18 Ways to Improve Customer Experience in a Call Center

Call centers are one of the earliest spaces in which customers and brands had established contact, even before the concept of customer experience started being used. 

While many aspects of what is now perceived as the customer experience in a call center have changed through time, one thing that has been a constant is the necessity to find new, more adequate, and engaging ways of keeping the customer satisfied.

With that in mind, I gathered a list of tips that are guaranteed to improve your call center’s customers’ experience.

18 Ways to Improve Customer Experience in a Call Center

1. Use a Cloud-based Software 

If you don’t already work through a cloud-based platform, starting now will undoubtedly be the best decision you’ve ever made. It basically consists in computerizing your call center and finding a system that regulates all calls. 

A cloud-based call center platform has many benefits for a company’s CX because: 

  • It impacts the calls’ quality positively since instead of using a phone, the agents have to use proper call center headsets with attached microphones with better audio quality.   
  • It facilitates the CX agent’s work because it automates the call flow. And since it combines all relevant call center features in one platform, it allows agents to have all the tools they need to work and all the necessary customer and product information at their disposal.
  • It registers and stores relevant data and information relating to the customer and each interaction and call recordings, which help the manager with quality control. Call recordings, in particular, are also helpful for managers when training the agents, as they can serve as examples (of what to do and what not to do). 
  • Additionally, cloud-based systems connect the manager directly to the agent, facilitating communication between them and allowing them to keep an eye on their team’s work.
  • The costs of it are less than those of an on-premise call center. While the cloud-based call center only requires that you pay a monthly subscription, have an internet contract, and have all the complementary tools, the latter requires an office, hardware and software installation (which is very pricey) and regular maintenance and installations. 
  • It can help link your call center to other communication channels, allowing an upgrade of the customers’ experience to a multichannel one. 

TIP: To maximize your customers’ experience, install software that directs each customer to the right agent who is a specialist on their type of issue, making calls and storing information more manageable. 

2. Get to Know Your Customers

Whether as a manager or an agent, getting to know your customer is precious for your company. Being invested in this step will help you figure out your customers’ preferences, expectations, and how close or far your services are from satisfying them.  

You can get to know them by: 

  • Looking into customer data. 
  • Conducting surveys with questions (to your customers) that give you insight about them and their personality and expectations. 

3. Personalize Your Interactions 

It’s no secret that today’s customers and consumers have a preference for personalization. Statistics show that 42% of consumers are annoyed when content isn’t personalized

Once you know who your customers are and what their preferences and expectations are, you can then apply that knowledge to your company’s benefit by using that information to personalize your customers’ experience. 

Some practical ways in which you can personalize your customers experience include: 

  • Creating a customer persona, which represents your typical customer (based on the customer data you’ve gathered). That will help you predict your customers’ actions, reactions and expectations, and adjust your services to their liking. 
  • Teaching your team the value of not staying stuck on a generalized knowledge of the customers’ expectations, incentivizing them to approach each interaction as a new one, and teaching them the importance of treating each customer as a special customer according to their needs and their specific situation. 

After all, different customers have different expectations, and they should navigate them accordingly. 

  • Breaking the customer-company formality barrier and showing the customer that your company cares for them beyond the business relationship. One good example of how this can be done is by having your agents call your customers on their birthdays and wish them well. This cultivates a sense of community within them and tightens the bond between them and your brand. 

4. Aim for First Call Resolution 

Often, when a customer calls your line with an issue, they expect it to be resolved through the duration of the call or slightly after. That’s what we refer to as first call resolution, the practice of guaranteeing that your customers’ concerns are handled on their first contact without requiring any additional calls. 

This practice is considered one of the most critical call center practices, and smart companies rely on it to create the best possible customer experience. 

To apply it to your call center, motivate your agents to be more proactive when fixing their customers’ issues and measure the FCR rates (first call resolution rates) with the help of a database. You can also conduct after-call surveys to ask your customers directly if their issue was resolved.

5. Avoid Call Transfers 

Although helpful to your most inexperienced agents and in situations where the agent doesn’t possess the proper knowledge to help your customer with their specific situation, call transfers can delay your line’s flow. 

Besides, customers may become impatient with being transferred and even doubt that you can help them. To counter these situations, you don’t need to cut off call transfers altogether but warn your agents to keep it to a minimum. 

Help your agents avoid call transfers by training them properly and putting a knowledge base available to them with important information, explanations on how to solve the most common issues, and instructions on how to operate in different scenarios. 

