Making Your Customer Service Memorable

The differences between call center agents with a great attitude for customer service and those whose attitudes need some improving are often very clear. Because the effects of both are going to impact your business, it’s important to not only look for certain traits in those you hire for the job but to also train people with certain behaviors in mind. The following tips highlight how to ensure your agents are successful at providing quality customer service.

The Ultimate winning traits when it comes to customer service.

  • Knowledgeable Agents
    Successful call center agents know the company and what it offers well. Make sure that your staff is sufficiently trained and updated regarding products and services regularly. An agent who is prepared to answer your customers’ questions will deliver memorable customer service.
  • Organized Agents
    Organized agents can navigate customer issues using the tools they are working with because they are set up and ready to be deployed.
  • Rapid Response
    Agents who provide a rapid response to customers are ready to take the next call as soon as they finish the one prior. This gives customers a smooth and pleasant experience when they contact your company.
  • Attentive Listening
    Successful call center agents are completely engaged in their conversations with customers, actively listening to the points they are making so they can provide solutions that match customers’ expectations as closely as possible. Making your customer feel like the agent’s number one priority is key in providing memorable customer service.
  • Patient Agents
    Call center agents must always be prepared to encounter frustrated customers. In these situations, being patient means allowing customers the opportunity to explain their situation in full, not reacting negatively to them, and calmly providing an explanation and solution.
  • Clear Communication
    Using industry jargon to explain solutions to customers can become confusing. Make sure to clearly communicate situations and solutions in clear, layman’s terms – keeping answers concise and as free of extraneous information as possible.
  • Empathetic Interaction
    Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s position to understand their viewpoint. An empathetic interaction with the frustrated customer involves reassuring them that their issue is understood, that it will be given attention, and the specific steps that will be taken to resolve it – as well as a timeline for doing so.
  • Positive Attitude
    Displaying a negative attitude toward customers will always have negative results. No matter how upset customers can be, agents must keep a positive attitude that centers on using positive language that reassures customers their issues will be resolved.
  • Adaptable Agents
    Because change is a constant factor in call center agents’ daily experience, they should have the ability to easily adapt. They need to be prepared to handle a variety of customer demands, switching between channels, and technical issues. Because each customer interaction is different, successful call center agents need to adapt quickly and go with the flow and provide the best solution possible for each customer.

Responsive Call Center’s team of professional and experienced call center agents knows what it takes to provide excellent customer service for your callers. Contact us today to discuss how our team can partner with your brand to provide memorable customer service experience for every one of your callers.

Ultimate winning traits for customer service

Manager’s Step by Step Guide: Call Center Key Performance Metrics

Call Center Key Performance Metrics

One of the most important tasks in call center management is utilizing Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to gauge the success of staff in their call answering and problem-solving capacity. These call center metrics are measurable values that show the level of effectiveness of your team in achieving the goals you set.

Call Center KPIs

Research conducted in 2017 by call center software provider Talkdesk showed that there were four impactful KPIs that should be included in the call center metrics of successful businesses. Their rates of occurring vary by industry and the company has noted the average benchmark across all industries as guidance for setting metrics for a successful call center (see chart below).

  • • Average Abandonment Rate – The number of calls that are terminated between the Interactive Voice Response (IVR ) system and the moment an agent answers divided by the total number of inbound calls a call center receives – not including those callers whose needs are satisfied within the IVR system.
  • • Average Time in Queue – The average amount of time the caller spends on hold in the queue while waiting to be connected to a call center representative. Customers experiencing long wait times are more likely to abandon calls and may choose to never call back. This is a missed opportunity to connect with your customer to ensure they are happy, promote your brand and potentially upsell.
  • • Average Speed to Answer – The average time the agent took to answer inbound calls including the amount of time while the agent’s phone is ringing; however, this does not include the time the caller spent in the IVR system or waiting queue. This KPI is associated with efficiency and accessibility and is a contributor to customer satisfaction.
  • • Service Level – This call center metric measures how accessible a business is to their customers and is a good indicator of a company’s ability to plan for call volume fluctuations and execute their staffing strategy. This is clearly tied directly to customer service quality and inbound call center performance; thus, this is usually at the core of a manager’s call center metrics toolkit.

