Archive for June, 2011

What’s the difference between Call Answering and Call Handling?

call handling and call answering servicesOne of the tweets I sometimes post on Twitter is about having your calls handled and not just answered, one of my Twitter friends suggested that it would make an interesting blog topic. So what is the difference between call answering and call handling?

Answering a call is really just about picking up a ringing phone, taking a message and passing it on in its simplest form.

Call Handling is about knowing as much as possible about the business or person that the call is intended for, so that the person answering the call can manage it in as informed and effective way as possible.  If it’s a simple enquiry quite often the call handler can supply the information requested, be it an email address, postal address, opening hours or even information on a particular product, without having to pass the call on.

Call handling is not about misrepresenting your business or implying you are bigger than you are, it’s about enhancing the service that you currently offer; call handling can be a very effective addition in terms of customer service.

Busy professionals have many demands on their time; is it really an effective use of time for them to be answering the phone themselves to every enquiry no matter how trivial?  It’s no different to outsourcing other elements of the business such as accounts or admin.

By using efficient call handlers your sales orders can be taken for you, your delegates can be booked onto training courses, appointments can be booked directly into your diary, brochure requests can be taken and posted out direct with no involvement from you, initial sales enquiries can be taken when you run your new sales campaign – the list is endless.

Do you ever find that you cannot finish a project or report because the phone keeps ringing? Divert your calls to a call handler instead.  Do you have the children at home due to teacher training days or unplanned illness? Divert your calls.

Your caller will probably be happier talking to a person rather than an answering machine; a call handler can put your caller at ease because they have knowledge of your company and/or service.  Rather than just taking a name and number your call handler will take a detailed message, ensuring that when you are returning the call you have all the information you need to hand, you are not returning a call blindly, you have had chance to research the answers that your caller needs, making you appear more professional and saving both you and your caller time.

One of my Twitter friends had a great description of call handling, its more information driven, and answers are the voice of your business.

So next time you are thinking of switching on the answerphone to allow you to get some work done, think about using a professional call handling service instead.

Bring Happy Customers with Sincere Calling Agents

Happy Customers by Calling AgentsThe management is always happy if they find that the performance rate of the call center operations are sky touching. In that case the real credit goes to the call center agents who keep themselves busy in the development of the entire telemarketing processes. The formula of employee engagement is a great strategy to fetch happy customers. The calling agents who dedicate their valuable efforts in this process are eligible to have a better professional life ahead. Therefore, if a calling agent is willing to impress the team leaders or the higher management, they need to follow some of the basic tips that can assure their dream convert to reality. Here they are:

Your employees act as the fuel that runs your organization. In order to make your employees more productive and sincere, it must be a part of your role to explain the company goals and objectives to dedicate their best. Carrying an effective engagement with the customers will not only ensure better satisfaction level but also enable the customers to retain their relationship for an extended period of time.

An ongoing communication in two-way manner acts like a pillar of trust and loyalty. The agents at Call Centers India apply this technique to make the customers busy with various communication mediums. Always ensure that the customers equally take active role in sharing vital feedbacks or suggestions so that there is an in-depth understanding about the demands and other requisites. There are many agents who send e-mail or message for a business deal but hardly replies back with a proper answer. The integration of team meetings and informal conversations helps to develop better relationship that is beneficial to both the organization and customer.

It is always a fair play to discuss all the company goals and strategies with the staff members. Regular team meetings on the progress of your organization will enable the team to change their working styles and create new techniques to overcome deadlines before time.

The real business maker of any call center operations is the calling agents. They are well acquainted with all the detailed feedback that is generally received from the customers. The agents spend 80% of their time in listening to the feedback and complaints. If smartly analyzed, all the suggestions and explanations are provided by a customer. Sharing and discussing ideas in favor of calling agents can be fruitful to enhance the organizational growth. Rewarding the agents for their exceptional performance also motivates them to work for the achievement of the common goal. Encouraging them with financial reward and gifts will force them to add more potential to their actual work.

Call Centers India possesses an outstanding level of performance in the offshore call centre industry. With an experience of more than a decade, the organization has stitched a never-ending relationship with its customer base that is popular across all the industrial sectors, believing in the power of customer orientation.

