8 Tips to Improve Call-Center Productivity
I visit at least one catalog company each week as part of my job. I always ask for the tour — it’s my favorite part of the visit. More often than not, I’m shocked at the overall state of many companies’ call centers. Some offices are downright slovenly, and the average customer service rep couldn’t care less about his job or the company. The employee time clock mentality prevails. Business owners and managers too often complain, if not openly joke, about how difficult it is to find good people for call-center work at $10/hour. I often find myself standing there trying to be polite, but wanting to scream.
Although providing advice and counsel on the call center is outside the scope of my visit, I often can’t resist giving my opinion. Here’s a rundown of eight suggestions I politely offer:
1. What happens in the call center (i.e., the results it does or doesn’t achieve) is the boss’s responsibility. So, if the boss isn’t happy, he has no one to blame but himself. Take responsibility.
2. Your customer service reps are your lifeline. They’ll make or break your business as surely as you breathe. Negative attitudes and antipathy are the kiss of death. This is especially true during tough economic times, such as these, when customers have so many alternatives to turn to at the first little whiff of “attitude.” (Recently I tried to make a reservation with Radisson Hotels and got so much attitude from the phone rep when I asked questions that I just hung up. I’ll remember that negative experience for a long time.)
3. In today’s environment, your call-center reps not only have to do a great job, they need the customer to say they did a great job, as well. For example, try calling AT&T to ask a question about your phone bill. It does a terrific job with customer service. You can tell right away by talking to the reps that your issue is their highest priority. My local cable company, on the other hand, is the exact opposite.