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9 Ways to Reduce Call Center Agent Turnover

Call center agent turnover (also known as call center attrition) is one of the greatest challenges call centers face regularly. Agents and employees leave for a variety of reasons from low pay, low flexibility, to lack of in-house growth opportunities. Consider these 9 ways to reduce agent turnover and retain valuable employees.

What is the Cost of Agent Turnover?

Most call center costs fall into three categories: administration, labor, and technology. While administrative and technological expenses often remain the same or stable, labor (agent) expenses fluctuate.  These expenses include hiring and training agents, agent and supervisor wages, resolving their errors, and offering rewards. These expenses can easily take up to 55-80% of a call center’s costs. And the higher the attrition rate, the more these expenses increase. The real cost of high call center agent turnover includes:

  • Low-to-bad quality of service
  • Frustrated and dissatisfied customers
  • Lower productivity and collaboration
  • Interrupted and unreliable service
  • Increased call center expenses (time and money spent hiring, recruiting, training, management, poor service levels, etc.)

Reasons for Call Center Agent Turnover

In order to understand how to reduce call center agent turnover, you first need to examine why you may be losing these agents? Is it that your company is hiring unqualified agents? Are agents overburdened or not trained enough? Here are some of the most common reasons why agents leave:

  • Hiring unqualified employees
  • Insufficient training
  • Repetitive and mundane work
  • Insufficient compensation
  • Overburdened; working overtime
  • No-to-low professional growth
  • Low employee satisfaction
  • Poor or competitive work culture

How to Reduce Call Center Agent Turnover?

Call center attrition is a common problem call center managers face. As a call center manager, you must understand how attrition affects your call center. Once you understand the problem, you can proceed to improve the conditions of your call center agents to reduce call center turnover and improve customer satisfaction.

Let’s look at 9 ways to reduce call center attrition and keep your agents.

1. Hire Smartly

Employees who know how to do the job and are familiar with its challenges and rewards are more likely to stay than employees who are unprepared and not qualified. As such, you must hire smartly by focusing on bringing quality applicants on board. When hiring, look for experience, confidence, personality, collaborative attitudes, and skills. You may even expand your search to include referrals and remote agents. Define your job descriptions and roles well — be specific — and highlight your expectations and goals. Potential applicants should know what they are getting themselves into.

2. Prioritize Enhanced Training Programs

Even when you hire skilled talent with years of experience, it is important to train them for your specific call center. If you want high-quality work, you will need to invest the time in training agents accordingly. Don’t settle for only in-house training and free workshops, webinars, or training programs like ICMI. Help them identify key trainings, courses, and certificates in the industry and participate in them.

Furthermore, embrace coaching culture to help teams work together, collaborate, and support each other. Your agents can learn not only from managers and supervisors but also from each other. And so, creating a positive atmosphere for learning and collaboration can go a long way in making agents feel confident.

3. Make Internal Communication Easy

Establish clear communication channels that are easy to navigate. In order for agents to meet your goals, they need to know what is expected of them and how they can achieve those goals. As such, make your company goals and expectations clear. Furthermore, offer constructive and practical feedback consistently; that is, advice and feedback they can actually put to use instead of vague ideas. Lastly, they need to know who to connect with when they have an issue or want to bring forward new ideas. By enabling an easy flow of communication, you can ensure issues are picked up on quickly and improvements can be made.

4. Demonstrate Focus on Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is essential to the success of any call center. If your customers and callers are not satisfied, you will lose valuable accounts and revenue streams. As such, emphasize the importance of offering personalized and considerate customer service and care. This means teaching your teams to work towards improving customer experience, contact quality, increasing first call resolution, tracking and measuring customer success metrics, and more. Furthermore, you must track call center KPIs such as average handle time, calls per hour per agent, and so on. These metrics help you ensure no one agent is overworked and that work is distributed well.

5. Give Importance to Employee Experience (EX)

Most businesses look outward — customer experience and success — to quantify success. However, focusing on and improving employee experience, directly and indirectly, impacts how your customers interact with your business, and by extension, customer satisfaction.

And so, it is simple, if your employees are unhappy and dissatisfied, it will affect their work and encourage them to leave. For these reasons, it is important to identify what concerns or struggles your employees are facing and how you can help fix those issues. After all, happy employees are able to convert more prospective customers into sales.