Call Center Training Ignites Performance Level – An Overview

training to get best performanceCall center industry has a working environment that is completely different with the other corporate sectors. Following a customer oriented approach, the employees of an offshore contact center particularly, needs to focus on a working style that primary focuses in handling diverse customers of numerous sectors. Therefore, a comprehensive training program should be implemented in their counterpart so that the customer calling agents can build customer loyalty and handle special situations without any mess.

Training programs are always useful to participants to discuss what factors affect their performance level. In addition, it also helps a customer calling agent to analyze to work upon the fields where a customer can raise question for a special requirement.

Call Center Training is essential in the following areas:-

Customer Service – Training in this subject matter will enable the participants an opportunity to analyze the customer service and find out the areas that determine the level of any service offered within the reach of a contact center.

Customer Handling – It helps the customer care agents to meditate the essence of complaint management and find suitable solutions to tackle the awkward situations that normally arises from a customer.

Assertive Skill Ability — Any offshore call center operation needs dedication in the speaking abilities. A mandatory training should be imparted to participants that help in effective communication precisely and clearly. Assertiveness skills are always beneficial in encouraging vibrant communication and further ensure that customers do not reciprocate with aggressive behavior.

Voice & Language – The command over a language is the base of any call center executives (CCE). Therefore, to have a superfine flow of communication, voice and accent training is must. The CCEs need to communicate with customers that follow a communication without flaw and misinterpretation.

Questioning and Listening Skills – Training in this area helps the CCE to consider their participation in finding out the communication style that is primarily focused on the customer’s demand. This style raises the confidence level of a CCE and allows them to act wisely while conducting any telephonic survey or while finding out facts & figures to conclude to some decision.

These are some of the areas where a CCE needs to focus for making the call center operations more beneficial towards the overall growth. A trainer with sufficient expertise in the relevant areas can be a suitable person to help the participants. Good training act as the foundation to build the wall of customer loyalty in call centers.

Written by : Chris Shetler

Advance Call Center Technology Need, to Satisfy Current Demands

advanced call center technologyIt is important that businesses adapt to the changes and evolution that technology undergoes. Technology is being developed and improved as the days, months, and years go by to make sure that work and service is made more efficient.

In the call center industry, it would be beneficial for call center companies to invest on advanced call center technology so that efficiency and productivity is ensured.

Call center companies gain advantage over their competitors if they have the advanced call center technology that they use in their service. The latest solutions in technology are developed and used to maximize profitability in consumers.

For example, Predictive Dialing will automatically dial the telephone for telemarketers. They will only be connected to the live voice contacts. It works by filtering the answering machines, signals that are busy, and other calls that are non-functional. Telemarketers will save time by not dialing phone numbers that are not being answered.

Predictive Dialing is especially useful for outbound telemarketers, debt collectors, customer service, and customer follow-ups.

Another very useful technology being used in the call center industry now is the Text-to-Speech software. This software converts the words on a computer document into an audible speech that is blurted out on the speakers.

There are options for different voices. The speech software is capable of converting text words into a certain voice upon the agent’s choice. As a call center agent, you can copy a text to a clipboard or also import text files. The speech software will read the text to the agent. The software can also convert the text into an mp3 or wav format which can then be saved so that it can be listened to at a later time.

When used at a company, the software can help callers identify their account information. The software is also used in weather updates, text messages that were stored, and scores in sports.

Call center companies become more productive because they let the phone system deliver the information to the caller and also, it helps them determine who is the perfect service representative who will cater to the specific needs and inquiries of a client.

These software developments are embraced by the call center industry because it promotes productivity and enhances efficiency in the workplace. If they are not going to adapt to the changing trends in call center technology, competitors may gain advantage over them. Through these advancements, services can be improved.

What Happens When Customers Contact Your Call Center?

what happens when you call customer care center?Quite often, when customers contact a business a moment of truth occurs during that interaction, the crucial instant where the customer’s satisfaction depends on agent’s actions. We prepare our agents as best as possible to successfully navigate these critical points through training and coaching. By necessity, these efforts take place before the interaction occurs, and that presents some problems.

The flow of an interaction is dynamic. It’s subject to change depending on what happens, how the participants behave and even on external events. Being prepared for a wide range of possible events is the best approach. But what if the agent could get advice while the interaction actually takes place?

