No matter what business you manage, most customers prefer speaking to a qualified customer service representative to resolve their issues quickly and efficiently.
Fortunately, a customer service call center can help you do just that.
Whether it’s inbound or outbound service, these call centers can manage large call volumes, provide round-the-clock service, and boost customer experience effortlessly.
In this article, we’ll cover what a customer service call center is, its benefits, and five things to look for in a customer service call center. We’ll then explore the role of a customer service representative (CSR) and give you four simple tips to manage a customer service call center efficiently.
This article contains:
(Click on a link below to jump to a specific section)
- What is a Customer Service Call Center?
- 4 Key Benefits of a Customer Service Call Center
- 5 Things to Look for in a Customer Service Call Center
- The Role of a Customer Service Representative
- 4 Tips to Improve Customer Experience
- How to Manage a Customer Service Call Center?
Let’s dig in.
What is a customer service call center?
A customer service call center is a team that handles incoming and outgoing phone calls from both new and existing customers.
A company can own a call center or hire a third-party service provider.
Additionally, the customer service representatives working in a call center company can help manage customer inquiries, generate leads, and improve the customer service experience.
Next, we’ll take a look at the three most popular types of customer service call centers.
3 types of call centers
A call center can be proactive or reactive, which means they can either reach out to customers with offers (outbound calls) or answer incoming calls.
Here are the three most popular types of call centers:
1. Inbound call center
An inbound call center takes incoming calls to register customer complaints or assist them with their queries.
A call center representative taking inbound calls should have excellent communication skills. They should also have experience in problem-solving and provide proper technical support.
Moreover, they need to have the patience to handle an emotional, angry caller efficiently and resolve their issues.
2. Outbound call center
An outbound call center is where a customer service agent proactively calls existing or new customers on behalf of a business or brand.
These outbound calls could be for:
- Customer service.
- Market research.
- Telemarketing sales.
- Post-sales follow-up.
- Non-profit fundraising.
- Updating contact list.
3. Remote call center
A remote or work-from-home call center has a customer service team working from different locations. They can provide inbound, outbound, or both types of services.
Such call centers use software to distribute calls to representatives in different time zones. They also support interactions via live chat or social media.
Remote call centers can help create a more diverse customer service team. Additionally, these call centers make it easier for businesses to offer 24/7 customer support.
But why do you need a customer service call center?
Let’s find out.
4 key benefits of a customer service call center
Despite having multiple channels of communication, customers still prefer to speak to a customer service representative.
In fact, according to a 2019 Study by Clutch, almost 88% of customers prefer speaking to a live customer service agent than navigate a phone menu or communicate with a chatbot.
So when a client calls, you want to give them the best experience possible, especially if they are calling for the first time.
However, that’s not the only reason you need a customer service call center.
A call center can:
A. Help you manage growing call volumes
Sometimes businesses may fail to deliver exceptional customer experience over the phone due to a large number of incoming calls. Additionally, employees might struggle to focus on their job if they constantly have to answer phone calls.
Fortunately, since customer service representatives are trained for the job, having a dedicated answering service can help a business manage massive call volumes better.
B. Offer 24/7 availability
Hiring a call center makes your business provide 24/7 support — without the need to set up your own customer care department.
As some call centers hire remote agents from around the globe, you can have reps take calls from different time zones.
This way, a client can get in touch with your customer care team anytime, day or night. It also adds a level of professionalism if you own a small business.
C. Offer lead generation and sales services
An outbound call center can help stimulate customer interest in your product or service by communicating new offers that suit the customers’ preferences on time.
This way, your full-time employees can focus on their job and day-to-day operations rather than worry about boosting sales.
D. Improve customer experience and build customer loyalty
When you have a team that carefully listens to complaints, it assures callers that the brand cares about their needs and interests.
And if they have a good experience on the first call, they’re more likely to make a subsequent purchase and stay loyal to the brand. As a result, a call center can be a big asset for any business.
However, before you go ahead with hiring a call center, there’re a few things you need to consider.
5 things to look for in a customer service call center
Here are the five services you should look for in any call center:
1. International vs. domestic centers
You should know where the call center headquarters and its agents are located.
Though an off-shore call center can be more cost-effective, it may offer fewer services.
2. Inbound and outbound service
Check whether the prospective call center offers inbound or outbound services. Whether you need one or both will depend on your business needs.
An inbound call center will answer customer calls, offer technical support, take orders, and process payments over the phone.
On the other hand, an outbound call center can offer lead generation, follow-ups, or feedback surveys.
Check whether the call center provides day-to-day operational reports to measure improvements on key metrics or key performance indicators (KPI).
These reports could include a basic summary of calls made and received or real-time data analytics. Additionally, call centers can even record calls for internal review.
4. 24/7 availability
It’s essential to have a customer care service that’s reliable and always available to answer calls. You should know how often the center agents will be available to answer calls.
