All Aboard The Metric-train!

Obsessing over metrics is not necessarily a bad thing, especially in a dynamic and multi-lingual environment of a customer care centre.

However, if you use the wrong metrics, or use them in a wrong way, then the results will be skewed and not reflective of the truth.

 

Don’t be naive

Showing a lack of experience, understanding or at times idealism on the contact centre floor is the equivalent of prancing around with a “Kick Me!” sign.

As a manager or supervisor, you need to understand human nature. Don’t be naive.

Each time you implement a new metric, signal how important this is. Furthermore, attaching a target or an incentive to the metric will encourage the employees, and they will strive to improve their performance when it comes to that particular measure.

Just remember, in order to reap the benefits your contact centre agents will try to “bend the rules” in order to reap the benefits – the ends will justify the means. This has a tremendous impact on team morale.

It’s your job to pinpoint any problems these actions can cause and deal with them accordingly.

 

Can you measure greed?

It’s quite common for contact and customer care centre managers to implement more metrics then it’s actually needed. Going overboard with multiple measuring scales is what we at OpsTalent call Greed-metrics.

Why settle for a simple abandonment rate figure when you could also have:

  • the quality of service scale
  • average answer speed
  • and finally, the average time to abandon

And yes, you guessed it, each of these metrics comes with its own separate target.

This only shows the confusion among the management team, a complete lack of the ability to see the wood from the trees – one might say.

There always needs to be a clear reason for creating and using a specific metric. The agent team needs to know why metrics are implemented and how are they used to evaluate their work.

 

People will try to cheat

During the presidential election, we are bound to hear the common phrase “The polls were rigged”. The contact centre industry suffers from its own “outcome rigging” shenanigans.

In order to hit the desired targets and receive bonuses, contact centre agents and managers alike will provide falsified data.

Supervisors and managers will be more sophisticated about their “rigging” methods. Pay attention if one of the following occurs:

  • Altering the calculation methods used in order to show a “more accurate” result
  • Being particularly picky about “how” and “what” metrics are used
  • Simple stuff like removing outliers or changing graph scales in order to conceal upward or downward trends
  • Questioning the validity of the data

Rigging crucial metric data is an attempt to hide performance issues – keeping a “good score” should never take precedence over facts.

 

Measure, adjust and act

Contact centre performance isn’t something easily predictable. Sometimes your agent teams can perform as if the sky is their limit, and other times it will get much worse, even dreadful.

But it’s your duty as a manager to quickly catch on to those rapid changes in performance and distinguish if they are really important issues that should be deal with (through coaching, training sessions, knowledge base implementation etc.) or are they simply noise.

Do not, however, overreact as overreaction conjures up problems, ones which didn’t exist in the first place.

The Importance of Training Reinforcement

It’s a known fact that a well-trained employee makes a difference it the customer careindustry.

How your consultants resolve customer issues, deal with potentially volatile situations, and up-sell or cross-sell your products and services, makes or breaks your business.

It shouldn’t come as a mystery that when you invest in employee training programs, your agents come out motivated and equipped with a more versatile toolkit to use on customers.

However, as with all things, the enthusiasm starts to fade and the recently acquired skills deteriorate, which leaves you with mostly the same issues you dealt with prior to training.

Follow the steps below to amp-up your training sessions and make them stick.

 

How to make it stick?

The first step is up to you, don’t get frustrated with your employees “training amnesia,” instead evaluate your training service’s reinforcement methodology.

Do you incorporate follow-up programs?

It’s been proven that over the course of six months, trainees will lose up to 75%  of knowledge gained through training if there are no reinforcement and follow-up solutions introduced. Similarly, less than a 50% of skills gained during training sessions will carry over to the job if there’s no failsafe in the form of training reinforcement implemented.

Customer care training is essential; empower your employees by providing them with the proper “tools of the trade” as well as incorporating a well functioning follow-up methodology.

 

Summarizing & handouts

Don’t count on your employees having a photographic memory, quite a lot of important information will slip by them over the course of training sessions.

Compile handouts (or create a handy PDF document) that will highlight key points raised during customer service training, use diagrams and images but keep it short – make sure that the handout is short as possible (no more than 2 pages) and lists only relevant critical information.

Encourage consultants to use these handouts as a miniature knowledge base.