6. Provide High-Quality Tools and Software

Next, ensure your teams have the right tools they need to do their jobs within the quality you expect. Cheap services and tools can easily hinder productivity. For example, bad phone service can lead to dropped calls, missing audio, etc. Another example is using call center tools like an advanced IVR system to help distribute or manage incoming calls equally to all agents to ensure no one agent is answering a large number of calls. This helps agents balance their work and focus on customers better.

Reduce call center agent turnover with IVR.

Therefore, do your research and find tools, software, and features that can support the work your employees are doing. A high-quality call center software can help employees easily track contacts and their histories, update lists and interactions, and communicate well internally and externally. This does not have to be an expensive affair. Most service providers offering virtual call center software can help you get multiple tools in the same platform and integrate other apps into your existing system. Find the one that works best for your specific needs and teach users how to use these tools to their benefit.

7. Offer Considerate and Relevant Recognition and Rewards

It is important to not just be aware of the employee experience. As a manager, it is your job to find ways to maintain their motivation and desire to stay. And one way to do this to recognize their efforts and hard work. Offer rewards that are relevant and useful to your employees. Some ways you can reward your employees include:

  • Written and verbal praises
  • Awards and accolades
  • Bonuses during milestones, reviews, end of the year, and holidays
  • Events such as employee appreciation day, birthdays, work anniversaries
  • Having a corporate wellness strategy
  • Gift boxes or gift cards (for shopping, traveling, dining)

8. Give Access to Skill Development Programs

Not all employees are happy staying in the same position doing the same type of tasks, year after year. Always provide your employees with the opportunity to develop their skills and to keep learning and growing. This indirectly helps your business as employees learn and stay up-to-date on new trends in their field. They can then apply these trends and strategies to your business.

9. Provide Opportunities for Growth and Promotions

Lastly, try to offer opportunities for employees to grow within the company. This may be moving to a new position or department or promoting internal employees to new open positions. Employees that don’t see growth opportunities in their future with your company will go elsewhere to find motivation. Agents who see that their hard work and skills lead to career progress will work harder and do better.

Improve Turnover Rates with Better Call Center Tools

Global Call Forwarding can help you find the right call center tools and features to support your agents’ workload. We can get you set up with a robust and easy-to-use small business phone system. Call us today to learn more!

10 Ways to Manage High Call Volume

Struggling with managing your business’ high call volume? Your business might have a high volume of calls for a variety of reasons: sales, promotions, new products, bugs, etc. However, these high traffic periods are when your business gets the most out of its customers. And so if you can’t handle the volume of calls, you may end up losing valuable customers. Try these call management tools and tips to better manage your incoming call traffic.

How to Effectively Handle High Call Volume and Traffic

Depending on the type of business you run, your employees may deal with varying levels of call traffic. This means high volume of calls at certain times of the day or certain days of the week. Or, high call traffic during holidays and when your business runs promotions. These high call volume periods bring a lot of customers to your business. However, if you are not equipped to handle high call traffic, then your business can lose out on potentially valuable customers. So, what are some proven ways to better manage a high volume of incoming calls?

1. Schedule Agents and Employees

Well-planned schedules go a long way in enabling agents and employees to offer quick and responsive service. The way you distribute workload can determine how well your business or call center manages high call volume. If there are too few employees at a time, then they will be overburdened by calls and may not provide the best service. Similarly, if calls are not distributed equally, then some employees will work harder than others. Pre-planning schedules can help distribute the workload appropriately.

2. Add New Contact Channels

If your business is using only 1-2 contact channels and is unable to resolve interactions within the time promised, then you may need to consider adding new channels. For example, it is most common for businesses to offer phone, live chat, and email as customer channels. However, more and more businesses are using conversational AI or chatbots, trouble tickets, and video conferencing as customer service channels.

Offering more convenient and preferable ways to connect with your business not only helps manage call volume but also gives customers options to choose from. Not every customer prefers phone conversations. In fact, customers now expect live chat and chatbots to ease the process of inquiring about products or getting support. And so, your business can meet customer expectations while reducing the burden on employees answering phone calls.

