3 Tips For Training New Call Centre Employees

Manager explaining something to his employee in a call centre.
During the always-busy holiday season, customer service is more important than ever. Not only are most customers generally in a rush to get the information they need, there are generally a lot more of them calling your centre in order to get it. Your team needs to be regularly motivated in order to handle the influx of calls that they’re bound to get in the weeks to come. In last week’s blog, we listed a few key ways to keep your team of phone agents motivated.

In this week’s blog, we’d like to take a look at some ways you can train new hires to become part of your already-motivated team. It’s not uncommon for business owners to hire seasonal staff in order to help manage the higher call volumes that are in keeping with the holiday season. If you’re one of those business owners, you’ll need to step up both your hiring and training regimens this week.

Here are three tips for training new call centre employees:

1. Be clear about company goals and directives so as to empower decision making. The best call centre employees are the ones who are able to make sound decisions on behalf of the company. Of course, you’ll want those decisions to be based on what is best for your business. When you properly educate your new hires about your company goals and directives, they will be given the confidence to make decisions without asking for assistance.

“An agent that is provided with the appropriate tools to empower them to make decisions on behalf of the company is crucial,” says Miruna Mitranescu of Aircall, “A highly trained agent with the power of decision will not only ensure higher customer satisfaction, but will also enable single call resolution and thus result in a more positive customer experience. It’s all about encouraging agent buy-in, not only into the value-driven service their employer is providing, but also buy-in to the client brand that they are representing.”

2. Incorporate on-the-job experience. You can keep your new hires in a classroom for a week or two to provide them with as much information as they can handle. Or you can give them on-the-job training. Which of the two do you think will be more effective? There’s nothing like experience to give someone the confidence to do his/her job the right way. Sure, there may be some bumps in the road, but the actual performing of the job will help your new hires to be better equipped for their roles over the long haul.

“Handling calls during the initial training session is an activity that cannot be eliminated from the curriculum,” insists Mitranescu, “It is imperative that the new hires receive practice handling real-time calls. There is no substitute for this experience. Role-play is good, but real call handling is essential. Trainers should make sure that equipment works and is available for each ‘real-time’ call handling session. Operations should make this a priority.”

3. Listen to the calls being taken by your new hires. Once the official training sessions have been completed, be sure to not have your new hires feel like they are being thrown to the wolves. Monitor the calls of your rookie phone agents so that they can be given feedback about how they are handling questions and complaints. This will be an important step in making them comfortable with their abilities in their new positions.

Mitranescu recommends that you encourage upper management to listen to calls and praise your agents for their jobs well done. This will go a long way in boosting both employee morale and confidence. “It’s really important that he upper management team takes time each week to listen to calls and publicly praise the recognised agents with maybe a certificate or gift card for example,” she suggests, “The gents will feel incentivised to do their best.”

At SIClytics, we are big believers in the providing of regular feedback. Our Live Call Monitoring services allow call centre managers to listen to phone calls live and as they happen. In addition to monitoring, managers can whisper information to their agents to help them resolve potential issues on their calls. This helps to improve overall customer satisfaction and employee performance.

For more information about our Live Call Monitoring services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

3 Ways To Keep Your Phone Reps Motivated During The Holiday Season

Customer service operator on Christmas back with present
We only have a week left in November. Unbelievably, the holiday season is practically here! In the business world, the holiday season is already here, as stores all over Canada are welcoming larger numbers of customers every day. This will be especially true in a couple of days when Black Friday takes over the nation. The needs of shoppers to get their hands on highly-sought after items at significantly reduced prices are never greater than on this day.

Your customer service representatives will likely be experiencing an increase in call volume as well. Whether their job is to make outgoing calls or to take incoming calls, the next several weeks will be among their busiest of the year. Is there a reason to have them step up their customer service skills during the holiday season? You bet there is! Arguably, there’s no better time to keep your team of phone agents motivated than right now.

Here are three ways to keep your phone reps motivated during the holiday season:

1. Encourage teamwork. As a business owner and/or call centre manager, it is your job to lead. But you won’t always be available throughout the entire work day to provide leadership to your team. It’s important, therefore, to encourage the leaders on your staff to be there for its other members when help is needed. Developing and nurturing a team comprised of individuals who feel that they can depend on each other will help for their interactions with your customers to be a lot stronger.