 

The art of coaching

Good training sessions are a mix of theory, spliced with examples of a real-life application of our newly acquired skills and a dash of role-playing. Theory will most likely stick with your employees, it’s the real-life application part you need to reinforce:

  • observe
  • correct
  • demonstrate
  • reevaluate

Coaching sessions solidify newly acquired knowledge, especially if conducted right after customer service training. Demonstrating the correct approach is essential, reinforce their efforts through praise and feedback.

 

Debriefing

Tie-in reinforcement session during staff meetings, it’s a wonderful opportunity to review key concepts and training in general. Discuss how are they incorporating their new skill-set into their daily routine, how are they helping them and most importantly ask which skills seem to be the most problematic when applying to practical situations.  Periodical debriefing is a powerful reinforcement tool it allows your employees to work through any potential issues they might be having as they start “getting their hands dirty”.

 

Take it from the top

Leading by example has to be one of the best ways to reinforce training lessons, if you really think your employees don’t mimic your behaviour, think again. Monitor yourself, consistently apply training session knowledge in customer and coworker relations – bring those training lessons to life, prove that you “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”

 

It doesn’t end in the classroom

Customer service training doesn’t have to end the moment your employees get back to their workspace. Follow our tips and get the most out of your training investment, maximise gains by reinforcing and coaching your customer service agents.

You’re the deciding factor on what they retain from training sessions.

 

Reducing Costs While Maintaining Efficiency & Versatility

When operating a multilingual contact centre, customer service costs can add up fast, and over a short period of time they will quickly add up to A LOT.

If you are looking to improve your business’s bottom line, or provide better customer service, you need to implement these methods to reduce customer service costs without sacrificing the support part, and still providing exceptional customer experience.

Equipment

Re-evaluate your equip­ment, it could be cost­ing you more money than you think.  For example, automat­ing your contact centre’s tele­phone sys­tem for the less used cus­tomer ser­vice func­tions could potentially save time and reduce cost on pay­roll and train­ing. Cloud-based technology can also centralise your whole contact centre into one consolidated customer service centre.

  • Phone Sys­tem: Find an appropriate calling system that will streamline the process. An automated attendant or system that reroutes calls to correct contact centre agents quickly can be a life saver, especially during customer service peaks
  • Soft­ware: Is your CRM software integrated with your calling and scheduling systems? If not, make it your top priority.
  • Stor­age: Most on-site systems can be moved to the cloud, especially if they take up valuable space and resources. Evaluate if doing so will help you save on utility costs.

Multi-Channel

Embracing the multi-channel approach, implementing it and then aligning all your communication channels is what all contact centres should aim to achieve in 2015.

It’s not only about the technology, it’s about the people. Your contact centre is as strong as its core employees – the front line grunts, contact centre agents.

Make sure that your teams can handle multiple communication channels, be it email, phone call, live web chat or social media. Assigning two people per campaign to each communication channel might seem a reasonable choice, but in the end, it might cost you more.

Remember about attrition and turnover rates, which despite the efforts of contact centre managers still plague the industry to this day. Train each representative, they need to provide exceptional customer service on each communication channel – versatility is essential.

Also in the case of returning customers, if the same agent handles the quarry throughout all communication channels, it adds a new depth of personalisation thus creating a compelling experience for the customer resulting in increased customer satisfaction.

Cutting customer service costs is not about blindly “swingin’ the ole axe”  and reducing budgets, it’s about making your business more efficient.

Upgrading software, as well as hardware, will lead to increase in employee efficiency while embracing the multi-channel approach and centralising all communication channels will lead to increase in customer satisfaction, both of which will in the long-term lead to better customer retention.

Evaluate budgets, look for ways to increase efficiency, and only then cut costs.

 

How to Align Employee Training with Customer Expectations

Email is the most popular communication method for customer care delivery and with more contact centres embracing the multi-channel approach, proper monitoring is essential in achieving high productivity.

Bellow, you’ll find tips on how to get the most out of email communication channel and deliver exceptional customer experience.

 

Conduct grammar and spelling checks

Emails to customers have to be professional, just being readable won’t cut it. Your contact centre agents can easily undermine your companies image with poor spelling and bad grammar. This step while being fairly easy to conduct will pay off tremendously in the long run and will save precious time while avoiding confusion.

 

Pick the right tone

When monitoring emails, set a central set of rules and guidelines, or even a template. Just don’t be too restrictive, let the agents choose the appropriate tone – one that suits the specific customer query.

An overly formal email might be too hard to understand for most customers, a chatty one, on the other hand, has the potential to alienate the customer.  Also, you wouldn’t address a senior in the same manner as you would a typical college “bro”, now would you?

