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Call Center Best Practices: 20 Proven Tips for 2020

Call centers are everywhere and if you want to up your game and become a reliable call center, then you need to make some changes. Here we outline 20 proven tips and call center best practices to help you grow positively.

Call Center Best Practices: Proven Tips for 2020

The following list of best practices for call centers is meant to help you enhance the way agents interact with customers as well as improve overall call center productivity.

1. Focus on Customer Experience

Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance when considering call center best practices. This includes good product development, offering satisfactory customer service, and improving customer experience. Customers interact with your business through different mediums: website, chat, phone, email, etc. Ensure that their experience on all these channels is acceptable and excellent. Some ways to do so include:

  • Reducing wait times
  • Solving issues quickly
  • Offering multi-channel support
  • Responding quickly and effectively

2. Track Call Center KPIs

In order to make sure that your call center is performing as per your standards, it is important to track progress through metrics or call center KPIs such as:

  • Average Time in the Queue
  • Average Handle Time
  • First Call Resolution
  • Average Response Time
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Average Number of Calls
  • Abandonment Rates
  • Occupancy Rates

Watching these metrics can help you identify areas of strengths and weaknesses within your call center. Then based on this information, you can train employees to better meet the company’s standards and mission.

3. Train Agents Effectively

This one goes without saying. Training agents is a must. Do not just assume that newcomers who have worked in other call centers will do their jobs as you desire. Train them for your company’s specific needs and goals. Furthermore, they may not be familiar with your management systems, technology, or software. Use webinars, guides, workshops, etc., to help employees understand how processes work and how to achieve goals set by the company.

4. Reduce Agent Turnover Rates

Agent turnover rate refers to the percent of agents quitting a call center. This is an important KPI to track because it is better to retain your agents than constantly hire new agents. Understand that working in a call center can be monotonous with little to no reward. At times, agents may even feel overburdened or unable to achieve goals set for them. Taking care of your employees is extremely crucial to reducing agent turnover rates and increasing the chances of good customer satisfaction rates. After all, happy employees lead to happy customers.

5. Consider Work-from-Home

Work-from-home as an employment option is growing more popular. And with advancements in VoIP technology, it is now possible to work from a call center from the comfort of one’s home. Being able to offer this option can help employees save on commuting costs while providing them with flexibility. This in turn helps reduce agent turnover rates. Plus, it helps your call center offer jobs beyond your immediate location. This way, you can hire agents in different states and even different countries, making your call center more geographically accessible.

6. Invest in the Right Virtual Call Center Software

Virtual call center software supports on-premise as well as virtual call centers. It comes with a variety of features that help your employees manage calls better and produce desirable results. Common virtual call center software features include:

  • Call forwarding and routing options based on location, time, skills, agent history, customer history, etc.
  • Inbound/outbound call recording
  • Interactive voice response
  • Extensions and call transfer abilities
  • Access to virtual phone numbers (toll free, local, international, universal toll free numbers)
  • Outbound calling with web dialers and dynamic caller IDs
  • Black and white lists
  • SIP trunking to enable voice and video transmission over the internet
  • Simultaneous ringing, and much more

7. Consider Workforce Optimization Solutions

Workforce optimization (WFO) software can ensure workforce satisfaction and productivity. With workforce optimization solutions, you can track quality and performance. All of this helps you manage your workforce better in ways that are beneficial to you as well as your employees.

8. Record Business Calls

Recording and reviewing business calls can assist managers in studying how their agents are performing. You may choose to review failed calls to see what went wrong or successful calls to see what went right. Managers can even review early recordings of a newly hired employee to help them with ways to improve their interactions. Recording VoIP calls also gives agents an incentive to do well as they know they are being recorded.

9. Use an Outbound Calling Service

An outbound calling service supports your outbound call strategies by making it inexpensive and easy to connect with local, long-distance, and international customers. Such a virtual communication service comes with a customizable caller ID. With this feature, you can choose which of your purchased numbers to display as the outgoing caller ID. Display toll free or local numbers when calling different states or countries and present your company as a local one.

10. Regularly Check in with Agents

One of the top and most commonly practiced call center best practices is to regularly monitor the performance of your agents. How are they performing? Are they overburdened or taking on too many or too few calls? How long are they taking to complete post-call activities? Are they struggling with the software or technology used? And so on. Checking in with them will help you get a better idea of how your call center is running and what, if any, changes need to be made.

11. Choose Easy-to-Use Software

Agents and employees at a call center will find themselves using a variety of software to track and store information and more. For this reason, ensure that the software you’ve selected is easy to use and learn. Agents should not have to spend days and weeks learning how to use these systems.

Best practices for virtual call center agents.
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#75940443 ID#27446420

12. Use Automation Appropriately

Consider using automated IVR systems to appropriately distribute incoming calls. This ensures callers receive help from the right department or agent. It can also be used to equally distribute calls among agents so that no one employee is over- or under-burdened. Calls can be routed under different rules such as:

  • Location-based routing — based on where the call is coming from
  • Time-based routing — based on the time of day of the call
  • Skill-based routing — based on agent skills needed
  • Least occupied routing — routes calls to agents who have answered the least amount of calls
  • Regular routing — routes calls down a predetermined list of agents
  • Simultaneous routingring multiple phones with one number

13. Get the Right Project Management & CRM Systems

Project management and CRMs are necessary to store, track, and share important customer information in any call center. Find systems that work well for your needs. You may even consider free trials at the beginning to see which ones are most suited and easy to use.

