Customer service is an inevitable part of doing business. As a company grows and the customer base expands, fielding support issues can be too overwhelming to balance in-house. To better manage customer relations, companies rely on call centers. As technology evolves and new lines of communication arise, keeping up with customer expectations directly impacts their satisfaction and loyalty. But what exactly is a call center?
Explore the purpose of a call center and see why they are fundamental to brand image and survival.
What is a Call Center?
Within a company is a department that handles inbound and outbound phone calls from customers, known as a call center.
Agents staff the call center and are responsible for customer support, completing telemarketing campaigns, and doing market research. Call centers are the fundamental point of interaction between a business and it’s customers, because the interactive experience can either create loyalty or cause customers not to return.
Call centers add value to companies by acting as a platform to continually improve brand image, address any operational issues, and strengthen customer satisfaction and loyalty. The strength and effectiveness of the customer experience provided by a call center is what differentiates one business from another. The more customers feel valued, the better the chance of retention and loyalty. Hence, companies rely on call centers.
How They Work
Call centers focus on measuring categories of metrics that define functionality and quality of customer service. Historical metrics look at call volume, forecast accuracy, and average handling time.
Real-time metrics monitor service level, customer waiting time, and agent availability. Customer focused metrics show the effectiveness of the agent-customer interaction and reflect customer satisfaction and first contact resolution.
Let’s break down the basics of how a call center works.
Contact is typically initiated by the customer, either by calling in or requesting to be contacted by a service agent. Calls are then directed to an available agent who can address specific customer needs and issues. The agent who fields the customer call will then work as efficiently as possible to resolve the customer’s issue.
The more experience, product knowledge, and communication skills an agent has, they can deliver the most satisfactory interaction possible.
Arriving at a resolution on the first interaction shows that timely solutions are possible when needed most. Sometimes solutions can’t be found on the first interaction, which means an agent will need to follow up with a customer after researching pertinent information. Follow-ups prevent customers from spending unnecessary time on hold and can diffuse frustration.
Because agents are the first line of contact, they directly define the customer experience. Effective agents learn to develop a specific set of support skills. Knowledge retention keeps customers from repeating their issues every time contact is made, and allows an agent to accurately interpret customer concerns and provide timely solutions.
Sometimes unique situations arise that require an agent to adapt to the moment and creatively arrive at a positive outcome.
No two customers are the same, and a good agent knows how to take into account specific customer needs to provide the most satisfactory experience. Call centers are busy and agents balance dozens of customers daily. Staying organized helps agents efficiently manage their work-load and provide timely responses.
Agents rely on interactive tools, like those from brightpattern.com, to effectively perform their roles. Bright Pattern Contact Center software is a simple yet powerful platform built for cloud-based user interfaces. With their blended omnichannel communications, agents can effectively communicate across multiple channels concurrently with customers.
“With features like detailed reports, quality management tools, and CRM integration, Bright Pattern provides the means for agents to work faster and more efficiently,” says Lemuel, a leading contact center representative.