Service and sales are two of the most important facets of operating a successful business.
While each requires a separate set of core skills, leading companies leverage the power of agent training and call center software to merge these two customer-facing components.
That makes a lot of sense; when support agents know everything about a company’s products and services, they’re in a perfect position to offer upsells and cross-sells as a solution to customer problems.
At the same time, when customers are satisfied by the service they receive, they’re much more likely to make repeat purchases – one study from American Express shows that US consumers are willing to spend 17% more with businesses that deliver excellent customer service.
With the right tools and systems in place, customers that call support to address problems can be converted into a valuable resource.
Here’s how to make that happen.
Measure Customer Satisfaction with Call Center KPIs
Call center business intelligence is an essential part of optimizing customer service costs.
But certain call center KPIs that can be measured by call center software are also effective ways of measuring a contact center’s support quality.
Here are a few worth paying attention to when looking to improve customer satisfaction:
1. First Call Resolution (FCR)
Resolving a customer issue on the first call is not only important for lowering costs but is an important part of improving satisfaction; customers don’t want to make multiple calls to resolve the same issue.
2. Average Handle Time (AHT)
Lowering the average time agents spend solving customer issues means customers can alleviate the stress of their problem and return to enjoying their products and services faster.
3. Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
No one wants to wait on hold to solve their problem; lowering ASA means customer frustrations are solved sooner.
4. Call Abandonment Rate (CAR)
Directly related to ASA, when customers wait too long to for an available agent they’ll begin to hang up and move on to other tasks – a sure fire way to lower retention and referral rates.
Improve Call Center Strategy to Support Sales Growth
With those KPIs in mind, what strategies can be employed to improve a contact center’s ability to serve as a sales engine?
1. Clearly Communicate Service Goals to Agents
Define performance targets for important KPIs (e.g. reduce AHT to 5 minutes) and ensure your call center agents know how to achieve them.
2. Reward Agents that Provide Great Service
The right incentives can motivate call center agents to go beyond minimum service levels.
One study from Econsultancy and Adobe recommends “redefining how bonuses are calculated to include a customer satisfaction component.”
Incentives work best when they’re aimed at rewarding actions, in the case of driving sales through call center support, these actions could include cross-team cooperation or implementing new standard operating procedures.
3. Use Short, Clear Messages
Often call center messages, both automated and in scripts, are too long. Shorter, simpler messages reduce call abandonment rate and average handle time to help customers get the help they need faster.
4. Properly Manage Peak Call Periods
Good call handling management means ensuring staffing levels fluctuate with customer demand. Good call center software can help you measure demand periods by hour, day, and month to properly forecast future staffing needs.
5. Prioritize Urgent Calls
Identify different types of customer contact and prioritize them in order of importance in order to address the most pressing customer needs and reduce call abandonment rate.
6. Leverage Reciprocity Bias
Customer service above-and-beyond customer expectations can trigger feelings of reciprocation in customers, thanks to the psychological principle of reciprocity bias, where people feel an emotional pressure to return positive action (great customer service) with another positive action (referring that company to friends and associates).
Leverage this principle by training agents to ask satisfied customers for referrals or suggest they make an additional purchase.
How Call Center Management Software Creates Sales from Customer Issues
When it comes to implementing better call center strategies to leverage customer support as a sales tool, call center software offers quite a few benefits.
Here are just a few:
1. Easier Access to Customer Data
By integrating with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, good contact center software can provide real-time customer information to support agents so they can better address problems and identify opportunities for upsells and cross-sells.
2. Detailed Call Center Monitoring and Reporting
Call center management software provides all the required KPI data managers need to make strategic and tactical decisions, minute by minute, quarter by quarter.
With capabilities like call recording, agent-level average handle time, and cost per call, managers can generate reports in real-time to analyze and improve quality of service.
3. Skill-Based Routing
By routing customer calls to agents with the required knowledge and training to solve their problems, call center software can reduce the call and wait times and boost satisfaction. And happy customers are far more likely to consider an upgrade or cross-purchase.
4. Enhanced Agent Productivity
Modern virtual call center software offers additional benefits in the form of added features that significantly improve agent efficiency, including effective interfaces and workflows.
Happy Customers Mean More Sales
When call center agents have the tools and training to deliver a great support experience the results can directly impact the bottom line.
By providing the right customer information and improving agent productivity, call center software can be an integral part of turning support operations into a sales-boosting asset – increasing customer retention, lifetime value, and referral rates.
That’s why more and more, modern businesses are implementing state-of-the-art contact center software like TCN’s Platform 3.0.
To learn more about how workforce management contact center software decreases cost and increases sales, read “Implementing TCN to Increase Profit Margins.”