Want to be terrified? 96% of customers will leave you because of a bad experience with your brand.
When things are going well with your customer-facing teams, this stat probably seems like fear-mongering. And that’s because customer experience is easy during easy times — but what about when things get hard?
Like many leaders, you’ve probably realized you’re getting more inquiries than you can handle, and you’re looking for contact center strategies to deploy as demand spikes.
Depending on your timeline, you may not have the freedom to “Do” much of anything. You’re busy. You’re understaffed. But here are four “Don’ts” that will immediately improve your customer experience in Q4.
Don’t Throw Customer Support Agents to the Proverbial Lions
Conventional wisdom used to be that most customer support problems could ultimately be solved by throwing resources at the challenge. It probably wasn’t your first tactical choice, but if call volumes were high and your back was against the wall: “Well, let’s just spend more on outsourced agents to get us through this busy patch.”
But with labor shortages skyrocketing in the U.S. and foreign call centers overwhelmed with climbing demand, even this option is hard to come by.
And even if you can find new hires to deploy at scale, this “fast-tracking” can easily lead to more problems, such as an increase in poor customer experience with untrained agents tasked with representing your brand.
Many leaders will accept this tradeoff: serving more customers at the expense of their CX. But you don’t have to.
Instead of sending waves and waves of unproven agents into customer conversations, lean on your internal teams to support the outsourced agents you already manage. This will most often take place via floor support, escalation support, and agent training.
A single internal SME is exponentially more valuable to you and your customers than a fresh-faced agent (even if they mean well). That’s because they have the expertise you need to permeate your CX teams, and they give agents confidence that they have a stellar resource in their corner.
So before you overload your outsource call center teams with new personnel and set them loose, give your agents a chance to flex their newly-learned skills in a “real” but safe environment, with training that mimics the systems and processes they’ll eventually use with real customers.
Don’t Forget to Stay Engaged in Daily Learning
Businesses can get distracted with forward momentum and short-term wins — but to sustain long-term CX success, do not forget to update your training and knowledge base modules frequently.
The more often, the better; but you should be making strong optimizations every six months to keep pace with the evolution of customer experience.
How is it done?
Nominate an individual (or a team even) that will focus on updating your knowledge systems regularly. This includes adding articles based on real-life customer questions, training videos to help agents with CX best practices, and troubleshooting guides to deal with the common problems that slow down and reduce the effectiveness of your agents.
We’ve helped many organizations outshine their competitors across CX performance, and the most successful organizations are the ones that make ongoing learning, including “mini-trainings,” a part of their daily tasks.
Consider the difference in agent resiliency and performance that comes from a knowledge base with daily resources added versus (what too many organizations rely on) an outdated knowledge platform updated every 12 months.
Don’t Give Up Too Quickly on Your BPO Vendor
It’s no secret why business leaders look to partner with BPO vendors. Their job is to:
- Proactively grow your business
- Safeguard your brand and reputation
- Free you to focus on your key business priorities
- Add flexibility and cost savings across your organization
And the best part? If they underperform, conventional wisdom allows you to trade them in for another vendor.
But failing to give your contact center vendor time to succeed is an all-too-common mistake.
While we’re not advocating embracing a sunk-cost fallacy, you should dig into your vendor’s performance and determine WHY they might be missing the mark.
Take a close look at your analytics and your vendor training, and ask yourself “Is this fixable?” Chances are that it is.
And remember, by hastily swapping out vendors, you not only lose the time and money you dedicated in the first place; you lose any momentum you produced by starting from scratch with a new partner.
Don’t Ignore Automation & Self Service
Average agents that are free to do their best work will outperform great agents that are overwhelmed.
The truth is: no amount of training and knowledge can protect your customer experience if your agents are constantly overloaded by customer inquiries and tasks.
Consider adopting leading-edge automation and self-service features to let your agents perform at the highest level.
Automation: Includes chatbots and interactive voice response (IVRs) modules to engage with customers across common inquiries, such as password resets, order fulfillment, and FAQs.
Self-Service: Includes intuitive online and telephony experiences that help customers “help themselves” by managing inquiries quickly. These often include self-guided order tracking or purchasing.
By automating common customer inquiries and giving them seamless “on-ramps” to self-serve their questions, you’re empowering your agents with more time and focus across the complex customer issues that require personal agent attention.
And since complex customer issues typically make or break a customer’s opinion of your brand, you’ll be giving your great agents the great support that sets them apart from less-skilled agents.
Bonus: Don’t Let “Busy” Be a Barrier
You want to be proactive. You want customer experience to be a priority. But you simply don’t have the bandwidth to launch new CX initiatives.
Just because you can’t DO something doesn’t mean you can’t add value. Sometimes it’s what you DON’T do that drives results. So, as you tackle the rest of 2021, remember the “Don’ts” to consider:
- Don’t send your agents out unprepared
- Don’t ignore ongoing learning
- Don’t quit on your vendor too quickly
- Don’t dismiss automation & self-service for your team
And, lastly, don’t let “busy” become a barrier to your success. Outsource Consultants makes it easy, by offering a no-risk, no-cost consultation to detail how you can improve your customer support and CX processes — even if you’re neck-deep in your busy season.