Simply, let the agents adjust the tone to suit different situations.

 

Coach and review independently across all platforms

When conducting quality checks, use a larger sample pool than just a couple of interactions. This applies to single agent evaluation and team evaluation process as well.

If agents work on multiple communications channels score each one independently and coach accordingly. Good coaching will improve performance, but sometimes agents aren’t meant for some particular channel.

Pay attention to their skill sets, and assign them to projects that will utilise those to their full potential. This will drive productivity even higher.

 

The mystery shopper

Email is no different than a traditional call or even retail when it comes to mystery shoppers. This is a quite simple, yet often overlooked assessment technique that provides valuable data.

Having an external entity grading your staff is a smart move.

 

Answer the question – don’t “copy & paste”

The number times this simple step is overlooked makes us at OpsTalent cringe. Has the contact centre agent actually answered the customer’s query, or did he just send a prescripted response that has nothing to do with the question and provides no resolution what so ever?

Measuring success and first contact resolution will help you identify potential problems, and when these metrics improve it will be a clear sign that you are on a clear path to exceptional customer experience.

Make sure that any potential answers are consistent across all communication channels are consistent and relevant.

Also, personalise the email, it’s a small yet often welcome touch that embraces the vision of brand loyalty.

 

Don’t obsess over response time

Yes, response times do matter, and contact centres, as well as customers, rightfully care about them. Keep in mind tough, that customers understand that email isn’t used as the go-to “real time” channel, that’s what web chat is for or even the conventional phone call, or in some cases remote access.

Just make sure that customers know their request is being processed and that the response will be accurate and delivered in timely fashion.

Set up automated acknowledgements that set realistic response time for each query, this will help in managing customer expectations and your enterprise will avoid possible “clogs” caused by additional mail enquiries – this is especially vital during the festive season or during a new product/campaign launch.

Measuring email quality is easier than you might think,  just make sure that your training and quality expectations are fully aligned – that’s the recipe for exceptional customer service.

Coaching is an Art Form

Suffering from poor agent performance and not reaching targets is a common occurrence in the contact centre industry.

Managers facing such issues approach their staff and try to push them to work harder and just “be” more efficient as if that alone was enough to boost their productivity as well as solve underlying causes.

But as with all choices made under pressure, this one isn’t the optimal solution. Team leaders and supervisors often think they are coaching their contact centre agents but in reality, they are simply highlighting problems and ask to “magically improve performance”, without providing any coaching whatsoever.

Improving coaching skills should be a priority for each and every supervisor.

 

Support & challenge

Remember, your staff is already frustrated and demotivated after not being able to hit the predicted targets. Those relatively easy goals are becoming impossible – adding more pressure from their managers could be fatal to your business.

Support and nurture your agents, especially when morale is down. Provide challenges as well as goals to reach but at the same time establish clear and reachable goals.

 

The “I want to…” not “I have to” approach

Time should never be a reason for a poor coaching session or a complete lack of one. This is your job as the manager – don’t ever label coaching as “wasted time”.

Remember to engage the coachee in such a way, that he or she will leave the session with a sense of involvement in the coaching process, help them identify the problem themselves – this will strengthen their desire to improve their skills.

Highlight the good and the bad, give your agents “contrast”. Encourage self-development, it’s a great asset, especially in the outsourcing industry.

 

The coaching plan

Prepare a solid coaching structure, one that addresses each potential issue, remember about proper questioning techniques. The plan is vital, it will bring consistency to your sessions and will put the “value” back into coaching as an art form.

Just be sure to keep it simple, clear and involve agents as much as possible – interactive coaching is the best possible solution to performance issues.

 

The process

  • Introduce; make it clear from the get-go, what is expected from both parties involved and what should be the outcome.
  • Pinpoint;the problematic area by listening to recorded calls, reviewing data entry quality or missed sales opportunities. Finding and reviewing particular problems alongside the agent will provide tremendous insight when you compare both sets of information.
  • Summarise;make notes, ask simple open questions. Ask the agent, what they did well and what areas need to be improved upon? Let them explain “How” will they improve, offer tips and exercises.

 

The outcome

Through proper engagement during coaching sessions, you will create value for the activity – no longer, will it be considered a mere “time sink” by agents and managers alike.

The feeling of self-development is a tremendous morale booster and will benefit your staff as a whole.

Your business will thrive thanks to improvements in key areas such as; customer contacts, sales conversation, staff and customer retention.