Inbound Contact Center KPIs by Industry

Industry Average Abandonment Rate Average Time in Queue (secs) Average Speed to Answer (secs)
Totals 9.07% 17.28 8.97
Software & Internet 11.12% 14.32 9.24
Financial Services 11.62% 22.95 8.07
Retail & Consumer Products 9.02% 17.86 8.93
Other 7.46% 9.80 8.53
Consumer Services 7.21% 13.32 8.94
Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals & Biotech 8.21% 11.38 7.99
Manufacturing 6.71% 15.53 7.61
Travel, Recreation & Leisure 7.17% 45.38 10.73
Computers & Electronics 5.03% 40.40 10.34


Chart Source: Talkdesk

Given the benchmarks for your industry, it is important to set KPI standards and make certain that they are reached. Using a 24-hour call center such as Responsive Call Center can help you trim costs and efficiently and effectively set KPI standards, as well as ensure that all quality and call center metrics meet your standards.

Contact Responsive Call Center today to learn how we can help you maximize your KPIs.

Offshore, Onshore versus Nearshore Call Center Solutions

If you are considering outsourcing your business’ call center, you have numerous options.  In the process, you will want to evaluate such factors as how close the center needs to be to your business’ location, the cost of the center’s operation, and language and cultural requirements.

When considering the location of your call center services, you have three options: onshore, nearshore, and offshore.

Onshore call center outsourcing is a popular strategy that involves a business selecting a company located in its region or nation to provide its services. The benefit to the business is a reduction in labor costs and access to skilled labor with a very slight risk of language or cultural barriers.

Nearshore call center outsourcing is when a business selects a company in a country nearby the country where the business is located. Typically, businesses that choose this option experience slightly greater cost savings over the onshore option and have similar access to skilled labor with reduced risk of language and cultural barriers.

Offshore call center outsourcing involves a business selecting a company in a foreign country to provide services despite the strong possibility that agents will speak a different language than that of the business’ customers. While this strategy usually offers the highest cost savings and access to skilled labor, the risk of language and cultural barriers is higher.

However, this risk can be mitigated for US-based businesses depending on the country selected to provide outsourced call center services. Currently, more than 38.3 million people in the US speak Spanish in their homes – a figure that is more than twice that of 1990, according to the American Community Survey conducted by the US Census Bureau. Given this statistic, it’s easy to see why Nicaragua and Peru are becoming the countries of choice for businesses that outsource their call centers offshore.

With populations that include large numbers of English-speakers who are very familiar with US culture, these countries are fast becoming an alternative to Asian countries for quality call center services with as much as a 50% cost reduction over onshore options. Both Nicaragua and Peru are also the answer to providing bilingual services to customers as the countries and companies who do business there properly train a willing workforce that shows no signs of dissipating.

Wherever You Want to Be, Responsive Call Centers Can Help

Responsive Call Centers’ near and offshore call centers provide exceptional service thanks to our specially selected personnel. Our representatives in the US and Latin America are fluent English and Spanish speakers. Every offshore international call center representative is tested for proficiency in English and Spanish, including reading and writing skills, fluency and pronunciation. They’re tested after an intense three-week training program to ensure they can respond to US-based customers both in the English and Spanish language.

Considering nearshore or offshore call center solutions for your growing business? If so, contact the team at Responsive Call Center today to discuss the many options available to you.

It’s Time to Comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation

It's Time to Comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation

Even though all companies doing business with residents of the European Union (EU) will need to comply with its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by May 25, 2018, most will miss that deadline, according to a recent survey of corporate tech decision makers conducted by Crowd Research Partners.

The survey also found that only 7% of companies it surveyed report being in compliance with the regulation that requires substantial protection for the personal data of EU residents and thorough notification to them if that data is breached. And 28% have not even begun the work to be GDPR compliant by the deadline, the research found.

The high cost of GDPR compliance is likely one reason for corporate inaction. According to respondents to PwC’s survey of thousands of businesses that operate in the EU more than 77% of companies plan to allocate $1 million or more on GDPR compliance and compliance efforts – with 68% saying they will invest between $1 million and $10 million and 9% expecting, to spend over $10 million to address GDPR obligations.

However, ignoring GDPR compliance can bring stiff fines from EU officials: Penalties can run as high as 4% of an enterprise’s worldwide financial revenue. Those working to be compliant are investing resources in initiatives that include Privacy Shield and binding corporate rules, as well as model contracts for EU cross-border compliance. They are also centralizing data centers in Europe and de-identifying European data to reduce their GDPR risk exposure.