14. Offer Real-Time and Multi-Channel Support

More recently, call centers are offering real-time support through multiple channels such as phone, email, live chat, trouble tickets, and more. In order to step up your customer service game, it is highly recommended to offer more channels of communication. You may even consider chatbots, online knowledge bases with guides to common issues, an IVR system, and more to offer callers and users quicker ways to resolve their queries.

15. Provide 24/7 Customer Service

Most customers also expect 24/7 customer service from a company they are doing business with. Being able to offer customer service whenever a customer needs it can greatly impact customer satisfaction and retention. Here is where multi-channel support comes into play. Chatbots and IVR systems can provide solutions to common issues or FAQs. Guides or knowledge bases only can help users resolve their queries on their own; it is best to offer a range of options to fulfill as many needs as possible. This way, even if an agent is not immediately available, they can get help another way.

16. Improve First Call Resolution Rates

First call resolution rate refers to the percent of calls resolved on the first try. As a call center manager, this is an important KPI to track and maintain. A good FCR rate implies quick and effective customer service. And this can directly impact customer satisfaction rates. To resolve calls on the first try, agents need to be well-versed in their knowledge of the product or service and possible issues that come up. Provide agents with easy access to necessary information so they can offer help quickly.

17. Use VoIP to Expand Your Team

A VoIP phone system or cloud phone system can revolutionize your call center’s communication. Such a system enables agents to work and stay connected from any location. It also gives you access to virtual communication features and software as well as access to a multitude of virtual phone numbers. All of this is possible while keeping your monthly bill low.

18. Collect Customer Feedback and Conduct Satisfaction Surveys

One of the most important call center best practices includes collecting customer feedback to improve your service. You can gather feedback through surveys via email, phone, IVR systems, SMS, chat, etc. Customer feedback is essential to understanding the customer experience. Oftentimes, even if you think your call center is doing well, there may be certain aspects you are overlooking and surveys can help highlight these areas. Develop your surveys based on specific areas you want to get feedback on and then use the feedback to make necessary changes.

19. Prepare Guides and Knowledge Bases

Create easy-to-understand guides and knowledge bases that can be used by agents as well as customers. You may choose to create two versions; one for agents and one for customers. The point of such guides or content that provides quick solutions and support is so that when the need arises, agents can help customers and at times, customers can help themselves. Being able to resolve concerns quickly is instrumental in retaining valuable customers.

20. Stay Open to Change

Finally, be open to change. Any call center manager worth their salt is open to feedback, criticism, and change. Change implies growth and you should always look for ways to grow and expand your business.

Put These Call Center Best Practices to Use

Now it’s time to apply these call center best practices and give your agents the support they need. While these tips may not prove useful to your specific business, choose the ones that are most applicable. For information about virtual phone systems and call center software, contact us at 1 (888) 908 6171 today!

How to Reduce Hold Time in a Virtual Call Center

Are customers abandoning calls because they are waiting in line for too long? This can hurt your business if not taken care of quickly. Here we will look at a few different ways you can reduce hold times in your virtual call center.

How Can You Reduce Hold Time in Your Virtual Call Center?

A virtual call center is meant to handle calls made to the businesses they represent and offer quick and reliable customer service. However, if your callers are on hold or in long queues, then they will take their business elsewhere. And that is not good news for your call center. So, what can you do to reduce hold time in your virtual call center?

1. Experiment with Call Routing Strategies

The most effective way to reduce hold times is to distribute calls effectively. If all calls are going only to a handful of agents, then they will be easily overburdened. Consider implementing different routing strategies that route calls based on:

  • The time of day
  • The location of the caller
  • Skills required for the call (language)
  • Caller history
  • A predetermined line or schedule of agents
  • Simultaneous ringing, and more

These different call routing strategies will help you effectively distribute calls, thus ensuring that callers receive service quickly.

2. Invest in Cloud IVR Tech

Cloud IVR or an interactive voice response system is an automated voice response system. This system is designed and customized by you to meet your specific needs. The IVR system answers an incoming call and provides the caller with menu options such as Press 1 for ___ and Press 2 for ____. Based on caller input, the call will then be forwarded to the next set of options or to a representative ready to help.

Having a cloud IVR system handle and distribute calls can ensure calls are sent to the right agent and not passed around. Furthermore, the IVR may even be able to assist the caller without the help of the agent.

3. Train Agents Effectively

Training agents is of utmost importance. Even if new agents come with some experience, it is essential to train them for your specific call center. That includes how to use software and tech involved, how to navigate to your support or knowledge base, how to resolve common issues, and what to do when they do not have an answer, etc. To learn more in this regard, check out our article about managing virtual call center agents.

