The Evolution of the Call Center

Evolution of the Call Center

At some point in our lives, each of us will have to pick up our phone and dial a number that will inevitably lead us to an individual in the middle of a call center. Call centers offer a wide range of services to consumers – customer service, tech support, and sales. Call centers have evolved greatly over the last several decades and they continue to update their technologies to be more modern and to meet customers’ needs.

Call centers have been around since the 1960s when Private Manual Branch Exchanges (PBMXs) were used to manually connect callers to the proper extension. Call center agents would be lined up in a row where they could handle customer requests easily. During this time these services were often used by larger companies that received a high volume of incoming calls that needed to be routed to a specific person or department.

In the mid-1970s, call center technology expanded to include telephone sales, airline reservations, and banking systems. It was also during the 1970s that computer telephony integrations changed the caller’s journey from a manual transfer to automatic. It was during the 1980s that the term “call center” was officially coined in a publication called Data Communications.

Call center technology continued to grow through the late 1970s. Call centers could take in even more calls at a time than with a PBMX thanks to more advanced machines. Automatic Call Distributor (ACDs) paved the way for large scale call centers like the ones we currently know today.

During the 1980s and 1990s, call center services continued to expand. Customers could place orders from catalogs, update their personal account information, and so much more. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems made it easy for customers to make selections on their own from within the phone system to be navigated to the department.

The Internet changed a lot when it came to telecommunications. Companies began using Internet websites as a primary contact point for sales and help desk support.

In present day, customer service can now be handled via phone calls, online chat, email response, and even social media outlets as an additional opportunity to connect. Remote desktop has made it far easier for technical support issues to be solved. Cloud-based technology makes it easier for businesses to store data offsite.

Call centers have become an irreplaceable part of almost every major business and they will continue to evolve to meet customer trends and changes.

Outbound Call Center Services: Quality Assurance

Outbound Call Center Services - Quality Assurance

Each day, hundreds, and perhaps even thousands, of calls enter and exit your call center’s ecosystem. Each caller has a story to tell about their interaction with your business and the individuals who represent it. Whether your customer hung up the phone frustrated because their issue wasn’t resolved or the customer is happy because all of their requirements were met – their experience can help your business improve.

Quality Assurance Improves Business

Investing in a Quality Assurance (QA) team can be a hefty expense. Before you hire your first QA Specialist, you will need to invest in scalable technology that can monitor calls, record calls, store data from those calls, and capture meaningful insights from those calls.

Once you have the technology in place you have to hire, train, and coach your new team to understand what to look for as potential red flags on calls. This takes time and a lot of money in order to create effective processes that are the result of lots of trial and error to determine what works.

A skilled Quality Assurance company has worked over a wide range of business types and industries. Their hands-on experience makes it easy to go from having no QA strategy at all to a robust and experienced team working behind the scenes.

Determine If Tried & True Methods Are No Longer Effective

Quality Assurance includes monitoring calls and keeping track of any identifiable trends within the organization. As industries trend, customers’ needs change as well. If old processes are no longer effective, it may be time to reexamine how your agents are attempting to solve problems.

A skilled QA team will take the time to listen to your calls, determining what your customers pain point was and how your agent handled the call and offered a resolution. After analyzing calls and taking note of these trends, suggestions can be made to meet clients’ current needs rather than relying on what was safe or effective at another time.

Outbound Calls to Ensure Quality

After your customer has ended a call with one of your agents, a skilled Quality Assurance agent can reach out to follow up on the outcome. This touchpoint can be crucial in both determining what worked and in ensuring that your customer is satisfied.

When it comes to running a successful call center, business owners must invest in a high-quality Quality Assurance program. By partnering with a professional service such as Responsive Call Center, businesses ensure that their calls are being monitored using only the highest and most advanced technology available and by professional QA agents that understand quality policies and procedures. Contact Responsive Call Center today to discuss a QA plan for your business.

Your Answering Tone – Why It Matters and How We Can Help

Why Answering Tone Matters

 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
-Maya Angelou

First impressions can make or break a customer relationship. When your initial opportunity to connect with a customer happens over the phone, certain standards need to be upheld for a successful impression to be made. An answering service may just be the answer to establishing consistent quality call management in your business. Remember, it’s not only what you say but how you make the customer feel by your tone, attentiveness and ability to respond, effectively.

What is “Tone”?

Tone as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is, “A quality, feeling, or attitude expressed by the words that someone uses in speaking or writing.” For instance, a salesman may provoke excitement and loyalty in a new customer by cheerfully offering an insider discount or deal as if he were a close friend. In this same line of thought, a customer support representative could let out a huge sigh or respond in a low, monotone voice, indicating exhaustion, frustration or boredom caused by the customer’s inquiry. Either way, positive or negative, the vibe given off will be felt by the customer and, ultimately, will determine whether or not he or she returns.