Businesses affected by the GDPR specifically include all companies that do business in the EU; companies that process the data of EU residents with more than 250 employees; and companies with less than 250 employees whose data processing rights impact the rights and freedoms of data subjects on a more than occasional basis and include certain types of sensitive personal data, in other words, any company that does business with an EU resident in any shape or form.

The type of identity information the GDPR requires businesses to protect includes name, address and ID numbers; web data such as location, IP address, cookie data and RFID tags; health and genetic data; biometric data; racial or ethnic data; political opinions; and sexual orientation.

GDPR compliance also specifies the roles that are responsible for ensuring compliance as the data controller, data processor, and the data protection officer. The data controller defines how personal data is processed and the purposes for which it is processed. The controller is also responsible for making sure that outside contractors comply.

In addition, companies need to make certain that their data management vendors are compliant. The EU considers vendors an extension of the companies they work with for the purpose of gathering, storing and protecting their data and managing data breaches. This means that all company contracts with vendors must be updated to reflect that systems and practices have been put in place to comply with the GDPR. As with individual businesses’ contracts, these vendor contracts need to define consistent processes for how data is managed and protected, and how breaches are reported.

“Organizations should not see [GDPR compliance] as just a regulatory compliance program,” said Peter Gooch, cyber risk services partner at Deloitte. “Having the right privacy requirements embedded into an overall customer engagement strategy can also be a competitive advantage. All businesses rely on consumer loyalty. A breach can put the company’s existence at risk.”

Why the Call Center is Still Relevant

Why the Call Center is Still Relevant

While it may seem logical that customers would prefer service delivery online or via phone without a human involved, that’s actually not the case at all. Today’s customers expect more from brands than ever before and these companies need to step it up if they are to be successful. How do call centers factor in?

Microsoft’s 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report found that 69% of US respondents to their survey said customer service is very important in their choice of or loyalty to a brand. The report also elaborates that knowing that customer experience is such an important factor, it is essential to “deliver personalized and contextual interactions throughout the customer journey.” Breaking this down further by age group around the world, the message is clear – customer service is very important in the choice of or loyalty to a brand.

  • • Ages 18-34 – 66% selected Very Important
  • • Ages 35-54 – 56% selected Very Important
  • • Ages 55+ – 55% selected Very Important

In the US, the phone is the customer service channel respondents use most – 74% of respondents have used the telephone as a customer service channel. In fact, the phone is more popular than email, in-person, live chat, mobile app, text message, self-service, chat bot, search engine, social media or online community in the US and in most areas of the world represented in the study.

Keep in mind, however, when asked about what the most frustrating aspect of a customer service experience is, 34% of US respondents selected “Automated Telephone System (IVR)/inability to reach a live person for customer support.” Microsoft’s study reports that 59% of US respondents say they have stopped doing business with a brand because of a poor customer service experience. Seeing as customers base their loyalty to a brand, in part, on their customer service experience, businesses looking to hit the mark with their customer base need to understand that people still prefer to speak with another person when it comes to receiving service from a company and furthermore, they will discontinue doing business with a brand when not pleased with a customer service experience.

In the 21st century, some may be shocked by these results but the results make it clear that businesses with the most responsive call centers will have a significant competitive edge. Many such businesses will choose to partner with a highly-skilled telephone call answering services provider due to the substantial infrastructure involved in delivering the best call center-based customer service. They also recognize that this partnership provides them with more time to focus on growing their business because experts are managing their customer service call center.

According to the US respondents, 33% to be exact, “a friendly & knowledgeable representative” is the most important aspect of a good customer service experience. The right call answering service will have live operators trained in the specifics of your business available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to speak with your customers and potential customers. This means that your business is open all day, every day with trained professionals always ready to represent your brand which should translate into brand loyalty from your customers.

At Responsive Call Center, we provide that and more. Our operators follow your predetermined protocol so that every caller receives the attention they need to solve their problems. They use state-of-the-art equipment to make certain that you never miss any of your customers’ calls. This combination delivers growth for your business and leads to happy customers who refer your business to others.

Responsive Call Center offers a complete menu of call answering services that includes bilingual answering capability, virtual receptionist services, call screening and forwarding, online faxing, and emergency dispatch.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help your business grow while improving customer loyalty and make sure that you receive all of your important calls.