3. Route Calls Based on Time

Call forwarding and routing options allow businesses to route calls based on the time a call is coming in. This is called time-based routing. You can set-up time-based routing to forward incoming calls during specific time periods to different locations. For example:

  • Route calls to different office locations
  • Route calls to remote teams assisting in customer service efforts
  • Forward calls to voicemail where callers can leave a message or request a callback
  • Forward calls to an offshore BPO to assist with high volume of calls

This helps your business distribute incoming calls across different platforms based on predetermined rules. By doing so, your employees and customer service teams are better equipped to manage high call traffic.

4. Route Calls Based on Location

You can also route calls based on the location of the caller: location-based routing. This is a helpful feature for companies that “follow the sun” with global customer support teams.

You can set this feature up beforehand, just like you do with time-based routing. Then as callers call, they will be routed to the customer service team closest to them, in their time zone and language, as well. This can help reduce the stress that might otherwise fall on the main customer service office.

5. Design an Effective IVR System

A cloud IVR system can go a long way in effective call management. An IVR is an automated voice response system that interacts with callers to assist them either by transferring them to the right agent and department or by offering self-service options. Here are some ways an IVR system enables better call management:

  • Transfer callers to the right agents
  • Offer troubleshooting assistance
  • Offer information about the company (hours, locations, etc), key products and services, and more

A well-designed IVR system can help callers with common or simple questions as well as self-service options so agents and employees are available to assist customers with more complex questions and processes.

6. Offer Self-Service Options

Another way to manage high call volume is to offer customers self-service options so they don’t need to call your business each time they need something. Some ways you can do this include:

  • Setting up an auto-attendant
  • Creating a support center
  • Allowing customers to submit trouble or issue tickets
  • Writing guides and how-tos on your blog that customers can follow
  • Developing online processes that are easy-to-follow
  • Using content and UX writing to make processes more user-friendly

The goal is to enable customers to help themselves by making clear and easy processes or by providing guides. This way, they don’t have to always rely on your customer support teams for assistance.

7. Pay Attention to Call Center Data & Metrics

Analyze data and metrics to identify when and where there was a spike in call volumes. Was there a promotion running or a new product roll-out? Did a feature have issues? Was it the holiday season? Which locations received the most calls? What times did your business experience high call volume? And so on. This data can help you better prepare for the future.

8. Offer Voicemail & Callback Options

As with other communication channels, it is a good idea to also offer voicemail and callback services. Some phone service providers offer a callback feature with their service. This could be a widget placed on your website or a button that customers click to receive a call or schedule an appointment with a representative.

For example, Global Call Forwarding offers a CallMe Click service. This is a widget that you can place on your website. Web visitors can click on it and include their contact information to receive an automatic call back from your business.

Voicemail and callback options help callers leave a message or schedule a time to talk with a representative. This is a good option during periods of high call traffic so customers know that your business will return their call or get in touch with them soon.

9. Create a Knowledge Base or Support Center

As mentioned above, a knowledge base or support center can help your customers use self-service options to resolve their issues. A knowledge base is a series of posts or articles published on your website that answer common questions, offer how-to-use guides and troubleshooting help, and provide any other assistance your customers may need.

By having this resource available, customers can help themselves instead of calling your business time and again, especially for small queries. This leaves room for customers with more complex queries to get through to your customer service team.

 10. Consider Outsourcing and BPOs

Lastly, you may consider outsourcing your call center to an offshore BPO in order to support high volume. These services often have access to call center features and tools mentioned above that help them manage high call volumes for multiple companies.

Get Virtual Call Center Software

Global Call Forwarding offers virtual call center software for businesses like yours that need virtual communication tools to manage call volumes and offer a better caller experience to your customers. Speak with our representatives today to see how we can help your business communicate better!

7 Best Practices for Call Center Scripts that Convert

How your agents communicate over the phone can make a huge impact on the success of your call center strategy. Convert more callers into returning customers and reel in the sales with effective call center scripts. Here we outline 7 best practices to keep in mind when creating your scripts. We also include tips for effective scripts and how to train your employees to meet your standards.

How to Create Effective Call Center Scripts: 7 Best Practices

Call center scripts can make or break the way your business interacts with its customers. These scripts carry information about your products and services intending to convert callers into recurring clients and ultimately, generate sales.

