THE 11 SKILLS YOUR CALL CENTRE NEEDS
A CALL CENTRE CHECKLIST
Call centres are an essential part of growing your brand, not only do they offer risk and cost minimisation, but they can inject a variety of expertise quickly! When choosing an outsourcing partner there are a variety of factors that need to be considered to ensure your growth expectations are met, your customers are cared for, and you have complete visibility within the partnership. Every interaction that a customer has with a call centre reflects on your brand; hence the ability to effectively communicate should be considered the top priority when hiring a call centre. We have created a checklist of the operational components that you should be looking for when engaging a call centre so that you know what you need or you can give your current provider a health check.
Call Centre Checklist
1. Omnichannel Support
All your customers are different and have different habits when it comes to engaging with your brand. Whether it is email support, chat on social media, voice, or any other channel, a leading call centre will be able to provide these options and staff trained on the intricacies of each one. A great partner should also be able to provide fast implementation and ongoing upgrades as technologies progress.
HINT: ICON has over 15 years experience in omnichannel service delivery that you can leverage to connect with your customers conveniently.
2. Multilingual Talent
If you want your business to go global, you need to be able to speak with customers in their native language. Nothing frustrates customers more than being attended to by a person who is not sufficiently proficient in their language. An outsourced workforce with multilingual skills removes all communication barriers and directly equates to a high level of engagement with customers. Better engagement means faster conversions and improved levels of customer satisfaction.
HINT: ICON provides support in over 30 languages!
3. CRM Integration
It is critical that every interaction and activity is captured by your call centre to ensure customer information is always up to date and available in real time. Having a robust CRM connection with your call centre provides that the customer experience is of a high standard, and all stakeholders have 360° insight into customers’ interactions with your company.
HINT: ICON’s systems already connect directly to all the world’s leading CRM systems (e.g. SalesForce, Oracle, ZenDesk, FreshDesk et al.) and our development team has the expertise to connect with any API.
4. Continuous Improvement
If your outsourcer isn’t coming to you with new ideas, you aren’t getting value for money! Quality management, agent training, and technology upgrades are all examples of essential pro-active services that ensure you are getting the most from engaging the expertise of an outsourcer.
HINT: ICON is always ready for weekly and monthly business reviews to discuss the health of client programs, in conjunction with strategic business reviews, we are committed to finding and driving success.
5. Deep Data Insights
For a successful call centre cooperation, you need to know precisely where you stand at all times; and only access to quality data can facilitate the detail that is necessary to provide such an accurate picture of the health of your business. Operational and relationship metrics optimise both the customer experience and your brand’s bottom line. Deep data insights help you better manage your business and remove obstacles within the customer journey. Ensure you know what metrics are used to evaluate KPIs, SLAs, and agents to make sure they align with your priorities.
HINT: ICON creates customised, online reporting dashboards for their clients, conveniently displaying key KPI and SLA measurements in real-time and accessible from anywhere in the world.
6. Always On!
An agile call centre relationship must be easy to manage even in times of crisis. Is your call centre going out of their way to create a relationship with you? Do you have your call centre team’s mobile phone numbers? How quickly do they react to your messages? You don’t stop thinking about your business and neither should your call centre!
HINT: ICON operates 24/7! Clients benefit from a dedicated management team leading their program.
7. Know Your Costs
Know what, how, and when you will be charged before you sign on the dotted line. Make sure the company you choose does not charge you for your customer’s time on hold and ask if they charge by rounding up to the next minute or up to the next second when it comes to pricing. Ensure your expectations and success metrics are aligned with the call centre’s. You want to make sure your success is tied to theirs and that you both agree on what success means.
HINT: ICON has a practice of transparent pricing, so there is never anything unexpected when clients receive an invoice.
7. Strategic Scalability
Customer-focused contact call centres should be able to quickly scale their staff and resources as needed to fit demand. Market forces can impact your brand, and your call centre needs to be ready with the operational support, infrastructure, and staffing levels to make sure you continue positive service delivery. Understand what procedures they have in place to keep your cooperation at an optimal level for your business.
HINT: ICON has proven operational and recruitment procedures to pivot quickly when clients need to react to market forces impacting service levels.
8. Security & Privacy
With GDPR high on the list of priorities for businesses dealing with the EU market, it is essential that you know your data is securely stored and separated from other clients’ data to protect from fraud or corruption. Make sure you thoroughly investigate all the relevant data and physical security policies of a potential call centre. Do they have a documented and verifiable disaster recovery plan? Make sure the technologies and processes fit both your business needs and any regulatory standards your company must meet.
HINT: ICON’s data security policies are readily available upon request. ICON also provides secure embassies that act as a physical extension of client premises and mirror their security needs as required.
9. Technology Focus
Technology has the power to reduce costs and drive efficiencies within a call centre environment. With these critical KPIs at stake it is important to leverage all available tech, new as well as the tried and tested. For example, AI can now monitor calls and provide deep and specific insights into customer sentiment, positive interactions, and where there can be room for improvement.
HINT: ICON’s ‘Customer Success Department’ is tasked with constantly reviewing new technologies and customising them for each client’s individual project.
10. Communication Style
There is a massive difference in the way call centres handle their calls. Some clients prefer a script read word-for-word, others prefer a conversational style that empowers agents to do thorough fact-finding and make a judgement in a way that is personalised to each customer. Your contact centre needs to be able to facilitate the right conversation with the right person at the right time. Ensure a communication methodology is adopted that leverages an integrated and unified approach to connect stakeholders across the cooperation. This eliminates the silos among departments and possible misinformation. Understand how communication will be managed, from daily updates to the overall planning and design of your program.
HINT: ICON’s workforce has an average age of 34, and this maturity brings life experience to every customer interaction. ICON establishes channels that facilitate fast communication between stakeholders (e.g. Slack), client to agent communication (e.g. podcasts), and more!
11. Quality Over Price
Price should always come second to quality when considering a call centre partner. When customers contact an outsourced sales or customer care department, they will immediately judge your company by the tone and skill of the representative. And we know that first impressions are vital! A great call centre will act as a pure extension of your brand; they need to be able to relate to your customer as you would. You may save costs by outsourcing cheaply, but you will lose brand loyalty.
HINT: ICON pairs their established training methods with that of their clients, for a dual approach to effective customer care.