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Article : Great Call Center Or Great Call?

#contactcenterworld, @taylor_reach

While technology, metrics and environment are all important factors in the call center, customer experience is paramount - read more for details with real life examples in this article by Bruce Lebowitz Vice President of the Taylor Reach Group Inc.

Executives often judge a contact center by traditional metrics. These might include low abandonment rates, an extremely quick speed to answer and meeting handling time goals. When proud of a contact center, executives often point to its technology too. The fact that the contact center never goes down, has instant screen pops so the agent knows everything about the customer before they even pick up the phone and an easy to navigate IVR can make a call center a showcase. Additional bells and whistles might include omnichannel capabilities that allow a center to handle calls, chats, emails and mobile interactions. Even the environment, a state of the art contact center with sleek furniture or a WAHA (Work At Home Agent) capability that allows agents to work at home allow bragging rights.

However, these state-of-the-art contact centers offering great design, delivering great statistics and utilizing the best technologies don’t necessarily deliver a great call. Having all these tools, along with a superior infrastructure, will not ensure a great call, which is a meaningful interaction between two people. The agent with access to all this technology and all these tools still has to:

  1. Develop a connection with the caller

  2. Solve a problem

  3. Be personal and positive

Most importantly, the agent has to care.

All too often the focus of a center is on the technology and environment rather than the customer experience. Working with a healthcare company with a horrible make-shift CRM, a poor virtual call center technology provider and a fairly limited ability to integrate channels I discovered a company with very happy customers. The simple ingredient that made the callers happy was that the care agents really cared. As customers were calling to schedule MRIs, the agents never failed to wish them well or express concern for them. Conversations were personal without being invasive. The simple act of caring made up for the multitude of difficulties in the systems. The customers didn’t mind minor inconveniences as long as they knew the person they were speaking with had their best interest at heart and genuinely cared about them.

As we started to look deeper into this phenomenon, we realized a couple of things. One was we couldn’t train people to care. We had to adjust our recruiting criteria to find people who have lived a life filled with caring. We looked at volunteer experience…we looked at family situations. We invited personal conversations in our recruiting process to better understand the candidate as person and not just his/her professional experience.

We also altered our training to reflect the values we wanted to express. We wanted to be personal without being invasive. We wanted to be caring without getting over-involved. Thus, our training focused more on conversations and less on systems. We covered how to recognize fear and sadness and how to offer comfort without platitudes and false hope. We learned not to say "everything will be alright" but rather "I understand you might be feeling sad or nervous". Customer satisfaction scores soared with virtually all surveys delivering greater than 97% of all callers being very or extremely satisfied.

We found customers valued the interactions and came to find calling our center less of a chore and a place where an unpleasant task became less lonely and offered connection. While we understand that technology and metrics and environment are all important factors in a contact center, the customer’s experience is paramount and when that experience is delivered by a human being who really cares, many of the other variables in a call center fade away.

In today’s environment competence and efficiency are simply table stakes. To deliver an excellent experience, an organization needs to focus on the personal connection too. Scripting "caring" doesn’t work. Staffing your frontline with warm, compassionate people and promoting a culture that values and rewards creating the personal connection can help deliver a memorable and superior customer experience.

#contactcenterworld, @taylor_reach

About Bruce Lebowitz:
Bruce Lebowitz is an experienced call center consultant and marketing strategist with expertise in creating compelling conversations. With over 20 years of experience in both the consulting and client sides, he has solved problems and created successful programs for many Fortune 500 companies.

About The Taylor Reach Group:
Company LogoThe Taylor Reach Group is a call center and contact center consultants specializing in customer experience consulting and call and contact center consulting, management, performance, technologies, site selection, tools and assessments. All we do is customer experience and contact center consulting: strategic and tactical. Our contact center and customer experience consultants have helped management in hundreds of contact centers and organizations achieve – and exceed – their business goals.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Ignore The Issues At Your Peril

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Monday, May 15, 2017

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2024 Buyers Guide IVR

Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

Computer Data Services, LLC

Get the benefits of an expensive, on-premise telephone system without the high price tag and annoying maintenance.

- Never miss another phone call
- No more busy signals
- Feature rich
- Answer your calls from anywhere

eGain Corporation

eGain SmartIVR
eGain SmartIVR is an over-the-top solution to modernize IVR systems. Businesses can offer smartphone callers an easy choice to resolve queries via digital messaging and intelligent self-service. And they can optimize the IVR experience with end-to-end analytics.

PEC Telecom

Virtual Phone Numbers (DID) and Business VoIP Phone Service
Whether a customer is running a Call Center business, an IVR system to take phone orders or a voice mail service bureau, he still needs inbound lines and access numbers (DIDs). These lines and DIDs give customers the ability to call in and use the service. Traditionally, these lines and DIDs were obtained through the local telephone company (i.e. Verizon, AT&T or Time Warner) and a company could only purchase numbers with area codes in the region the system resided. With VoIP, this has changed.

DID Live is an IP DID service that allows you to accept incoming calls via VoIP as an alternative to standard digital or analog lines. The service provides the same quality of sound you expect from...
(read more)


Voice Self Service
Voice self-service can reduce cost and improve customer satisfaction. As with every system implementation, it is not the software, but the implementation that will define the success of the project. This also holds true for self-service implementations. Pointel follows a unique and proven process to implement voice self service. This process has been fine-tuned through years of experience implementing contact center and self-service applications. Pointel can design and develop solutions that will meet and exceed our client’s voice application needs. With several years of experience in Genesys GVP(Genesys Voice Platform) implementation and integration, Pointel can provide an integrated voice...
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