When creating your call center script, focus on developing scripts for both inbound (incoming) and outbound (outgoing) calls. This way, your customer support teams are prepared for callers seeking customer support and product inquiries and your sales teams are prepared for sales pitches and lead calls. Additionally, call center scripts can help reduce training time and agent turnover. Businesses that don’t have time to offer rigorous training and provide in-depth knowledge can use scripts to get the job done quickly.

Here are 7 call center script best practices to consider when developing your business’ scripts.

1. Hire Excellent Customer Service & Sales Reps

First, hire quality customer service and sales talent. Use business networking sites to find agents and reps that have experience, training, and certification. This will ensure you have a robust team ready to tackle whatever issue comes their way. Plus, they will have developed the right personality needed for delivering scripts naturally and effectively.

2. Keep Call Center Script Writing Tips in Mind

When creating your script and training your agents to make the most of the script, keep these key tips in mind:

  • Develop scripts that lead to action and be clear in their purpose.
  • Plan for multiple scenarios.
  • Allow for flexibility (but not too much) and more genuine interaction with customers.
  • Write scripts keeping common customer complaints and preferences in mind.
  • Emphasize the importance of understanding customer needs so they can be helped efficiently.
  • Include positive phrases and reword negative phrases.
  • Focus on personalization and train agents on proper etiquette.

3. Create an Effective Call Center Script

Your call center script should include these useful elements:

  1. Greet the customer and say the name of the business.
  2. Introduce yourself.
  3. State the purpose of your call (outbound call) or find out why they are calling (inbound call)
  4. For outbound calls: go through your script at a decent pace and pause for questions or concerns.
  5. For inbound calls: listen carefully and attentively to the caller. Take note of key issues or questions, repeat to clarify, and offer practical solutions. Provide accurate information or offer a follow-up call, if you do not have the information on hand.
  6. At the end of the call, ask if they need any additional assistance, thank them for calling, and add a pleasantry.
  7. Score the call.

4. Train Agents & Employees Well

Besides merely providing your employees with quality scripts, you also need to train them in how to use the scripts well. Spend sufficient time teaching employees bad and good call center practices. Help them understand the company’s goals and standards. When training employees:

  • Focus on making customer service a top priority.
  • Keep communication two ways; adopt active listening.
  • Demonstrate examples of bad customer interactions and provide solutions.
  • Use call recording to identify positive and negative behavior.
  • Use call monitoring to listen in on calls with new employees so you can train them “on the job.”

5. Emphasize the Importance of Utilizing Customer Data When Using the Script

Part of executing a call center script well is personalizing it for each individual customer. This means using customer data alongside your script. Businesses with a customer-first strategy or those that are customer-focused need to use customer data to offer better, more customized service.

Before your agent or rep answers the call or calls a customer, they must pull up the customer’s data, history, purchases, and so on. This ensures your agent is prepared for the conversation and has all the context needed. Additionally, the customer won’t have to repeat their query again and again or bring the rep up to speed. You can save time for both your agent and customer. And move towards resolution faster.

6. Use Call Recording to Analyze the Effectiveness of Scripts

Recording business calls can help you and your teams listen in to calls from the past. This is a good way to identify what is working and what isn’t and how to improve your phone interactions. Pay attention to your best-performing agents. How are they effectively bringing new clients on board? What techniques and strategies are working? Then integrate their practices into your call center script so others may attempt them as well.

7. Provide Agents with Knowledge Bases and Support

Finally, make sure your reps can provide accurate responses to customer questions quickly. And to do this, they will need access to knowledge bases or support resources that outline common customer questions, product descriptions, company policies, and so on. This way, they can consult accurate resources if they are hit with a question or query they do not have an answer for.

Improve Sales with Call Center Scripts

Call center scripts have a great impact on whether a customer continues to do business with your company. Ensure your scripts are customer-centric as well as informative and helpful. Train employees to have an upbeat attitude and treat each call as a new slate. And before you know it, your scripts will be an effective aspect of your strategy that brings more and more customers to your business!

Downloadable Call Center Scripts Templates

Ready to get started? Then, grab these call center scripts and share them with your teams. Here are scripts to help you handle different situations and phases during customer calls.

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Download Your Free Call Center Scripts Here

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7 Useful Tips for Creating a Call Center Scorecard

Call center scorecards are quality monitoring tools that help you test and analyze call center and agent performance. By doing so, managers can identify areas for improvement and success. Here we look at 7 useful tips for creating a call center scorecard and what you need to focus on.