4. Study Call Traffic

Another way to reduce hold time is to pay attention to the days and times when most calls come in. Identifying high call traffic periods can help you schedule more agents or route calls to remote agents as well during those times. Either way, your team can be better prepared if they know which periods will be hectic.

5. Consider Chat & SMS as Communication Options

While phone calls are still the most preferred option for customer support, there is a whole section of the population that prefers non-phone options like SMS, live chat, email, etc. Having an SMS and live chat option can help your agents multitask and resolve queries without keeping users on hold for very long. It is therefore highly recommended that your business invests in technology that lets you send and receive text messages and also offer live chat on your website.

6. Create a Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is an online support portal with posts meant to help current users troubleshoot common issues, learn how to quickly add new services, and other useful information. Most knowledge bases will teach users about:

  • Billing services
  • Adding new services or accounts
  • Managing their current account
  • Resolving common issues

Make your knowledge base easily accessible so that users can get to it quickly and agents can share a link to callers. If most of your callers can resolve their issues on their own, then you will have fewer hold times in your virtual call center.

7. Monitor Agent Performance

Lastly, monitor how your agents are performing. You may choose to join calls or record calls and review them. Track important call center KPIs such as:

  • First call resolution rates
  • Average hold time
  • Average time in the queue
  • Abandoned calls
  • Response time, and so on

These KPIs can help you understand how your agents are doing and which areas need improvement.

Get Virtual Call Center Software with Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding can offer you the tools you need to improve and reduce hold times and customer satisfaction. You can get cloud IVR, call recording, detailed call logs, SMS forwarding, and more with us. Call to get started today!

What is Call Center Performance Management?

Sales and customer service reps and employees are often the first line of contact between your business and its customers. Therefore, their performance can directly impact how successful your business or call center is. Call center performance management is a surefire way to test and review employee performance and provide room for improvement.

What is Call Center Performance Management?

Call center performance management refers to the tracking, analyzing, calculating, and improving of agent and employee performance. Whether you run a virtual, remote, or on-premise call center, conducting performance management and reviews is important to determine how your agents are performing and how satisfied your customers are.

How to Manage and Improve Performance in Your Contact Center

Customers often reach out to a business to gain information about a product or service or to resolve an issue they are facing. And when they do so, they are almost always expecting a quick response, low wait times, friendly interaction, and a quick resolution. And so, your agents should be able to provide:

  • Personalized and friendly customer service
  • Improved first call resolution
  • Fast call resolution during the first call (in other words, high first call resolution rates)
  • Simple handling of the problem
  • Service for any additional issues

Call center performance management is tracking whether your agents and employees are able to do the above while upholding company standards. And then, training them appropriately, if they fail to meet your standards. The goal is to help your agents provide high levels of customer service and enhanced caller experience. Identifying where they are failing can help you as you help them succeed.

Measuring Call Center Performance Management

Call center performance management includes evaluating agent performance during customer interactions and how they line up with business goals. The best way to conduct performance management is to identify and use KPIs applicable to your business. Some KPIs to consider are:

  • Customer satisfaction scores (CSAT)
  • Average handle time
  • First call resolution
  • Average speed of answer
  • Average response time, and more

To measure the performance of your call center, first set realistic business goals. Then, use contact center software to learn about average handle time, wait times, conversions, first call resolution rates, customer satisfaction goals, and so on. By studying these metrics you can get a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. As a manager, you can then make well-informed decisions about workforce management and ways to improve customer service.

Contact Center Performance Management Tools

1. Call Center Software
Your call center software can help with tracking important KPIs and metrics through call logs and activity reports. On-premise call center software is run by the company while a virtual call center software is hosted by a cloud server. The type of call center software you should choose depends on how much control you want to have over the software as well as your in-house IT team.

2. Contact Center Metrics and KPIs
As mentioned above, call center performance management includes tracking and measuring agent performance. Use relevant KPIs to study and optimize agent behavior before, during, and post calls.

3. Inbound/Outbound Call Recording
Use hosted call recording to listen in or review calls. These recordings can also help you train new employees by demonstrating acceptable and unacceptable agent behavior.

4. Coaching and Training
Use training material to continue training customer service employees on ways to reach and maintain company standards. Refresher courses, workshops, webinars, software tutorials, etc., can come in very handy.

Start Optimizing Agent Productivity!

center performance management will not only help you identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses but will also show you what steps need to be taken to optimize productivity and efficiency. This can help your call center offer better customer service and improve customer satisfaction. Start today!

11 Tips to Improve Your Outbound Calls Strategy

Are your outbound calls not making enough sales? You may need to rethink your strategies and implement new ones. Here are 11 tips to improve your outbound calling strategy and generate more leads.

11 Proven Tips to Improve Your Outbound Calls Strategy

Outbound calls are outgoing calls made from a company to its customers, vendors, and business partners. During outbound calls, agents or representatives call a list of promising leads or prospects and encourage them to make a purchase or sign up for a service.