How to Optimize Call Center Services in 3 Ways

3 ways to optimize call center servicesResources at a call centre are to be used judiciously. Many call centers complain about not having the right budget to lead a successful telemarketing campaign that has no compromises. On a reviewed point of view, it has been observed that the call center companies have not really made use of what is at their disposal. The resources have been squandered because of the lack of planning and organization. More often than not, the call center outsourcing units have not been able to implement the plans that they have drawn up. The adherence of to the schedule is the first point that the outsourcing call centers have to keep in mind.

How can adherence improve the situation? Call centers draw up schedules for their employees. For units that do not have more than 25 employees, spreadsheets can do the job easily. However, when the number of employees is higher, you cannot schedule with work sheets. You will have to make use of workforce management software. This software brings together all the elements that gather to make your call center services tick. The CRM that you use at the inbound call center can be added to the workforce management unit. The advantage for the customer call center is that they can now schedule tasks according to the requirements of the project. There are many external factors that affect the incoming call volume. Events, special holidays or even natural disasters make a strong impact on the predictive volume. Spreadsheets will not be able to tackle such cases and will end up in a waste of resources.

Call center services can be optimized through training and coaching. Most call centers are under the impression that they will be spending man days for no productive work when they organize training periods. That is a wrong idea to have. Call centers have to understand that these training days prepare the agents for the tasks that they will be handling in the future. If they are not sure and confident about the task, they will not be able to do it without wasting time and resources. You cannot also rule out the mistakes that they may make while working. Training sessions and mock calls build up confidence, something that telemarketing needs badly. Cutting down on training periods will not be able to save costs. Instead, arranging for a training session will optimize your resources.

The management of the call center is another key area that can optimize the tasks. Managing the agents, their work timings and fluctuations from the main course are some of the challenges for managers in call centers. There are many areas where the call center agents are not staffed sufficiently. It may be that the customer call center has more agents than required during a lean period and running short of manpower during the times when the call volume is high. That puts additional pressure on the agents manning the phones. The call center management will be able to tackle the problems and make the project have a smoother ride.

Reduce Telephony Demand – How?, Reduce Work Pressure

With the growing demand of the customer support in service industry, it is observed that the call center costs are increasing tremendously. Therefore, to save some extra penny of your organization, it is essential to adhere to a policy that reduces the volume of our call centre without any malfunctioning of your core competencies.

Many call center outsourcing companies have adopted strategic measures to reduce telephony demand for a pleasurable and effective conduction of business processes.

Suggestions:-

· The first and foremost suggestion to reduce the volume of incoming calls is through designing customized process for the customers. If an organization is dealing with a multiple product line-up, then it is natural that customer tends to call more rapidly. Therefore, it is recommended to allot specialized telemarketing call services in different segments with different agents. This will reduce the confusion in both sides.

· Never respond the customer with complicated and lengthy letters. If you have any inquiry from the customers, make sure that you reply in simple language with a clear solution to the problem. Ensure that the letter is free from any errors, jargons and any text that can create confusion within the customer. Never mention any phone numbers with such replies.

· Try to resolve any trouble-shoot in the first attempt. If a telemarketing agent is unable to resolve any matter, try to transfer the call to a person who is capable of resolving matter wisely and quickly. A repeated call means inability of your organization to resolve customer queries. Therefore, ensure that the repetitive calls are reviewed from time to time.

· The use of IVR (Interactive Voice Response) software is a very reliable and effective tool to avoid unnecessary and repetitive calls. Most of the call center outsourcing company prefer to resolve any matter with this recent technology. It consumes less time and customers gets a direct routing to the specific department he/she wants to talk with.

· The introduction of online automated channels in the websites is also gaining immense response to solve customer query with lesser volume of telephone calls. It generally includes searchable online information on errors and technical support, add-on sales products and bill payment modes. Therefore, develop this concept that is convenient for customer. It must be easy to log into and supported by easy navigation. Integrate all the necessary information so that customer does not have to dial your number. Live Chat support for example, is an excellent solution.

· Finally, it is recommended to the call centers to carry out call guides and scripting tools. It allows an agent to forward a call to an agent who is capable to resolve the matter with 100% efficacy. It reduces the call duration and further cut down the average handling time (AHT) across the call center agents.

These are some of the few tips and suggestions that will reduce the call volume to a certain extent. Reducing calls will enhance your operational performance metrics, which in result provide productive results in the call center operations.