6. Reduce the Customer Workload 

The point of a customer service line is to make your customers’ journey (and experience) easier. If you end up complicating things in the way of trying to help them due to a lack of awareness of their experience’s pain points, you risk losing them to companies that are more aware. 

Avoid things such as them repeating themselves, calling your line multiple times, or even dislocating themselves to your store because your agents couldn’t efficiently solve a minor issue through the phone (Yes, that has happened to me!).  

By avoiding these things, you guarantee your customers’ satisfaction while relieving them from the burden of solving their issues for themselves, which, trust me, most customers won’t. 

7. Reduce On Hold Time  

Customers nowadays expect faster services and dread hold times. In fact, statistics have shown that 60% percent of people see even as long as one minute holds as too long

Since hold times clearly harm businesses’ reputations, the best way to contour this is to avoid them by training your agents and equipping them with all the necessary resources to help your customers. 

Put information available to your agents and give them authority to make quick decisions for themselves. 

8. Implement Call Back (when necessary) 

Although first call resolution should be the aim for your agents, do not refrain from allowing callback systems. In certain situations keeping the customer in line or on hold for an extended period can be more unsatisfying than calling them back with a resolution. 

When well applied, callbacks can be more effective and helpful than other forms of resolution. Besides that, they free up your line for other customers whose issues have a ready solution, making your agent’s job more organized and easy. 

9. Use Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Interactive voice response (IVR) is a recording-based system that guides the customers to the fittest agent for their specific needs on their first contact with a company’s customer line. 

The IVR recording opens the call and gives the customer a series of options to better identify what the customer is looking for. This system saves the customer and the agents a lot of time while guaranteeing customer success by ensuring that each assigned customer is minimally qualified to help them. 

The only downsides to it come when your IVR is too broad in the number of options or when the options are unclear, turning it into a hurdle for the customers who can only access an agent after having figured their way out of the IVR maze. 

10. Train Your Agents Consistently 

Agent training is indispensable for any work area, yet it’s imperative in CX and CS because agents in these areas are the image of the company and its values. 

Teach your agents essential skills such as active listening, courtesy, good communication, empathy, and respect. Additionally, prepare them through training programs and software to ensure that they learn through experience and other experienced professionals. 

Beyond that, make sure that you don’t limit training to when an agent first comes into the company. Learning never stops, and your agents can always grow and become better if you create conditions for it. 

11. Manage The Call Flow 

Like I’ve said before, customers dread hold times, and rightly so. Waiting in line for long with a problem at hand can make anyone impatient, especially in today’s fast-moving world. By managing call flows, you prevent those situations, and you prevent customer dissatisfaction. 

If you base your call center on cloud-based software, you can more easily control call flow since these systems distribute the calls evenly, ensuring that free agents get the calls that could be going to overloaded agents. 

12. Pay Attention to Customer Feedback 

In customer service and customer experience, the customers’ feedback is probably your biggest ally to help you improve it, not to mention that it can boost your company’s reputation when it’s positive. 

Nowadays, customers like to be proactive in creating the type of experience that they want to have.

By paying attention to their feedback, understanding it without biases, and making improvements or changes in your services according to their feedback, you’re creating space for them to be proactive, and you’re showing them that they are valued. 

13. Make Sure Your Agents are Happy 

Your agents and collaborators are internal customers, and their happiness is just as important as your external customers’ happiness. Your agents will perform better if they feel valued by your company. 

Some of the practices that you can implement to increase internal customer satisfaction include: 

  • Collecting employers’ feedback:  just like customers’ feedback, employers’ feedback also helps you understand your agents better and gain some insight into their experience as agents in your company. 

I imagine that by now, you already know how helpful feedback is when making changes to improve your services. This also applies to when you are trying to improve your offer (as a brand) to your agents. 

  • Creating a good company culture: besides making a good work environment, with healthy relationships between your agents, a good company culture helps create a good sense of belonging in your agents, where they are proud to be representing your brand. 

It also makes work more fun, and quite frankly, who wouldn’t like that? 

  • Genuinely appreciating your team and their work: agents who feel appreciated are more likely to see their work as meaningful and perform better. They are also the happiest. Compliment your agents on their work and reward agents whose performance stands out.  

In general, make your employees feel seen and heard if you want to make them happy. 

Read my article on how to effectively listen to your employees, where I give you four major tips and explain briefly why listening to them is so important. 

14. Give Your Agents more Autonomy

CX and CS agents usually don’t have a lot of autonomy to make decisions, even though they are confronted with issues that require decision-making almost at every interaction. 