Some common reasons for outbound calling are:

  • To increase brand awareness and visibility
  • Proactive approaches such as checking in with customers, setting upcoming appointments, following up on recent purchases or abandoned carts, etc.
  • Offering customer success services where you and customers or clients together work towards a goal
  • Verify or activate accounts
  • Send out reminders for upcoming payments or renewals
  • Collect feedback or conduct market research, to name a few

Outbound calls are sometimes known as cold calls, which are frequently used for sales, telemarketing, customer success, and more. However, cold calling is difficult because most customers are not prepared for your pitch.

So what can you do to grab their attention more effectively? Here are 11 useful tips to improve your outbound calling strategy.

1. Set Realistic Goals: Identify KPIs

First, it is important to set reasonable goals and share these with your teams. These goals and milestones can be modified as your business grows and new factors come into play. Make sure everyone understands what the goals are and how to achieve them. For example, are outbound calls meant to survey prospects or make a sale? How many sales should be made per month or per quarter? And so on.

Additionally, you want to identify relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) so you can measure employee performance. Common KPIs associated with outbound and sales calls are:

  1. Average Handle Time: Length of calls in relation to the total number of calls. Longer handling times may indicate difficulty in closing, poor persuasion skills, or insufficient product knowledge.
  2. First Call Resolution: Number of calls resolved on the first call in relation to the total number of calls. High first call resolution indicates that agents are doing well and are able to sell effectively without wasting time.
  3. Conversion Rate: Number of sales in relation to the total number of calls. A low conversion rate means that not enough sales are being made and the outbound calling strategy needs more work.
  4. Occupancy Rate: Time agents are spending on calls in relation to the amount of unavailable time spent. A low rate for an agent or rep means that they are struggling with post-call work.

2. Create the Ideal Call List

This goes without saying but if you are not targeting the right audience and demographic for your business, you won’t make great sales. Therefore, creating the perfect list can impact how well your business performs. Conduct market research and allow collaboration between marketing and sales teams so that together they can work on ideal buyer personas for your product. Then, develop a promising list that agents can pursue and generate more sales with.

3. Get an Outbound Calling Service

Consider getting a business VoIP service to support your local and international outbound calls. With a web dialer, your call center agent can quickly place calls from a computer and log important call notes.

Additionally, they can contact long-distance clients and display local area codes instead of international ones. Individuals are more likely to answer recognizable or local numbers instead of random, unknown ones.

4. Train Your Phone Sales Reps

Part of ensuring your phone sales reps are doing their jobs well is training them to do them correctly. Train and re-train agents to highlight and refresh best practices that they should imitate. Sit in on calls or record calls and review them to offer advice on proper and ineffective strategies. Refer to experts and webinars for more useful and modern sales development training tactics that outbound call center agents can use.

5. Collaborate with Marketing

Your marketing team has a good idea of how to sell to audiences. And your sales team knows who this audience is. Putting these two teams together can help you gain a bigger picture of your target audience and how to appeal to them.

6. Pay Attention to Your Prospect

Most agents dominate the call trying hard to make their pitch and sale. However, in order to gain their attention, you need to engage the prospect. Listen to them, pay attention to their needs, concerns, and issues. And adapt your pitch to make it flexible, allowing you to customize its relevance. This is much more useful as opposed to a stock script. Make them feel valued as individuals and not merely as another conquest in your sales job.

7. Study. Analyze. Optimize

Next, study your processes, responses, and agent performance. Use the KPIs and other metrics to track how your call center or business is performing. Analyze call tracking metrics to boost inside sales revenue.

8. Identify the Best Calling Times

Another factor worth paying attention to is the best time of day to call prospects. Most experts suggest that Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to call prospects. This is because they are not preoccupied with the upcoming week or getting ready for the weekend. Additionally, calling between 11 am and 1 pm or 4 pm and 5 pm is preferable instead of early morning or during the pre- or post-work commute.

9. Consider Outbound Calling Tools

As mentioned before, consider outbound calling tools such as a call center dialer, CRM, and customizable caller ID to boost your success rate. These tools make it easy and even automate processes to a certain degree which can make placing calls and closing deals faster.

10. Simplify the Process

Make it easy for prospects to understand your brand and product, find more information, and make the purchase. Only offer information that is necessary and relevant. Overstatement and technical jargon can put customers off.

11. Record and Review Interactions

It can be very helpful to see how your employees are interacting with customers. Use a call recording software to review calls and pay attention to customer preferences, behaviors, and more. This will give you insights into what aspects of your product or service are most and least successful. Based on that information, you can create better products and services and improve customer care.

What is First Call Resolution?

First call resolution (FCR) directly impacts customer satisfaction and retention. It is, therefore, recommended that your business or call center measure and track this KPI regularly. Here is a guide that will help you understand the importance of first call resolution and how to measure and improve FCR rates for your business.

What is First Call Resolution?

A first call resolution rate measures a call center or business’ ability to resolve customer calls when they first call. In other words, customers who call to inquire about a product or resolve an issue are helped during the first call and no follow-up calls or emails are required.

First call resolutions or FCR is an essential call center KPI or metric. This metric is also included in customer relationship management or CRM systems.

