Call centers are all about balancing transactions and relationships. On a daily basis, they are measured by wait times, how quickly calls are handled, call resolution and customer satisfaction of the call outcome. In addition to these short-term metrics of call center productivity, every transaction sows the seeds for a long-term relationship and increased total customer value.
So what can we do to ensure that both short- and long-term are maximized? Of course coaching and training is one way. A close second are value-added CRM tools. These can help ensure that the focus shifts from repetition to consistency of outcomes. Finally a sales rep’s experience and familiarity with the business also help a rep to make this short- and long-term balance work successfully.
How to boost call center productivity (and morale too!)
We are visual creatures. Research shows that we process images 60,000 times faster than text. Visual tools can help boost call center productivity in several ways through the use of a call planning and visualization tool. Here’s how:
- Define the customer outcome: What is the primary goal you have for the call? We often hear that preparation improves the quality. By looking at preparation as a quality issue, you move away from the transactional (simplistically speaking) to the strategic (focused on customer). Visual tools can help reps to do efficient research before calls and set goals for calls.
- Know who you are talking with: Before and during calls, reps should be able to access the most important information in an organized way. Things like information about the lead being called, together with nearby accounts who have a similar product or service, and summary statistics of benefits delivered to customers are some ways you can find data that can help build a connection during the call.
- Track intermediate metrics: You can easily track which information is useful to the rep, the info they return to over and over again, and which information improves the connect rate. These metrics can be compared to the final customer outcome, so you can make changes to improve outcomes.
- Provide time-saving one-click steps: Often the data is insufficient, inaccurate or simply out of date. A single click for a quick search that gets the current, correct data saves ten clicks. Looking up relationships, directions, etc. can be made simple through one-click buttons on a simple layout.
- Arrange all this in one spot: All this info should be delivered visually and simply in a single location, so the rep can get information instantly without distraction.
Okay, so how does this boost morale? Time after time, sales managers have told us that reps work best from a single “go-to” location that empowers them with information. In addition, this can reduce the fatigue of transactional calls, and it helps to elevate the rep to the realm of a relationship, so they enjoy every conversation. And that is the most priceless gift you can give to your reps to increase call center productivity.