I found out in my research that often when customers are put on hold mid-call, the agent needs to get clearance from their managers to attend to the customer’s request. By giving them autonomy, this can be avoided. 

Giving your agents autonomy doesn’t mean leaving them to do all on their own. After all, management is an essential guide. There are many ways in which you can give them autonomy without compromising management. Such as: 

  • Gathering the most common “what if” scenarios (with the help of call data) and making available decisions that you would consider adequate. This works as a way of guiding them to the right decision. 
  • Actively training your agents and basing your training on previous experiences and possible scenarios. This builds confidence and empowers them to make good decisions.
  • Encouraging your agents to give you their opinion on your work method and strategy. Trustworthy workers in the field will certainly have some valuable knowledge to share and will undoubtedly feel more confident in their knowledge if their insight truly helps.

15. Innovate

If you want to improve your customers’ experience, getting creative with it and innovating will help. With the evolution of technology and so many new studies and discoveries in CX, there’s no reason to stay stale and not expand your offer. 

Beyond your customer experience, innovate within your company, in your agents’ training, in your working method, and in ways to keep your agents engaged. 

16. Provide All The Tools

Provide all the necessary tools to your agents to make their work easier and maximize their efficiency. 

Tools in call centers range from training programs and good call center software to proper headphone sets, pens, and papers. 

If your team works remotely, give them a monthly STIPEND on top of their salary to help them cover work-related expenses and motivate them.  

17. Monitor The Quality of Your Call Center

This list would be incomplete if we didn’t mention this point. Beyond any effort you can make for your call center, call quality is the most crucial point you should focus on. 

Even if your agents are well trained and you’ve designed the perfect experience, if your call center has poor audio quality or bad connection, none of that will matter because ultimately, your customers will leave every interaction dissatisfied. 

Besides the audio and connection quality, you should also monitor other areas to ensure that every improvement you have made is long-lasting.

Stay tuned to customer feedback, collect and analyze call data, record and listen to call recordings, and make sure things are running smoothly. 

18. Don’t Underestimate The Role of The CEM (Customer Experience Manager) 

The customer experience manager is responsible for ensuring that everything is aligned for your customers to have the best experience possible. Giving the proper value to this role and choosing the right person to be in this position can be game-changing to your call center and your company in general. 

For starters, your CEM is in control of the hires. He evaluates and selects the agents that will be in direct contact with your customers. He comes up with the strategies to improve the CX and motivates the agents to execute it properly. 

In the process of improving the customer experience, the CEM is the one implementing each of the steps and making sure that things are going according to the plan. 

The CEM’s impact on your call center is just one side of the coin because his role goes beyond that in all the other areas of the customer experience. Being that the CX doesn’t end when the call is over, adding a highly qualified CEM to your team will benefit you in the long run.

Once you have followed my steps and put in effort to improve your call center, you will be steps away from customer satisfaction. Yet, there’s one last thing you need to figure out for ultimate customer success and loyalty. 

How To Make Your Customers Happy (In a Call Center)?

Customer experience is more than just a good call center experience. But starting by having one will certainly boost your customers’ satisfaction levels. 

Just like in any area of CX, the best way to make customers happy in a call center is to show them that their happiness, precisely, is the most important thing for your brand. Putting them first and going out of your way to find out what they need to feel happier with their experience should be your company’s policy. 

In other words, customer-centricity is the key to customer happiness because that is the mindset necessary on the company’s behalf to always guide customers to success. 

Besides, this mindset creates an emotional connection between the customer and the brand. As statistics have shown, emotionally invested customers in a brand, have a 306% higher lifetime value, recommend the brand more often than average, and spend way more than the average satisfied customer

Best believe that following the tips that I’ve gathered for you through careful analysis and research will boost your call center customer experience. It will also help you create the type of relationship with your customers where beyond choosing you because of your good products or your low prices, they do it because they have become loyal to your brand. 

Further Readings 

Why Are Customer Service Calls Recorded – Grooming Thought Leaders

The Most Difficult Thing About Customer Service – Grooming Thought Leaders

Emidio Amadebai

For the past 2 years, I have been working as the head of Customer Experience, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Finance at an international pay as you go solar home system company working in rural areas in Africa. After my previous 7 years working in B2B, IT&Telecoms industry, as a Service Delivery and Project Manager, having worked with Vodacom, Huawei, and other multinational companies. My job is to make sure we improve the lives of thousands of families, with access to electricity, utilities (radio, TV, lights), doing our very best so that they get the best-in-class customer experience, and succeed in acquiring the products for themselves.

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