How to Deal with Day-to-Day Grievances

Skilful use of language to calm an angry customer is a vital part of an agent’s skill set and here’s a list of potential phrases capable of defusing any situation in a fashionable manner.

We will also discuss the four most frequent angry personality types alongside with the appropriate responses which will aid you in tackling even the most difficult ones.

Keep in mind that every customer is unique and some of them will be a mixed breed of two or sometimes more personality traits. These particular cases can be tricky so approach with caution and choose the best response.

 

The Anger Venter

Most of the time this caller will have no legitimate reason to rage at your enterprise. They probably suffered personal strain and just need to vent and your staff will be the target their anger will rain down upon – complaints will be blown out of proportions often inflating the most minute matter.

This type is quite frustrating to deal with as most contact centre agents encountered a legitimately furious customer at least once in their career and The Anger Venter type, in comparison, will just seem like a waste of time and energy.

Treat him with respect and take him seriously.

Phrases:

  • “I’m so sorry that you feel this way, Mrs Anyperson…”
  • “As a solution, may I suggest that…?”
  • “What I’ll do right now is…”
  • “We really do appreciate this feedback, Mrs Anyperson…”
  • “May I arrange for an update call, at a time most convenient for you?”

 

The Legitimate Problem

Everyone makes mistakes, that’s a fact and most of the time those are forgivable. However, from time to time, enterprises miss their quality of service by such a large margin that when an experienced agent hears about the level of incompetence it boggles their mind.

This particular archetype of an unsatisfied customer in the most important one on the list by far. You as a company failed to deliver and now they’re back with a vengeance.  One which needs to be sated.

Your agents should quickly escalate the matter but also provide immediate comfort him; be empathetic and reassure him that everything will be fixed before he even notices.

Phrases:

  • “Thank you so much for letting us know about this, Sir/Madam…”
  • “I’m so sorry to hear about this, Mrs Anyperson…”
  • “I completely understand how you feel, Sir/Madam…”
  • “Thank you so much for your patience/understanding, Mrs Anyperson…”
  • “I will action this for you right away…”

 

The Profanity Spewer

The Spewer is quite a fascinating specimen, easy to identify thanks to his high pitch roar and the overwhelming amounts of profanities he spews out.

Contact centre agents will welcome this particular customer with open arms as this is one of the few and rare interactions, during which they are allowed to terminate the call.

No employee should put up with personal abuse but the standard within the industry deems it necessary for the agent to warn the customer at least thrice before ending the conversation.

Train your staff on the emotional side of dealing with obscene callers, there is no excuse for consultants “going off the rails” themselves or spewing profanities back.

Phrases:

  • “I truly understand your concern, Sir/Madam, but unfortunately we cannot tolerate the kind of language you are using right now…”
  • “I’m going to do my very best to help you, Mrs Anyperson…”
  • “You seem very upset, Mrs Anyperson. Would you prefer to continue this conversation through email or post?”
  • “I’m sorry you’re so upset, Sir/Madam. Would you like for us to call you back when you feel a little calmer?”
  • “I apologise, Mrs Anyperson, but if you continue to use this language, I will be forced to end this call.”

 

The Threat-Monger

During the initial contact, often mistakenly identified as The Profanity Spewer but after closer examination, it becomes quite clear they’re a different beast altogether. The former’s intention is to insult the agent into cessation, the latter seeks to resolve his problem through emotional and sometimes physical intimidation.

Remember that insufficient re-compensation will only encourage more complaints. Keep in mind that despite being unpleasant and harassing your staff he is still a vital customer who is an essential source of revenue. Call takers should strive to balance their response between cool-headed formality and empathy.

Phrases:

  • “I do understand the inconvenience you’ve faced, Sir/Madam…”
  • “Let me see how I can fix this, Mrs Anyperson…”
  • “I recommend that you (insert action here), Sir/Madam, so that I can take further action without delay.”
  • “I am more than happy to help you, Mrs Anyperson…”
  • “For the quickest resolution, I would request you to…”

 

We do hope the guidelines and phrases above will prove useful in recognising troublesome customer archetypes. The biggest takeaway from such encounters is to remember one simple fact: we’re all human, we make mistakes and we do let our emotions get the better of us.

How to Bridge The Gap in a Multilingual Environment

Confusion can be the cause for major friction in an multilingual environment of customer care centres.

What steps should supervisors undertake in order to maximise efficiency and which methodology should they adapt in order to bridge the multilingual gap.

Common language

Most multilingual contact centres have a “business language” – the one that is used in standard day-to-day communication amongst all employees. The problem with this approach is, that in order for it to function smoothly all employees need to speak the language at the same level.