According to Shauna Geraghty on TalkDesk.com, this is especially true during the holidays. “Sometimes, resolving customer support issues over the holidays requires a team approach,” she writes, “When agents need a little help from their colleagues, encourage them to use call conferencing and warm transfers. Doing so will ensure that holiday callers aren’t blindly transferred from agent to agent and will reduce call duration – both of which will increase customer satisfaction.”

2. Have team meetings in the morning. Beginning each work day with a team meeting should be commonplace in your call centre. But during the busy holiday season, it will be especially important to inject some holiday cheer into your phone agents each morning. Not only will they need the additional motivation to get through their busy days, but you’ll want them to pass along that cheer to your callers in order to secure customer satisfaction.

On his customer service blog, customer service expert, Shep Hyken champions the practice of morning meetings during the holiday season. “If ever there was a time for a team meeting before you opened every day, this is the time,” he insists, “Get employees excited about the prospect of breaking sales numbers, but delivering great service along the way. Talk about what happened the day before and plan to repeat the good and avoid the bad.”

3. Offer regular feedback. As mentioned earlier, your team needs you. When you offer encouraging words of support, it can go a long way in keeping your team motivated even throughout the busiest work days of the year. However, you’ll also need to provide constructive criticism when necessary to strengthen the team in areas where they need help. At SIClytics, we offer the perfect tools to help you to provide feedback!

Our Live Call Monitoring services allow you to instantly listen in to live calls, giving you the option to either whisper information to your phone agents without the other parties hearing or barge into the live calls to take them over when they need to be escalated. For more information about our Live Call Monitoring services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

How Important Is ROI To Your Business?

Midsection of businessman holding ROI (return on investment) with upward moving arrow at table
Forgive us for the trick question that has been posed by this week’s blog title. Perhaps, we should have asked the question a different way. Is there anything more important than ROI for your business? At SIClytics, we think not. And that’s because your returns on your investments can literally make or break your business. We’re talking about the easy-to-digest concept of making more money than you spend. It’s truly the only way for a business to succeed!

This is why we consider it so important for companies to track their returns on investment. As Sandi Smith Leyva points out on Intuit.com, “tracking ROI can help us measure how profitable a past expenditure has been. It can also help us objectively evaluate the potential profit of an expenditure we may be considering…Using ROI, we can learn from past purchases to get smarter about future ones.”

She goes on to note that many entrepreneurs are so well-versed in their respective industries that they often “go with their gut” when making business decisions. And while Leyva doesn’t completely dissuade business owners from trusting their instincts, she believes that applying ROI can help them to choose their spending options wisely.

“Managing and tracking ROI will help us avoid purchases that may be influenced by unwarranted optimism,” she writes, “As entrepreneurs, we tend to be very positive, hopeful people. ROI can help us make decisions that are more grounded for our businesses, so that we are not purchasing every ‘bright and shiny’ object that comes along and promises to make our lives and businesses better.”

It all comes down to getting your money’s worth. Simply put, it’s important to ensure that the money you spend on growing your business actually grows your business. To know if you’ve truly done this or not, Leyva suggests that you take a few steps before spending your money. Firstly, she advises business owners to list all of their costs including their time spent as well as the revenue that can be directly attributed to the items being evaluated.

She also recommends that you list all intangible benefits and costs and compare your revenue to your costs. “Are you in the black or in the red?” Leyva insists you ask yourself. Finally, consider future years to see if it turns around in years two and three and continue to use your gut instincts when making your spending decisions.

At SIClytics, we agree that using ROI can make your business more profitable in a short amount of time. This is why we offer Call Tracking services which are able to specify which of your advertising methods generate the most phone calls to your business! As explained, it’s important to be able to pinpoint which of your marketing strategies encourage the most phone calls to your business. By understanding which advertising methods are the most successful, you can better manage your overall advertising budget for years to come, improving your ROI!

For more information about our Call Tracking services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

Why Is It So Important To Call Your Customers Back?

Poritrait of a beautiful woman showing sign to call me isolated on a white background

They say that communication is the most important element of any strong relationship. And who are we to argue with whoever “they” is? It’s true. Keeping the lines of communication open between any two parties helps for the relationship to grow, develop and strengthen. All business owners are very well aware of this. And this is why well-followed customer service regimens are integral to the success of any business.

Another thing that “they” often say is that the smallest things can make the biggest differences. And when it comes to returning phone calls, this adage couldn’t be more accurate. It may seem like a “small thing” to return a phone call, but you may be surprised to know how many business owners forget to do so. Making a customer feel neglected is a great way to lose his/her loyalty for good.

