- Be transparent and trust agents to monitor their own performance via metrics, vital data as well as statistics.
- Smooth out inconsistencies between expectations and actual performance.
2. Make etiquette excellence a reality, not a myth
Call centre agents represent your brand, your company, your presence. Therefore, it is vital that only positive interactions are held daily. Each positive interaction can turn a potential customer into a lifelong fan, but negative ones will turn an angry mob against you.
Your agents can easily add a good dose of etiquette when interacting with customers if they follow these tips:
- Courtesy is king. Be courteous and kind
- What's in a name? Make the effort to pronounce their name the right way and use it consistently.
- Actually smile! It helps, people would know if you're smiling, or just plain grumpy.
- Remain professional at all times, but don't be aloof. Put your training to good use, but there's no harm with injecting a little personal touch, is there?
- Be honest and trustworthy. So what if you can't solve your customer's problems? Don't be afraid to admit that, and reassure him or her that their issues will be taken care of by another knowledgeable agent.
3. Turn banal live chat sessions into a memorable experience
Maya Angelou, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", once quoted: "People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel." Similarly, it is how you make your customers feel that will affect your success.
How to satisfy your customers and generally make them feel good:
- Be genuine. This is one instance where acting skills won't matter much, because who you are and how you portray yourself is what really matters to the other person at the end of the line.
- Let customers know you're listening to them. This can be done by asking questions and generally showing that you care about their issues.
- Show your appreciation. People rarely say 'thank you' genuinely enough. But once you do, your customers will remember you forever. One way is to articulate just how much you appreciate their feedback, their suggestions and their time in seeking you for support.
4. Empower call centre agents
As a child, I hated going to piano class. I was bored to tears but still sat through the lessons diligently. When I did a great job of completing my exercises, I received shiny star stickers on my lesson books. That little reward thrilled me to no end.
So, what I'm trying to say is that a little empowerment to your call centre agents goes a long way. Rewarding them fills them with a sense of pride for a job well done. Call centre agents WANT to feel empowered, and like most of us, they too thrive on performance recognition.
Identifying their performance isn't just enough. Instead, they should also be given tools to improve their work. Only then you'll realize that providing frontline staff the ability to please customers and make informed decisions can positively fuel your CRM
5. Get up close and personal with customisation
Customisation is an ongoing trend where CRM is concerned. More and more companies will want to seek insight on both existing and potential customers using innovative techniques such as mobile channels, apps, dynamic content and social media.
With Google possibly getting into the CRM business
, you'll now be able to use Google Now
and gather insight on customers' habits, all from your mobile devices, in order to make intelligent decisions to boost your CRM activities.