How to Create a Call Center Scorecard: 7 Tips

First, what is a call center scorecard? And why do you need one? Call center scorecards are a great tool used by many call centers when conducting performance analysis. You can track and measure call center metrics, agent responses, and phone interactions, as well as conversions. Here are 7 tips to help you create an ideal scorecard:

1. Define the Purpose of the Scorecard and How it will be Used

First, you must decide and be clear on the purpose of your scorecard. What elements do you want to include? How often will you utilize the scorecards? How will you collect information about agent performance? What parameters and metrics will agents be scored on? Additionally, is every parameter equally important? Defining the purpose and the various elements that the agents will be tested on can help aid in quick and accurate analysis.

2. List Down Parameters that will be Assessed

Part of using a call center scorecard is testing your agents on various parameters that help you and them understand what they are doing well and where they can improve. Some parameters to consider include:

  1. Greetings: Agent greeted customers politely and with a clear introduction of the company and themselves.
  2. Script adherence: With outbound sales calls, agent followed the script naturally and paused for customer questions or concerns.
  3. Account and identity verification: With inbound calls, agent verified the caller’s information and identity to find their account and gather information about the customer’s past interactions.
  4. Customer service quality: Ability to clearly determine the caller’s needs, provide accurate and useful assistance
  5. End-of-call protocol: After resolving the issue, agent must ask if there is anything else they can assist the caller with.

3. Define and Note Different Call Center Metrics

Next, you might consider including certain call center metrics that apply to your particular business. Call center metrics or KPIs assess how a call center is performing. They also help managers understand how individual agents are performing. For example, which agents resolve calls quickly and accurately or which spend too long on calls, and so on. Most call centers use call center software and call analytics to track and measure relevant metrics. You may want to consider including the following on your scorecard:

  1. Average time in queue
  2. Response time
  3. Average speed of answer
  4. Average handle time
  5. First call resolution rate
  6. Customer satisfaction rate
  7. Occupancy rate
  8. Agent absenteeism

4. Include Different Types of Customer Interaction

Often, phone conversations might be the most common communication method for your call center. However, more recently, call centers have been striving to offer multi-channel or omnichannel customer support. If your call center offers more than one channel of customer interaction, then you should measure performance on each different channel. As such, try to include different types of customer interaction (live chat, email, video, etc.) used often in your call center in your scorecard.

5. Focus on Various Skills

Depending on the type of center you run, your agents may need to multitask using multiple skills. For example, you may have agents on both phone and live chat duty simultaneously. Or, agents may need to research solutions while managing the conversation and documenting each part of the conversation.

Different departments require different skills. Customer service will need to look at knowledge bases or support documents to provide help. Reception will need to ensure the customer arrives at the right department quickly. Sales needs to make pitches using customer data and personalization.

6. Monitor, Collect Data, & Refine

Since the purpose of a call center scorecard is to collect data and measure how your business and agents are performing, these scorecards need to be monitored regularly. By monitoring on a regular basis, you will not only gain insight into how well or badly your agents are doing, but also what elements or parameters are worth measuring and which ones are not useful.

Then, you can make the necessary adjustments and refine your scorecard for functionality and accuracy. Additionally, you can make necessary changes to improve agent and call center performance.

7. Treat Your Agents as Humans, Not Robots

Finally, remember that your agents are humans and not customer service robots. As such, set realistic goals and expectations when creating and monitoring your call center scorecard. Be flexible and leave room for error. Provide sufficient training materials so agents can continue to do better.

Evaluate Performance with an Effective Call Center Scorecard

Designing a call center scorecard takes time and refinement. Get started now by developing your own scorecard or using online templates and tailoring them to your needs. There are many resources available for tracking, measuring, and improving productivity. Take steps in the right direction and watch the efficiency grow in your call center.

Downloadable Call Center Scorecard Templates

Ready to get started? Then, grab our call center scorecard templates below, share them with your managers, and start evaluating your call center’s performance! We have scorecard templates for Outbound Sales calls, Inbound Sales calls, Customer and Technical Support calls, and Chat support.

