Your Customer and Your Agent – The Vital Interaction

In a call center, the interaction between its phone agents and its customers can make or break a company. Whether your call center is a BPO for many companies or internal customer service for a large financial institution, high quality conversations are the key to overall success.

Call centers, therefore, need to keep a close observation on their agents’ performance. A well trained, intuitive phone agent with confident communication skills will always be better at handling customer queries, selling high-margin products, collecting bad debts, or any other tasks asked of them.  In contrast, an untrained, unmotivated, unsupervised staff will produce a poor Customer Experience, leading to unproductive converstaions, customers leaving, and ultimately a decline in revenue. If your agents can provide a superior Customer Experience, compared to that provided by your competitors, you are likely to have happy customers, fewer problems, and increased revenue.

As much as we might wish otherwise, every call center will encounter problems at times. It is important that you have a system in place to pinpoint any problems as quickly as possible, and a plan to remedy any issues as they arise.

The traditional method of gathering data to examine the Customer Experience is surveying.  The problem with this is that surveying results are slow, only covers a small sample of customers, and by the time the data is available, it is already out-of-date. While surveying can give some indication of the health of your Customer Experience, it can be woefully incomplete, because customer only feel compelled to report on their experience if it was overwhelming positive or negative.

Using Voice Analytics to Fully Understand Your Customer Experience

Predictive voice analytics provides more useful and trustworthy data to evaluate agent performance and the impact your call center has on your Customer Experience. The software analyzes every call made – not just a random selection. You have the data available build a full picture of each agent’s performance – their good calls, bad calls, and average calls. Agent trends will become clear for every member of your team, allowing management to quickly address any performance issues that are hurting your Customer Experience.

The data collected can be used to examine how your best agents differ from lesser-performing agents. Do you know which of your agents act calmly under fire, smoothing down potentially challenging situations? How are these agents better at handling frustrated customers than others? Which of your agents best appear to display empathy towards your customers, and in the process build good rapport with the customer?

Your high-preforming agents have a major impact on your call center’s overall success. You can use these agents as models and teachers to work alongside those who struggle. These top agents will most likely be emotionally aware and reliable. Indeed they are likely to have high emotional intelligence to help them adjust the way they handle each call based on the emotional state of each caller. How to do you train your other agents to preform equally as well?

Turning Analytic Data into a Prescription

Once you have collected sufficient data to identify agent trends, you need to act on it. You should include targeted and individualized training or coaching as part of your agents’ professional development program, which will help them to relate better to their customers on calls. This data can help even the least emotionally intuitive of your agents improve the Customer Experience they’re providing on every call.

One way to counteract poor emotional intelligence shown by particular agents is to adapt the call path, matching your calls to the agent that will provide the best service based on their personalities. Place your calmest and most emotionally-aware agents on the frontline in difficult positions, such as the Complaints Desk. Whereas, agents who easily show stress could be better suited to making sales calls or answering general queries.  Making small staffing or workflow changes can greatly enhance your Customer Experience, driving increased conversation rates, positive call outcomes, and increased revenue.

RankMiner predictive voice analytics data can be used both to improve your agent performance and to ensure that you are using your agents to showcase their strengths. Some agents will work well with more-challenging customers. Others will work best with customers wanting reassurance. You want your agents to be flexible, and ready to adapt to changing circumstances. Your agents have a vital role to play in your call center. They are your frontline voice with your customers, and they enable your clients to receive a pleasant and memorable customer experience.