How Your Call Center Can Improve Customer Engagement and Satisfaction

Customers expect your business to have minimal hold times between calls, knowledgeable and polite agents, and, generally, just the best customer experience. Omnichannel customer services is one of the best ways to reduce hold times. 

Providing a personalized and supportive customer experience can paint a great image of your call center, allowing you to increase conversions. Fortunately, there are several strategies and resources you can use to ensure maximum client engagement and retention. Specifically, contact center intelligence, such as AI-powered chatbots, should be an integral component of your call center’s customer engagement strategy.  

To maximize client engagement and satisfaction, below are some areas you should invest your time and focus on:  

  • Minimize Hold Times 

Many call centers make the mistake of forcing customers through a slew of menus and options, despite their obvious dissatisfaction with these hurdles. Even after routing, customers are forced to stand in a line and impatiently wait for the next available customer representative. In worse case scenarios, they’re even asked to retry their luck during business hours. This painstaking wait inflicts a serious blow on your call center’s customer experience prospects.  

According to Harvard Business Review, customers whose complaints are handled within five minutes are often willing to trust in your products and services in the future. Thankfully, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help you stay within this time window every time. 

AI is a lot better at reducing administrative overheads. AI reduces answering times than human agents, allowing a small workforce to manage customer complaints quickly, and consequently increasing customer engagement.  

  • Invest In Resources For Agent Empowerment 

Working as a call center agent isn’t an easy job. There’s that huge burden of handling frustrated customers with calm and patience. Even when wrestling within difficult conversations, agents have to meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs)–keep on mulling over which solutions are right and will improve customer retention. These engagements test your agent’s ability to their last bone.  

To make sure your employees have everything they need to work efficiently, provide tools and resources. For example, to work at optimal efficiency, call centers often require high-tech software that facilitates communication across multiple channels. In fact, most call centers require at least three to four applications to tackle a single customer complaint. This number can even drastically increase to 20, or more, with the increasing surge in customer issues.

An omnichannel desktop provides an effective solution by placing pertinent customer information on the agent’s desktop.  

  • Deploy Work-Integrated Training Methods 

The next generation of training methods can make a huge difference in your call center’s performance. Gone are the days when agents had to leave their workstations to join a training session. This outmoded strategy will decrease productivity and sapped attention spans.  

Now, tech-savvy leaders are sending training videos directly to employee smartphones and leaning more towards video-based content, instead of relying on textually complex PDFs. Sometimes, training videos are also transferred to agent desktops to be accessed and learned from at times when the workload is minimal. These strategies perfectly dovetail into the agent’s natural environment, promoting convenience and ease.  

Think of a hypothetical situation: an agent endures a tough call with an unhappy customer. Immediately, after a 20-minute tutorial video pops up to realign senses and prepare for the next customer. Specialized training protocols like this will promote employee engagement, yielding positive customer experiences in the future.  

  • By Relying On AI Chatbots 

Agents don’t have to be at the forefront of your call center’s activities. An average agent-customer interaction can cost USD$15, whereas a virtual assistant handle sums up to under USD$1. 

Choosing an AI-powered chatbot as the first line of inquiry not only aids fast problem resolution but also reduces costs. Moreover, bots will provide your call center the added advantage of providing a 24/7 service, such as scheduling customer callbacks when your office is closed for operations on holidays or after business hours. Bots can also learn about customer experience and can be used as data boxes to study vital consumer behaviors.  

However, make sure to implement advanced technology when servicing with bots. Otherwise, customer experience might take a nosedive. However, you shouldn’t consider bots as the ultimate solution for customer needs. Rather, they should only be a supplement to your existing services. Deploying them for complete administrative overtake is unreasonable, and a recipe for failure.  

Your customers want an impersonal experience, not a bot that provides an ‘ostensible instant resolution’ every time. Bots that redirect calls to an agent provide a continuous experience, keeping the customer engaged without breaking the interaction. Having the call directly routed to an agent and having the bot as a backup will also streamline the process.  

Final Thoughts 

Customers don’t like to wait. They want instant resolution, or some response, at the very least. To make sure your customers keep on coming back to your call center’s offerings, deploy a variety of strategies and tools–from bots to agent empowerment programs–maximizing your chances of success.  

Dorian Koci

Dr. Dorian Koçi is a historian, Director of National Historical Museum of Albania and lecturer in Tirana State University, Faculty of History and Philology and New York University of Tirana.