Why is it so important to return customers’ phone calls? Well, let’s remember that without your customers, you don’t have a business. Now yes, the internet allows for many other modes of communication. However, when a call is placed to your business and a message is left, you want to make sure that the message is returned using the same means that it was left for you. Customers appreciate this type of reciprocity.

However, when you neglect to return those calls, customers feel as if they are not being regarded as important. Knowing that there is competition out there, they will be very quick to dial other numbers to give someone else their business. Don’t think for a second that a missed call is one of those “small things”. Returning a call is big opportunity for you to secure the loyalty of a customer. Not returning a call can help you lose a customer for good.

Conversational.com reveals some statistics that prove this. “Caller satisfaction has been studied over the years to help business owners understand the needs of their customer base,” reads the site, “It turns out that around 78% of new customers that aren’t contacted after leaving a message will end up going with an alternative company…94% of new customers whose calls weren’t answered would simply go with another company.”

How can you retain customers whose calls don’t get answered? Well, most consumers understand that there will be times when messages need to be left. The key to keeping those customers is giving them assurances about when their calls will be returned. It’s important to have outgoing voice greetings that explain the reason behind your unavailability and the time frame that the call will be returned.

On CallCentreHelper.com, Richard Farrell explains that “if call-backs can’t be handled in an acceptable time, the call-back offer should be removed. Once a realistic estimated wait time is played to a customer and a call-back offered within an acceptable time scale, the call should be routed to an automated system to capture call-back details, thus leaving all agents to handle customer calls.”

At SIClytics, we offer a wide variety of services that help for your call centre business to function at high levels. Among them is our Missed Call Notifications service that helps you to never miss out on an opportunity to follow up on a missed call. For more information about this and any other of our services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

Proper On-Hold Procedures Spare Customers From Wasted Time

Smiling businessman put on hold in his office

People hate waiting. It’s just one of those facts of life. With the holiday shopping season now upon us, you’ll begin to notice this a lot more. Frustration will build as shoppers look for unavailable parking spots. Agitation will climb as those same shoppers wait in line to pay for their purchases after finally making their way to the items they were looking for. And let’s not forget the massive increase in customer service requirements that will come with the upcoming holiday shopping rush.

As an owner or manager of a business that employs customer service representatives, it’s pretty important to impart on your team of phone agents that people hate waiting. As a result, your employees should endeavour to service their callers as expeditiously as possible. Now, by no means does this mean that calls should be rushed. It means that as little of your callers’ time should be wasted as possible.

How can you ensure that your callers don’t feel that their time is being wasted? A huge part of that will involve your on-hold methods. There’s bound to be numerous occasions when your phone agents will have to place their callers on hold while they complete important tasks. And, for many people, being put on hold is a waste of time. Making callers feel as if their time is not being wasted will have a lot to do with how they’re placed on hold.

What is the proper way to place someone on hold? Firstly, it’s all about asking. Instead of informing a caller that a hold is necessary, be sure to ask if it’s okay. “May I place you on hold for a minute or two while I locate that information for you?” is an ideal approach. You’ll notice that this approach also includes a time frame. This is of vital importance. Letting your caller know how long he/she will be on hold will help to stave off impatience.

If your time frame is being approached and you’ve not yet completed your task, it’s best to go back on the line to ensure that the caller is aware that you’re still working on his/her request. Offer a new time frame – keeping it short – to put the caller’s mind at ease about how long of a wait will have to be endured. It’s also a good idea to provide a quick explanation of why more time is needed.

When returning from the hold, it’s also important to thank the caller for his/her patience. An apology can also go a long way. “Thank you so much for holding for me, I’m sorry to have kept you waiting” is an excellent approach to re-starting your conversation. A key to not letting a person think that his/her time was wasted is to declare how valuable the time spent on hold was. But it’s also wise to acknowledge that it may have been an inconvenience.

What are some on-hold no-no’s? Beware of interrupting. No matter how pressing an issue is, you don’t want to annoy or anger your caller. Be sure to wait for a break in the conversation before you initiate the on-hold process. As well, there may be instances when placing a customer on hold won’t allow you the time necessary to complete a task. Instead, a call back may be necessary. Be sure to call your customer back as soon as possible. Don’t expect him/her to call you back.

At SIClytics, we offer Live Call Monitoring services so that you can hear for yourself just how well your phone agents are doing at putting their customers on hold. The service enables you to both listen to calls live and jump in on the calls, if necessary. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.