You need to allow some “accommodation time” for the new employees, let them adapt and learn. Remember language skills we learnt at school don’t necessarily transfer to a work environment.

Leave no room for misinterpretation

This is the most important step when it comes down to managing and excelling in this kind of environment, leave no room for misinterpretation at all cost.

Be precise and to the point. In regards to new hires, keep it simple and try to not overburden them with irrelevant information.

Details matter

If you want to run an efficient multilingual contact centre, offer guidance and thorough explanation of each task.

Be patient and flexible, remember the language barrier is not the only hurdle you’ll encounter. Different nationalities can interpret information differently. Keep trying until your staff can clearly understand the task at hand. Cover each and every detail of a project if you have to.

Don’t be afraid to change your approach

If you notice that your message isn’t getting across don’t be afraid to change it. Repeating it over and over again won’t do any good. Notice what words you’re using – see if you could re-phrase the message.

Try explaining the task from a different point of view as being repetitive is frustrating for all parties involved.

Visual aids

When explaining a difficult and complex project to the team, use visual aids alongside regular explanation of what is expected. This will provide amazing results in the long run.

Use screen-shots, charts or infographics. Be creative, but try not to overwhelm them with the visualisations.

Confirm and explain

Always make sure that people understand you, confirm that by letting them explain things back at you. The best employee is the one that isn’t afraid to ask questions regarding the task or the project. Make sure that your team understands that. Be patient, you will be amazed how often the first explanation is often misunderstood.

Explain buzzwords and industry lingo

Always explain industry lingo and buzzwords when assigning people to new tasks or teams. Keep in mind that different nationalities will at times use different terms and abbreviations.

To avoid potential confusion, agree on one standard definition.

A simple thank you goes a long way

Try to learn some phrases in languages commonly used by your agents and supervisors, even if the business language is English. Showing your employees that you’re making effort and that you value their culture will go a long way. Sometimes, simple phrases like “thank you” or “good morning” will boost morale and will bond you with co-workers.

If you are thinking of undertaking a management position in a multilingual environment such as a contact centre, don’t be off put by the initial language barrier problems. The multicultural environment and diversity outweigh the initial minor frustrations by tenfold – be flexible, adapt and overcome.

Four Essential Qualities of a Customer Care Centre

The rise of the multi-channel approach shook the customer care landscape to its core and new channels demand a different approach – customer centricity.

Multilingual contact centres need to engage and retain every customer to be successful.

We at OpsTalent believe that these four traits are the keystones to establishing a customer centric contact centre:

Measure quality from both perspectives.

Like many of its customer oriented counterparts around the globe, OpsTalent has invested in quality monitoring tools that record and view customer experiences during each query, also post-contact surveying tools that can determine how the customer felt about each individual interaction.

This way the contact centre gathers essential information about its customer base, feedback that later can be used during coaching sessions or incorporated into each contact centre agents monitoring scores.

But that’s not all, data can be used to improve operation processes work-flows or even actual products and services.

Continuously enhance services, sales and loyalty.

Thanks to all the monitoring tools, today’s contact centres gather an overwhelming amount of data on a daily basis – this would imply that the contact centre is “The Ear” of the organisation, and while true this statement is somewhat wrong.

Customer centric contact centres are not just ear, but the brain of the organisation. They gather and process the information, and later on use it to from strategies and plans.

Thus continuously improving and enhancing the customer experience, by the means of CRM tools, dedicated analytics teams, and evaluation of post-contact surveys.

OpsTalent provides fast, personalised, proactive customer service and support.

Metrics focused on the customer, not just on efficiency.

The best customer centric contact centres, focus less on Average Handle Time, Calls per Hour and focus more on metrics such as Contact Quality, First Contact Resolution and Customer Satisfaction.

Productivity based metrics have its place, but most of the time contact centre managers over-emphasise the importance of AHT. Which only leads the agents to develop bad habits, such as rushing the customer through the call, which in the end only leads to increased number of call volumes, and a decrease in customer satisfaction.

When it comes to agent productivity, focus on things like schedule adherence, thus ensuring that agents are ready for and on time for any potential challenge.

Embrace social customer care.

Providing customer support though social media is no longer a nice bonus, it’s a necessity. Facebook and Twitter are the go-to channel for the Y-generation, and the general public also tries social customer support if they need a fast response to their request or comment.