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Download Your Free Call Center Scorecard Templates

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Your Complete Guide to Call Center Offshoring & BPO

What are the advantages of outsourcing your communication needs? Do the advantages outweigh the cons? Learn everything you need to know about call center offshoring & BPO services.

Call Center Offshoring & BPO Explained

Businesses can save money by outsourcing their business processes to an offshore call center. Call center offshoring — also known as call center outsourcing and business process outsourcing (BPO) — can help you delegate certain sales and customer service duties.

Why Do Businesses Outsource Processes?

From large enterprises to small businesses, companies across the board have outsourced (some, if not all) of their services to BPOs. And the main reason for this is to reduce costs. With call center outsourcing, you send out customer service and sales processes, which gives your business more time to focus on developing customer-focused products and services. So, not only do you save on the cost of running a sales and customer service department, you make more space for business development.

How Does an Offshore Call Center Work?

An offshore call center takes on some business processes such as customer service, lead generation, technical support, and human resource management. As such, they work to bring on new clients and retain existing ones.

These call centers are well-equipped to handle customer inquiries and concerns. And they have the most advanced virtual call center software and tools that support call management, performance monitoring, data security, and more.

What Services Does a Call Center BPO Offer?

Businesses in almost every industry are outsourcing various processes to offshore call centers. These industries include business services, healthcare, retail, e-commerce, telecom, banking, and more. The plethora of services covered by offshore call centers has, in fact, led to subspecialties such as:

  • Customer service & lead generation — Which focuses primarily on generating sales for a business and offering customer support services. As part of the lead generation process, agents contact prospects and leads on a predetermined list provided by the business. Some call center outsourcing services may even help with the creation of lead lists through market research. As part of the customer support service, agents answer calls made to business-clients and offer troubleshooting help, resolutions, and more.
  • Customer interaction — Oversees a company’s communication channels such as email, phone conversations, voicemail, and social media; appointment-setting and scheduling services; marketing and telemarketing services; order and payment processing; customer support and customer success; customer feedback, and more.
  • Travel & tourism — Focuses on offering support and itinerary-planning services to travelers. Works with local and international tourism companies for deals and promotions.
  • Financial services — Focuses on finance and banking-related services such as payment processing; activation of services; collection; billing and counting services; general accounting, auditing, and more.
  • IT and software-focused — Offers technical support; technology-related troubleshooting; offshore software product development; implementation services; IT helpdesk, and more.

Pros & Cons of Call Center Offshoring

So, should your business take advantage of call center offshoring & BPO services? Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of using an outsourcing service.

Pros of Using a Call Center BPO

1. Lower communication-related costs

Sending your business processes offshore can help reduce or eliminate costs related to business communication or running a call center. Since you do not need a comprehensive team of sales agents and customer service reps and managers, you can save on hiring costs as well.

2. Lower staffing issues

Your BPO will be responsible for hiring, training, and managing agents and reps. You won’t have to worry about conducting performance analysis or scheduling agents, or managing call center agents. This can save you time and money.

3. Better call management

Offshore call centers come equipped with advanced call center software and tools. This ranges from call management features to call recording and analytics. With these services, you can often get better customer support and learn how to appease customers better. Additionally, you can handle high call volumes or high periods of call traffic by outsourcing to your call center BPO from time to time.

4. Better business continuity

Virtual call centers can have multiple geographic locations spread across the globe. This can help your business offer 24/7 customer support in regional languages and time zones.

Cons of Call Center Offshoring & BPO

1. Lack of company knowledge

When you outsource business needs, not every agent may be thoroughly schooled in your company’s mission, values, and product education. As such, they may not be able to provide the level or standard of service your business promises.

2. Less control over business functions

When outsourcing, you give control of basic and core services to agents and employees you have not worked with. Additionally, it may be hard to track and monitor each agent representing your business for quality assurance.

3. Decreased customer satisfaction

Usually, agents and reps from a call center BPO don’t offer the same personalized service as your business would. Customers realizing this may be less satisfied with the service they have received and may seek better service elsewhere.

Choosing Between BPO and KPO

The terms BPO and KPOs are often used interchangeably. However, these two types of outsourcing services differ in a variety of ways. In this section, we will discuss Knowledge Process Outsourcing services (KPOs) and the differences between KPOs and BPOs.

