Top 20 call centre best practices for 2023
Call centres are the backbone of many businesses, providing customers with a direct line to the company for support, information and sales. In 2023, there are several best practices that you should implement to ensure you are providing the best customer experience possible. Here are 20 things you should be doing to ensure your operations are running to the best of its abilities.
1. Implement the best tools
One of the most important best practices for call centres is to implement the right tools to ensure a smooth and streamlined operation. This includes customer relationship management (CRM) software and interactive voice response (IVR) systems. These devices can help streamline call centre operations, reduce costs and improve customer service.
CRM software is a crucial tool for managing customer interactions and information. It allows agents to access customer information quickly and efficiently, helping them to provide personalised and relevant support to customers. An IVR system, on the other hand, can help reduce wait times and improve the customer experience by providing self-service options.
2. Set call metrics
Another vital piece of the puzzle for ensuring successful operations for call centres is to set call metrics. This involves defining key performance indicators that you want to measure, such as call resolution time, call abandonment rate and first-call resolution speed. By setting call metrics, you can track the performance of your agents and identify areas that require improvement.
To set effective call metrics, you need to consider your call centre's goals and your customers' expectations. For example, if your goal is to provide fast and efficient support to customers, you should track the average call resolution time. Alternatively, if your goal is to provide high-quality customer service, you might want to follow the first-call resolution rate.
3. Hire the right people with excellent communication and customer service skills
Hiring the right people is critical to the success of your call centre. You need to look for those who have excellent communication skills, customer service talents and a positive attitude. These qualities are essential for providing exceptional service and building solid relationships with customers.
When hiring new agents, consider conducting behavioural interviews to assess their communication and customer service skills. You may also want to consider using assessment tools, such as personality tests or skills tests, to evaluate their fit for the role.
4. Monitor calls and provide feedback
To ensure that your agents deliver high-quality customer service, monitoring calls and providing feedback are vital. Call monitoring involves listening to recorded or live calls and evaluating the quality of the interaction.
When monitoring calls, you should evaluate factors such as the agent's communication skills, product knowledge and problem-solving abilities. You should also provide constructive feedback to help agents improve their performance where required.
5. Regularly train your employees
By providing regular training, you can ensure that your customer service agents have the knowledge and skills they need to provide excellent service and ensure high-level caller satisfaction. Coaching can also help agents stay up-to-date with the latest products and services, policies and industry trends and enhance their knowledge base.
When designing your training programme, consider using a variety of methods, such as e-learning modules, classroom training and on-the-job exercises. You should also evaluate the effectiveness of your programme regularly to confirm that it meets your business needs.
Additionally, create an easy onboarding training programme for new employees
Effective onboarding programmes can help new agents get up to speed quickly, reducing the time it takes for them to become productive and deliver high-quality customer service.
When designing an onboarding programme, consider providing new agents with an overview of your call centre's goals, values, and policies. You should also provide coaching on the tools and systems they will be using, as well as the products and services your company offers. Additionally, you may want to assign a mentor to each new agent to help them adapt to the job and provide ongoing support.
6. Implement a knowledge management system
A knowledge management system is a centralised repository of information that agents can use to access product information, customer data and other relevant information. By implementing a robust knowledge management system, you can ensure that your representatives have access to accurate and up-to-date information, enabling them to provide excellent customer service.
When implementing a knowledge management system, you should consider the types of information that your agents need to access, such as product manuals, FAQs and customer data. You should also consider the format in which the information is presented, such as text, video, or audio and the accessibility of the system, such as whether it can be accessed remotely.
7. Publish FAQs online
By providing customers with answers to frequently asked questions, you can reduce the number of calls your agents receive and improve the overall customer experience.
When creating your FAQs, you should consider the types of questions that customers ask most frequently, such as how to place an order, return a product, or troubleshoot a problem. You should also confirm that your FAQs are easy to navigate and search and deliver accurate and up-to-date information.