The Impact of Tone on Customer Satisfaction

“In the first survey conducted by Software Advice, 65% of customers preferred their support staff to have a “casual” tone”. The use of natural, less formal language, including contractions and exclamations, can be a major benefit over the phone, according to statistics, but it is also a safe route to maintain a neutral tone. Human connection and the ability to relate to customers on a personal level helps gain trust and cooperation in service support situations. A common tip for a top-notch phone voice is to smile while speaking; your smile will be reflected in your tone to the customer. In addition, there is a tone for each specific scenario. For example, if a customer is angry, a call representative would not want to laugh or crack jokes. The easier it is for the customer to gain acknowledgment through tone signifiers that he or she has been heard and is on the way to a solution, the higher acquisition and retention rates will be.

Conquer Quality Call Management

One highly ranked option to ensure consistent quality call management in your business is to employ an answering service, such as Responsive Call Center, to handle incoming and outbound customer calls, around-the-clock. Answering service professionals are highly trained on phone etiquette and customer satisfaction, and reps are an actual extension of your brand and provide customer confidentiality. Are you on top of your team’s tone?  Request a free consultation from Responsive Call Center today!

Industry Spotlight: Real Estate

real estate call center
 

By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Walker

Daily operations, answering calls, endless emails, troubleshooting emergencies – if you’re a real estate agent, broker or investor, this chaos may be your norm but it can still be a lot to handle. The good news is it doesn’t have to be!

Missed calls and voicemails that are never replied to can spell disaster in any industry. Clients have a desire to feel validated and this is especially true when they are making major life decisions, such as purchasing a property. The real estate industry is a time-sensitive industry because a better offer may come in seconds after someone has already accepted an offer so answering every call is critical. If you’re in the real estate industry and you’ve been looking for a way to save time and money while still reaching your personal goals and business projections, a call center may be just what you need to boost metrics and reclaim your work-life balance.

How a Call Center Can Help Your Business

According to the International Customer Management Institute, statistics from just last year show that 1% improvement in first call response equals $276,000 in annual operational savings for the average call center. In order to improve your responsiveness and satisfy clients’ needs while still closing more deals, check out some of the call center services offered to businesses in the real estate industry.

Services a call center can provide include:

  • • schedule property showings
  • • record realtor & client feedback after showings
  • • inbound/outbound calls
  • • RSVPs for open houses
  • • driving directions
  • • provide information about particular properties for sale

Studies show that 60% of consumers look for a balance of price and service and they will not accept poor customer service in exchange for a cheap deal. Answering a call while you’re showcasing a house should be a last resort, not a daily task. Trust a call center as part of your realtor team and let professional customer service representatives deliver excellence to your clients, 24/7.

Outbound Call Center Services: Post-Sale Support

Post-sale support

 

“89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor
following a poor customer experience.”
-Harris Interactive

“The customer is king” is a saying that has been around for many years, mainly because it is true. Every business is a people business, and if you have phones ringing off the hook with impatient customers waiting to be helped, a call center that can successfully handle these matters for you is a good option. These days, customers are more selective, desiring personalized service and follow-up care. Customers want to be assured that you will be there to assist them when something happens. We all know pre-sale marketing and a quality customer experience count, but the post-sale support that is given can literally make or break the next sale.

Win the Customer with Call Center Services

Studies show that 59% of customers will test out a new company for a better customer experience, and a whopping 86% of customers quit doing business with a company due to a bad customer experience. Think about yourself as a customer and how you would like to be treated, and this can get you started thinking about the importance of enhanced, all-encompassing customer support. Not only does timing matter when it comes to satisfying your customers’ needs, but professionalism, product knowledge and troubleshooting support are all key contributors to a positive interaction. You can secure a strong, multi-functional foundation for customer support in your company with inbound and outbound call center services.

Benefits of Post-Sale Support

When it comes to the idea of customer service, everyone focuses on the lead in to the sale, but what about the after effects? No company wants to leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth, and after-sale issues like returns on broken items can be sensitive situations with tough calls being made on the fly. If you’re using call center employees that represent your company, they can effectively troubleshoot with customers 24 hours a day over the phone or they can dispatch technicians to repair or replace broken products. Having trained call center representatives on call with consistent processes for handling post-sale services, such as returns, exchanges, product questions and troubleshooting can optimize your customer service department while building reliable and lasting relationships with your customers. Customers need to feel that you appreciate their business. Otherwise, they fill find someone else to give their business, and money to.

Considering a call center? Contact Responsive and we’ll help you understand the need for post-sale support in your industry.