Call center activities can be complex, and call center managers are charged with significant challenges. Why are some more successful than others? What’s the recipe for success for an outbound call center agency?
Perhaps success lies in having the right technology? Or maybe it’s all about the employees or the company culture?
At VoiceSpin, our customers tell us that having the right technology, an integrated call center platform, solves their call center problems and boosts conversion rates. But, we know that having an amazing CPaaS on its own does not equate to success.
Digging deeply into the key ingredients for success, call center managers benefit from best practices to lead their team. Here are 5 favorite call center best practices to take you from being a call center manager to a call center manager rockstar:
- Set Goals and Strategy
A call center achieves better results when its performance goals are clear. One study shows you are 62% more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. A call center manager can set out expectations for employees’ activities by clearly defining and sharing their key KPIs, including:
- Occupancy rate (time spent on calls vs. time spent unavailable) – a low occupancy rate indicates agents are spending too much time on non-sales activities which requires further investigation.
- Increased Answer rate (ASR) – how many times the calls are picked up (low answer rate may indicate your number is spammed).
- Average call duration (total minutes on call/number of calls) – the optimal call duration will vary depending on each call center, but the idea is to find the sweet spot in which the call is long enough for productive communication that will lead to a sale but short enough to allow the agent to be efficient and make more calls.
- Conversion rate (number of sales/number of calls) – this measures an agent’s effectiveness and the quality of leads they are speaking to.
- First-time close rate (number of closes on the first call/total number of calls) – with this information, you can identify the all-star agents who are most likely to close quickly.
- Effective calls – not every dialed call should be included in the metrics as ringing time, voice mail and wrong numbers can skew the result. For some metrics, it makes more sense to only track calls that lasted a certain number of seconds or more to ensure that it is a call that includes an actual conversation.
- Encourage a Coaching Culture
In the age of the “Great Resignation” retaining quality employees is a challenge, and supporting your sales agents’ professional development can go a long way in fostering loyalty. One way to do this is by creating a coaching culture, encouraging relationships between more experienced workers and those less so, which will foster growth and improve teamwork.
There are two main types of coaching that can be equally beneficial:
- During in-call coaching, the ‘coach’ whispers to the agent during calls. Interventions can be triggered by automated monitoring that tracks specific terms the agent says or omits as well as emotional monitoring that provides hints to a potential customer’s feeling or mindset.
- During post-call coaching, both mentor and mentee can pour through call transcripts and review the reporting and analytics that measure the agent’s performance. Post-call coaching also enables the agent’s performance to be analyzed based on the defined KPIs as compared to other agents and the call center as a whole.
A combination of both types of coaching can produce better sales results and improve organizational performance.
- Use Customer Data to Your Advantage
It is important to emphasize to your agents that customer information is a linchpin to winning sales. Institute pre-call procedures that include pre-call customer data research to launch a smoother sales qualifying process. Any information learned should always be stored in an integrated CRM that can be accessed during any future conversations with the customer to ensure a fully personalized sales journey.
- Create a Real Connection
Every caller is a human being, and just because you get someone to answer the phone does not mean they will purchase what you are selling. Successful outbound call center sales are based on creating real human connections between the caller and agent. The agent must establish a positive, trustworthy connection with the client to drive the sale to close. As a manager, it is up to you to suggest or train agents on ways to build rapport, create trust, and maintain a strong connection throughout the sales journey, for instance:
- Call the customer by name, letting them know that they are more than just another prospect on a list
- Spend more time listening than talking at first, and let the customer tell his/her story
- Focus on the customer’s needs, not on the product’s features
- Only make promises you can keep and always follow up on anything you say you will do
- Show empathy for the customer as well as respect for their time – respond to their questions and requests in a timely way
Above are a few suggestions, yet there are countless ways to address a human’s need to be heard, seen, and felt throughout the sales process.
- Ensure Compliance with Regulations
As the manager, you are responsible for knowing the local laws and enforcing them by keeping your team educated, trained, and up to speed. For example, blocking the caller ID is generally not an acceptable practice, and each call center agent must also identify him/herself and the company. When leaving a voicemail, it is important to include a phone number so prospects can call back and request removal, which, of course, must be respected. You and your agents must comply with the National Do-Not-Call Registry as well as any local regulations about times of day when calling is permitted and prohibited. It’s important to consult with an attorney to keep updated with the latest laws and regulations and maintain compliance.
Over to You
Follow these 5 best practices to boost your call center’s results and overall agent performance. For an added boost, make sure technology is working in your favor with a robust communication platform. Click here to learn more about VoiceSpin’s CPaaS.