Why Should Your Contact Center Measure First Call Resolution Rates?

When customers contact your company regarding an issue or product, they expect to have an answer quickly. The longer they have to wait to resolve a concern or question, the more likely they will find a different company that provides faster service and quicker solutions. Customer satisfaction (CSAT scores) drives brand loyalty and customer retention rates. Good first call resolution rates can improve customer satisfaction and help you keep your loyal and valued customers close.

Furthermore, this metric also helps you measure the efficiency of your employees or agents. For instance, how quickly can agents resolve a call? How much time is spent on resolving issues? Do they spend more time with follow-ups with the same customers or are they able to attend to others as well?

Calculating first call resolution can give you insights into how your business is performing in terms of customer satisfaction. The higher the FCR rates, the higher your customer satisfaction scores. For any contact center or business, the goal remains: achieving high first call resolution rates and low talk time.

How to Measure First Call Resolution

FCR is commonly measured as the total number of calls resolved on the first call divided by the total number of calls received during a certain period of time.

When measuring first call resolution, you may want to consider the following criteria or factors that could affect this score:

  • What does “sufficiently resolved” mean? Is it only when a customer’s issue is resolved? Or does customer satisfaction count as well?
  • Does a callback include agents following-up with callers via chat, SMS, or email?
  • Will FCR include calls handled by your IVR?
  • What about calls abandoned calls due to confusing IVR, long wait times, etc.?
  • Will a caller reaching the wrong department be included?
  • What about a call where a manager was conferenced in or that was transferred to a colleague?

Make sure you clearly define what FCR is and how it will be measured so that your agents and employees are prepared.

How to Improve FCR in Your Call Center

There are a few different ways to improve your contact center or business’ FCR rates:

1. Set realistic goals: Define what FCR is and ensure your agents and employees understand the importance of good FCR rates and how to achieve them.

2. Train agents: Train call center employees to meet your company’s standards and mission. Use a call recording service to highlight strengths and weaknesses.

3. Conduct performance analysis regularly: Review employee performance and efficiency by sitting in on calls or reviewing recordings.

4. Identify common customer questions and issues: The fastest way to help customers is to be prepared for issues or concerns that may arise while using your product or service. Identify common issues and train agents to quickly resolve.

5. Develop an easy-to-follow knowledge base or guide: Provide employees with a knowledge base or guide that can help them help customers efficiently.

6. Track FCR on all communication channels: If you communicate with clients via phone, email, live chat, social media, etc., ensure that you track FCR rates on all these channels. A low rate on other channels can bring your overall FCR rate down.

7. Develop incentive programs and rewards for employees: Give employees good reasons to do their job well so they work harder to resolve calls on the first try.

8. Set customer expectations: Create better caller experiences by reducing wait times, employing an effective IVR system, etc.

Improve First Call Resolution to Boost Customer Loyalty

Can call analytics help you gain better insights into in FCR and how your business is doing to see where you can improve? Start measuring first call resolution today and secure your valued customers!

9 Ways for a Call Center to Use a Web Dialer

More and more companies (call center or not) are using a call center dialer or a web dialer to support their outbound calling strategies. The main reason is that this type of dialer can be used on any device and from any location. Here we will discuss what these dialers are and 9 practical ways you can use them to increase productivity and customer relations.

Call Center Dialer: 9 Practical Uses

A call center dialer is a keypad tool that allows your employees to make business calls through a computer or smartphone. Call center dialers and web dialers are not meant for call centers exclusively. Regular businesses that engage in outbound calling for sales or customer retention purposes can use this dialer to connect with local and international customers. Virtual phone service providers like Global Call Forwarding offer web dialers with their outbound calling service.

Depending on what type of company you operate, there are two types of calling:

  • Inbound calling: incoming calls by customers, prospects, and vendors usually for customer service and support.
  • Outbound calling: outgoing calls made by your team to customers and prospects to increase sales.

A web dialer allows you to receive and make calls from your computer or smartphone. This means that you do not need to invest in desk phones for every employee. They simply download a software, application, or browser extension. Most providers will offer a call center dialer with additional features such as the ability to save caller notes, update contact information, check voicemail, CRM integrations, etc.

Here are the top 9 ways your team can use a call center dialer to increase productivity and efficiency.

1. Sales and Lead Generation

Use the call center dialer to quickly contact various prospects on your sales list and generate new leads. You can store and update prospect information, notes on the interaction regarding whether they qualify, whether they are interested in the product, need a follow-up call, and so on. This way, you create a contact and the next time you call them, you have a history to build off of, and can quickly dial the number. Dialers are a call center favorite when it comes to calling large volumes of customers.

2. Increase Brand Awareness

Besides merely calling to make a sale or appointment, you can use a web dialer to promote your brand and increase visibility. Use market research to identify target audiences and demographics. Then, contact these potential prospects from this list and introduce them to your brand and its products and services. You can offer them a promotion or direct them to your website where they can learn more about the services you offer. This will help you get closer to target consumers.