KPO: Definition and Types

What is a KPO? Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) is the outsourcing of information-related processes. KPOs are considered an extension of BPOs and require more complex skills outsourcing business processes. Knowledge process outsourcing services include specialized expertise and advanced technical skills. Common types of KPOs include:

  • Market Research
  • Business Research
  • Legal Services
  • Medical Services
  • Accounting & Financial Consulting
  • R&D
  • Content Development & Design
  • Data Analysis
  • Corporate Training
  • Education and Learning Solutions

Benefits of KPOs

A company may choose to use a KPO to handle high-level, complex tasks instead of hiring in-house employees to handle those tasks. KPOs are built to handle such tasks and provide expertise, making them a reliable source. Here are the benefits of using knowledge process outsourcing services:

1. Cost-effective & scalable

KPOs can help your business reduce costs in a number of ways. Get access to expert services at reasonable rates while increasing profits, cut down on infrastructure and operating costs, and increase or reduce staff as needed. Overall, using KPOs make for a cost-effective solution.

2. Access to experienced professionals

Your business does not have to take on hiring and training experts for different internal functions. Instead, you can spend time focusing on core services like product development and sales while outsourcing other services to a KPO. This also helps reduce the cost of recruiting and training new employees.

3. Low asset & equipment investment

When outsourcing services to a KPO, you can save on office space and equipment costs. No need for extra hardware or high investment in real estate and tech equipment.

4. Better use of resources

Additionally, you can utilize your own resources in other activities or processes when you outsource certain services. For instance, you may invest in workflow automation to support your employees’ productivity and efficiency, or chatbot services to boost your customer service efforts.

BPO vs. KPO

So, what is the difference between BPO and KPO? Here are some key differences:

Skills needed: BPOs are less complex and require low-level skills, while KPOs are more complex and need analytic and technical skills.

Level of expertise needed: Employees working at a business process outsourcing service need basic professional expertise, while those at a knowledge process outsourcing service need advanced and specialized expertise.

Types of tasks: BPOs focus on administrative tasks while KPOs focus on analytic and more complex tasks.

Offerings: BPOs are all about efficiency and streamlining processes; based on a set process and rules. KPOs provide professional expertise and knowledge.

Day-to-day: Call center BPO employees may have a standard, monotonous routine designed to reach targets. KPO employees, on the other hand, offer specialized insights (such as forecasts) and may work directly with the client.

Related: Call Center Trends [2021]

Is Call Center Offshoring Right for You?

Depending on the size and needs of your business, a combination of onshore call center and offshore call center services may be a better choice. This way, you still have control over your own call center. Additionally, you can take advantage of virtual call center software to utilize the same tools and features that call centers use. And you will have the backup support of offshore centers as well. To learn more, speak with our experts at 1 (888) 908 6171.

Call Center Best Practices: 20 Proven Tips for 2021

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 2021

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 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. Long call waiting times lead to frustrated and dissatisfied customers. Here we will look at a few different ways you can reduce average hold times in a call center.

Call Center Hold Time Standards

No one wants to wait on hold forever. There is a growing demand for quick and responsive customer care, leading to new call center hold time standards. Customers who are left on hold or stuck in a queue for more than 15 minutes will hang up and find another business to resolve their issue.  And if they are an existing customer, then you risk losing a valuable customer by making them wait long to get support.

Average Hold Time in a Call Center

So, how long is it acceptable to wait? There is general consensus on the average wait time for inbound calls coming into a call center. Call center hold time standards suggest that calls must be answered within the first 20 seconds.

When you place a customer or caller on hold, it is a good practice to let them know how long it may take. This is especially necessary if you need to place them on hold for longer than 20 seconds. And, if you take longer than the time you previously mentioned, check in with the customer and let them know you are still working on finding the solution. Don’t abandon them in the abyss. Setting the right expectations can reduce frustration.

Related: 16 Tips to Ensure Outstanding Call Center Etiquette

However, a more effective solution would be to meet call center hold time standards and reduce the call waiting time in your call center.

How to Reduce Average Hold Time in a Call Center? 7 Tips

A 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. Here are 7 tips to reduce average hold time in your 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 call 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.

Related: 9 Benefits of Advanced Call Routing

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

You can reduce long waiting times by training agents effectively. 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 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? [2021]

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 call center 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!

Call 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.