Improving Customer Service with Call Recording
It's a vital part of agent training and supervision.
Customer service can make or break a business. There are major shifts in how people interact that have added to the importance of maintaining quality customer service. In the past, the average consumer had a small network of friends and neighbors, and their poor customer experience was shared only within that inner circle.
With the development of social networks and public business complaint sites on the Internet, today's average consumer has an opportunity to reach hundreds if not thousands of like-minded consumers. A simple tweet or Facebook post could cause a lot of harm to a business if that post is shared multiple times across social networks. A tweet or video can go viral and even make the national news.
I had the opportunity to interview Corey Tolmasoff, Marketing Director at Versadial, a call recording provider, about the state of customer service today. He believes that informative feedback to customer service agents is very important for their success.
What are the penalties for poor customer service?
Surprisingly, it is estimated that nearly $83 billion dollars is lost due to bad customer experiences. Nearly 90% of consumers will purchase the product or service from a competitor after a poor customer service experience. On top of this, 71% of consumers will abandon the purchase due to bad customer service. This means business is lost. It will be very expensive and not likely successful to regain the lost customer. In today's market, poor customer service can really be harmful to a business's reputation and market growth.
What do you recommend to improve customer service?
A major component to improving customer service starts with agent training. Providing the agents with the proper tools and information to keep them well trained and prepared will always increase customer service skills. A business needs to take a hard look and see what they currently have in place to train new as well as established agents.
A second factor is the type of coaching provided during these training sessions. Having agents watch a PowerPoint presentation or read a script is not very effective. Neither approach changes the agent's habits to any great degree. However, showing and playing actual successful or unsuccessful calls during real-life business situations can provide valuable insight for any agent. Some companies also let the agent listen to their own calls and provide them an opportunity to self-coach, or listen to the call during a training session and provide more targeted feedback for their unique situation.
A third point for maintaining quality customer service is actively addressing situations before they escalate. Listening to calls and live monitoring of agents allows supervisors to address issues that may be happening at the contact center. Performing reviews on a daily basis is also important to maintain a level of quality within your organization.
These three recommendations should be combined: actively training agents, coaching them with proper tools, and actively monitoring and addressing any issues before escalation. The supervisors will notice a significant boost with the morale of the agents as well as the quality of customer service delivered.
How does call recording improve customer service?
A lot of businesses think that call recording is playing the role of Big Brother. The agent is under constant monitoring. When agent calls are recorded, the business is collecting intelligence on the agent's performance, as well as producing valuable training material.
Recorded calls can be listened to by a supervisor or manager and graded with a variety of custom tests and criteria. By actively grading and coaching these recordings, a business can monitor an agent's performance over time. These calls can also be shared internally for review or used during training sessions. By providing agents with recorded real-life situations during training sessions, there is more of a connection and understanding of the reason the call was either successful or a failure.
Can you train new agents with call recording?
Yes, with call recording there are actual real life scenarios that can be shared and used during training sessions. By exposing new agents to actual calls and typical consumer questions and scenarios that occur within the work place, these new agents will have a better understanding and improved ability to handle these calls. With a recording solution, the supervisor can actively monitor in real time these new agents, and address any issues immediately. Hands-on and timely training are keys to teaching the agent to handle situations professionally and efficiently.
How is agent productivity improved through coaching?
The ability to train the agents, actively and efficiently, will increase your first-call resolution success. A recent study conducted by SQM showed that improving First Call Resolutions rates by a single percentage point could save a company nearly a quarter million dollars in operating costs.
Agents can better handle situations and offer resolutions immediately. With the ability to address a customer's problems on the first call, that frees up the time taken up by another agent or supervisor when the customer calls back. Agents will be able to handle more customers.
Can problem escalation be reduced or avoided?
Problems can never be avoided. There is something new or something out of the ordinary that will always occur when dealing with customers. However, the time it takes to resolve the issue, as well as the number of people and resources needed to resolve an issue can be decreased when actively training the agents.