This is why all leading contact centres have developed and implemented a comprehensive social customer care strategy, with trained agents and powerful monitoring tools they are more than ready to provide proactive customer service and engage the customers in brand new ways.

Keep in mind, that in order to be a customer centric contact centre you also need to be employee centric as well, happy staff + happy customers = exceptional customer experience!

Keep The Leadership Framework Simple

The concept of what constitutes as “high performance” isn’t new to customer care experts, unfortunately implementation methods are in need of tweaking.

Depending on the objectives set by the higher echelon of managers and the frame of reference used , the definition of high performance can vary and will have many different iterations and interpretations. Most of the time however, high performance correlates with staff engagement levels and returns on shareholder’s investments – contentment and satisfaction.

Leadership framework

We should ask ourselves if we are focusing our efforts on the tasks which provide maximum return value.

Simple and clear expectations

Make the team aware of what is expected – this is your number one priority as a leader. You don’t want your employees guessing what their goals are (and that’s the best case scenario).

Those expectations should be: clear, simple and actionable, but at the same time refined to fit each team or project separately.

Everyone needs to know exactly how they can help. Positive reinforcement is also a great morale booster – everyone’s contribution to the project is valued.

Leave no room for interpretation, this will remove confusion and will lead to greater understanding of the expectation – it will unify the team on a personal level. Working for the common goal.

Provide support

Our role isn’t complete after setting transparent expectations, we need to provide support for our staff; guide and help them gain the needed knowledge in order to complete the desired goal.

We can support our employees in multiple ways: feedback collection, coaching, training and development through courses. We need to equip our agents and managers with the best tools of the trade, to not only meet the required expectations, but to excel.

Relevant feedback provides great insight on performance, and coaching will reinforce positive behaviour.

Reinforce consequences

Positive reinforcement plays a key role in proper employee management. It might sound trivial, but it’s up you to determine what behaviour as well as corresponding consequences will be accepted or reprimanded – either directly or indirectly. If you want certain patterns replicated, you need to reward employees and the actions that led to them. At the same time manage those falling short of mark appropriately.

…and more

The points mentioned above are just a simple framework that can be used by leaders, supervisors and managers to define boundaries within which they operate.

Contact and call centres are a highly measurable environment, thanks to the metrics used to evaluate all aspects of its functions. High performance should be achievable if you: set expectations, provide support and utilise consequences to reinforce desired behaviour.

Your main role as a leader is to make the message clear.

Achieve Excellence Through Active Listening

Turn your representatives into virtual guides for your customers; provide tips and insights and capitalise on delivering customer experience excellence.

Often times we focus too much on the task, while completely ignoring the human aspect of it, and thus fail to actively listen to the customer.

Unfortunately, this is a surefire way to ruin customer experience as the act of not listening or even worse, not comprehending is perceived a cardinal sin in customer centric landscape the contact centre industry has become.

Become customer-centric

Contact centre managers and agents need to understand that in order to provide excellent customer service your business needs to become customer-centric. Giving customers your undivided attention is the first step in achieving this goal.

Customer service training should include visualisation methods which enforce eye contact and role play – as if customers were sitting just across from your staff. This will encourage them to actively listen to what is being said and agents will pay more attention to fine details such as: tone, vocabulary and voice volume.

Pinpoint key information

When it comes to delivering great customer care the ability to identify key information quickly is essential and active listening techniques are what your agents need to easily pinpoint customer needs, desires and problems, thus reducing the AHT (Average Handle Time) and bumping customer satisfaction up a notch.

The ability to pinpoint problems faster will lead to an increase in first-contact resolution as well as enable your agents to handle more customer queries per day.

Show empathy

Paying attention to customer feelings provides valuable information on how to handle each query, which leads to successful problem resolution and happy customers.

A customer who’s obviously in a hurry? Provide him with an approximate time to complete the task or order.

Another common example: if the customer is clearly upset, show empathy and use it as an edge during the communication process.

Personalised customer service is a small, but often well appreciated touch.

Paraphrase to clarify

The final step of successful active listening is clarification of understanding. In order pinpoint customer needs or to be able to diagnose what problems he experiences we need to reassure him by paraphrasing his own explanation back to him and ask for confirmation. This method will reassure the customer that they have been heard and their query will be taken care of.

Active listening teaches your representatives to focus on the customer by showing empathy, while simultaneously filtering and paraphrasing key information conveyed during the conversation in order to clarify their understanding of the topic, therefore reassuring them that everything is going to be alright.

Delivering customer care excellence has never been easier, and it’s all thanks to active listening.