As a manager,, you know how important it is to improve service levels in your call center. Poor customer service can happen for a variety of reasons and presents in different ways. Sometimes miscommunication occurs, or technology can be to blame as well when call handling times drag because agents are still using clunky and outdated software.
Table of contents
- What Is the purpose of service level management in the call center?
- Be SMART about your SLAs
- Ways you can better your customer service satisfaction levels
Read on to find out a few of the signs that your contact center is providing bad customer service and how to improve service levels in your contact center.
What Is the purpose of service level management in the call center?
Service level management helps contact center leaders understand and optimize their customers’ expectations about their services, and to work with the rest of the contact center
organization to make sure they’re delivering support that meets these expectations. Meeting the service levels outlined in your SLAs is not an end in itself; the SLA is just a tool you can use to help you achieve the real goal — meeting your customers’ expectations.
This seems straightforward enough, but all too often poor service level management results in the loss of business. In the worst cases, poor customer experiences due to mismanaged service levels may negatively impact your brand’s reputation or lead to high customer churn rates.
Be SMART about your SLAs
Make sure that your KPIs are as SMART as possible! It is important to have measurable service level targets in your SLA. Ideally every target should be SMART:
A specific target is focussed on a clearly identified situation that you want to understand.
A measurable target has a clearly quantified value that you are able to measure. This doesn’t always mean that the target has to be numerical.
An achievable target is something that you should be able to meet, within the constraints and resources that you have.
A relevant KPI is one where achieving the target is closely linked to the underlying goal or purpose.
A time-bound target has defined times and durations over which it is measured.
Ways you can better your customer service satisfaction levels
Here are a few more things to consider when looking at how to improve call center service levels.
Long hold times
Like the woman in the beginning of our story, most clients do not enjoy waiting too long on the phone before reaching a person to talk to. Waiting too long exacerbates the problem and could result in angry customers who start reconsidering their loyalty to your brand.
Solution: Luckily, fixing the long hold time problem is as simple as integrating an IVR or implementing AI virtual agents. Many times customers call in to ask a routine question. These folks, when in large numbers, can hold up the queue for those who really need to talk to someone. Integrated Voice Response technology and virtual agents can actually answer common questions for your customers. As some of the top modes of self-service, both tools are easy to use and can help your customers quickly and efficiently.
That sounds like a “you” problem
Have you ever called a company to get help with something like an online return or troubleshooting your laggy computer, and had the rep on the line make you feel like everything was your fault? How did that conversation go? The age old adage, “The customer is always right” still rings true. Placing blame on the customer will not reflect well on your team, you, and your company.
Solution: When a customer who very obviously is the root of their problems calls in, agents should remain sympathetic and understanding. They should use positive tones and avoid any accusatory language. Most times, customers truly don’t know what they did wrong, and other times, they may have simply made a mistake like we all do.
Transferring like there’s no tomorrow
Nothing frustrates a customer more than when they call in about an extra charge on their bill and then have to endure a series of transfers between departments. They are more than likely already upset; wasting their time will only make things worse.
Solution: Listen to what your customer is saying and determine whether or not you can help them. If not, reach out to the department yourself beforehand and speak to someone to make sure they can help your customer. Once that’s confirmed, warm call your customer and feel confident that they will not be transferred to 50 different people!
Not utilizing data to improve agent performance
Contact centers are busy places with many busy people. It can be hard to get to every agent to sit in with to evaluate their calls. Feedback is crucial to agent improvement. Without it, agents are prone to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Solution: Tools such as automated scorecards and screen and call recording allow managers to keep track of agent performance without needing to physically sit by an agent all the time. LiveVox Speech IQ is a feature that transcribes agent voices and can alert managers to high risk calls. Automated scorecards provide agent ratings and allow you to listen to problematic calls to see what agents need help with the most.
Poor listening skills
Answering the phone and staring at a screen all day can make it very easy for agents to drift in and out of focus when talking to a customer. As a result, they must ask the customer to repeat themselves. This can be incredibly frustrating and annoying to a customer because it makes them feel unheard and undervalued.
Solution: Practice with your agents to help improve listening skills by role-playing with them to keep their listening skills sharp. Encourage them to take notes if possible when a customer calls in with a long complex problem. When a customer feels heard, they feel confident that your company will help them solve their problem.
Bad customer service is definitely detrimental for businesses, but it is fixable. Encourage your agents to remember how they would like to be treated when they are in the customer’s shoes. When your customers are 100% satisfied with your customer service reps, you end up boosting your brand and ensuring that they always come back to you. By sharing these five simple tips with your agents you will be able to always deliver quality results.
I hope this helped you better understand how to improve service levels in a call center. LiveVox has a full host of omnichannel features that are designed to help you do just that, from ACD to Workforce Management, we have it all.