Welcome to The Evolution of Call Centres where I round up some of the more interesting and appealing news stories from the world of Call Centres, Cloud Computing and Hosted Contact Centres, sometimes adding a little commentary but always grouping the stories together in easy to digest snippets of information, knowledge, insight and ideas.
Listening and Hearing
This is an excellent article on the difference between hearing and listening. The view is high level but it gives you a good introduction to the difference. How many times have you taken a call and "heard" someone talking whilst your loading records, scribbling notes, adding information to external systems or just doing something else? Are you listening? Not really.
Finding Your Audience
As Social Media continues to cause waves in the customer service and call centre industry it's good to see a logical approach to unified communications. Here is news of social media leading to the creation of a call centre in Manilla. The Philippines' weather bureau used social media to inform people about storms and typhoons. It's proved so popular that a call centre is being considered. After all, apparently very few people in the Philippines have internet access.
A balanced approach is needed to your points of contact. Your Audience is what matters. Find where they are and offer the communication strategy that suits them. After all, there's no point being on Twitter if your customers and audience are on the phone.
You Can Teach It
This is good stuff. Approaching more than just the aptitude, attitude, skills and experience of call centre representative (or public facing employees). Here Melissa Kovacevic is addressing the subtle verbal tones and intonations of your staff. It's great to see someone focussing on the "way" your agents talk to customer. The choice of words, the tone, the intonation, the enthusiasm that is carried in your voice and a host of other non-verbal clues will lead to far superior service and a better customer experience. And yes. It can be taught.
Don't touch the phone
Interesting post here about giving customers the information they want without them having to phone up. There's some interesting points, not sure I agree with all of them, but they certainly made me think. Do customers really hate speaking to people?
For long term relationships (bank, mortgage etc) I aim to choose companies who offer excellent call centres with well trained staff who can answer my query or question promptly (it's not always worked). For commercial contacts I guess the choice isn't always there.
Is it the long wait times? The agent who cannot answer the query? The transfers, the holds and the pauses? The un-resolved issue which will mean another call? The bad service? Is it those things that mean we don't like to speak to people? What would happen if we didn't have to wait and the agent wasn't bound by misleading call metrics?
What if they solved the problem in a fast, efficient and helpful way? Would that change our mind about speaking to people? I'm a big fanboy of social media and social communication, but there are times when I just want to speak to someone. I want the conversation. I want the feeling of speaking to a person. And there are great call centres out there with awesome customer service. I think the channel of communication is secondary to the ability to get your problem resolved. It's not going to be long until we all gripe about how the chat or facebook or twitter customer service portal/service is no longer effective.
C is for customer and that's what business is about..right?
You lucky people who live in San Francisco - A customer experience eco mapping by Kerry Bodine. I reckon this is going to be excellent.
Hosted Is The Future
Why you should move to a hosted call centre solution.
Our CTO Ashley Unitt has been talking about being "safe" recently in a couple of excellent blog posts about beds and clouds.
Our Channel Director Charlie Cowan has a great post about building a good call plan.
We are in the Top 25 techs.