8. Utilise self-service and automation
To improve call centre efficiency, self-service and automation can be valuable tools. Directing customers to the right service representative can save time and prevent frustration for both customers and agents.
While automation can be helpful, it's essential to strike a balance between self-service and human interaction. Customers should have easy access to a real person when needed without having to navigate through complex automated systems. By finding the right balance between self-service and human interaction, you can improve customer satisfaction and reduce call centre costs.
9. Encourage customer feedback
Customer feedback is a valuable source of information that can help you identify areas for improvement and enhance the overall customer experience. By encouraging feedback, you can gain insights into what they like and dislike about your products or services and identify areas where you can improve.
To encourage customer feedback, you can use a variety of methods, such as surveys, focus groups or social media listening tools. You should also consider providing incentives for callers to provide feedback, such as discounts, prize draws or free products.
10. Conduct regular market research
Conducting regular market research is another best practice for call centres. By staying up-to-date with industry trends and customer preferences, you can adapt your products and services to meet the changing needs of your customers and stay ahead of your competitors.
When conducting market research, you should consider using a variety of methods, such as online surveys, focus groups, or interviews with industry experts. You should also ensure that the data you collect is accurate and reliable so that you use it correctly to inform your business decisions.
11. Use modern call centre software and technology
Using modern call centre software and technology is essential for improving the efficiency and productivity of your call centre operations. This includes tools like automated call distribution (ACD) systems, workforce management software and speech analytics tools.
ACD systems can help you route calls to the most appropriate agent, reducing wait times and improving the customer experience. Workforce management software can help you schedule agents efficiently, ensuring that you have the right number of agents available at the right time. Speech analytics tools can help you analyse customer interactions and identify areas for improvement.
12. Implement quality assurance programmes
By conducting regular evaluations, you can identify areas where agents are excelling and places where they need additional training or support.
When conducting performance evaluations, you should establish clear criteria for evaluating representative performance and provide constructive feedback to them. You should also use the data you collect to identify trends and patterns and use that information to make informed decisions about how to improve your operations.
13. Utilise intelligent call routing technology
Intelligent call routing technology can help you match customers with the best available agent based on factors such as their location, language preference or previous interaction history. Routing customers to the most appropriate agent can improve the customer experience and reduce wait times.
When implementing intelligent call routing technology, you should consider the factors that are most important for your customers and ensure that your system is configured to prioritise those factors. You should also monitor the effectiveness of your plan regularly and make adjustments as needed.
14. Implement a virtual receptionist
A virtual receptionist is a software-based system that can handle basic customer inquiries and route calls to the appropriate agent. By implementing a virtual receptionist, you can reduce the number of calls that your agents need to handle and improve the overall customer experience.
When implementing a virtual receptionist, you should make sure that the system is configured to handle common customer inquiries effectively and that it can route calls to the most appropriate representative. You should also monitor the effectiveness of your system regularly and make adjustments as needed.
15. Use data analytics to identify trends and patterns
Data analytics can help you identify trends and patterns in customer behaviour, enabling you to make data-driven decisions about improving your call centre operations. By analysing data from sources such as call recordings, customer feedback and performance metrics, you can identify areas where you need to improve and implement targeted solutions.
When using analytics, you should ensure that the data you collect is accurate and reliable and that you use it to inform your business decisions. You should also consider using advanced analytics techniques, such as predictive analytics, to identify emerging trends and patterns.
16. Provide customers with multiple contact channels
Providing callers with multiple contact channels such as phone, email, chat, and social media is essential for meeting the diverse needs of your customers. By offering various contact channels, you can enable consumers to choose the platform that is most convenient for them and provide a seamless omnichannel experience.
When offering multiple contact channels, you should ensure that each channel is staffed by agents who are trained to provide high-quality service. You should also confirm that each channel is integrated with your call centre software and technology, enabling you to track interactions and maintain a consistent customer experience across all channels.