Many call centers offer 24/7 and 365 days availability. Some agencies also provide a disaster recovery service in case their phone lines go down.
5. Multilingual services
Ideally, your call center agents should be fluent in multiple languages if you have an international business.
As a result, it’s crucial to note the languages or translation services a call center can provide. Additionally, ask if these services come at an extra cost.
Great, now you know what to look for in a call center.
However, a call center’s success lies in the people who provide customer support.
Our next section covers the duties and responsibilities of a customer service representative and the salaries you can expect in a customer service job.
What is the role of a customer service representative?
A customer service representative (CSR), also called an agent, is an employee who works in a call or contact center.
Let’s find out what’s expected from a customer support agent.
A. Duties and responsibilities
Here’s a list of functions that a customer service representative must perform:
1. Provide thoughtful, personalized solutions
Sometimes, agents will come across a frazzled and angry customer in the work environment.
In this case, they should never assume that they know more about a customer’s needs than a customer does.
They should carefully listen to what the customer is saying and provide a well-thought-out solution. And regardless of the situation, they should stay polite and professional while answering calls.
2. Document and respond efficiently
Every agent needs to be proficient with call center software. This way, they can respond to calls quickly, document complaints easily, and have smoother customer interaction.
Additionally, call center agents should familiarize themselves with ticketing systems, help desk tools, and more. Call center management needs to ensure that agents get sufficient training on using such tools.
3. Report recurring customer issues to the business
If agents notice a pattern in customer complaints, they should report it to the product management team. It can help the business identify flaws and rectify them before they lead to an unpleasant experience.
4. Be creative in problem-solving
Sometimes, the complaint an agent needs to resolve will be complex and unexpected.
This requires them to be creative in offering alternative solutions beneficial to both the customer and the business they’re representing.
As per Glassdoor, the average national salary for a customer service job in the United States is $33,651/year. And if you wish to work part-time, you’ll earn approximately $14-15/hour.
In addition to CSR responsibilities and salaries, let’s also equip you with some handy CSR tips.
4 simple tips to improve customer experience
Here are four tips to help agents excel at their customer service job:
1. Start with a question
Agents should try to find answers to who, what, where, when, and how to gain some insight into the customer complaints. It’ll give them a better understanding of the complaint and help with problem-solving.
2. Have empathy
Agents should carefully listen and acknowledge a customer complaint. Additionally, agents should reassure the caller that they’ll go the extra mile to help them.
3. Use a natural speaking voice
A calm and relaxed tone can work wonders in appeasing an angry customer. The customer shouldn’t feel that the conversation is scripted.
4. Never hesitate to ask questions
Contact center or call center agents should always ask a senior if they’re unsure about an inquiry. It’s better to put a customer on hold for a short period than provide wrong information.
Next, we’ll explore what it takes to manage the call center workforce and operations successfully.
How to manage a customer service call center?
Here’s how you can manage a call center efficiently:
1. Hire the right customer care executives
Your center agents should have strong technical and communication skills. They should also be passionate about the job.
To ensure that, take time to screen prospective candidates based on customer service skills, expertise, and personality.
2. Invest in training and onboarding
This way, your company agents will be fully equipped to handle different types of customer calls and represent your brand properly.
3. Communicate with agents regularly
Conducting regular meetings with your customer service team is an effective way to provide feedback and coaching.
You should also use this time to share ideas for personal and process improvements.
4. Manage agent productivity
To manage call center operations better and reduce call wait time, you also need to manage your agent’s productivity.
But how do you do that?
By using a productivity monitoring tool, like Time Doctor!
Time Doctor is a robust employee time tracking software used by major companies and small businesses.
You can use Time Doctor to track how long your agents take to resolve customer queries, monitor attendance and generate payrolls within minutes.
Here’re some features that make Time Doctor an excellent productivity management solution:
- Time tracking: Agents in a company can use both manual and automatic time tracking to review how much time they take to work on a customer’s query.
- Shifts and schedules: Team leaders can create and manage their agents’ schedules and work shifts effortlessly.
- Reports: Team leads can access comprehensive real–time reports to evaluate the productivity of a team member.
- Payrolls: Managers can quickly generate payroll by selecting the date range, currencies, payment method, and pay rates for each agent.
- Powerful integrations: Business owners can integrate Time Doctor with call center software like Salesforce or Zendesk via its Chrome integration.
Using Time Doctor, you can quickly identify which agents are the most productive and which agents need help to resolve customer queries better. You can also eliminate the need for micromanagement of agents.
Providing excellent customer service is crucial for any business’s growth. Fortunately, a customer service call center can help you out here.
However, hiring the right call center service provider isn’t easy.
You need to ensure that they offer the right services for your needs, employ qualified candidates, and fit your budget.
Use the information and tips covered in this article to ensure the call center you hire provides an exceptional customer experience.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.