4 Contact Centre Agent Tactics for Improving your Customers’ Day

4 Contact Centre Agent Tactics for Improving your Customers’ Day

Ensure dealing with your contact centre is a positive experience

The truth is that most people don’t look forward to talking to your contact centre. Your inbound calls will include calls from customers with problems, frustrations and even complaints. Any outbound calls could be an unexpected interruption.

Most organisations try to create an experience using process alone. Tools like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus and call routing are designed to make dealing with a contact centre faster, easier, and more enjoyable.

However, that’s just one half of what a good experience looks like. The other is down to your agents.

The moment a call begins, your agents need to act quickly to shift the tone of customer contact. It’s not enough to work through a script and follow the processes you’ve put in place – the most successful contact centres go further to exceed expectations in new and exciting ways.

Ultimately, your ability to delight customers as an organisation is in the hands of your agents. But with the right ideas – and the right technology – you can give your agents the tools they need to make every interaction positive.

Read on to find out about four useful, easy to remember tactics that your agents can use to improve your customers’ day.

#1. Be prompt

Nobody likes waiting. In fact, according to a study commissioned by mobile network giffgaff, sitting in a call centre queue for more than five minutes and 58 seconds leads to high stress levels and blood pressure – a bad start to any customer experience.

Of course, when a customer first tries to make contact with you, numerous factors outside your agents’ control will affect the speed of their response. Your staffing, call routing and queue management will all have an impact on how long people need to wait.

However, as soon as calls connect, your agents have a key role to play in accelerating the process.

Essential tips for hitting the ground running include:

  • Using caller ID and existing customer records to skip time-consuming questions and information gathering
  • Using a well-developed script that immediately gets to the root of customer issues

Meanwhile, your agents also need to be fast and on-time when promising follow-up activities (like dispatching paperwork) or scheduling callbacks.

Technology Tip

Before your agents speak to your customers, technologies like queue callbacks can give people a way to reduce the time they spend waiting on the phone.

Then, when calls connect, a dialler that’s integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) system can instantly pull the relevant customer information and screen pop it to your agents.

#2. Be human

A sense of humanity doesn’t sound like too much to ask, but contact centre customers find a huge quantity of interactions impersonal.

According to the 2009 Genesys Global Survey ‘The Cost of Poor Customer Service’, the most requested improvement from customers wasn’t different communication channels or shorter queues – it was ‘Better Human Service’.

Crucially, a human service is about more than addressing customers’ by their first names – a crutch that can feel uncomfortable if your agents use it too often. It’s about treating people like individuals, even when they’re yet another call on a never-ending shift.

Your agents can do this in endless ways, including:

  • Using CRM data to remember a birthday
  • Balancing the call centre script with the confidence to go off-course as required
  • Remembering and referencing previous interactions

Of course, these things are also valuable on outbound calls, when building a rapport quickly could be the difference between a hang-up and a successful outcome.

Technology Tip

The information your agents need to form personal relationships can come from a CRM system that’s integrated with your dialler – but it’s vital that this information is presented at the right time and in the right place. There’s nothing worse than a feeling of fake-friendship as an agent searches for a personal piece of information.

Your contact centre solutions provider should be able to work with you to customise your agent interface, ensuring that the most useful information is always on hand.

#3. Be an expert

From account enquiries to complaints, customers don’t interact with your contact centre for a friendly chat about the weather. They come with purpose – and your agents’ can have a real impact on how happy your customers feel by understanding and addressing that purpose effectively.

The realities of a large contact centre can sometimes make this hard. According to Harris Interactive, customer service agents fail to answer questions as much as 50% of the time. This leads to transfers around your contact centre until the right agent takes the call – something that 69% of people find frustrating according to YouGov.

One good approach is to encourage your agents to become experts in discrete areas of your business. While everyone should have baseline knowledge of common customer questions, nurturing specialists removes the risk that customers will speak to a ‘jack of all trades’ who ultimately can’t help.

Technology Tip

Assigning areas of expertise takes a deep understanding of your agents’ strengths and weaknesses. You can achieve this through a combination of reporting on call dispositions and call recordings, both of which should be available and easy to filter.

Once you have structured your agents in this way, you can then use IVR to determine the type of expert a customer needs, followed by intelligent call routing that selects agents based on their ability level and skills.

#4. Be proactive

Being a fast-to-respond expert with a touch of humanity goes a long way to transforming the contact centre experience. However, the greatest service comes when agents are able to think proactively and surprise customers with things they could never have expected.

It’s why new car sales often come with a small, insignificant gift like a bunch of flowers. It’s why big brands spend time searching for mentions on social media and getting into conversations that aren’t always about selling more product.

Your agents are a vital source of great ideas on how to ‘plus’ customer interactions, from follow-up calls to check that issues are resolved to thank you notes sent through the post. Of course, these tactics don’t just make your customers smile – they build incredible loyalty and lasting, lucrative relationships.

Technology Tip

Busy agents don’t always have time to think creatively and go above the call of duty. However, the right technology can make follow-up activities surprisingly efficient.

With workflow automation in your dialler and CRM system, you can implement seemingly personal ideas into a rigorous process. As a result, you can guarantee consistency and make sure these customer-pleasing touches happen every single time.

You can also integrate social media feeds with your inbound contact centre solution, giving agents a fast way to spot customer issues and initiate contact.

Make every customer’s day with contact centre technology

While your agents are the only ones with a direct impact on how your customers feel, your technology can ensure they’re equipped with all the tools they need.

As standard, the right inbound contact centre solution or outbound hosted dialler lets your agents concentrate on handling calls and delivering exceptional service, not dialling numbers or waiting for calls to connect.

However, a few features of the best solutions can give your agents an advantage as soon as they begin speaking:

CRM integration

With screen pop, customer information can be pulled from your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and instantly displayed on your agents’ interface. From customer names to issue logs and notes, this gives your agents all the information they need to provide a personal, human service.

Workflow automation

From follow-up admin to dispatching thank you cards and scheduling customer care calls, automation lets your agents do things that would otherwise be too time-consuming and costly. Based on call dispositions, the relevant tasks simply happen automatically.

IVR and intelligent routing

An intelligently-designed Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu can be an effective way to understand why people are calling into your contact centre, while intelligent routing makes sure customers get to the right person first time.

About Hostcomm

Hostcomm is one of the UK’s leading providers of hosted VoIP technologies for businesses and contact centres. Its services include hosted telephony, hosted diallers, CRM integration, and innovative new WebRTC technologies.

For inbound contact centres, Hostcomm Hosted Predictive Dialler offers advanced call routing and multi-channel support with the option of customised reporting. In outbound contact centres, the Hostcomm Hosted Predictive Dialler increases team efficiency and includes advanced reports and wallboards to measure, compare and improve performance.

Find out more at Hostcomm Hosted Contact Centre

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