17. Have a phone system where agents can answer from anywhere
Having a phone system where agents can answer calls from anywhere is becoming increasingly important as remote work becomes more common. By enabling agents to work from anywhere, you can increase the flexibility of your call centre operations and reduce the need for physical office space.
When implementing a phone system for remote agents, you should ensure that it is reliable and that agents have access to the tools and resources they need to provide high-quality service. You should also establish clear guidelines for remote work and provide regular training and support to remote agents.
18. Foster a culture of creativity
Encouraging creativity in your call centre can help improve problem-solving and customer satisfaction. While it's important for representatives to stick to the script, allowing for some flexibility to apply inventive solutions can lead to better outcomes.
Promoting a culture of thinking outside the box and welcoming fresh ideas can empower representatives to find solutions for customers in any situation. By encouraging creativity, you can help ensure that callers always receive the best possible service and solutions from your call centre.
19. Follow up with customers
Following up with customers after a call can be an essential step in ensuring customer satisfaction and improving your call centre's performance. You can choose to follow up immediately after a call or a few hours or days later, depending on the nature of the issue and your customer's preferences.
During the follow-up call, confirming that customer issues have been resolved is vital and asking for feedback on their experience with your call centre is essential. This feedback can provide valuable insights into areas for improvement and help you identify common issues that may require additional training or resources. By following up with customers, you can demonstrate your commitment to caller satisfaction and build stronger relationships.
20. Start using VoIP
VoIP is the future of communication, and call centres need to implement it to remain competitive. With its numerous benefits, such as increased flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and scalability, VoIP is an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. By switching to VoIP, call centres can expand their reach and better serve their customers by providing seamless communication.
Additionally, with the impending 2025 switch off of ISDN, all businesses need to switch to VoIP to avoid disruptions in their operations. The switch to VoIP can seem daunting, but with the help of experienced VoIP providers like T2k, call centres can smoothly transition to the new system and reap the benefits of this modern technology.
Looking to upgrade your phone system? T2k is here to help
If you're looking to upgrade your phone system to improve your call centre operations, T2k can help. T2k is a leading provider of call centre software and technology and can help you implement the best tools outlined in this blog post.
T2k offers a range of solutions designed to improve call centre performance, including intelligent call routing technology, virtual receptionists and data analytics tools. We can also provide expert advice and support to help you implement best practices and improve your operations. Get in touch with us today to speak to one of our experts so you can discover which solution is best for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Between 3CX, Gamma Horizon and Phoneline+, which phone system is the best for my call centre?
When considering options such as 3CX, Gamma Horizon, and Phoneline+, it's important to evaluate each solution based on your specific needs and priorities.
Factors such as cost, scalability, ease of use, integration capabilities, and customer support should be taken into consideration when making a decision. Reading reviews and comparing the features and capabilities of each solution can also help you make an informed decision. Ultimately, the best call centre software or service for your business will depend on your unique needs and goals.
Additionally, if you need further advice, T2k are here to help. Get in contact to speak to one of our agents, who will help you find the best solution for your business.
Does my call centre need VoIP?
In order to stay competitive and grow in today's business landscape, it's important for call centres to adopt new technologies and solutions such as VoIP. VoIP offers a range of benefits, such as cost savings, scalability, and increased flexibility, which can help your call centre operate more efficiently and effectively.
Moreover, with the impending switch off of traditional phone lines in 2025, now is the best time to switch to VoIP. By switching to VoIP, you can future-proof your call centre and ensure that you are able to provide the best possible service to your customers.
Which phone providers offer call recording?
If you're looking for a phone supplier offering call recording, many of our partners can help you. We highly recommend Gamma Horizon for small businesses looking to expand. However, if you're a medium to large-sized business, consider 3CX. Choosing the right phone system for your company's specific communication needs is essential, which is why we offer personalised advice at T2k. Contact us, and our team can help guide you towards the best solution for your business.