3 Call Center Customer Service Tips You Might Be Overlooking

Customer service phone agent trained using analytical call center customer service tips

Your call center’s ability to craft a positive customer experience can have a huge impact on your results. Providing excellent customer service is a basic building block for success in any business, but many call centers struggle to delight their customer base.

Call centers employ any number of strategies to improve their customer service. Many of these solutions, such as “hire better people” or “improve your training programs,” sound obvious—but can be difficult to actually practice. There are innumerable factors that can affect the performance of a phone agent beyond how much experience and training they have.

So, how can call centers improve their customer service experience to delight customers?

Here are a few tips that you might be overlooking in your own call center:

1: Take Survey Results with a Grain of Salt, especially if You Have a Low Response Rate

Many call centers try to gauge their success based on volunteered survey data from customers. The problem with this is that customers aren’t usually motivated to fill out a survey unless they have particularly strong feelings about their experience one way or the other.

The unwillingness of customers to fill out surveys about their experience creates a non-response bias. As noted by Readexresearch.com, non-response bias is “the error resulting from distinct differences between the people who responded to a survey versus the people who did not respond.”

For example, if you asked ten people what their favorite color is, and only two responded, you would be missing data on 80% of your survey base. So, if both respondents said “blue,” your survey results would state that 100% of your customers like the color blue. Such non-response bias pollutes survey data, rendering it less useful as a way of assessing actual customer satisfaction.

If you still want or need to use surveys to gauge customer experience, try to improve response rates by incentivizing the survey in some manner. You could create a sweepstakes for respondents or simplify the survey to make it minimally troublesome.

2: Analyze How Customer Attitudes Change on Every Call

Rather than relying on survey results to assess how customers feel about their customer experience, consider using assessments of their emotional behavior and tone throughout a call. Being able to interpret raw data on emotional behavior and tone can do much more to reveal the performance of your customer service metrics than a voluntary post-call survey could.

This is where having tools such as predictive voice analytics can be a major help to your call center. A predictive voice analytics solution can break down a customer’s speech into feature vectors to analyze tone, pitch, amplitude, and numerous other elements of speech to identify a customer’s emotional state.

By automating the collection and assessment of this data, your call center can get a complete data set to work with. Having a complete set of emotional response data can let you quickly identify patterns in your customer interactions, such as when a specific phone agent has numerous calls that start with customers speaking in neutral tones and ending in angry ones.

Analyzing customer behavior and how it changes over the course of a call will empower your ability to make decisions about improving customer experience.

3: Pay Close Attention to How Phone Agents Speak

In 2015, consumerreports.org performed a study of the top irritation factors for customer service. The top spot was a tie between “Can’t get a live person on the phone” and “Customer service is rude or condescending” (75% of customers were rated as “highly annoyed” by these factors).

Not being able to reach a live rep is an issue related mostly to inaccurate assessments of staffing needs—which may be short-term in nature. Customer service reps acting rudely or using a condescending tone of voice is a long-term problem that needs fast correction.

However, catching when phone agents are being rude can be difficult when relying on manual assessments of phone agent behavior. Most call centers can only manually review about 1-2% of their total call volume, meaning that you’re missing out on up to 98% of any phone agent’s customer interactions.

Using predictive voice analytics to assess the tone used by phone agents lets you collect data on all of phone agent’s customer interactions. This means being able to spot the difference between a single, stress-induced error, and a consistent pattern of bad behavior.

Having this information makes it easy to identify which phone agents are most in need of retraining. Additionally, this has the benefit of helping you identify when a phone agent is stressed, giving you an opportunity to address the issue so that you can improve retention rates for your best phone agents.

To make improvements to your call center customer experience and satisfaction rates, you need to have thorough data. Learn how predictive voice analytics empowers sound call center decision-making today!