Call centres have been providing customer supports to businesses for decades. They can be the first point of contact for customer service, supporting your team operations. For the success of this venture it depends on the implementation outlined which includes the planning stage, training, ongoing support, quality management and evaluation.
Planning to outsource your customer service
There are multiple reasons to consider outsourcing your customer support or your first point of contact for customer service to a call centre. Motivation to outsource can vary from financial reasons to expansion plans, for example. For instance, a call centre offering 24/7 support can provide you with a team to answer enquiries in a different timezone of your business without enlisting new employees inhouse. Anyhow, it is paramount to define why are you planning to outsource and what are your requirements in relation to the number of agents, dedication, the volume of transactions and service difficulty. You should initially map the type of enquiries raised by your customers and document resolution processes. Understanding your business from inside out will allow your team to fully provide the first point of contact for customer service.
How to train the call centre as your first point of contact for customer service?
Once all processes are documented, then training your team should be quick and pain-free. Call centres will assign you a key account manager who, supported by the training or operations manager will further train the agents. Alternatively, you can train your team directly. Training should include:
- an introduction to your company
- what are the frequently asked questions?
- how to address these?
- where to find additional information?
- what process to follow if suitable answers are not available?
The key is to provide enough information to reduce the work for your in-house team while providing outstanding customer support.
Ongoing support and collaboration
Collaboration between your in-house team and the outsource provider will enhance the provision of first contact resolution. After training is provided, learning on the job will become the norm. If Agents miss any aspect of their training, this will be identified post initial training. This is quite normal as the service provider and your organizations relationship grows and evolves over time. In a similar fashion, your call centre team may find ways to streamline first call resolution processes. Ongoing support and collaboration will help all parties to be tuned-in and work towards the same goals. The role of your Key Account Manager becomes extremely important during the service delivery and evaluation.
Quality Management during the First point of contact
During the planning phase, your team will define the expectations of outsourcing your first point of contact. Within these expectations, you should include the provision of a high-quality service while reducing the workload of your in-house team. Therefore, a suitable quality management approach to the interactions handled and the questions that your call centre are not able to answer benefits all parts in the long run. For the evaluation of the quality, the call centre management team will review each individual agent performance assigned to your account. Key things review will include standard KPI’s and specific parameters defined according to your requirements. For example,
- How many calls does each agent answer?
- What is their average talk time?
- How many calls are escalated?
- Are the agents following the right procedure?
- Evaluation of soft skills used during the calls
Feedback and Evaluation of your outsourced call centre
Lastly, it is paramount that your team provides feedback to the call centre team. Timely evaluation of performance will ensure the enhancement of the service delivery. Constructive feedback will increase the ability of the team to provide the first point of contact for customer service.