3. Connect with International Clientele

Global Call Forwarding’s outbound calling service comes with a customizable caller ID capability. This means you can customize your outgoing caller ID and override it with a toll free or local number (of the location being called) previously purchased. Customers who receive such calls will see a toll free number or a local number and are more likely to answer the call. The main reason is that local or toll free calls are inexpensive compared to international calling.

You can get multiple international toll free and local numbers for countries across the world. With this service, you can call internationally for much cheaper rates and avoid paying long-distance calling fees.

4. Welcome New Customers

Use your call center dialer to welcome and verify new customers when they sign up or make their first purchase. This will demonstrate customer care as it shows that you value their business. You can verify purchases, offer to help them understand your service better, activate accounts, and so on.

5. Follow-Up on Recent Purchases

Check in with customers who made recent or repeated purchases with follow-up calls. Ask for feedback, how the experience was, or anything that can be done to improve the service. This too will display that your business cares about how customers interact with it. Your team should always try to improve customer service and this is one way to do so.

6. Reach Out to Abandoned Carts

Abandoned carts occur when an interested customer starts the check-out process but does not complete it. In other words, they abandon their cart and don’t make a purchase. Follow-up on abandoned carts with calls to identify reasons why customers may hesitate to purchase your product or service. Inquire how processes can be made simpler or help them complete the purchase.

7. Execute Customer Retention Strategies

Bringing new customers abroad can be more expensive than retaining customers. Having the ability to quickly contact important and valued customers can help you improve customer relations. Some good customer retention strategies include calling customers and prospects to:

  • Schedule new appointments
  • Set sales appointments at more convenient times
  • Remind them of upcoming appointments, payments, renewals, etc
  • Help reduce abandoned carts, and more

Keeping in touch with customers shows that your business is customer-focused and this will help you retain existing customers.

8. Raise Funds/Donations

Another useful application of a call center dialer is when your organization is conducting a fundraising campaign. You can reach out to members or prospects, present your campaign, and more through an outbound calling service.

9. Collect Customer Surveys and Feedback

Finally, a call center dialer can speed up phone surveys and help you collect feedback from customers about certain services, products, or interactions. Use this feedback to improve your overall service and offer better customer care.

download web dialer guide

Need a Call Center Dialer for Your Business?

Voice IP and web dialers can work together to give you the right tools to support inbound and outbound calling. Your business may fall behind if you do not take advantage of the right tools.

You can get a web dialer with our outbound calling service attached to your virtual phone number plan. Sign up today on our homepage or contact us for more questions!

6 Practical Tips for Managing Virtual Call Center Agents

What are some ways that you, a virtual call center manager, can encourage your employees and agents to perform well? Agents who do their job well will bring more business to your remote contact center and therefore, it is important to keep them motivated and trained. Here are 6 tips to motivate your agents while executing your duties in the most effective manner.

How to Manage Remote Call Center Agents

Managing work-from-home call center agents can be tricky if you do not know where to start. A remote call center works through virtual agents and offices. And this lack of physical office location can prove difficult when it comes to monitoring agents and their interactions. However, there are tools and options available to make this process much easier for managers. Here we will look at the different methods you can try to motivate your agents, monitor their work, and train them to do better.

1. Set and Reiterate Goals

It is important to always be on the same page about the goals and standards of the company. As an agent, what is the agent’s ultimate goal and what steps do they need to take to reach these goals? Provide clear and easy-to-follow instructions and make yourself approachable for any questions or concerns that may arise. Refresh these goals in team meetings or group chats to keep it fresh.

2. Train and Retrain Your Employees

No matter how experienced an agent may be, it is always a good idea to have them go through a brief period of training. This may include refreshing the way certain things are done or running through new software together or doing some practice calls. You may even choose to listen in on a few calls to study how the agent handles themselves. On a similar note, conduct online workshops or group seminars to run through essential training as a refresher for existing agents.

3. Provide Helpful Training Materials

Besides workshops and training, give them access to sales webinars, software tutorials, textbooks, and classes that may help them improve their sales techniques or outbound calling strategies. Having access to these materials will help them stay in touch with the system and processes being used. It will also help them learn about new trends in sales and customer service.

H3: 4. Explain the Importance of Building Strong Customer Relationships

Since this is a virtual call center, efforts must be focused on building strong customer relationships. Therefore, it is important that your agents understand why and how they need to pursue this goal. Educate them on the value of having long-term and returning customers and how loyalty can impact customer retention rates. This information should motivate them positively and encourage them to provide stellar service. This will help improve CSAT scores.

5. Provide Agents with the Right Call Center Tools

Helping your call center agents also includes choosing the right call center software for your call center. Whether it is getting an outbound calling service with an easy-to-use dialer or an IVR system that distributes calls evenly so that no agents become overwhelmed. Having the right resources can make sure your agents are not overloaded with calls and are able to provide solid support.

6. Focus on Improving Quality Assurance

Consider using VoIP call recording to evaluate how agents interact with customers and callers. Here you can identify areas of improvement and highlight appropriate agent behavior. This can also be used for training purposes with the goal to improve virtual call center quality assurance.

Improve Your Virtual Call Center with Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding offers virtual call center tools such as IVR, outbound calling, call recording, and more. Learn more about our services by talking to an expert today!

What is a Call Center Dialer?

Does your business need a call center dialer to support its inbound and outbound calling needs? How do you decide when it’s time to invest in a dialer and what type of dialer should you go for? In this post, we will discuss call center dialers and their usefulness.

Call Center Dialers: What are They?

A call center dialer is a dial pad tool designed to help you make outgoing or outbound calls. Even though these dialers are called “call center dialers,” they are not meant for call center use only. Any business that makes a large number of outgoing calls for sales, appointment setting, and customer service can use an outbound dialer. These dialers help improve agent productivity and efficiency. Types of call center dialers include the following:

Benefits of Manual Dialing

If you are a small- or medium-sized business, then you will most likely start with manual dialing. This is where your sales team manually works through a list of predetermined prospects or leads and contacts them. The benefit of manual dialing is that it offers more control and responsibility to the agents as to who to call and when to call.

Automated or predictive dialers exist as well. However, these dialers use automation to make calls automatically from a set database. There is little control involved, which some sales team managers consider more of a disadvantage. When making a sales call, the salesperson needs to prepare with the right information about the person, their history with the company, demographics, and so on. With predictive dialers, there isn’t always enough time to get acquainted with the necessary information before the call goes through. Manual dialing gives you the time you need to prepare.

Inbound/Outbound Web Dialer

An inbound/outbound web dialer enables you to make outbound calls and receive inbound calls through a dialer that works over the internet, accessed over a webpage such as Google Chrome. An inbound/outbound web dialer can be accessed through a URL and a virtual phone service account.

For example, to use Global Call Forwarding’s web dialer, you will need a virtual phone number plan and you’ll use your login information to log into the web dialer on a webpage. Logging in will lead you to the web or online dialer. This looks similar to a smartphone’s keypad or dial pad. Here, you can access or add contact information and notes, check your voicemail, and make and answer calls. All you need to do is remain connected to a reliable internet connection.

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Getting a Dialer for Your Business

A web dialer can speed up the process of outbound calling for your sales or customer support team. No additional equipment or desk phones required. You simply need to enter the URL, login, and start dialing numbers. You can call customers you have already connected with or contact new prospects. Additionally, you can look up notes, other contact information such as email or address details to customize your sales approach.

Another benefit of an inbound/outbound web dialer is that it works well for businesses that have remote offices or remote employees. Employees can easily connect and start making and answering calls from anywhere in the world as long as they have a stable internet connection. Therefore, your business will have greater cost-savings.

Ready for a Call Center Dialer?

Businesses with a large outbound call volume should consider an inbound/outbound dialer to control and handle their business communication. Save tons by managing your calls in-house instead of outsourcing them. And call center dialers can help you do so. Check out Global Call Forwarding’s inbound/outbound web dialer. For more information, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171.

5 Surefire Ways to Improve Virtual Call Center CSAT Scores

As a virtual call center manager, it is your job to ensure that your center’s CSAT scores are high and continue to remain in good standards. Here we will detail 5 useful ways you and your agents can improve call center customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.

Virtual Call Center CSAT Scores: Why are they Important?

CSAT scores are the measure of customer satisfaction your call center generates. That is, after interacting with your service, how happy are your customers and how likely are they to recommend your service to others. Satisfied customers can easily convert into returning customers and will be the ones that bring new customers to your business. For this reason, improving and maintaining high CSAT scores becomes essential. To succeed, your virtual call center should implement the following methods.

1. Increase Personal Interaction

More recently, a lot of technology has been developed to automate virtual call center processes in an attempt to increase productivity and efficiency. While these are positive influences, it may lead to a decrease in personal interaction between your call center and its customers. Personal interaction is important in order to thoroughly resolve issues.

Many times, customers call a business or call center to get an immediate response. Being bounced around a complicated IVR system or interacting only with the automated system can increase frustration, especially if their issue is rare and complex.

Try to ensure that there is some personal interaction that takes place during a call, as often as possible. Your IVR system is built to make your virtual call center run smoothly, but it does not need to overtake all calls and interactions. Even if it is at the end of the call, have an agent connect to ask: “Is there anything else we can help you with?” Keep in mind that more positive personal interaction equates to more resolutions which, in turn, leads to higher CSAT scores.

2. Increase Quality Assurance

Maintaining quality assurance (QA) is another important factor in improving virtual call center CSAT scores. Call center QA focuses on providing high-quality customer service that matches the business’ standards. And so, QA pays attention to the customer, their issues and needs, and how to improve caller experience. All of these lead to better customer interaction and higher CSAT scores.

Some essential call center QA strategies include training your agents to understand and maintain business standards and goals. For example:

  • Are agents following the necessary scripts?
  • Do they ask questions about the customer’s needs, history, and experience to better understand the issue?
  • Are they following protocol?
  • Is there any misunderstanding or miscommunication?

Virtual call center managers can listen in on calls or review recordings of calls to study and analyze different factors or aspects of agent/customer interactions. They can then provide more training, highlight strengths and weaknesses, strategies that work or that need improvement, and so on. All with the same goal: improving caller experience and increasing customer satisfaction.

3. Pay Attention to Customer Issues

This goes in line with quality assurance. It is important to understand what issues the customer is facing in order to better help and serve them. Here, as a virtual call center manager, you may consider market research to provide data about certain products and services and their most common issues and concerns. This way, your agents are better equipped to help or resolve upcoming issues.

The aim should be to provide solutions and resolve the issue on the first call itself. This is called first call resolution. Call centers or businesses with a higher first call resolution rate have more satisfied customers and higher CSAT scores.

4. Purchase the Necessary Virtual Call Center Technology

It is imperative to invest in the right tools. As with any project, to do a good job, you need the right tools and support. The same goes for a virtual call center. Consider investing in virtual call center software from a provider like Global Call Forwarding where you can customize your options, features, and services to create an ideal phone system.

Most virtual phone service providers offer tools that can support remote and virtual call centers. These include:

  • Call forwarding and routing options
  • Call recording to record incoming and outgoing calls
  • IVR system to manage and distribute incoming calls
  • Outbound calling to make local and international calls with customizable caller ID
  • Local, toll free, international, and vanity numbers that route calls via the internet, and more

5. Track Call Center KPIs

Another way to improve your CSAT scores is by tracking and monitoring important metrics such as:

  • Call answered
  • Calls abandoned
  • Average hold time
  • First call resolution rate
  • Number of calls answered by each agent
  • Time taken to answer a call, etc

These key performance indicators (KPIs) can give you insights into areas of strength and improvement. And they can help you understand your center’s customer service levels and even its current quality. This information will lead you to your next step in improving the service you provide.

Improving Caller Experience at your Virtual Call Center

Increase your CSAT scores by improving the way your call center interacts with its callers. Provide better customer service, pay attention to your callers, and watch your customer satisfaction and retention scores increase. For more information about virtual call center software from Global Call Forwarding, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171.

On-Premise vs. Virtual Call Center Software: How to Choose

Want to know if your business can benefit from an on-premise or virtual call center? Here we will run through a comparison between these two call center software types so that you can determine what is best for your needs.

The Call Center You Need: On-Premise or Virtual?

Deciding which software to use depends on the requirements, budget, and goals of your business. Let’s look at what each software type does and how each can be beneficial.

On-Premise Call Centers

On-premise call center software is run and controlled by the business itself. The hardware, software, and other infrastructure is held in-house. This means that the business is responsible for its maintenance, upgrades, and expenses. It also means that you have control over it and how it functions, which is a benefit for some companies. But others may not want to deal with hiring an IT team and the added costs.

Virtual Call Center Software

A virtual call center software is hosted by the server but runs on the cloud. This cloud call center handles customer support and success communications. The benefit of such a virtual call center is that all interaction between the business and its customers remains accessible from anywhere, via the internet. This includes inbound and outbound calls, email, instant messages, etc. Since customers are using digital channels to connect with businesses — such as email, instant messaging, etc — companies are switching to modern virtual call centers.

On-Premise vs Virtual Call Center Software

So, while both types of call center software have their advantages and disadvantages, how do you decide which is right for your business? It all depends on what you need and what you prioritize. Would you like full control of your inbound and outbound calling? Do you need to cut down costs? Determining what you want to get out of a call center software will help you identify which will work better for you.

Costs: An on-premise call center will require set-up costs. For example, you will need equipment, hardware, licenses, servers, and full-time agents. Additionally, you will have to spend on installations, upgrades, and maintenance.

On the other hand, using a virtual call center software will mean that you can build a virtual call center or virtual office and hire remote agents instead of needing on-site agents. Additionally, you won’t need to spend money on equipment or a physical office space. All of this helps increase savings.

Scalability and Reliability: Virtual call center software offers the same functionality and benefits of an on-premise solution. However, the former is far more scalable, reliable, and flexible. Changes to certain lines or numbers can be made quickly by the account manager or by contacting the provider.

Mobility: An on-premise call center will need an in-house team to run and maintain the system. This may even require you to be present on-site to ensure everything works according to the plan. If you desire a centralized, physical location, then an on-premise call center software will be more appropriate.

On the other hand, if you have employees working remotely or spread across the world, then a virtual call center will prove more beneficial, as everything can be monitored and tracked through the online account management system and your softphone. All you will need is a strong and reliable internet connection.

Advanced Features: An on-premise call center software can give you basic, traditional call center features such as call transfer, extensions, hold, voicemail, call logging, etc. However, a virtual call center will give you access to premium services such as advanced IVR, click-to-call, call recording and forwarding, and more.

Virtual Call Center Software with Global Call Forwarding

You can get the necessary tools to set up a virtual call center from a cloud-based phone service provider such as Global Call Forwarding. We offer local, international, and toll free numbers. Additionally, you can get advanced features such as Call Recording, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Outbound Calling, Call Reports, and more. All of these services can support your virtual call center. To learn more about virtual call center software or to start setting one up for your business, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 to talk to an expert.